Tile Africa Contracts reports on the latest tile and bathroom ware trends from Cersaie 2013

Tile Africa Contracts attended Cersaie 2013, the tile and bathroom ware industry event held annually in September in Bologna, Italy and observed that wood was the overarching theme with wood-look tiles taking centre stage.

This year saw more than 100,000 visitors take in the best of what’s to come in terms of technology, innovation and trends in the tile and bathroom furnishing industries. The fair featured a total of 900 exhibitors representing 35 countries.

“The size of this exhibition is well over 150,000 square metresso you can imagine the immense variety of exhibitors and their wares on display,” says Tile Africa’ s Marketing Manager, Richard Nuss. “It’s imperative for us as a brand and supplier to visit shows of this nature as it helps us source products that are in line with international trends and make them available locally, thus showing our dedication to providing our customers with the best products that are at the forefront of technology and on par with our global counterparts,” Nuss says.

Wood was the major theme at Cersaie 2013 with wood-look tiles in all shades, forms and sizes. 3-D tiles were also prominent and these tiles will make inroads into commercial projects locally.

“There is a noticeable leap in technology allowing for exquisite printing and finishes on tiles and bathroom ware. Many of the trends were evolutions of emerging trends from last year, with macro trends now taking centre stage and becoming main stream,” he says.

Some of the top tile trends noted at Cersaie 2013:

Bigger formats

Large format tiles came to the fore this year with traditional tiles featuring modern patterns and evolving in shape to include rectangular tiles as well as interlocking tiles which cleverly fit together like a puzzle.

A touch of texture

“Another observation is 3D-like tiles and tiles with relief finishes and typography prints; I anticipate that this will be a cyclical trend in line with other trends in the decor industry,” notes Nuss.

Playful optimism

This trend features colourful cartoon strips and Andy Warhol inspired prints on tiles, from rectangular tiles to large-format square tiles that fit together to form an eye-catching feature wall. “We’ve seen this trend applied locally in a chain of supermarkets as a focus wall at the entrance to the shops,” he says.

Deep in the woods

Wood look tiles took centre stage at Cersaie 2013. “These tiles are increasing in popularity, especially to create seamless spaces with floor and wall applications that replicate the warmth of wood thanks to advancement in inkjet technology,” he says. Medium and lighter shades of wood seem to take the fore where this trend is concerned.


Continuing on the unique aspects of tiles at Cersaie 2013 is the application of textile-like patterns on tiles. “This is definitely a recurring trend and in line with mainstream fashion and design,” he says.

The Tile Africa Contracts team foresees that curved tiles will have a commercial application. “In terms of patterns there will be a strong return to tribal like design which is further accentuated with extreme texture,” says Nuss.

Other trends in texture that were noted include carpet looking tiles while fashion designers branched into home decor too with the likes of Roberto Cavalli who showcased shimmering gold leopard print tiles.


Neutral colours remain popular including the colour grey which has been a constant feature over the past five years. “The evolution of this trend can also be seen with metallic and cement finishes,” he says.

Other colour trends that will feature strongly, especially on the commercial side, include various hues of yellow and green. The yellows used weren’t bright, but rather featured grey undertones.

“The application of yellow was already noted in some work that was undertaken by our Tile Africa Contracts team, who worked on the Netcafe eateries in the Netcare hospitals situated around the country. The front-of-house tiles used were glazed ceramic tiles that were specifically coloured in a shade of yellow to match the brand’s colour,” says Nuss.

Green shades were deep and varied, remind of dried leaves with grey undertones and remain complementary to a natural palette.

Bathroom ware trends at Cersaie 2013:

Futuristic technology

Advancements in coating and printing technology allow for taps to be coated in a matt black finish. This trend is currently visible in car coatings. Futuristic looking taps and showers feature extremely thin and super flat spouts in minimalist design lines.

“New designs are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible, with ‘smart homes’ increasing in popularity,” he says. Avant-garde experimental design has become main stream such as lights that are smaller with LED lighting leading the pack.

“Modern design keeps evolving in line with technological evolutions and this may seem like a trend reserved for pioneers in industry, but it will certainly feature more prominently in everyday homes,” he concludes.

For more information on Tile Africa Contracts contact 011 979 0327 or visit www.tileafrica.co.za.

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