Cersaie: the Global Tile Show - November 2011

By Kemp Harr

 

Once again, Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, held in Bologna, Italy the last week of September, perpetuated its reputation of being the premier global event for this industry. Now in its 29th year, this five-day show drew over 81,000 attendees and 965 exhibitors from 31 countries. While attendance was off 2% from the previous year, most of that decline was from Italians—the international head count was up 4%. 

It should come as no surprise that Italian producers of ceramic tile continue to dominate the world market, commanding a 41% share from a dollar perspective—this includes the value of the product manufactured in other countries by Italian owned factories. And despite the sluggishness of the current global economy, consumption of Italian tile for the first half of 2011 grew by approximately one percent.

Most of this growth and market leadership can be attributed to the innovation and design focus that attendees can see firsthand by walking the massive exhibition. The Italian tile trade association is quick to point out that continued and heavy reinvestment in this industry—which in 2011 alone was $381 million—is one of the key reasons the Italians continue to lead the world tile market. But a second and just as significant reason is the Italians’ focus on fashion and design.

Trends at Cersaie
Prevalent throughout the show were larger format tile, rectangular shaped tile, thin tile, faux wood and faux stone looks, and high-low textures. From a macro perspective, most of the styling was subdued versus flashy with more minimalistic concrete looks, soft natural coloring and satin finishes. Gone for now are the flashy, metallic, glossy, high contrast looks that dominated the show just a few short years ago. 

The wood look was very prominent this year, including several more refined designs. Some booths offered basic strips of wood with detailed grain while others perfected the weathered, textured, distressed look, giving the product much more character and variation. Some companies deviated from the natural plank shape of real hardwood by creating large format square tiles.

The same holds true with the faux stone products. Gone are the days when imitation marble and travertine looked fake. In fact, producers are now able to emulate the surface imperfections that you find in travertine and the three dimensional veining and translucent depth of natural white marble that you couldn’t copy with manmade products.

While Europeans still like their bold colors and there were areas where you could find bright red, orange, purple and green tiles, most of the large producers seemed to recognize that natural and muted colors are in. Grey, beige, taupe, toast, black and some white took center stage. Most designers today seem to be using the flooring as a neutral background in their design palette and saving the accent of the overall design for walls or interior furnishings.

Technological Innovations
There is no denying that digital printing technology has revolutionized this industry in the last three years. Prior to ink-jet printing, the color glazes used to decorate tiles were added using gravure rolls and silk screens. With these processes, each color had to be added one at a time and the printing screen or roll had to come in contact with the product. On top of that, the only way to vary the image that each tile got as it went down the production line was to have multiple print stations with alternating images. Now, with the use of ink-jet technology, small microdots of different colors can be sprayed onto the tile medium in one pass without touching the product, and with each pass the image can be changed. As a result, intricate multicolored images can be added to textured surfaces and image repeats can be virtually eliminated.  In addition, larger hi-res images can by transferred to large format tiles.  Amazingly, the look that tile producers are able to create on a manmade product gets better and better each year.

Thin tile is another innovative development that continues to evolve since it was first introduced five or six years ago. Laminam owns a patent on the extruded porcelain process but other companies have discovered alternative methods for obtaining similar results. Some companies like Lea are now offering a thin tile that’s 3.5mm thick, 40” wide and 10’ long. Lea’s product requires a fiberglass backing but Marazzi has developed a 4.8mm product that doesn’t require laminated reinforcement and still meets the fracture strength standard for porcelain tile. Not only does this thin tile technology reduce raw material usage and manufacturing energy but it is also lighter to transport. In addition, it expands the applications where tile can be used to exterior building skins, door skins, seamless countertops and even case goods surfaces. 

Copyright 2011 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

Wholesale Prices Slid in February   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 13, 2015—Wholesale prices fell 0.5% in February, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unexpected drop represents the fourth consecutive down month, as measured by the Labor Department’s producer price index.

Interface's Claims New Microsfera Has Lowest Carbon Footprint Ever   Full Article
LaGrange, GA, March 13, 2015—Interface has unveiled its latest product, Microsfera, which the firm says has the smallest carbon footprint of any carpet tile in history.

