I recently returned from the big, international tile show known as CERSAIE. It is held in Bologna Italy, and is an exciting week filled with great products from manufacturers around the world. Because of the dismal economy in our country, I wasn’t sure how much product I would see that was designed with our “U.S.” aesthetic in mind. So I was pleasantly surprised to find so many beautiful options. Most of the U.S. companies attending this show felt it was one of the best in recent years. Italian manufacturers continue to dominate in terms of innovation of design and production. They have a new ink-jet technology that results in some incredibly realistic slate, travertine and limestone looks.
The other interesting trend were SLIM tiles … these are tiles that run anywhere from 3-5 millimeters in thickness (traditional tiles are usually 10-14 millimeters). There is still some difference of opinion on whether all of these are suitable for floor use (most say they are as long as the floor beneath it is perfectly flat), but assuming this debate works itself out, there are some obvious advantages to thinner tiles (such as the ability to install directly over existing applications in remodels, and reduced freight rates since so much more can fit in a container). The jury is still out on this concept, but it is one we will watch closely.
We are particularly excited about a new series called Q-Stone, which we will be adding to our collection. This series was one of the most innovative and talked-about products of the entire show. It is a unique look that will work in all kinds of applications. Some called it a vein-cut travertine look, some called it a sandstone look, some called it a quartzite look, and others called it a wood look. We expect to have this in early 2010 … so come in then and decide for yourself!