Italian ceramic tiles are still an expanding market. As well as high standards of quality and constant technological research, they offer wide versatility suitable for a gamut of differing contexts. The needs of the consumer, architect and building concern are met by the manufacturers with new style trends alongside time-honoured products. Black and white may still hold sway on the market, but a new colour range is also to be had: warm tones that are bold, neutral or pale. Plain by Mirage draws its colour range from earthy pigments and natural materials, purity belying sophistication. Natural stone hues again inspire the stoneware I Basalti line by Sant’Agostino with its blacks, greys, pearl or smoke recalling the northern stone in surface finish too: rough, incised or polished. Porphyry is the symbol of strength and toughness behind Monolithic by Marazzi which comes in four colour tones - dark grey, black, wengè and white - and three finishes - bush-hammered, natural or brushed - producing a strong resemblance to the texture of the natural stone. Beiges and greys form two families in the colour range proposed by Globe/1.0, the collection that builds on the historical Globe line by Floor Gres; rough incised surfaces alternate with the soft velvety feel of polished. Networks by Impronta stands out for its format: a ceramic sheet a mere 3.5 mm thick may be had in various sizes, up to 1000 x 3000 mm; there are three plain colours and three surface textures (dots, lines and cross-hatching). Déchirer by Mutina is another large format, rectangular or hexagonal, with a range of finishes that give the feel of cement, enlivened by irregular patterns in various degrees of relief, including apparent traces of past stratification. Storm by Lea is a porcelain glaze whose technological features enable it to bear enormous physical and chemical stress. With its mixture of patterns and colours - Sandstorm, Tropicalstorm, Icestorm, Darkstorm and Thunderstorm - there is never any danger of repetition.
Besides the inspiration of natural stone, there is a growing attention to the animal and vegetable world. Myskin by Fioranese recalls the soft warmth of animal hide dressing the home, a modern reference to the Red Indian tepee. With Neowood by Keope, in three formats and seven colours including red, we are back among the warm tones and veining of wood. It is light that inspires Imola Ceramica’s Hall: with its ribbed texture and nine colours covering the whole spectrum, the series brightens an environment in a shimmer of reflection.