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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble


This year's International Tiles & Bathroom Fair attracted over 112,000 visitors. The range of items on display is immense and the innovations in technique and products are proudly displayed by hundreds of Italian and international exhibitors. This is one appointment I never want to miss, and armed with cameras and a good pair of shoes, I walked kilometres every day looking for valuable information and ideas that I can bring home to my clients. Sifting through the amount of information I collect takes time, as I take over 5000 images, and it becomes a relevant part of my workshops and presentations throughout the year. But for all of you interested in Trends and Interior Design who follow my blog, I want to list a few relevant points I've noticed during my visit, last month, to the 2018 CERSAIE fair in Bologna.

Despite the strong impact and continuing success of extra large tiles, smaller sizes are also definelty back on the market. Prepare yourselves for a strong return to a smaller format, offering a wide range of styles and finishes, colour pattern and textures. Playing with the rectangular shape, some are very narrow, and popularly laid vertically. Being myself one designer who commonly lays tiles horizontally to achieve width, these smaller tiles excited me with their character in a vertical treatment.

all images in this page by James Treble at Cersaie 2018, Italy

Some other new patterns and colours on show are reminiscent of the ceramics, wallpaper and décor items we loved in the 70s and 80s. These are playful and just right for new kitchen splash backs and statement bathrooms, adding warmth through colour and mostly geometric inspired patterns.

Balancing the continuous presence of bold blues, greens and reds, the presence of low-chroma, soft pastel tones was noticeable, with shades of dusted terracotta to more blushy tones continuing to be a favourite.

After duplicating so faithfully marbles and natural stones, there's a new generation of porcelain tiles which pushes these natural looks to the extreme! The result producing striking colours and patterns which feel somehow familiar, and which are not found occurring naturally. Due to their complexity of vein and depth of colours, to best appreciate these amazing looks, they work at their best in XL size.

As admiring a beautiful tile often speaks to the senses and entices touch, the textural quality continues to be explored in obvious 3D effects as well as more subtle and stone-like textures. Strong on the trends list this year, 3D effects are present on both small and large format tiles. Providing another dimension to any space, these offer many options to play further with lighting, allowing it to bounce off the textured surfaces.

Marble is still the King & Queen of tiles, with the high quality brands offering looks which are barely detectable from the real thing. With so many stands to visit, even where the tiles may seem similar [i.e. the Carrara and Calacutta marble looks seem to be everywhere] what ultimately distinguishes one brand from the other is the durability of material and the quality of surface image. So, I want to end this brief report with my usual advice: choose Quality first of all. Tiles and flooring, are an investment which not only is to be enjoyed everyday, but they also add great value to your home and are worth every cent you spend on them.

If you'd like to see close up the most current looks and trends available to the Australian market, I advise you visit regularly a well stocked showroom where the sales staff are up-to-date and willing to advise you. Here are some links to a few of my favourite showrooms, which I know to also stock many of the items I've mentioned above: NSW, VIC, QLD or WA

James shows around Cersaie 2018, Italy

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.


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