Indesign is on the ground in Bologna for Cersaie 2010. Nicky Lobo reports from Italy’s foremost ceramic tile and bathroom fair.
October 5th, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
It started with tiles, tiles and more tiles.
Lea Ceramiche was first off the rank, with plenty to show. Innovative in their display, tile surfaces were used as large-scale circular tables around which people sat to go through the new product range.
At Casalgrande Padana the focus was on digital printing technology (a hot trend at this year’s fair), which allows new depth and textures to be created on the ceramic tile surface.
The tile trifecta was rounded off with SICIS. Gee, they do some hot stuff, this year showing a range of creative possibilities for the modern mosaic. Note: can we bring the stiletto to Australian please?
Yesterday also included a hush-hush visit to an off-site launch of three new Falper ranges. Patented but still in early production stages, Falper have elected to keep the concepts close, inviting a selected few for a virtual tour (the iPad really shines brilliantly in these kinds of situations) in a boutique fashion location in downtown Bologna. Keep posted on more to come later this year on this, but suffice to say that innovation in material and concept are key… tantalising enough for you?
Next stop was Villeroy & Boch, who are really focusing on developing their tile range.
Best known for their classic, quality tableware and bathroomware (including slick basins and toilets made with a combination of pure German precision and characteristic French panache), the tile range is truly impressive. Graphic, dimensional and sophisticated, the range offers contemporary designs and forms with the depth of quality that Villeroy & Boch are known for.
At the Porcelanosa stand, hordes of guests checked out the extensive range of living products that includes everything from kitchen benches to baths and tiles (kitchen sink to come next, no doubt).
The most interesting element was a new hard material which can be made into just about anything, including the lights featured on the stand and the stand itself.
Speaking of stands…. Congratulations to Flaminia for winning best stand for Cersaie 2010.
It certainly stood out, with a vibrant green and white installation showcasing the range of new products designed in collaboration with industry stars such as Giulio Cappellini and Alessandro Mondini.
A well-deserved winner, I say.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
There are so many nations represented at Cersaie, both exhibitors and guests. I see groups of overseas visitors clinically attacking selected stands strategically with their cameras (where photos are allowed).
Unfortunately, the issue of ‘copying’ also pervades this arena. Exhibitors are forced to resign themselves to the fact that if they show prototype products at Cersaie, they may just see it manufactured by someone else (albeit of a lesser quality) sooner than they themselves can put it out to the market.
But many companies forge ahead, confident that the quality cannot be reproduced quickly. In this game, it’s the technical skills, manufacturing procedures and foresight into trends that keep people ahead of the pack.
Devon & Devon are bringing sexy back. The glamour of the Art Deco era is the direct inspiration for their aesthetic, to which they add a hint of modern to make it their own. They also deliver a full range of furniture and lighting to complete the look, as well as a fragrance (I was mistaken the other day, apologies…who knew furniture and fragrance was such a hot combo?).
On the other side of the spectrum, ex.t collaborates with emerging international designers abstract natural forms and ice cream shades to accessories such as mirrors and shelves. A favourite was the ‘Birdie’ by Hiroshi Kawano (pictured below).
Also in the accessories department, Vola’s stand showing the Rapsel and Nito ranges was a winner. Towel rails, timber and a twisting decorative shower head were more than enough to inspire.
At Roca’s crisp white stand, visitors checked out their range of bathroom and tile products. At the moment, Roca are also promoting their Jump the Gap international design contest judged by a swarm of global design celebrities such as Ron Arad, Javier Mariscal, and Marcel Wanders.
Trends had a slew of new products (and people) on their stand – a full range from glamorous metallics to gloriously refined shades in various formats.
Laser cutting techniques also allow for decorate infills and designs that have not been previously possible.
Just when I thought I had seen it all, I came across the Hello Kitty stand. Yes, the Japanese phenomenon has invaded Italy and the stand was surprisingly busy, with visitors checking out the range that included a branded shower head!
What has the (bathroom) world come to?
Friday, October 1, 2010
Two hot designers in the space of 2 hours, it’s almost too much for me to handle.
As well as the millions (or so it seems) of exhibitors and their wares to look at, there is a series of events in and around Bolgona, including awards ceremonies, concerts and talks at the Galleria dell’Architettura (this is located at the exhibition grounds).
Wednesday evening, I caught Karim Rashid who was sharing his thoughts on the shape of bathroom products and industry. Interestingly, much of what he was saying contradicted approaches of exhibitors at the fair.
For him, the bathroom is an entirely “physical experience, not spiritual”. So much for the pervasive context of the bathroom as an environment for ’wellness’. But as he went on, I realised this perspective reiterated his own highly functional approach to design.
He sees bathrooms as a place of physical vulnerability, that should be designed to minimise risk of injury, such as using softer materials like rubber. The technology is not quite there yet, but watch this space….
Zuchetti, along with a few other manufacturers, did not exhibit at the fair itself, but held a launch off-site on Wednesday evening. Three different bathroom settings by Ludovica and Roberta Palomba were on show in an amazing gallery on a cobbled back laneway (is there any other kind in Italy?) that was a former church.
