Cersaie 2021: all trends and products
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Floral ceramics, bold colors, and natural light: everything else of interest at Cersaie 2021

A talk with the designers about forms, textures, colors, and the hyper–decorative trend

Cersaie 2021: all trends and products
By Editorial Staff -

Anyone visiting Cersaie for the first time who expected nothing more than a series of booths with bathroom furnishings and ceramic surface finishes would have been taken by surprise. And anyone who’s been to the exhibition in the past probably would have felt the same way. Cersaie 2021 went beyond being an international ceramics exhibition by reestablishing those basics that were so abruptly interrupted by the pandemic. At the same time, it placed a spotlight on what really matters today in architectural design – creating comfortable living spaces that are rich with warm tones and harmonious geometries in which nature both takes centerstage and forms the essential backdrop.

I enjoyed Cersaie 2021 because it demonstrated the value of dialogue among companies, the people who create and make new design and material ideas, and those who incorporate them into private, public, residential, and other settings. What made my visit to Cersaie so special was seeing previews of the materials that are set to become part of our lives – the surfaces that we’ll find ourselves touching and living with every day. Walking through Cersaie, I understood a little better the reasons why humans prefer airy, well-lit spaces.

So, here are the new products, the most innovative companies, the names, and the trends that I believe you should keep an eye on in the months to come.

 

Iris Ceramica presents LUCE: the allure and timeless beauty of raw materials

For quite some time, Iris Ceramica has been committed to sustainability. But I had no idea how much innovation and creativity the firm is also bringing to the world of ceramics and surface finishes. It was obvious from the moment I set foot in its exhibition space at Cersaie. Three video installations guided visitors along a themed pathway that highlighted the three sets of values that the group has always upheld: architecture and nature, beauty and sustainability, creativity and technology.

An installation at its showroom in Fiorano Modenese reflects the values of beauty and sustainability, in particular. The project welcomes visitors before they even go inside, with the four entrances finished with Luce, the evocative new collection designed by Guillermo Mariotto.

Light [luce] has always been a very powerful visual tool, capable of designing, revealing, shaping, sculpting, and giving life to both materials and the space around them.

I was struck by the collection’s Pearl color option, the signature color of Active Surfaces®. It’s a white that clearly expresses purity, while also underscoring the unique characteristics of these eco-active surfaces. High-performance ceramics, they exploit the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide combined with silver, transforming a simple tile into an eco-active material with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-pollution, anti-odor, and self-cleaning properties.

Going well beyond any traditional concept of surface finish, it can also be seen in the Elementi collection, with its rich selection of colors, sizes, and surfaces in porcelain stoneware and single-fired red body ceramic. Mainly neutral shades were on show but they were complemented by warmer tones for creating inviting indoor areas. With its fluid, sinuous touch and vivacious appearance, the matt and gloss effect adds to the appeal of these products, creating finishes that are soft and wavy, with a highly distinctive interplay of light.

Another highlight was Hypertouch, the latest innovative technology that, using integrated sensors, lets users turn lights on and off, adjust heating and cooling, control audio and video devices, and operate windows simply by touching or lightly pressing the ceramic surface.

 

Marazzi: stone-effect porcelain and forest landscapes

As soon as I stepped inside the Marazzi booth at Cersaie, I was surrounded by dynamic geometries and joints. The collections of large porcelain stone slabs with different finishes – stone, marble, resin, woods – create the impression of stepping into a world that goes beyond the third dimension.

The big news from Marazzi is a new product designed by Alessandro Pasinelli Studio, both for the new Villa and the Hub Marazzi 2021. Cacti, spurges, and palm trees take centerstage in the treed landscape surrounding a beautiful house set in nature. Large windows and small openings in the wall modulate natural light, allowing it to reflect on surfaces to reveal their surprising textures, opacity, and luminescence.

I was especially impressed by the Mystone Travertino collection, which includes wood, marble, concrete, and resin effects, as well as the smaller sizes of Crogiolo Rice and Zellige, a material excursus, in which ceramic is used as a way to interpret new lifestyles. The new trend seems to be for large surfaces inspired by fine marbles, the materiality of concrete, and the mineral charm of metals, all the result of the most recent materials research and experimentation. Reflecting this, Mystone Travertino is a striking product with a soft touch and slip resistance. It’s available in three colors (Navona, Classico, and Silver – light beige, cream, and a light gray, respectively) and with three patterns as well as two décor options (Classic and Botanic). The collection, available in two finishes – one softer and warmer, the other more shiny and sophisticated – includes three mosaic tiles and four sizes: 36 x 72” (90x180 cm), 24 x 48” (60x120 cm), 24 x 24” (60x60 cm), and 12 x 24” (30x60 cm).

It’s worth pointing out that Marazzi has contributed to making ceramic tile production a closed-cycle process, limiting the consumption of natural resources and reducing environmental impacts. Several of its collections are, in fact, made using 40% recycled materials and meet the requirements of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainable design.

