Eco_Alabaster is the latest stylish and sophisticated idea by Ceramica Fioranese for natural stone floor and wall coverings. This is a classic stone given a contemporary twist, featuring extraordinarily beautiful, delicate shades and modern patterns. The collection also features new mosaics, including Mosaico Esagona, with hexagonal tesserae, and Mosaico Listellato. The pattern is inspired by the decor elements in natural travertine stone found in thermal bath areas in the East, such as the Turkish baths.

Eco_Alabaster also complies with LEED® requirements, thanks to its high recycled material content (over 40%), which does not affect the appearance of the product. The Eco_Alabaster collection is available in the following colors: Grigio, Beige and Bianco and in a variety of sizes, including 24 x 24, 18 x 18, 12 x 24 and 12 x12 inches.

Celebrating its 28th edition in Bologna, Italy, Cersaie 2010 - the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings - was held last fall, and the event hosted more than 83,000 visitors, and revealed leading trends and cutting-edge products from more than 1,000 exhibitors across 34 countries.

While touring the sold-out exhibition space, the latest in innovation and design for ceramic tiles was evident. Noteworthy trends this year can be found in designer-made inspirations, a variety of textures, enhancements to ongoing trends, including wood and stone looks as well as slim tiles, and a continued devotion to tile with green and sustainable design.

Manufacturers are also considering the installation process. Large-format tiles are now sized to be suitable to being carried by one installer as opposed to ones in the past that typically needed at least two handlers. Additionally, several new product lines feature installation-ready tiles that do not require mortar or other installation products - making the process easier, according to the manufacturers of these products.

Below is just a sampling of the latest in stone and tile innovations displayed at Cersaie 2010:

Voguebay introduced several 3D lines including Bamboo (pictured), resembling the three-dimensional look of natural bamboo, and Arch Luxe, another 3D glass tile that resembles pillow tops. Both come as mesh-mounted sheets and in a variety of

For this fall’s introductions, Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Azulejos Plaza unveiled Tuscany, a porcelain tile produced using a combination of different reliefs and ink jet printing technology. The resulting look is classified as Rappolano, created from a selection of the finest rappolano stones available. This gives great variation from one piece to another, approximately 80 to 100 different faces, reports the manufacturer. The series is available in four colors: Bone, Copper, Terra and Gold and in sizes 18 x 18 and 12 x 24 inches with 2- x 2-inch mosaics.

Marazzi Stonevision reinterprets seven choice marbles in contemporary terms: Calacatta, in shades of white and with elegant lengthwise veins; Thassos, absolute white with elegant translucent effects in the surface; Portogallo, from the warm shades of powder pink through to grey, enriched with gentle crystalline veins; King Beige, in pinkish beige with gentle, uniform veins; Travertino, in an exquisite almond beige shade with tiny, subtle veins for a natural effect; Hauteville Doré, with a golden yellow surface and distinctive tiny grain patterning across the entire surface; and Grafite, coal-grey given added interest by slight brownish shading. Produced in a thin thickness and in a large size - 32.5 x 97.7 cm - Marazzi Stonevision is a versatile collection, ideal for various kinds of residential installations and renovation projects.

The precious marbles of the ancient, sophisticated city of Venice are the basis for Velvet, the new collection of fine porcelain stoneware tiles by Casa dolce casa.

Developed to revitalize the graphics and colors of Casablend, Velvet tiles are smooth to the touch and available in five attractive shades - Oyster, Ecru, Charcoal (pictured), Taupe and Platinum. Velvet interprets the personality of a house in contemporary terms, putting together elegance and functionality, aesthetics and technology, creating a style fitting for homeowners and architects alike. Their non-slip properties make Velvet tiles particularly suitable for outdoor installation. A new 80 x 80 tile has been added to the sizes available, specifically produced for the world of architecture.

The look of concrete is flawlessly captured by Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Ceramicas Aparici’s Novocemento to meet minimalist design needs. This rectified porcelain tile is double-fired for ultimate durability and is available in both standard thickness and Aparici’s slim tile option, SLIM4. Novocemento is available in formats 45 x 90, 22.5 x 90 and 30 x 60 and in colors Marfil, Gris, Brown and Negro.

From the company’s care and attention paid to product quality and the environment, SANTAMARGHERITA® has undertaken an ambitious project to produce agglomerates using 90% of recycled material. The project is SECOND.LIFE®, not just a brand and new product line, but first and foremost an ideal and a lifestyle.

In line with the ongoing research, SECOND.LIFE® aims at giving new life to materials that have been used in various forms in the past, to create high-tech design surfaces, with a very low environmental impact, confirming the company’s desire to protect the planet.

The entire SECOND.LIFE® range is available in the colors Carbone, Cenere, Argilla, Sabbia, Gesso, Corteccia, Basalto and Lava, with standard size slabs and polished, honed and brushed finishes.

In collaboration with Mutina, the much-acclaimed Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka has created Phenomenon, a ceramic project which is able to express the originality of the texture derived from nature by not mimicking its aspects but by awakening the sensation it brings viewers. It recalls a number of expressions of patterns found in nature, such as honeycombs (pictured), snow crystals, icicle formations and plant cells. The new collection possesses environmental respect by reintegrating into the productive process the redundant clays, in the absence of glazes, of emission of toxic elements and finally of V.O.C. (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Sicis displayed several collections, continuing on its innovative artistic path, reinterpreting the classic mosaic with magnificent intuitions. Amidst New York lights, the pyrotechnical mosaic skyscrapers created with the digital technique of the new Skyline collection rise up in a beautiful urban landscape. Additionally, the seductive smile on the lips of Marilyn Monroe invite users to walk along iridescent paths with 3D portraits that become pictorial mosaic, beyond the static limit of the painting.

