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.