 

Panaria: Ferruccio Laviani talks about his clay-colored Masterplan

Pavilion 30 at Cersaie didn’t seem to be part of the exhibition. Ferruccio Laviani, curator and creator of Panariagroup’s exhibition space, welcomed me at the entrance of what looked like a movie set. I felt like I was walking along a boulevard in some big city, looking at the store windows. I asked Laviani if that’s what he was aiming for.

Ferruccio, we’re here at Cersaie, but I feel like I’m taking a stroll in Barcelona!
That was the idea. I wanted to recreate a city, with its plazas, street corners, and a main street that would guide visitors and welcome them to this unique urban district. And do it inside Panaria’s pavilion. The various brands are on display along the main street behind large glass partitions, which, like the stores in an old city center, offer views into the interior spaces, where each brand tells its story in its own unique language.

The color – a warm tone of clay – also seems to play an important role.
I used it to underscore the corporate identity of the Panaria group and its different brands. The color is the connecting thread. It’s the typical color of architecture in the Po Valley. Besides setting the rhythm of the route, the backdrops, interspersed with elements reminiscent of anthracite gray industrial sunshading, also underscore the group’s identity.

The goal, according to Emilio Mussini, president of Panariagroup, is to clearly communicate a solid history – a company group that has paved the way in the ceramics industry with innovations and insights that have left their mark and defined the guidelines for tiles to evolve from a building material to elements of an architectural language. The group has done this by establishing unique identities: brands that have all taken their own paths, each one characterized by its own high quality and distinctive personality.

Masterplan is the start of a new path. It’s a project that involves the whole group – a tangible sign of the maturity and solidity achieved, which has prompted us to present the company using a unique language that’s simultaneously respectful of the unique identity of each brand.

 

Ceramica Sant’Agostino: natural porcelain stoneware with warm, enticing tones

The goal that Ceramica Sant’Agostino set itself for Cersaie was clearly to focus on different ways to bring nature indoors. The new collections attract your attention for the sense of balance they bring to spaces, their color, and the vitality they convey to the touch. They’re a perfect example of how human ingenuity can combine with the ancient experience of nature to breathe life into wonderful new creations. I was impressed by the elegant, multifaceted effects of the porcelain stoneware. The Fusionart series, for example, has an effect that mimics an encounter between two materials: wood, an ancient natural element, and concrete, a symbol of modern architecture and the hand of humans. At 3/8” (10 mm) thick, these large slats feature high tensile strength. A touch of genius about them is that their slightly convex shape means that their weight makes them self-levelling during installation. In a glance, it’s easy to see that the range of colors, sizes, and decorations has been carefully tuned to create warm, elegant, and contemporary atmospheres.

Ceramica Sant’Agostino reminds me of the reason that we’re so fascinated by natural, traditional materials. Why make porcelain stoneware with a stone effect? It’s because, more than ever, humans want to be in touch with our origins. We increasingly desire to live in harmony with nature, including in our homes and the places we spend our time. The Unionstone collection – available in Beola, Yura, Granito, and Ardesia versions – offers shades that celebrate the warm colors of the earth, desert oases, and the lunar surface. The charm of this series stems from a careful study of the most ancient stones that we humans have always used to build our most important buildings. It’s available in five surface finishes – natural, glossy Krystal, striped, bush-hammered anti-slip – with a 3/4” (20 mm) thick version for outdoors.

I also need to mention the firm’s multifaceted EcoQuality program, put together to coordinate its efforts to produce products of the highest quality while fully complying with the strictest regulations for protecting the environment, people, and consumers. After all, we should never forget that both ceramics and porcelain are natural materials that are safe and suitable for any setting.

 

Novoceram reinterprets cement tiles with eight patterns

The collection Novoceram showcased at Cersaie is called Bohème, a selection of decorated tiles that the manufacturer, established in 1863, has created for interior walls and floors. It was an interesting path that led the company to rethink classic cement tiles. Novoceram has, in fact, updated the manufacturing process, turning it on its head. They told me that they began by studying the metal molds that have always been used for making cement tiles so as to improve the stamped effect. In practice, the spaces between the tiles are emphasized, becoming an integral part of the eight different Bohème patterns. In this way, the irregular, handcrafted imperfection of the tile becomes a design asset.

The 8 x 8” (20x20 cm) size in sepia with a bright ivory background has a genuinely sophisticated look. But, as mentioned, it’s just one of eight styles available, which range from simple geometric patterns to the most elaborate, classically inspired designs.

 

Ceramiche Keope: intermingling colors in marble-effect porcelain stoneware

Created using the new shades from its Onice collection, Ceramiche Keope’s space at Cersaie was cozy and inviting. Comprising large-format and modular products, the collection is just part of the firm’s wide range of polished marble tiles. Highly versatile, they’re suitable for both bathrooms and décor items. Strong and luminous genuine marble, they give depth to rooms by creating a pleasant interplay of light on reflective surfaces.

