Shaping a show for today’s reality

Shaping a show for today’s reality

September 2019

The organisers have introduced a number of fresh initiatives for Cersaie that aim to keep the world’s leading ceramic tile exhibition influential, relevant and engaging, while reinforcing its role as a key driver of design trends and international trade.

Cersaie has adopted a new image for 2019; one that is intended to reflect the many changes the show has undergone in recent years, as well as broader developments in the world of architecture and design.

Each year, architects, designers, contractors, retailers, and Italian and international exhibitors converge on this impressive ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings exhibition to get up to speed with the latest developments in the industry, while building high-level professional relationships and exploring the innovative products and projects showcased by leading Italian and international companies.

Called Open Cersaie, the new exhibition concept is to focus on diversity and reach out to new target audiences. In keeping with this idea, a new logo was created to make Cersaie’s branding better aligned to the task of meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive world.

The image is connected visually with Cersaie’s most important initiatives aimed at the various target audiences: the Building Dwelling Thinking programme of architectural meetings; the Cersaie Business missions for international architects; the design and lifestyle meetings hosted in the Press Cafes; the practical and theory demonstrations in Tiling Town; the Italian Style thematic shows; and the home renovation meetings for end consumers in Cersaie Designs Your Home.

The same open vision is found in the image strategy and media plan, which aim to cement Cersaie’s place as one of the key international events for innovators, while reaching out to new audiences through increased investments in the digital sector.

The www.cersaie.it website has also been restyled, featuring larger homepage sliders with more visually-appealing images and greater space devoted to videos and the site’s social media profiles.

As a result, the organisers claim that Cersaie is being transformed from an “exhibition” venue to a “relational” space.  In this vision, the offline and online worlds merge together and “communication” becomes “conversation”.

Social media will play a vital new role in this communication strategy as virtual spaces where Cersaie can forge a powerful identity and open its doors to exhibitors, visitors, influencers and the city itself.

The organisers are also aiming to leverage Bologna’s well deserved reputation as a friendly, inclusive, and open city.  In this way Bologna is the perfect place to develop this open vision; a perfect place for networking and building relationships, or for negotiating complex business deals.

So, with the support of the historic city of Bologna, Cersaie is looking to the future and is presenting itself as ready to embrace the changes that will come into sharp focus at this year’s show in September.

Destination Tiling Town
During the five days of Cersaie 2019, the Italian and international tiling world will converge on Tiling Town in Hall 31A.
Here visitors will have the chance to attend tile laying demonstrations given by master tile layers, with a special focus on the installation of large-size slabs and panels.

There will also be a packed programme of credit-earning technical seminars for architects and designers held in a dedicated area on each of the five days of Cersaie. These will consist of two hours of classroom lessons, and two hours of practical tile-laying workshops.
A large space in Tiling Town will also be set aside for the Italian national ceramic tile layers’ association, Assoposa, which will meet with installation professionals each afternoon to discuss the activities carried out during the association’s six-year lifetime and its future objectives.

A roster of top architects
On Friday 27th September, the Architecture Gallery will welcome Alberto Ferlenga and Giovanni Chiaramonte for a discussion of the San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena, designed by 1990 Pritzker Prize winner Aldo Rossi.

This event is part of the Cersaie 2019 “building, dwelling, thinking” cultural programme and concludes the Sacred Spaces photography workshop that began at the end of May in collaboration with CasabellaFormazione.

Alberto Ferlenga is a Professor of architectural design at University of Venice, as well as being the founder and Chairman of the Villard Association, which organises the international Villard d’Honnecourt doctorate.

He has authored numerous works that include monographs devoted to Aldo Rossi, Dimitris Pikionis, and others; a guide to the Roman cities of North Africa, and a new edition of Architecture. Essay on Art.

He has also designed exhibits such as the Italian Pavilion at the 5th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 1991.
Giovanni Chiaramonte is an Italian photographer and photojournalist. A distinctive feature of his photography is the use of a square format based on the 6x6 negative. He attributes symbolic value to the square, a relationship between earth and sky in which all the elements find their rightful place.

Giovanni Chiaramonte has participated in personal and collective exhibitions all over the world and has published around a hundred photo shoots for major architecture magazines. He currently teaches History and Theory of Photography at the IULM University in Milan, at the Faculty of Architecture in Palermo and on the Master’s course on Form in Milan.

Argentine architect Emilio Ambasz, one of the pioneers of the green architecture movement, will also be amongst the guests of the “building, dwelling, thinking” programme.

Ambasz will speak at a conference to be held in the Architecture Gallery on Thursday 26th September.

He studied at Princeton University where he also earned a master’s degree in Architecture. He served as Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1969-76), and he also taught at Princeton University’s School of Architecture.

