Tile trends from around the world

Laura Bielecki, design blogger and interior design manager at Ellington Properties shares exciting trends in tile design showcased at CERSAIE 2016 in Bologna.

I finally made my pilgrimage along with 100,000 others to the capital of the ceramic industry – beautiful Bologna, Italy. Some 872 tile and sanitary suppliers later I have returned to Dubai with sore calves and an overload of inspiration. The five-day show spans 17 halls in the Bologna convention centre as well as many of the factories in the area, challenging even the fittest to a marathon of surfaces.

While the show was primarily targeted at suppliers from around the world, I found it fascinating and worthwhile to attend as a designer. Nearly every product I love has representation in the UAE, and I was glad to see all of my suppliers attending (Casa Mia, Ceramic City, Graniti, Roca to name a few).


Not surprisingly some trends have carried over from the last few years – more refined and exciting than before. Technology has lead these trends, allowing the tile to come in larger and larger formats through each and every manufacturer.

The replication of natural materials into ultra-durable tiles has stayed on trend and is becoming more of a challenge to avoid over using Mother Nature’s originals. Decorative tiles are happily showcased breaking the sea of beige and grey tiles throughout the show. I have noted plenty of interesting and original pieces in this category. Sanitaryware was also a welcome escape from the world of porcelain. It was great to see full bathrooms showcased iSaloni style with true Italian perfectionism.


As design manager for a local developer, my eye was in hot pursuit of trends and innovations for the modern home to bring to our region in the interest of design-led projects. My favourite manufacturers from the show who stood out for their colour theory, innovations and design included: Living Ceramics, Mutina, Bisazza, Tureks, Pibo Marmi and Porcelanosa.

I cannot speak about the show without mentioning Laminam. The company was the founder of the large format tile movement, creating machinery that could create a large and durable tile. Now the product can be used on nearly any surface, such as for cladding, flooring, stairs, countertops, furniture, cabinets and sinks. With all of the recent advancements, I strongly believe large format tiles from Laminam and its competitors will have a high impact on designer specifications.


Texture was my favourite trend at Cersaie. Most manufacturers were producing clay like feeling tiles that felt as if they were manufactured by the craftsman’s own hands. Metallic textures, old world worn marble textures and deeply carved accent tiles that play with light and shadow were all brilliantly displayed. Masters of this trend were certainly 41Zero42 and Cottovietri.

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