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Italian Tiles Are All About Big, Bold Colors Right Now—See the Latest Looks

R.I.P., white subway tile.

Italian designers are masters of the bold and beautiful. In fashion, in the home—who does statement pattern and color better than Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Versace, or Emilio Pucci?

Textiles usually translate this sense of fearlessness and energy in style, but for interiors, tiles have become the perfect surrogate. And just like wallpaper, their impact is serious. Stretching across walls and floors, tiles continue to be individual design expressions (you could say artworks) that feature relief, dimension, veining, and crazy detail.

And with the swelling of maximalism in home decor, so many of the edgiest introductions at Cersaie, the annual international tile show in Bologna, had us at “wowza” color. Get ready for boisterous patterns—here’s a look at a few standouts.

Go Big or Go Home

A little Art Deco, a little rock and roll, a lot of attitude: Ornamenta debuted large slabs with their new Operae collection. The series looks fetching in tawny reds and blue with white (an unexpected combo that works). The brand wants to enable customization to create bold, modular murals with components and colors of your choosing.

geometric tile

Ornamenta’s Operae Deco tile.  Photo: Courtesy of Ornamenta

Tried-And-True Blue

These jazzy geometric tiles in blue and white majolica designed by Gio Ponti in the early 60s look every bit as relevant today. The late architect and father of Italian modernism created the just-under-eight-inch tiles, reproduced by Ceramica Francesco de Maio, for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento. They are available in five colors and 33 patterns. (The largest retrospective of the architect’s majolica is currently at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs located in the Marsan area of the Louvre until February 10th.)

blue and white floor tile

A Gio Ponti revival by Ceramic Francesco di Maio.  Photo: Courtesy of Ceramica Francesco de Maio

Tropic of Wonder

And now, on to the living room. The Italian brand Fuoriformato unveiled large (39-by-118-inch) slabs at the show, all designed to match seamlessly during installation. The resulting look resembles wallpaper and creates a striking lifelike tropical backdrop, all enabled by digital printing.

green tropical tiles

Tropical vibes from Fuoriformato.  Photo: Courtesy of Fuoriformato

Stone Age

Leading-edge technology has made it easy to mimic most any surface, even precious gems, with all of the requisite veining, mottling, or spotting. The magic sauce at Sicis is Vetrite, a proprietary material that allows the brand, best-known for its mosaics, to capture the nuances of stone and amp it up between giant sheets of glass to create lunar-like landscapes. Gem Glass is the newest with 13 different looks.

gemstone wall in modern room

Gem Glass by Sicis  Photo: Courtesy of Sicis

Floral Delivery

And for all the romantics . . . a field of mega-sized pansies from the new Pensée collection designed by Carlo dal Bianco for Bisazza. This Pensée design was inspired by wildflowers and flower beds from French gardens. Its large scale astonishes when you’re up close and realize it’s composed of thousands of teeny mosaics.

flower mosaics Bisazza

Bold mosaics from Bisazza.  Photo: Courtesy of Ngoc Minh Ngo at Taverne Agency for Bisazza

What a Relief

Subtle, and almost with the look of traditional tone-on-tone embroidery, these 3-D-glazed porcelain tiles speak a contemporary language that is very tactile. The Dekorami collection, designed by the Turin-based architecture firm Marcante-Testa for Ceramica Vogue, is available in five colors (glossy shown) or three colors in satin. The geometric patterns, inspired by those of ancient Greece, include one that suggests columns.

indoor pool blue tiles

A Marcante Testa design for Ceramica Vogue  Photo: Courtesy of Ceramica Vogue

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