Ecore Revamps Business Structure   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, March 13, 2015—Ecore is making changes to its business structure in conjunction with IHRSA 2015 by launching a new category of sports and fitness flooring called Ecore Athletic.

J+J Flooring Video Wins Gold in AVA Digital Awards   Full Article
Dalton, GA, March 13, 2015—J+J Flooring Group video was named gold winner in the corporate image category of the AVA Digital Awards.

Average Mortgage Rates Rising, Buoyed by Strong Jobs Report   Full Article
McLean, VA, March 13, 2015—Average fixed rate mortgage rates are moving higher amid a strong jobs report and bringing mortgage rates back to where they were at the start of 2015, according to the results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Trade Sales & Manufacturer Shipments Edge Down in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 12, 2015—The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for January was estimated at $1,302.5 billion, down 2.0% from December 2014 and down 0.3% from January 2014, says the Commerce Department.

Retail Trade Sales Down from Previous Month But Up YOY   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 12, 2015—Retail trade sales were down 0.6% (±0.5%) from January 2015 but up 1.0% (±0.9%) over 2014, says the Commerce Department.

LL's Free Air Quality Testing Won't Meet CARB Standards   Full Article
New York, NY, March 12, 2015—Lumber Liquidators will offer free indoor air quality testing for its consumers--conducted to workplace standards,-- but OSHA's thresholds for formaldehyde in the workplace are not as stringent as CARB's for the home.

Parterre's Vertu Resilient Plank Wins ADEX Recognition   Full Article
Wilmington, MA, March 12, 2015—Parterre’s Vertu Resilient Plank won two ADEX awards.

Consumer Survey Reveals Optimism about Housing Market   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 12, 2015—Consumer optimism toward the economy is growing and appears to be contributing to further improvement in overall housing sentiment, according to results from Fannie Mae's February 2015 National Housing Survey.

Millennials Account for Largest Share of Home Buyers, Says NAR   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 12, 2015—The millennial generation represented the largest share of recent buyers, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study.

Three Tarkett Rubber Textures Win ADEX Platinum   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, March 12, 2015—Tarkett received the Platinum Award for Design Excellence (ADEX) for its new range of rubber textures: Brushed, Concrete and Leather.

Fuse Alliance Focuses on Digital Marketing to Raise Awareness   Full Article
Laguna Niguel, CA, March 12, 2015—Fuse Alliance, a member-owned organization of professional, commercial flooring contractors, unveiled a next generation public facing website that clarifies the group's target audience and services offered.

U.S. Container Imports Down Over 5% in 2015   Full Article
Minneapolis, MN, March 12, 2015—Total U.S. container imports are down over 5% this year, compared to January and February of 2014, reports Zepol. Nearly the entire decline in imports is attributed to the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Armstrong Top Execs Offered Retention Award to Stay Through Spinoff   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, March 11, 2015—Armstrong World Industries is giving three of its top executives an incentive to stay at the company through the spinoff of its flooring business into a new, independent company next year, reports Lancaster Online.

Small Business Optimism Edges Upward   Full Article
New York, NY, March 11, 2015—U.S. small business optimism edged up in February amid signs of tightening labor market conditions, bolstering the view that a recent slowdown in economic activity will be temporary, reports Reuters.

LL Class Action Lawsuits Extend Beyond Formaldehyde Issue   Full Article
Toana, VA, March 11, 2015—Lumber Liquidators is currently facing at least 12 class action lawsuits.

Foreclosure Inventory Fell 33.2% Year Over Year   Full Article
Irvine, CA, March 11, 2015—CoreLogic's January 2015 National Foreclosure Report reveals U.S. foreclosure inventory declined 33.2% from January 2014, and completed foreclosures declined 22.5%, reports World Property Journal.

The Floor Store Earns Sixth Armstrong Elite Retailer Recognition   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, March 10, 2015—The Floor Store’s new San Francisco, California showroom has been named an Elite Retailer by Armstrong, the chain’s sixth location to earn the distinction.

Wholesale Inventories Up Slightly   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 10, 2015—Wholesale inventories were up 0.3% to $548.7 at the end of January, says the U.S. Census Bureau.