29 September 2011

Top tile picks from Cersaie

Cersaie in Bologna is without a doubt, the largest trade show I've ever attended. As someone who's seen more than his share of trade shows, I think I know what I'm talking about. I spent three solid days combing though the halls of Cersaie and I think I saw everything.

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+.


  1. Love, love, love the Pulsar tiles. Textile junkie that I am, I can see using them in 1000 different patterns. Thanks for sharing.

  2. They are stunning and due to their shape it's difficult to identify what they're made from. That just adds to their appeal. Mosaico+ makes amazing stuff.

  3. The first tile pic makes me think of technoflage... very interesting texture! Dig it!

  4. Refin has a couple more interesting things I'll be writing about later but Beside really takes the cake. I'm glad you like that one. We were remembering you very fondly in London by the way.

  5. Nice write-up Paul

    I walked by the Refin booth myself and was impressed with the beside series. Such a simple idea, I can't believe no one has thought of it before! It is pulled off wonderfully with their impeccable glazes and spot on color choices.

    Mosaico+ is always a booth to watch and they most certainly didn't disappoint with their new offerings this year. Small, elegant refinements and intelligent tweaks seemed to be the M.O of this year's novelties and these were two of the better ones

  6. Thanks Ryan, it was the simple cleverness of Beside that grabbed me and you're right about the colors. The pattern that tile makes when seen from across the room is distinctive and interesting. I'm glad I had the chance to see it in person and to meet Masilimiano Adami. Being on a press tour has its advantages.

  7. NEED to find Pulsar in my market. I have several projects that would fit perfectly, one of them being a fireplace surround at my place!

  8. It shouldn't take too long to show up in North America, they're a pretty aggressive company. They have a really cool, interactive, mosaic designer on their website too.

  9. Definitely a feast for the eyes! Particularly like Refin's 'Beside' as have been known to prefer the wrong side of a textile myself. :)
    P.S: Welcome back Paul and happy to learn that your itinerary allowed for some free time in London.

  10. Thanks Brenda, London was amazing as was Bologna. Next week has me in Toronto again for the shortest business trip ever. I have just enough time to get some poutine from a cart next to the Convention Center before I get back on a plane.

  11. Wow! Absolutely amazing finds, the mosaico+ products have me looking back more than a few times.

  12. Thanks Jeremy, I've seen Mosaico+ at four or five different shows over the years and they have yet to disappoint.


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