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Made in the Mediterranean: Timeless Tile Designs by an Italian Collective

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Made in the Mediterranean: Timeless Tile Designs by an Italian Collective

August 22, 2019

Here’s proof that tile has stood the test of time: It dates from thousands of years ago (about 9,000 BCE, to be exact), yet year after year it ranks among the top design trends (in 2019, it’s porcelain-tile countertops and the rise of zellige). It’s with that heritage in mind that Ceramics of Italy, the trademark for ceramic wares made on Italian soil, celebrates ceramic tile, a hard-wearing and versatile material that also manages to look elegant just about everywhere—on floors, walls, backsplashes, countertops, and so much more. Around 150 manufacturers are represented by the trademark, drawing from their country’s long tradition of tile-making, but with innovative, forward-thinking twists for contemporary applications: Think air-purifying tiles and ventilated porcelain slabs suitable for exterior cladding.

But it’s the Mediterranean air, land, and sea that serve as the muse for many of the companies’ designs, as illustrated in Ahead of Our Time, a new Ceramics of Italy film directed by award-winning filmmaker Francesca Molteni with architectural historian Fulvio Irace. The swoop of a seabird’s wings over the water is echoed in the graphic pattern of a tile; the subtle hues of another reference the “quiet beauty” of the Italian landscape.

Here are a few of our favorite designs from the products gallery, all stamped with the “Ceramics of Italy” seal.

 Shards, a porcelain stoneware tile collection by Fondovalle, is a riff on classic Italian terrazzo. The manufacturers used digital printing technology to replicate the look of marble and stone chips set into concrete.
Above: Shards, a porcelain stoneware tile collection by Fondovalle, is a riff on classic Italian terrazzo. The manufacturers used digital printing technology to replicate the look of marble and stone chips set into concrete.
The D_Segni Colore tile by Marazzi is a cement-look tile in dusty terracotta hues.
Above: The D_Segni Colore tile by Marazzi is a cement-look tile in dusty terracotta hues.
The natural-looking Freedom tile, designed by Ceramiche Piemme to look like Hauteville limestone, is actually the product of modern digital technologies, and is available in 3D iterations for wall applications as well.
Above: The natural-looking Freedom tile, designed by Ceramiche Piemme to look like Hauteville limestone, is actually the product of modern digital technologies, and is available in 3D iterations for wall applications as well.
An Italian-made tile that takes cues from the simple, clean lines of Scandinavian design: the matte Scandi collection by Tonalite.
Above: An Italian-made tile that takes cues from the simple, clean lines of Scandinavian design: the matte Scandi collection by Tonalite.

Above L: The Creos collection by Refin comes in eight colorways and is designed to look like troweled, textured resin. Shown here is the tile in coral. Above R: Shards, the modern terrazzo-look tile, up close.

Ornamenta’s Maiolicata tile is made of gray ceramic lava stone treated with colored powder to create subtle patterns and textures that can be endlessly mixed and matched.
Above: Ornamenta’s Maiolicata tile is made of gray ceramic lava stone treated with colored powder to create subtle patterns and textures that can be endlessly mixed and matched.
The Cocoon tile by Ricchetti has the look of a concrete floor, but is actually porcelain stoneware.
Above: The Cocoon tile by Ricchetti has the look of a concrete floor, but is actually porcelain stoneware.

Head to the Ceramics of Italy products gallery for more.

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