Ambasz’s trademark style is a celebration of technology combined with a return to nature, which he describes as “green over grey”.

Among his architectural projects are the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan, winner of the 1976 Progressive Architecture Award; the Casa de Retiro Espiritual in Cordoba, Spain, winner of the 1980 Progressive Architecture Award; and the Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Center in Texas, winner of the 1985 Progressive Architecture Award, and the 1990 Quaternario Award.


His many awards and recognitions include an Honorary Fellowship from the American Institute of Architects, the 2014 Medal of Science from the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bologna, Italy, and an Honorary International Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has also won the Compasso d’Oro award 3 times.

Chilean architect Felipe Assadi has also been invited to speak at Cersaie 2019 as part of the “building, dwelling, thinking” cultural programme.  Born in Santiago, Chile in 1971, Felipe Assadi studied architecture at Finis Terrae University and gained a Master’s degree in architecture from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. In 1999, he received the Young Promotion Award from the Architects’ Association of Chile, an honour bestowed on an outstanding Chilean architect under the age of 35. Since 2011 he has served as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Finis Terrae University.

The underlying theme of his work is the use of low-cost materials that are easy to find and transport and can be assembled and disassembled rapidly. Two of his most innovative projects are the Remote House in Chile, an 80-square-metre house that can be assembled and disassembled in just 6 hours, and the 20x20 House, also in Chile, based on a 20x20cm ceramic tile module.

Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane will be participating in Cersaie 2019, with a conference to be held in the Architecture Gallery.
Founded in Paris in 1992, their firm Jakob+MacFarlane explores the use of digital technology as both a conceptual tool and a means of fabrication, exploiting new materials to create more flexible environments.

Dominique Jakob, a member of the French Academy of Architecture, graduated from the Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Villemin after receiving a degree in Art History from the Université de Paris I. She has taught at the Paris-Villemin university and the Paris-Malaquais School of Architecture, at the Special School of Architecture and at the Los Angeles Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Brendan MacFarlane, born in New Zealand, graduated from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, and received his Master degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Architecture in Boston.

MacFarlane has taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, at the Architectural Association in London, at the Special School of Architecture in Paris and at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles.

Their firm’s best known projects include the Restaurant Georges in the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2000), reconstruction of the Pont-Audemer theatre in Normandy (2001), the Florence Loewy Books by Artists bookstore in Paris (2001), the Paris Docks (2008), the Orange Cube (2010) and the Euronews headquarters in Lyon (2014).

In May 2019 they won two projects as part of the international architecture competition “Reinventing Cities”, launched in 2017 by C40, the global city network set up to tackle climate change: Living Landscape in Reykjavik and Odyssée Pleyel in Saint Denis.

The firm’s projects have been exhibited in museums around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, 2003), the SFMOMA (San Francisco, 2004), the Museum of Architecture (Moscow, 2000), the Artist Space (New York, 2003), Carnegie Melon (USA, 2001), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2004) and the Centre Pompidou and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal (Paris).

New Archincont(r)act zone
To reflect recent developments in the world of ceramic products and bathroom furnishings, and the growing importance of the various forms of non-residential building, Cersaie has decided to organise a new theme section called Archincont(r)act.

A play on the words “architecture” and “contract”, the aim of the new space is to establish Cersaie’s credentials as an important meeting point between the world of architecture and the Italian and international contract design sector, a show where exhibitors are capable of supplying the materials, solutions and high levels of design required for these architectural projects. Last but not least, the reference to the word “act” underscores the vitality and dynamism for which Cersaie is renowned.

Archincont(r)act will be held in the Mall of Hall 29, a 700 sq. metre space consisting of two exhibition wings and a central conference area and champagne bar.

A line up of top design and architecture firms will be taking part in this first edition of Archincont(r)act, including Archilinea; Caberlon Caroppi Italian Touch Architects; Genius Loci Architettura; Iosa Ghini Associati; Mario Cucinella Architects; Noa Network of Architecture; Studio Bizzarro Galimberti; and Studio Marco Piva - all from italy - plus The Hickson Design Partnership from the UK; and  Joy - Design from Germany.

Famous Bathrooms in Hall 30
Famous Bathrooms, set to be staged in Hall 30, will have cross-cutting appeal in terms of product types and exhibition experience and is being promoted as a valuable addition to the cultural offerings of Cersaie.

This year’s event, the sixth in the series, will adopt a rather different approach while maintaining the same format. The two curators, Angelo Dall’Aglio and Davide Vercelli, have chosen a new exhibition model; a cross between a traditional trade fair and an art gallery where each set will display a small number of carefully selected items. Unlike previous editions of the event, this year each company will have its own independent and clearly recognisable space which it is free to customise using its own logo.

