BOLOGNA, ITALY -- It is that time of year again for Cersaie, the annual International Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings Exhibition in Bologna, Italy. Now in its 29thyear, the show will once again introduce the latest design trends and innovative products and solutions from September 20 to 24, 2011in the Bologna Exhibition Center. Promoted by Confindustria Ceramica in cooperation with BolognaFiere and organized by Edi.Cer. SpA and Promos, the show features over 1,000 exhibitors from 34 different countries and 176,000 square meters of exhibition space. Highlights of this year's show include a brand new sustainability initiative, a star-studded panel of guest speakers and a student- run design competition to choose next year's official Cersaie poster.

Emulating the industry's commitment to sustainability, Cersaie will begin the "Cersaie for Sustainability" project to reduce its carbon footprint through waste reduction, energy optimization, water and paper consumption, and sustainable transportation. