Cersaie 2023: For Our Next Act

Playing with colour, texture, prints; evoking natural elements like stone and botanicals; employing trompe l'oeil and architectonics: the ceramic tile artisans whose work crammed the aisles at Cersaie 2023 had more tricks up their sleeves than a Las Vegas magician.

At the ripe young age of 40, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings known as Cersaie continues to be a hub for architects, interior designers, specifiers and tile producers who convene to be impressed by new techniques and be reminded of effects they already know they love.

Diamond | Atlas Concorde

Part of the new Marvel Meraviglia collection inspired by Calacatta Meraviglia marble, Diamond is a collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects that “blends a classic mosaic with a disruptive element,” says Paolo Zilli, associate director of ZHA. “Like an inclusion in a diamond, the insertion of a foreign body into a crystalline structure lends an unexpected dynamism to the strict repetition of the rigid geometric structure.” Touch comes with Velvetech, the new patented surface that recalls the look of polished natural stone, featuring semi-opaque effects on the surfaces it’s applied to.

Segni | Lea Ceramiche

“Colour is itself a material thing, a pigment which penetrates the slab to become part of it, in tones and in touch,” says Ferruccio Laviani, an ongoing collaborator and designer behind a new series of decorative effects overlaid onto 12 contemporary solid colours with imperfect lines and painted droplets to create textured reliefs, evoking figurative motifs from the 1960s and experiments with conceptual art.

Windy | Decoratori Bassanesi

The ripples, swirls, and patterns wind creates on water, across rice paddies and grasslands have inspired the new collection by Oki Sato, chief designer and founder of Japan’s renowned Nendo design studio. Chisels, drills, and bits in different shapes and sizes were used to create grooves in smooth plaster, revealing how subtle differences in their depth and cross-section change the perception of shadows.

Project Wood | Casalgrande Padana

This new porcelain stoneware collection developed with SBGA Blengini Ghirardelli replicates the warm tones of beech wood and emphasizes the planks’ delicate veining and grain that is different in every tile of every size, creating warm and cozy Scandinavian-style settings. Available in five colours and two formats all applicable to indoor and outdoor settings.

Bit | WOW

Consisting of unusually small tiles, this collection format conjures up the world of digital graphics since, thanks to its size, visual effects reminiscent of digital ones can be achieved. Bit’s rectangular tiles come in a 3.7×11.6cm format and its squares ones in a 11.6 x11.6cm format in a choice of nine colours and a matt or a high-glaze finish.

Art Walls | Flaviker

Drape, Tapis, Metal and Frost are new designs added to the line and, yes, they look exactly like their names. Unnervingly so but also nothing new. Artisans have been creating the look of three-dimensional spaces on two-dimensional surfaces for ages, from painting and sculpture to set design. Italian manufacturers are just getting better and better at applying optical illusions to porcelain.

The Room | Cooperativa Ceramica Imola

Four new collections have been added in 2023 to the ever-expanding series, all of which integrate enhanced marble-effect aesthetics, including the eye-catching Onice Aragosta. This product is part of the Onice (onyx) family, and the variation interpreted is known as “Aragosta” (lobster) precisely because it has wide brown-orange veins extending across a cerulean blue background.

Italian Landscape | Ceramica Fioranese

This collaboration with 23Bassi architecture studio mines the deep love of Italian architectures, monuments, landscapes, works of art and nature that, if observed carefully, “reveal an iconic and replicable visual synthesis,” says the designers, such as stylized graphic motifs inspired by the landscape symbols of Florence, L’Aquila and Siena (shown) reproduced on ceramic surfaces.

Lamiere | Apavisa

Metallics are still popular in ceramic design and getting better and better each year, with the glazing industry working with benign minerals solutions to achieve reliefs reminiscent of Corten steel and oxidized metals, in a sustainable and healthy way.