Nuage by Tagina is the new collection of tiles that brings back the ancient splendor of elegant-classic bathrooms reinterpreted with a modern and unique style. Soft surfaces and delicate colors that create a warm and surrounding decorative harmony provide a unique ceramic outline for versatility of employment and a realization technique of the hollow border, a special decor piece that makes ceramic solutions of continuity between floor and wall. It is articulated in a wide range of floors, decors and special pieces that wisely combined together, allowing a range from a classic living environment to a modern composition.

A continuing emphasis on the beauty of traditional materials combined with modern porcelain applications has brought new collections of marbles to Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Porcelanosa. These new series include Bardiglio and Carrera Blanco (pictured), which provide the classic look of marble in a high-gloss finish. This large-format, porcelain tile is rectified for a seamless appearance and is available in wall and floor tile.

Lea Ceramiche in collaboration with French designer Patrick Norguet, presented Lines and Waves, featuring a palette of new colors - Line Blue, Line Yellow,

Line Grey and Wave Blue, Wave Green and Wave Grey - designed to bring out the sensorial aspect of the material to its fullest. The decor elements feature distinctive graphics and lines created using advanced Full HD technology on Slimtech laminated stoneware. Adding function and decor for traditional wall covering purposes, the product can also be used on closet doors, containers, doors, fireplaces and bathroom and kitchen

Exotica from Ceramiche Tiffany revives wooden floors, enriching the original appearance and improving the performance through the technological excellence of ceramics. Featuring a wide variety in design among the pieces are Oak, Chestnut, Cherry and Walnut (pictured) to create a warm, elegant atmosphere in contact with nature. Residential areas such as living rooms, bedrooms and open space areas, but also public places such as shops, hotel reception areas and restaurants are ideal places for a product skillfully combining traditional and up-to-date qualities. The performance of the ceramics allow Exotica to be used in places where wooden flooring has been impractical up to now; places where cleanliness, hygiene and resistance to foot traffic are the determining factors guaranteed by the ceramic product. Available in one large strip size (15 x 60.8), Exotica remains faithfully to its inspiration by offering the simplicity of the range and laying of wooden surfaces. For more original designs, the series has two decors available, created by cutting and combining the bases, reviving the rosettes and patterns of the great traditional floors in a modern key.

Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Apavisa featured its new “Eco Porcelain” Outdoor Collection, which contains 40% recycled material, including recycled water and minerals. The anti-slip Outdoor series provides the look of stone with a geometric relief in 24- x 24-, 12- x 24- and 5.8- x 24-inch formats, with a complete line of accessories such as listelos, steps and covebase pieces. Colors include white and gray.

From the skills of Fap Ceramiche in creating complete solutions comes Brillante, the new collection of ultrathin, ultra-polish white body tiles with coordinated porcelain stoneware floor tiles. One large size - 30.5 x 91.5 cm, rectified - just 5.5 mm thick, runs along the walls to create a sophisticated striped marble texture, with a vein which tells a centuries-old story, according to the manufacturer. The collection is available in five exclusive colors - Brown, Champagne, Fumè, Lemon and Quartz.

Peronda displayed what it calls its star product - Museum - a polished porcelain with spectacular reflections. The collection has been enriched with two new marmoreal graphics, including Orsay, a grayish onyx; and Dom, a semiprecious limestone. These graphics of natural stones will be produced in 44 x 44, 60 x 60 and 60 x 120

Tile of Spain branded manufacturer TAU Ceramica is looking to the past to bring the best of history and nature into present day with one of its newest collections - Turmali. It offers an iridescent finish and is inspired by tourmaline stone. Large format provides the ideal canvas to display this series as it allows a full display of sparkle and changes in tonality. Turmali is available in blue, copper and pyrite.

Laminam®’s Filo is the epitome of technology, research into materials and styling. The highly unusual texture offers a surprising and incredible three-dimensional feeling as well as bestowing spectacular iridescent effects on the material. It has been created to cover and pave any type of surface or volume, outdoors or indoors, including furnishing accessories.

 Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Inalco continues to build upon the innovation of slim tile with unexpected applications of its SlimmKer brand such as wood paneling accomplished through tile on tile; bookcase facing and stand alone wall partitions. Inalco adds to this range of design versatility by adding to the products available in the SlimmKer line, including 80.8 largeformat tile that offers a modern wood look with slight veining and lineal embossed pattern; Mist, a new series in the SlimmKer brand is inspired by raw silk - taking on the appearance of a gently ribbed fabric with the occasional metallic gloss strand and available in blanco, piedra, camel, gris, grafito and negro; and Pyrene, which recreates the look of natural black slate with the revolutionary use of white on black digital printing to create the vein characteristics of the material. The line is available in a 12- x 48-inch format.

The stone effect surface of Stratos High Definition porcelain stoneware collection from NovaBell combines tradition and a feel of natural materials with innovation and high-level technologies. The tactile, natural and authentic appearance of Stratos High Definition is a result of its delicately structured surface, virtually enhanced by the infinite shades of color realized through high-definition digital reproduction technologies. Stratos High Definition is available with finishes featuring the related anti-slip characteristics and is part of “NovaBell ecosystem,” a program of tiles with low environmental impact because of their elevated content of recycled materials. The collection is additionally LEED®