Designer tiles are the new must-have at #MDW17

Walls are a major protagonist at the 2017 edition of Milan Design Week: wallpaper confirms to be back in full glory and here to stay at least for the foreseeable future – and interestingly, tiles are riding the same wave. We are seeing such a fresh array of patterns and collaborations across Fuorisalone that it makes us crave to redesign our homes to include a feature wall.

First in line is Studio Formafantasma and their ethereal, minimal yet striking glazed tiles for Cedit Ceramiche. Titled Cromatica, this series plays on the larger scales now attainable thanks to the latest technology, and works them together with the traditional rectangular ones. Colours are luminous, featuring a range of pale pastels composed in subtle tonal shifts. It is a pleasure to the eye and the hand, almost too delicate to be a backsplash but surely ideal as a piece of art.

Cedit Ceramiche scores double with another very interesting and very different collaboration, as Martino Gamper brings his “design as a state of mind” approach to tiles with a play on customization. His tiles are of varying colours and shapes, to be composed and recomposed into new configurations but always using the existing modules – therefore actively involving the consumer in the creative process.

Working with a different material, design darling of the year Cristina Celestino has developed three collections for traditional Italian cotto tiles manufacturer Fornace Brioni – and they all are an absolute work of art of composition and texture. Her eye for colour and pattern translates into geometries inspired by Italian Renaissance gardens and pair fresh touches of lush green with the various pink hues of earthenware, while the surfaces juxtapose glazes and porousness in designs that truly celebrate craftsmanship. Each kiln family has its own secret recipe for mixing and firing the clay with the pigments, with results that are a great balance of historic and contemporary, graphic and elegant, straight and curvy.

From Renaissance to Memphis: at Ceramiche Refin, the Fireplace Room designed in 1990 by Studio Sottsass acts as the striking backdrop to the launch of Twist, the new collection of tiles designed by creative duo Studiopepe. To match the dramatic setting, the plates have been styled into totemic compositions of pattern, colour and texture. Postmodern at its best, yet perfectly complementing the highly tactile and almost rustic pattern that the tiles feature. Weave is the inspiration, and it comes to the surface in high definition print, while the irregular surface heightens the illusion effect of an actual fabric.

Last but not least, our crush from the last few Salones, Dimore Studio, brings a vibrant and hand-crafted take to tiles, in a collaboration with Ceramica Bardelli titled Correspondence. The colours are a true work of art, and each tile is hand-painted by the craftspeople in the ceramics atelier. The designs are once again to be composed and mismatched at pleasure, with geometries inspired by paper-folding patterns found in an antique book. 

Want to know the best part? All of the above tiles are in the Brera design district – making them easy to track and find.

In the meantime, if you wish to discover more inspiration for floors and walls, head to WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors where a dedicated section houses forecast directions, design inspiration and trend analysis.

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