Series «Dechirer», Patricia Urquiola for Mutina
Ceramic tiles as wall decoration were brought to southern Europe by the Moors and the first European ceramics industry was to be found in the Roman Empire. It is therefore not surprising that the most important trade fair for the ceramics industry takes place in Bologna, Italy, and acts like a magnet for architects, interior designers, manufacturers and dealers from throughout the world.
To the present day the craft of ceramics, with its cultural and design values going back thousands of years, represents an important industry for Italy and one which is to be marketed even more intensively in future.
The more than 85,000 visitors to this year’s Cersaie fair from 30 September to 4 October banished the fears of the over 1,000 exhibitors that the current financial crisis would lead to falling turnover.
Audience at the press conference, Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna
Ceramic products have a wide range of applications, not only in public buildings, offices and hotels, but also in private houses. With functional and attractive design the participating manufacturers presented an innovative and sometimes surprising approach to ceramics.
Refin, Series «R+evolution» by Karim Rashid
The latest trends shown on the 176,000 m² area of the exhibition were clearly in the direction of ornament and plasticity, as was announced in advance by this year’s Cersaie logo, created by Thom Mayne. There was a noticeable trend towards sustainable materials. In addition the collections on display showed a large variety of metallic surfaces, fine textures and graining, as well as a wide range of formats.
Thom Mayne for Cersaie, logo 2008
Thom Mayne says of Cersaie 2008: »Architecture is becoming more fluid. Fluidity enables the continued emergence of innovation of materials; materials that accommodate the double curve or the 3rd dimension for curvilinear spaces represent immense potential and creativity for architecture and design.«
Series «Fucina» by Tagina – a metallic shine provided by a special finish
Tagina for example, an Italian company which is rooted in tradition and committed to quality and genuine craftsmanship, created a surprise with a novel and specially ground tile which radiated dynamism of its own, combined with arresting intensity. The tile surfaces with an «iridescent metal effect» of the collection FUCINA can get by time and trample some minimum variations of color and brightness that give to the product a characteristical effect of «natural timeworn», it’s not a defect ,but a wanted and seeked particularity, that exalts the »magnificent imperfections«.
Trend, Series «Feel & Touch - Trend dreams Green»
Trend, a glass manufacturing company which defines itself in terms of its eco philosophy and uses recycled glass among other materials, displayed a stand which was entirely in green. In line with the colours of recycled glass, the Italian manufacturer’s eco mosaics in the series «Feel & Touch» are only available in green, brown, white and fine blue tones. The sparkling terrazzo tiles were a further eye-catcher, although these are less easy on resources in that they only consist to 72% of recycled glass, which is bonded by an artificial resin mixture. With its slogan »Trend dreams Green« the company highlights its objective of achieving strong financial results in a few years‘ time which will be fully compatible with respect for our planet.
Green Touch, terrazzo tiles and Green Feel, mosaics by Trend
Catalytically cleaning polluted air through tiles is an idea which at first sight provokes incredulity, but although it sounds like ecological science fiction it is in fact scientifically tested and available on the market. The Italian ceramics manufacturer Gambarelli has developed a tile with a surface which converts poisonous gases, above all automobile exhaust gases, into harmless salts. The photo-catalytic titanium dioxide which is contained in the tile responds to direct UV rays by producing active oxygen (O), which reacts with the poisonous nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to form ecologically harmless nitrations.
This smart tile has already been used in Italy in inner-city areas with high traffic levels – an application which is ideal for this purpose. The more delicate indoor tiles in the Oxygena range can, however, also develop a similar effect in brightly lit interiors. Because glass filters the UV radiation of light, this only works with an open window.
Clean polluted air: Oxygena by Gambarelli
Brix works with prestigious international designers such as Jean-Marie Massaud and presented its latest creations at a remarkable stand made of wood, whose brightly coloured entrance attracted visitors with its dramatic contrast to the black exterior of the stand.
The introverted wooden Brix stand
Europe’s leading tile manufacturer Marazzi, which has joined the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), has taken the three-dimensional route this year and exhibited lots of retro design with exciting effects, for example the «Materie» series with its relief-type play with the third dimension or the new interpretation of classical wall cladding in the «Paris» series.
Marazzi, Series «Materie» (left) and «Paris» (right)
As the second main element of Cersaie, exhibitors showed products related to the bathroom in a total of eight halls. As a result of the wellness boom of recent years the bathroom, too, has been transformed into a kind of oasis and is now regarded as a private retreat for the symbiosis of body and spirit.
Antonio Lupi, stand at Cersaie
We are more and more noticing top-quality design in combination with functionality. The bathroom is no longer regarded as a space occupied by sanitary facilities – instead water taps and wash stands are increasingly merging to form a single sculptural unit.
Iris FMG, Series «Feel Black»
In 2009 Cersaie will be taking place from 29 September to 3 October 2009, once more in Bologna of course, providing us with a wealth of innovations and re-interpretations as well as the tried and familiar.
We’re looking forward to it!