Natural inspirations, simple soft lines, evocative colours | by Andrea Serri

With market statistics suggesting that the worst of the storm is over, Italian companies can congratulate themselves on their hard work and above all their determination to remain true to their nature. While low-priced, low-quality foreign products had recently begun to win over a certain share of the Italian market, today all the indicators are pointing to the success of the hi-tech designer products that Italian companies have steadfastly continued to offer. Following the demand for low prices prompted by the crisis that erupted in 2008, we are now at last seeing a trend reversal driven by informed, attentive, and above all quality-conscious consumers. Moreover, bathroom furnishings are not items that tend to be changed frequently: they are durable goods for which it is worth investing in quality.

On the eve of Cersaie – for many new collections a veritable “debutante’s ball” and for numerous well-established products a key opportunity to measure themselves against continuous innovations and the latest trends – Italian companies appear to be on good form, their engines fired up ready for the international circuit that awaits them.

A glance backstage reveals a clear trend towards soft, discreet and natural lines, to which colour often imparts a special characteristic. A series of products that combine simplicity of form (a simplicity that derives from a “less is more” philosophy, from a rereading of the traditions of different cultures and from a focus on the colours – we could even say the “sounds” – of nature) with a high technological content fuelled by major investments into innovative high-performance materials that not only ensure energy savings but are also quick and easy to clean. All in the name of the ever greater flexibility and customisation demanded by the market.

The world of ceramic sanitaryware is increasingly dominated by colour, the sophisticated colour palettes for both glossy and matt surfaces ranging from plum to mauve, from myrtle to sand. Alongside the ubiquitous white, up to ten or twelve colour versions are proposed for each collection, making sanitaryware elements veritable furnishing items capable of integrating seamlessly into the most diverse ambiences. The rounded, soft lines are enhanced by the low thicknesses, an area in which technology appears to be constantly challenging already ambitious limits. The close collaboration between design and technology has spawned a growing number of rimless WCs, which combine ease of cleaning with pleasant, uncluttered aesthetics.

The wealth of forms and endless scope for customisation are the leitmotif of the bathroom furniture collections, where the warmth, grain and natural appeal of wood blends perfectly with hi-tech vanity top materials that are as durable as they are aesthetically striking and innovative. Here too colour plays an important role, exploring delicate shades and sometimes unusual finishes, while even mirrors are reinvented, broken up and recomposed to become a key part of the interior design. Radiators are another important component, decorative elements with an essential yet important elegance, likewise characterised by pure curving lines.