Cersaie 40: Everything’s set to go for the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings
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Cersaie 40: Everything’s set to go for the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings

Running through September 29 at BolognaFiere. A look at this year’s trends

Cersaie 40: Everything’s set to go for the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings
By Federica Nannetti -

The big day has arrived! The 40th Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings, is now underway at BolognaFiere and will run through September 29. With 634 exhibitors from 27 countries – including 39% from outside Italy – occupying an area of over 1,560,800 sq.ft. (145,000 m2), the event is a sellout.

And with a forecast hundred thousand visitors, expectations are running high. Although the final figures won’t be available until the event closes its doors, they point to a sector that’s holding its own in the face of rising interest rates and instability in the energy sector. Giovanni Savorani, president of Italian industry federation Confindustria Ceramica, highlighted these and other factors, including that this year began worse than the same period in 2022 – a year which closed with a record turnover of seven billion euros.

There are several elements we need to focus on to keep Italy’s ceramic sector in good health. First and foremost are “infrastructure, industry 4.0, and energy sourcing,” but without sacrificing quality or limiting market growth or product diversification. Confindustria Ceramica has been pressing the government on these three issues (Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin attended the opening conference via video link). Among other things, Savorani is calling for “continued movement along the path of industry 4.0 towards industry 5.0, stepping up the extraction and use of Italy’s natural gas resources, streamlining bureaucracy, and upgrading infrastructure”.


Route 40

Cersaie40 Courtesy of Cersaie

To mark 40 years, a pathway has been mapped out through Cersaie to trace the event’s evolution through its history-making designs, technologies, products, and companies. Dubbed Route 40, it will give visitors a chance to revisit the defining moments of the last four decades, including the great changes that have occurred in the cultural, social, planning, and manufacturing fields. Curated by Davide Vercelli and designed by Dario Curatolo, Route 40 winds its way through Cersaie from the Quadriportico – the starting point and conceptual link in the story – to Galleries 21–22 and 25–26, and onto the Mall in Hall 37, with exhibits that tell the story of each decade.


Press Café

Cersaie40 Courtesy of Cersaie

On September 28, THE PLAN will be participating in the Press Café, when Nicola Leonardi, co-founder and director of THE PLAN, will talk with architects Ines Bovone, partner of Coima Image (a consultancy company that offers architectural, interior design, and space planning services); Miguel Casal Ribeiro, partner of Lissoni Casal Ribeiro (the division of Lissoni & Partners that deals with masterplans, architecture, and landscape design); and Giuseppe Tortato, founder of the Giuseppe Tortato Architetti design studio.


All the trends in Italian ceramics

Cersaie40 Courtesy of Cersaie

The first day of the 40th Cersaie concluded with the traditional international press conference. It took place in Palazzo dei Congressi and saw the participation of Emilio Mussini and Armando Cafiero, vice-president and general director of Confindustria Ceramica respectively, and Cristina Faedi, founder and artistic director of Infinite possibilità.

“Cersaie is the only event dedicated to ceramics that offers visitors a complete overview of the state of a sector that is currently experiencing an ongoing technological and aesthetic evolution,” said Mussini. Looking at the figures for the international trade of ceramic tiles in 2022, we see that Italy won the largest slice of the pie, with 29%. Its main competitors were China, with 19%, and Spain, with 18%. But India is expanding rapidly and not far behind at 7%. Returning to Italy, compared to a total turnover of 7.2 billion euros in 2022 (16.5% up on 2021), the first six months of 2023 saw a decrease of 14.4% on the same period last year.

Cersaie40 Courtesy of Cersaie

Cristina Faedi Nuovi illustrated the trends on show at Cersaie 2023, including shapes and colors from the pop world combined with references to the nineties. There are polychromatic marbles with daring, intense solid colors, and geometric textures that reproduce the action of atmospheric agents on the surface of the material.

And there are new pairings of materials, such as elegant majolica and rough concrete, quartzites combined with fossilized wood, enameled surfaces combined with rough surfaces, and combinations of matt and ultra-gloss finishes. From the chromatic perspective, cold grays can be found with rust tones, but color palettes also include olive green, pink, and yellow – the colors of the sun, earth, and spices, in other words. And there are the vivacious Pantone colors, including apricot crush, which promises to be next year’s trendsetter.

Among the types of tiles on show, there are bricks arranged in modules of three units, small-format strips that can follow curved surfaces, new cement tiles with a hexagonal shape, and the so-called Kit Kat tiles, made up of lots of small, elongated fingers, just like the famous chocolate bar. There were also pedestal sinks, both angular and cylindrical, and “ceramic wallpaper tiles” that recall brocades. This year, we’re also finally seeing a relaunch of terracotta, which today comes with guaranteed perfect installation, including outdoors.

The conference concluded with the Ceramics of Italy Journalism Award 2023 awards ceremony. The winner of the award, now up to its 26th edition, is Anna Kolomiyets, director of the Ukrainian web magazine Project from Italy.


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All images courtesy of Cersaie

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