Ceramics of Italy – 2018 Tile Trend Report

Following Cersaie — the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and sanitaryware furnishings held every year in Bologna, Italy — Ceramics of Italy gathered the top 10 tile trends that you can expect to see at Coverings and are sure to influence architecture and interiors over the next few years.

BOTANICAL
While floral designs have been around since decorative tile was invented, botanical is a new trend that reflects two movements in the design industry. The first is a focus on health and wellness and the incorporation of the natural world into interiors, which research has shown to contribute to human health and productivity. Meanwhile, the influence of tropical modernism has seeped into interiors and product design, which can be seen in this year’s abundance of palm, cacti and other flora-inspired patterns.

Pictured: ABK Wide & Style

DECONSTRUCTED
Tile companies are constantly seeking new ways to add movement and volume to the flat surface, whether by texture, pattern, or trompe l’oeil effect. Deconstructed is the most recent example, featuring a breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile. Many of these collections are created by designers known for their eclectic approach like Studiopepe and Paola Navone and range from kaleidoscopic patterns and floating geometric shapes to fragments of seemingly broken tile. 

Pictured: Fioranese I Cocci

EARTH TONES
Drawing their main inspiration from natural elements, a wide range of Italian tiles fall into this theme. Color palettes range from dirt, clay and sand inspired browns; forest, moss and grass-like greens; red and golden tones reminiscent of the sun; and shades of blue to evoke an oceanic feel. This trend has become popular partially due to a revival of 1970s style along with a greater focus on mother nature and its ability to create a sense of natural serenity.  

Pictured: Ceramica Bardelli Corrispondenza

GLOBALISM
Designers and brands frequently look to other cultures for inspiration, which are exemplified in this year’s tile introductions. For Marazzi’s Grand Carpet collection, Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel turned to the orient to create large ceramic slabs enhanced with the tactility of oriental carpets, Indian temporary ritual tattoos and the Kolam tradition of ephemeral rice floor decorations. Thanks to advancements in digital printing, these rare materials and handcrafted techniques are available in hard surfacing to all. 

Pictured: Marazzi Grand Carpet
 
NEW TYPOLOGIES
While some companies recreate the look of wood or stone to an impressive degree of realism, others mix different materials or handpick certain characteristics to form a whole new typology. This fusion of material-looks and themes result in a surreal, imaginative interpretation of tile and a potential new language for interior design. Sicis’ new iteration of Vetrite infuses marble designs with metallic veins to create unique materials that can’t be found in nature. 

Pictured: Sicis Vetrite

NOSTALGIA
People often look to design for an escape and in this current political climate it’s unsurprising that companies are turning to the past to bring people a euphoric boost. For their third comic-inspired collection, Del Conca recreates the feminist world of Guido Crepax on ceramic tile with his 1960s comic-strip heroine, Valentina. Meanwhile, other companies were inspired by simpler times, using square formats, candy colors and retro patterns reminiscent of the 1950s. 

Pictured: Del Conca Valentina

PAINTERLY
Everywhere you look there is an overarching softness and romanticism in the design world with gentle curves, washes of color and the unmistakable touch of an artist’s hand. Tile is no exception with this year’s collections featuring hand painted patterns, sketches and illustrations, marbled effects and watercolor designs. Standout collections include Ornamenta by Manifesto which comprises of organically painted pebble like circular shapes.

Pictured: Ornamenta Manifesto 

PASTELS
Moving beyond the celebrity of millennial pink, shades of blush, lavender, sea green and pale yellow can be found in dozens of floor and wall tiles. Less saturated than primary colors, pastels create a light, soft and calming effect, which dovetails with a few other trends from this year from Painterly to Nostalgia.  

Pictured: Marca Corona Chalk 
 
TERRAZZO TWIST
Already a popular trend in interior design and fashion, terrazzo started popping up in the tile industry last year and has grown to become a potential new mainstay, on par with marble, wood and concrete designs. Dozens of designs are now available ranging from cement to epoxy terrazzo, traditional to modern colors and glossy to matte finishes. As opposed to traditional terrazzo, which can become very slippery or fade when used outdoors, porcelain offers a durable, versatile and cost effective alternative.

Pictured: Cerim Le Veneziane

WEATHERED
A departure from the soft, romantic effects of the other trends, weathered is a style with staying power. From stones with scratch marks and colored rustic planks to rusted tin tiles and oxidized metals, these tiles mirror an ongoing fascination with unfinished spaces, worn surfaces and vintage effects. A good example is Imola’s Tube collection which has the look of oxidized metal from a worn and well used industrial space.

Pictured: Imola Tube