Famous Bathrooms will offer a free interpretation of bathrooms inspired by personalities who have shaped history, from The Beatles to Sigmund Freud, from Coco Chanel to Piet Mondrian, and from Le Corbusier to Maria Callas.

Famous Bathrooms will present a series of bathrooms inspired by personalities who have excelled in their various fields - art, culture, science, music, or the cinema - from classical times through to the present day.

The result is intended to be an ironic, and irreverent event that should spark the curiosity of visitors.  At the same timer, the wide range of products on show should offer plenty of inspirational ideas.

The Famous Bathrooms exhibition will be introduced by art critic Philippe Daverio and staged in a visually appealing space where each setting becomes an intimate and independent location that pays tribute to the excellence and innovative qualities of Italian Style.

Bologna Design Week
The partnership with the Bologna Design Week will continue this year, with a portal publicising the exhibition installed in the city-centre location of the Quadrivio in Galleria Cavour.

Following the success of the five previous events (CerSea in 2014, CerStile in 2015, CerSail Italian Style Concept in 2016, Milleluci in 2017 and The Sound of Design Italian Style Contract in 2018), which attracted a total of 44,700 visitors and 283 participating companies, the Cersaie 2019 theme exhibition will bring a group of selected companies into contact with an international audience of buyers and industry professionals in search of fresh creative inspiration.

Key business initiative
Held for the eighth year as part of efforts to strengthen relations between exhibitors at Cersaie and international business players, the Cersaie Business initiative will attract delegations of leading international architecture and interior design firms and contract furnishing companies to Bologna during the five-day exhibition.

The initiative aims to promote ever greater involvement on the part of leading international influencers and specifiers from the design world, thereby creating networking opportunities between these players and the top Italian ceramic and bathroom furnishing producers exhibiting at the show.

This year Cersaie will be attended by around a hundred key players from eight countries or geographical regions: UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Gulf region, Scandinavia, and the Baltic Republics.

Design directions
It is always somewhat of a fool’s errand to predict the likely design trends at a show of the sheer scale of Cersaie, which attracts the leading manufacturers from across the globe..  However, based on the three key events already held in 2019 - Cevisama, Coverings, and Revestir, TSJ predicts that Cersaie 2019 will be a very diverse and colourful show.

Perhaps the key design trend for 2019/2020 in the ceramic tile world, is that there is no dominant trend.

So Cersaie will see XXL format and gauged porcelain panels alongside more and more traditional small format tiles, from 100 by 100mm and up.  Old favourites, such as metro tiles and terracotta floor tiles will feature, given a fresh design tweak to keep them relevant.

While minimalism will continue to drive innovations in tone and texture, maximalism is growing in influence.  This will lead to the emergence  of more colourful wall tiles, patterned floor tiles, mixed design melanges, bolder decors, and striking innovations in feature walls.

New adventures in metallic glazes will be much in evidence on the high end stands, and will even work their way into traditional ceramic tile staples such as marble-effects.  Glamorous and luxurious finishes, notably marble, will be presented alongside harder edged cement tones and darker woods.

And while many designers prefer large format tiles to minimize grout lines and create a large, seamless surface, visitors can also expect to see a swing in a direction that emphasises the tile's shape.  Here skinny format tiles will offer aperfect opportunity to create playful compositions.

Inlay - one of the oldest decoration techniques in the book - will be seen at Cersaie in some of the latest timber-effect ranges.  Using advanced digital printing technology, the high-end charm of inlaid wood and parquet flooring can now be realised in ceramic for a fraction of the price of the “real’ thing.

At the same time, Cersaie will also see ranges that celebrate the fact that ceramic tile is an inherently humble material.  Expect to see ranges that pay homage to the beauty of imperfection and nature’s humble materials.

At the other end of the spectrum, today’s high end tiles are intended to exude opulence. From rare marbles to high gloss ceramic emulating semi-transparent glass, expect ranges that a touch of glamour while delivering the functional benefits of porcelain.

Tiles come in every hue and tone found under the sun, but deep yet muted colours are much in vogue. While vivid colours have their place,  subdued pale pinks or sage greens allow designers to work with entire fields of colour.  But the eras of inspiration are now many and varied.  2019 will see ranges that tip their hat to Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and even the 1990s; plus collections that hark back to the earliest Ottoman roots of ceramic tiling, and even Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

And it is not all about colour.  Lines can also do miraculous things to a room: create movement, add height, or at the very least generate visual interest. So Cersaie will also feature striped patterns, metallic inserts, linear mosaics, and much more.
So, TSJ is expecting Cersaie 2019 to be a real feast of design diversity.  The editorial team will do its very best to sift through all the new designs to bring TSJ readers the true highlight in future issues.
W: https://www.cersaie.it/en/

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