Feature Article /
Jan 28, 2016

5 Ceramic Tile Design Trends to Consider in 2016

Industrial style metal tile from Ergon

When the dust settled on the 2015 edition of Cersaie, the Italian tile show held annually in Bologna, five distinctive trends rose above the rest—gray-colored tiles, texture, extra-large sizes, wood tones, and industrial aesthetics.

One of two important European tile shows, Cersaie is coming off one of its best years, pulling in well over 100,000 attendees.

As usual, the show was not defined by just a handful of trends. Rather it offered something for every taste—color, pop-art designs, faux stone, mosaics, technical products, etc.—but a definite vibe permeated the show.

Manufacturers are seeing strong demand for ceramic tile that looks like wood, and stone-like ceramic remains extremely popular (View the slide show below).

Here are five that figured prominently at the show:


Industrial Style

Whether its ceramics channeling iron, steel, and copper or pieces that look like various types of concrete effects, the industrial revolution continues apace. “The growing appreciation and interest shown by architects in rusted metal such as Corten steel has encouraged us to introduce a ceramic tile reflecting this aesthetic trend, with the certainty that the versatility of a material like porcelain tile offers excellent opportunities,” Roberto Fabbri, chairman of ABK Group.


Large Formats

Large sizes aren’t exactly new for the Italians, but manufacturers continue to approach measurements never before seen in tile. “Thin, large porcelain slabs - which can be used to cover all manner of surfaces including countertops and furnishings - are now available in sizes up to 5 feet by 10 feet from companies such as Ava and Floor Gres,” says Novita, the U.S. representatives for the Italian tile trade association Confindustria Ceramica. On a smaller scale, manufacturers are producing tiles measuring 4 feet or in planks up to eight feet.


Gray Tones
Gray dominated the 2015 Show, figuring prominently in the products of brands such as Del Conca, Refin, 41zero42, and many others. “Despite the color's recent meteoric rise in popular culture, grey has always been a modern designer's best friend,” Novita writes. “And this year an entire spectrum can be found in the latest Italian tile introductions, from cooler slate tones to that perfect portmanteau of grey and beige.”


Three-dimensional and textured walls continue their hot streak at the show. More than ever, manufacturers are playing with surface dynamics to come up with striking tiles and complex designs. “With continuously evolving technologies, Italian companies are able to create ceramic tiles with three-dimensional folds, wavy ridges, raised geometry and asymmetrical profiles,” Novita writes in its trend report. Textures appeared as 3D striations, fabric effects, bush hammered concrete as well as hand scraped and charred wood. Products came from brands such as Ascot Ceramiche, Atlas Concorde (3D Wall Design), Cerim (Timeless), Coem (Reverso), and Tagina, among many others.


Wood Tones

Once considered gimmicky, wood-look ceramic tile is a force. (Once the trend shows up in the big box store, it’s arrived!) Manufacturers have perfected the grain patterns with detailed color variations and, sometimes, texture. “Our industry has been designing wood-look tiles for a long time but the aim is to give clients something really different and absolutely new every time,” says Filippo Manuzzi, CEO of Ceramica Sant’Agostino.