With that said, on the tile side, I saw two new products that really stood out. Both were from Italian manufacturers and bother were (surprise!) variations on the mosaic theme.
The first of the products that's tied for the winner in my eyes is Beside from Refin's Mosaici d'Autore series. Beside is a play on the term B-side and I'll explain that in a minute.
When I first saw Refin's booth I saw walls, the bar and then benches covered in a really interesting texture.
|Refin's booth at Cersaie 2011|
Upon closer inspection I figured out what it was. Before I divulge that though, look how cool this stuff looks on a wall.
Figure it out yet? Beside is the B-side of a ceramic tile that's been glazed and mismatched on purpose. All ceramic tile has a grid pattern on its reverse side to make installation easier and in Beside, designer Masilimiano Adami chose to use the b-side to make the statement.
Up close, Beside looks like it would never work. But once installed, Beside adds a texture to a wall or a floor like nothing I've ever seen. Beside is available in a whole host of sizes in addition to the 5cm by 5cm mosaic I'm showing here and it's available in 11 colors. It will hit the market in Europe in a matter of weeks and in North America, we ought to see it in the first part of 2012. If you're interested in this tile, ask for it at your Refin retailer.
Tied for first with Refin's Beside was Mosaico+ with their new series, Pulsar.
There was a real move in Italy to have mosaic tiles leap off the wall and add texture in addition to color. I'd been warned before getting to the Mosaico+ booth to expect a a mosaic that appeared to be woven and man, was my intel right.
|Detail from Mosaico+'s booth at Cersaie, 2011|
I've written about Mosaico+ before (here, here and here) from other shows where I've seen them but in Pulsar they've broken new ground. Pulsar mosaics are made from sintered glass and came about as a collaboration between Crono Giugiarno Designs and Mosaico+. Nobody's doing anything like this and when used on a wall, the individual tessera fit so closely there's no need for grout. These pieces are 6mm thick and come in 10 colors. It's great, distinctive stuff.
I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite between Pulsar and Beside, hence the tie. What do you think?
Pulsar's available in Europe now and will be washing up on these shores in early 2012. Again, those links: Refin and Mosaico+.