The lookalikes are back. At , the tile showcase held in Bologna from September 26 to 30, the biggest trend of the past several years – planks and panels that recreate the look of wood and marble, like those seen at the booths of Atlas Concorde and 41zero42 – was still in full force. The industry’s growing investment in printers capable of reproducing intricate patterns with a high-degree of fidelity – and at ever-increasing scale – means that these material mimics are now rendered more convincingly than ever, and at sizes of 1 by 2 metres or more.
Small-scale tiles also got makeovers. At the booths of such brands like Coem and Del Conca, tessellating patterns and mosaics – which never go out of style – ventured even farther into the exploration of 3-D effects. For some, this meant adding shallow reliefs to satiny-finish wall tile for an almost lace-like surface. Others produced collections of tiles in staggered depths, which can be arranged to cast shadows that fall in vivid patterns.
The focus on replicating natural and timeworn materials, including paper, fabric and metals, meant that the use of colour was often restrained. But there was one undeniable colour trend: turquoise – a deep, saturated hue that evokes the ocean – popped as the standout accent in numerous booths.
All the new collections place materiality front and centre, with carefully rendered textures – satiny, glossy, rough, smooth or even wood-like – that demand to be touched. And the expo’s numbers – with 1,524 companies from 55 countries displaying their latest and greatest to 100,000 attendees – confirm Cersaie as the biggest tile show on earth, delivering the looks that will define tiled spaces in 2016.