Ryan Fasan, technical consultant to the Tile of Spain, recently completed a trip to Cersaie, an international exhibition of ceramic tile in Bologna, Italy, where he collected and observed trends for the upcoming year in tile.
How was the general atmosphere at this year’s Cersaie overall?
It was exciting to hear the manufacturers and associations buzzing about the North American contingent at the show for the first time in almost five years. With the North American market posting Q1-3 growth rates on European imports in double digits for the first time since the collapse, there was a palpable buzz and presence from our market at the fair. As always, the Tile of Spain manufacturers had a strong showing with some of the most innovative novelties on the floor, including semi-opaque porcelain that can be backlit from Inalco and a high slip-resistant lapatto from Apavisa.
Inalco Poise Piedra is a collection inspired by Asian culture. Poise refers to the traditional values of this civilization, such as simplicity, order and balance.
Can you give us a snapshot of the overall trends in tile for 2014?
In a word, contrast – historical significance, inviting textures, geometry, mixed patterns and shabby chic all play together in most new collections to create a look that’s exclusively tile.
Peronda’s Fashion Lab collaborates with vintage furnishings and designers to create exciting new additions.
With few major technological breakthroughs this year, the novelties focused on a maturing of 2013’s themes and trends and managed to create something both timeless and remarkable. Patterns were everywhere, often multiple printed patterns and molded textures within the same collection or even the same piece of tile. What sounds like a sensory cacophony in words actually plays out as a smorgasbord for the senses, inviting you into a space to explore while expressing a layered narrative.
Vives presents mix-and-match opportunities within its vintage lines.
The neutral palette is nuanced and sophisticated; balanced equally between warm and cool tones with a heavy emphasis on grays. In fact, the slogan for this year’s show could have been 50 shades of gray. Accents continue from last year with cool blues and greens with contrasting ochres, reds and oxbloods. A more in-depth look at 2014 trends will come at Coverings in Vegas this year following the Spanish fair Cevisama.
Tau presents classic looks paired with stone and wood options.
Were there some uniquely new looks this year?
There were three standouts for me at this show that were completely new and uniquely suited to ceramics. The first was a high-polished porcelain wood plank in exclusive wood varietals. Taking the brilliant sheen seen traditionally in a polished marble or onyx collection and imbuing a wood look created something truly dazzling. This look was seen at from a few manufacturers, but my favorite rendition is the Labest Collection from Ceracasa.
Ceracasa Labest combines wood with high polish for a unique, dazzling introduction.
Secondly, there were a few collections that took multiple inkjet files of different stones and marbles and toned them to the same neutral color palette. This created a unique stone look that could only be done with inkjet-decorated ceramics. Ibero had one of the most successful renditions taking some classic Spanish stones like Crema Marfil, Piele Serpentina, Rosa Sarci and Negro Marquina and combining them seamlessly together in a sophisticated neutral palette.
Ibero pushes the boundary with inkjet technology to create a stone species found only in ceramics.
The final novelty I found unique in design this year was a shabby-chic wallpaper look. Often in a classic motif from pre-revolution France or modernist movement around 1900 in Spain, the patterns are barely discernable over a backdrop of ancient stone, textile or Venetian plaster. One of the best renditions came from new kid on the block – the aptly named NewKer, an offshoot from Saloni.
NewKer presents a shabby-chic wallpaper look in ceramic tile.
Anything else noteworthy?
There were a few manufacturers with a decidedly child-friendly collection. Pamesa once again showed the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada collection, but there were some newcomers to the kid-centric market this year. One of the most eye-catching was from the corporate branding master Azteca, which added Disney to its already large branding licences of Real Madrid and Barcelona FCB football clubs. So far, the licencing agreement doesn’t extend across the Atlantic to North America, but that is hoped for before 2014 comes to a close. Keeping with the cartoon trend, Novogres has created a Looney Tunes collection with lovable characters like Tweety Bird and Taz.
Novogres new Looney Tunes collection inspires the child in all of us.
You mentioned some innovations – care to expand on a few?
Inalco has taken its SlimmKer Floor to the next level by offering a factory applied tongue-and-groove plywood backing as seen on laminate flooring for decades. This negates one of the biggest issues with thin profile porcelains – the installation. Any laminate installer can now treat a floor as usual and install this slim porcelain material.
Inalco demonstrates a traditional installation solution for its Slimmker Flooring tile.
Aparici Grupo (Aparici, Apavisa & Land) continues to wow with its bent, twisted and warped porcelains that now add waterjet cutting to the mix, creating even more fantastic decorative cladding solutions. However, the most groundbreaking thing from the group was a lapatto or semi-polished surface that achieves R10 (equivalent of DCOF 0.42) slip resistance. A near incomprehensible technical achievement will no doubt take the industry quietly by storm once someone else can figure out how those technical virtuosos managed it.
A quiet but important innovation from Apavisa – a lapatto with an R10 slip resistance.
One can’t talk about innovations without mentioning Porcelanosa. Its solid surface product Krion continues to seduce design professionals around the word with its seamless, moldable and high-performance surfaces for interior and exterior cladding.
Porcelanosa’s solid surface Krion offers high-performance seamless solutions for kitchen counters and bath interiors.
- Lori Dolnick has nearly 30 years of experience building brands. She works primarily with manufacturers in the home design industry and writes for several blogs. To learn more about Ryan Fasan or to read his educational trend reports, webinars, CEUs, etc., visit www.tileofspainusa.com. Ryan lives on twitter @Tile_Trends.