International Exhibit of Ceramic Tile & Bath, Italy 2014

Many of our clients who upgrade their kitchen with beautiful cabinet refacing, often ask us about the latest tile trends and backsplash designs. After talking with my friend Lori Anding with Arto Brick, I learned about their recent trip to Italy. They attended the International Exhibition, where they found some amazing tile inspiration. She’s joining us here today on the MRCC blog to share more about the trip in hopes to inspire your own interior design project:

Hi all! I’m so happy to be here. I had the pleasure of talking with Armen Alajian, co-owner of ARTO Brick (with his brother Varoujan) to chat about his recent trip to Bologna, Italy for Cersaie 2014, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings held at the end of September. With over 100,000 visitors, this event should definitely be on your radar if you are in the industry, an interior designer, or an architect.  I must say that after talking about his first-time Italian experience, it made me want to return to Italy to visit the quiet, intriguing city of Bologna.

International Exhibit of Ceramic Tile & Bath, Italy 2014

Being in the tile and concrete industry, Armen found pleasure in just walking through the city and noticing the material used for walls, streets, sidewalks, buildings and ceilings. He didn’t need museums, restaurants, parks and all the usual sites that excite tourists. He found great pleasure and excitement in the texture and raw materials used as infrastructure to the city at large.

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Italy is known for their churches and the most famous one in Bologna is San Petronio Basilica, the 6th largest church in all of Europe. When you approach the church, you notice something right away: the contrast between the upper and lower portions of the church.

Armen asked, “Do you know why it is so different? It’s because the contractor never finished the job!”

He informed me that the top portion is actually the substrate and not the finished product like below. How fascinating and truly beautiful in its raw form.

“What we think is beautiful may be someone else’s mistake.” Armen chuckles with a grin.

Bologna was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Music in 2006 which spurred me to ask him what he thought of this honor. He thought for a second and said, “All I heard was American music!” Armen noticed that there was a lot of American influences in Bologna.  Although, surprisingly, in his experience no one spoke English. He learned the basics prior to his departure and was thankful he did as it helped him communicate with the locals. They appreciated his efforts.

After visiting several Italian cities, in retrospect, Armen noted that Bologna didn’t have the buzz one feels in some of the more famous Italian cities. “I would go there again rather than Rome.” He said. “It was much more down to earth.” In parting our ways, he looked over his shoulder and said, “I will be returning next year for Cersaie 2015 with my wife.”

Sounds like a great idea, Armen. We hope to join you next year so we can gather our own ideas and tile inspiration from walking the streets of Italy.


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Blog post by Lori Anding, Brand Ambassador for Arto Brick. She is a wife and a mother of two beautiful children with a passion for all things social media.