Coverings preview: ceramic tile trends from Italy

Year after year, Italian tile manufacturers introduce new products that lead the way in terms of technology, sustainability and design concepts. This season’s most popular trends from Italy include monolithic porcelain slabs, mixed materials, and concrete-, resin- and terracotta-inspired tiles, which can be seen throughout the Italian Pavilion at Coverings 2012, this April 17th through the 20th in Orlando, Florida.
Monolithic Tiles & Easy Laying Floors
One of the most important trends, from a technical standpoint, is the advent of monolithic tiles and easy laying floors. Not only are the tiles perfectly squared and rectified, but also frost-resistant, skid-resistant, easy to clean, and more hard wearing than any natural material. They can also be dry laid over dirt, pebbles, grass, sand or gravel or installed on top of an existing floor without the need for specialized workers. ‘EVO 2/E’ by Mirage and ‘AExtra 20′ by Caesar feature ¾’ thick modular porcelain tiles that can be laid onto support structures or directly onto gravel, making it a simple solution for a variety of spaces. Another example is Century’s ‘Challenge’ series whose availability in a range of sizes – as small as 12’x12′ and as large as 4’x4′ – makes it the perfect flooring solution for large-scale surfaces. Also of note is Florim’s ‘Easy Flooring’ tiles featuring a 2mm thick rubber and cork support, which increases the grip of the slabs on the substrate. The thickness also makes it possible to absorb slight defects on the underlying surface.
Mixed Materials
Thanks to improving digital technologies, companies are mixing and matching the look of natural elements from alabaster and marble to metal and wood and everything in between. Viva’s ‘Gotha’ series incorporates visual elements from glass, bricks, plaster and cement. Provenza offers a range of marble and concrete looks for its ‘Re-Use’ collection while Naxos matches wood with Lecca stone for its ‘Project’ collection. Also of note is Sant’Agostino who received much attention at Cersaie with its alabaster and marble inspired ‘Luxor’ line.

Concrete & Resin
From the subtle texture and soft feel of resin to the rough, industrial touches of cement, these two materials are undoubtedly gaining popularity in architecture and design. Italian companies are responding with tiles that feature both looks, independently and congruently, with the functionality and durability of ceramics. ‘Concept’ by Sant’Agostino, ‘RE-evolution’ by Lea and ‘Experience’ by Panaria all feature the spatula designs characteristic of resin pavements. Meanwhile, ‘Concreta’ by Settecento, ‘Evolve’ by Atlas Concorde, ‘Architecture’ by Casalgrande Padana and ‘Nr. 21’ by Viva are all inspired by concrete and brushed cement.

be sure to register for the show and we’ll see you next month!