In recent years, Italian tile manufacturers have focused on production sustainability and technical quality to such a degree that these aspects now characterise almost all companies in this sector. The advent of new technologies has allowed design diversification, but the tendency to produce tiles in colours and textures that mimic natural materials - wood, stone, marble - has remained strong, along with an interest in raw concrete surfaces. Panaria’s Doghe di Quercia collection draws inspiration from the oak tree to create coloured body stoneware, for interiors and exteriors, in six colours and four sizes. Astor’s Plank collection of glazed porcelain coloured body tiles is a reinterpretation of the colour nuances and textures of hand-planed planks.
The collection has four colour options and three sizes. By contrast, Fioranese’s Metropol collection was inspired by concrete. It has tiles for indoors and outdoors in three finishes, including one - fit - that recreates the effect left by wooden moulds. Refin’s Graffiti evokes the hues of raw concrete, with irregular scratches and large decorative elements inspired by street art and urban style. These digitally printed decorations are extremely precise, both in the lines and the colours. Bardelli uses the same printing technique for its Minoo collection, which offers floor tiles in five patterns and eight colours.
The result is a tile that reproduces an artisan product, but has the physical and technical features possible with modern manufacturing technologies.
Alfa Lux’s I Veneziani coloured body stoneware collection draws from the Venetian “terrazzo” technique, while Mutina’s Azulej is a contemporary take on ancient craft majolica using 20x20 cm tiles. Tiles are not only an extremely versatile option, offering numerous decorative solutions, but can also be combined in differing sizes and shapes. For example, using large tiles with small ones and mosaic patterns opens up a world of elegant, detailed patterns. Marazzi’s ColorUp is a wall tile that comes in seven colours and numerous patterns. The 32.5x97.7 cm version even has a mosaic option that creates the effects of different tesserae placed next to each other. Mosaico+ has a new collection consisting of sintered glass tiles - Crono Nova - that has 3D tiles that play on the colour and visual effects produced by the interaction between the surface and the light. Cottoveneto’s Gemme collection of enamelled ceramics have a cabochon cut reminiscent of precious gems and a pearly texture. The small size (1.5cmx1.5cm) and the wide array of colours allow enormous expressive freedom.
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