There are three shades available, each with intertwining hues that delicately coexist. The Multicolor finish, marked by a huge variety of colors that are revealed by the light; Honey, with delicate honey tones against a warm quartz texture; and Pearl, which is cooler and more velvety, bringing elegance to even the most humdrum interiors. Since it’s a neutral shade, Pearl is a perfect counterpoint to both matt and glossy surfaces, especially in the bathroom. Onice is available in the sizes 24 x 24” (60x60 cm), 24 x 48” (60x120 cm), and 48 x 110” (120x278 cm).

 

FAP ceramiche: large-format tiles for creating floral backdrops

The beauty of FAP ceramiche’s decorative tiles transports you to the tropics. FAP Murales is the latest collection of wall finishes presented at Cersaie 2021, a tribute to the power of nature and its most exuberant forms of expression. These ceramic tiles are a décor element that marks a dramatic return to chromatic dynamism as they explore a range of tropical, floral, and geometric patterns. The Tropical, Flower, and Texture patterns all reflect this.

What struck me most about the collection was the iridescent effect created by FAP ceramiche for the Kenzia, Corten, and Soft patterns – a kind of modern trompe-l’oeil that enlarges spaces with shimmering overlays, exquisite contrasts, and paired colors. Other highlights include the geometric patterns, intended to create surprising optical effects, and, in particular, FAP Murals Texture Kilim, which is characterized by its evocative arrangement of traditional textures created in deep blue shadings.

These are large-format tiles measuring 32 x 64” (80x160 cm), a stylistic and architectural expedient that expresses the homeowner’s personality. They’re ideal for bathrooms, the rest of the home, and for the contract sector.

 

Marca Corona: a total look in resin and concrete

Multiforme is a “total look” design by Marca Corona for the new collection of floor and wall finishes presented at Cersaie 2021. The name alone hints at its nature and intent – that is, combining elements to produce forever new and original solutions. The decorative personality of Multiforme enhances rooms thanks to the infinite possibilities of combining surfaces, contributing to ceramics’ ability to “dress” spaces. The neutral material offers infinite possibilities, ranging from small to large sizes – from Brick 3 x 12” (7.5x30 cm) to large 48 x 110” (120x278 cm) – and including geometric patterns, floral patterns, and a wide range of mosaics for a wallpaper effect.

Available as an LFT measuring 48 x 110” (120x278 cm), the Fronde cascade decoration is striking, creating interiors with true visual impact. I also liked the engraved structure, which, when combined with the plain background and a surface finish that’s as soft as silk, invites a tactile exploration of its irregular surface.

 

Leather-effect ceramics created by Tonino Lamborghini and Italcer

The new product previewed by renowned luxury brand Tonino Lamborghini and master Italian ceramic maker Italcer at Cersaie 2021 was quite intriguing. The new Korium collection features an industry-first leather effect, inspired by Lamborghini leather goods. These are coverings for creating elegant spaces that go beyond the material restraints of ceramics and do it with style. The most striking colors include Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Red, which have joined the Colourful version of the collection, suitable for many types of projects and, with its geometries, readily installed in all kinds of situations.

The series is available in three large formats – 48 x 112” (120x280 cm), 48 x 48” (120x120 cm), 24 x 48” (60x120 cm) – and nine colors, of which five are floor tiles (Anthracite, Gray, White, Beige, Browne) and four are wall tiles (Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red).

 

ABK presents Poetry House: a harmonious blend of stone and wood

As Milan-based designer, architect, and art director Paola Navone points out, it’s no small thing to find a different, innovative language to create a dialogue between ancient materials like stone and wood. Navone collaborated with ABK to create Poetry House for Cersaie 2021, a project that explores materials and graphic designs that have grown out of her most iconic and representative works. The result is a poetic rewriting of living spaces, in which the rigor of stone and wood are transformed into a medium for the creative exploration of surface processing. The colors are powdery tones, while the wide range of finishes reflects the goals of the project, which essentially comprises two types of ceramic surfaces.

Poetry Wood is a natural-looking surface with an elegant antique patina. Available in four pastel shades, the series is available in classic planks, complemented by an 8 x 8” (20×20 cm) modular tile. The hand-executed decorations are intriguing, suggesting manually applied stucco and highlighting the wood texture and iridescent metallic effect.

Poetry Stone includes a large range of patterns, textures, and decorative subjects that change according to the size of the tiles, which range from 24 x 48” (60×120 cm) up to large panel tiles. The style is essential, clean, and vaguely tribal.

Photos are courtesy of Iris Ceramiche, Marazzi, Panariagroup, Ceramica Sant'Agostino, Edi.Cer. spa, Novoceram, Ceramiche Keope, FAP Ceramiche, Ceramiche Marca Corona, Tonino Lamborghini, ABK

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