Hordes of well-dressed designer types wandered around the ’exhibition’, including one lady in an amazing knee length wool jacket. As I jumped into a taxi I was introduced to her…. it was Ludovica herself, casually chatting to the guests.
Two hot designers in the space of 2 hours, it’s almost too much for me to handle.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The sun is shining and there seems to be even more people than yesterday – is it possible the fair has grown overnight?
First lets talk steam rooms. We all know the dark timber look from the 1970s, which takes inspiration from traditional Swedish bathhouses. Now there’s the Hamam, combining a sleek Turkish-inspired aesthetic with the latest technology – a touchscreen panel to vary temperature, pressure and chromatherapy (launched at Saturday in Design 2010 in Melbourne by Rogerseller).
At Cersaie, the next version has appeared in a smaller unit, with a separate piece, which holds the therapeutic light element, plus plays music. And I thought singing in the shower was therapeutic enough…
At Hansa, it was all about bold tapware and washbasins featuring cut out forms and sharp angles (think leaning tower of Pisa).
Another tap master, KWC proved it’s all about the details, whether the tap is big or small. I’m not sure if I’m starting to go a little mad, but next on my list is drains.
You know, the thing that you step all over in the shower, you don’t really notice it until it gets clogged up? Well, I’ve found the drain to lust over (I can’t believe I’m using the words ’lust’ and ’drain’ in the same sentence… what are you doing to me Cersaie??) It’s by Kaldewei and it’s sexy, square, and comes in colours that integrate with a shower floor in Bianco Artico and Antracite City.
Okay, moving on in case I’m draining you (get it?).
Italian company, Stocco, has some crazy colours to offer in their range of bathroom ware. It may not be everyone’s piece of cake, but it’s perfect for those who think tonal is tame.
You can see quite a lot of colour in bathroom accessories (stay tuned for tomorrow’s update), but it’s unusual to see actual bathroom furniture in hues of the rainbow. Last but not least, found another Italian company, Lineabeta, doing some really interesting pieces, including a range of bamboo sinks and vanities.
This was definitely the first time I’ve seen bamboo for the bathroom and it looks great, plus is v. sustainable. Not sure how it cleans though…
More to come on Giovedì (Thursday).
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It’s my first international fair (besides Saturday in Design of course) and the sheer size of it kind of blows my mind.
Let me give you some context. More than 980 exhibitors, the hall/pavilion numbers go up to 36, plus further ’Outdoor Areas’. Approximately 176,000 square metres of bathroom products and tiles. I’m tired just thinking about it.
My strategy is to each day visit a few of the companies that are represented in Australia. I’ll also check out whoever happens to be near, around and on the way between them. So yes, slightly haphazard, but I just can’t see any real way to instill some method to the madness.
The gold showbag
Today I spent most of my time in halls 29 and 30 – “the best ones” according to a trusted source. Some of the big names in bathroom design reside here and I became acquainted with just a few…
This guy had the best idea for getting around
Catalano showcased three new collections, Zero Star, Velis and Sfera against a gargantuan LED screen – the thing was about 10m wide and 3m tall. After some apparent technical difficulties in the morning, the screen burst into life, showing a vide by Massimo Laquone and Luca Attili that interprets the new products in relation to their emotional and technologic content.
Also exciting on this stand was soft-close toilet lid technology. Imagine a serene world where toilet lids aren’t slammed down by noisy children (and grown ups too perhaps) – well, it’s here in Bologna in Hall 29, Stand C1-D4.
Antonio Lupi’s stand was impressive…. so impressive that they were obviously concerned about people copying the design so no photos allowed here. But plenty of nice products, including the delicate Alabastro sink and the Lunaria range designed by Carlo Colombo.
Gessi’s was the busiest I saw of all the stands, and when I popped in, I could see why. As well as items new in production, were prototypes for next year’s line. For those i-loyals with their full range of i-products, you can now take the obsession into the bathroom with the iSpa tap range, which takes a clever cue from a familiar form.
Also launching was the beautiful Gessi Home Collection, with luscious, soft handmade handtowels, dressing gowns, slippers and the like; as well as a unique move (as far as I’m aware) into perfumery, created in collaboration with a French perfumièr.
Last stop was Laufen’s press conference for the new Il Bagno Alessi ’One’, which builds on their previous collaborations with some sexy curves. Unfortunately I didn’t understand a single word that was spoken, but luckily a press release was provided in good old Inglese.
I learnt about the four ’affective codes’ that are expressed within the range – paternal, maternal, childhood and erotic (!)… hmm, trust the Italians (Alessi) to bring eroticism into bathroom products. I guess they’re adding some typical Italian flavour to the precise Swissness of the Laufen brand.
Ciao till tomorrow…
Antonio Lupi ’Lunaria’ by Carlo Colombo
The Catalano Stand at Cersaie 2010
The Gessi Home Collection
Alessi for Laufen
Alessi for Laufen
Antonio Lupi’s Alabastro sink
Catalano ’Velis 100’
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