Italian Tile Showcases Texture and Color Trends

Italian Tile Showcases Texture and Color Trends

Some of the latest kitchen and bath tile trends to come out of Cersaie reflect the fact that style trends from across the globe are weaving their way into American kitchens and baths especially when it comes to color and texture.

Bold color and patterns burst onto the show floor at Cersaie, while retro looks and bas-relief-inspired designs in colorful as well as in soft, neutral tones of gray, cream and black were seen throughout the exhibit indicating several upcoming rends sure to hit American homes, according to Italian tile manufacturers.

Tiles on display at Cersaie showcased vivid shades of blue and yellow, which tile manufacturers, cited as being seen on a recurring basis. These are appearing alongside more offbeat hues of orange and chartreuse the former of which is already showing up increasingly as a bold accent note in U.S. design. Texture also made headway at Cersaie, with several manufacturers exhibiting some unique residential designs that offered visual depth and substance.

For example, a chunky, subway-style tile which could be used as an accent in a kitchen or a bath called Pun was presented by Ascot in amped-up shades of aquamarine, orange, blue, brown and white.

Bold color choices are also being seen in textured tiles and cut-outs, as evidenced by the tiles showcased by several manufacturers at Cersaie.

For instance, Dom's Naturalia by Giorgio Vigna, combined several of these tile trends in one tile design that featured bright colors, scooped edges and a textured dot pattern.

Mosaic tiles, a traditional mainstay for accentuating kitchen and bath designs with color, received a new twist at Cersaie from one manufacturer. Marca Corona unveiled a new line of glass glazed mosaic strips called Glossy that was displayed in vignettes that placed the new tiles over splashes of paint to show designers creative uses for the line. The company's colorful mosaic line is further evidence that residential tile including those specifically made for the kitchen and bath are trending toward bright colors.

Meanwhile, Ceramgres' use of glass a material that is increasingly being used in mix-and-max applications in U.S. kitchens and baths was seen in unique, large-slab formats in vibrant, liquid-like colors. The same company also featured Vitrum Luxa glass tiles in bold colors that are seemingly accentuated by reflections of light.

Further emphasizing that color is king, Italian wall tile manufacturer Bardelli introduced an updated color system called Colore & Colore and Reflessi & Reflessi. It features "colorways" that are split into nine color families, 36 different colors and two different finishes that are completely compatible.

While Italian tile manufacturers were keying into the color trends of Europe at Cersaie, they also had their eye on neutrals, with several suppliers exhibiting tiles in muted tones of gray and black. In addition, other shades that are less defined and, again, more textured are also making headway, according to Italian tile manufacturers.

Taking their inspiration from soft cements, variations displayed at the show included mottled grays, swirling muted blacks and cream finishes.

"These down-to-earth, industrial looks were often punctuated with metallic inserts that would look equally at home in an urban loft, stainless steel kitchen or commercial installation," notes Christine Abbate, spokesperson for Ceramic Tiles of Italy.

Illustrating this "industrial" trend was the concrete porcelain tile from Atlas Concorde that was inspired by the aesthetic appearance of concrete. The concrete look is just beginning to make headway in upscale kitchens and baths in the U.S., and Abbate notes that tile in Italy is increasingly reproducing the surface, colors and movement of this material.

Part of the appeal of the cement influence is, once again, the texture it provides, or at least implies, manufacturers agree.
Texture an obviously recurring trend at Cersaie for tiles created specifically for the kitchen and bath gives any design more depth and interest, and draws on the appeal of elements inspired by nature, according to Italian tile manufacturers. That's why texture found its way its way into all types of tile designs exhibited at the show, regardless of the neutral or bold color adorning them, say manufacturers.

"Textural effects such as linen, moss, leather, gravel, bark, wood, sisal, florals, pebbles, dots, circles and metals are mixed with porcelain, monocottura or terra cotta fields to add dimension," Abbate says of the textural tile trend seen at Cersaie.

One example of texture comes from Cotto Veneto. The Italian company expanded its collection of finishes with a line of textured terra cotta motifs that mimic the look of "nubblely" linen or knitwear, Abbate explains.

Another line of mesh-mounted porcelains provided the aesthetic of aged, tumbled pebbles, for a natural, worn look.

Tile manufacturer Grazia presented Boiserie, which featured a different kind of texture. The new ceramic tile has the look and characteristics of traditional American beadboard.

Still, the most popular of the natural, textured looks is stone, manufacturers agree. "The appetite for elegant stone looks has spurred an ever-expanding array of cost-effective, elegant and low-maintenance porcelain options," notes Abbate.

Stone-inspired porcelain can come in a variety of styles and shades, including marble, slate, rough-hewn and desert.
For instance, playing on the colors and designs of the multi-hued stone found in Bolivia, tile supplier Tagina has created its new Santa Cruz series. And a glazed porcelain line from Piemme called Terra de Fuoco provides the look and feel of rough-hewn stone, according to Abbate.

Pattern in all forms, including swirls, geometric shapes and both symmetrical and asymmetrical configurations, also emerged as a hot tile trend at Cersaie.

In particular, tiles that recalled the look of the late 1960s and early 1970s were most prevalent at the show. And, according to tile manufacturers, the retro tile patterns displayed at Cersaie play right into many of the retro looks that are being created for the home, particularly for the kitchen and bath.

"Many of the decorative motifs on display [at Cersaie] were a playful homage to that period," adds Abbate.

Circular motifs, in particular, made a strong showing, with decidedly yet modestly mod patterns, especially for walls.

Fashion designers at Benetton further emphasized the return to retro tile patterns. They were tapped to create Joy, a line of tile from Marazzi that recalls the 1970s with colorful green, orange and yellow patterns.

Meanwhile, erring on the side of more neutral tones, several tile manufacturers took a cue from the Verner Panton Op Art fabric of 1961 to create the many white and black circular patterns that were seen at Cersaie, according to Abbate.

Lastly, metallic tile styles made an appearance another trend that has already won favor in the U.S. as an accent for backsplashes and countertops with some manufacturers trending toward the pairing of metal with wood and glass.

Playing on the continued popularity of earthy metallics, mix-and-match pairings were seen with cool porcelains, stone, marble, terra cotta and mosaics proving that some style trends truly are global in scope.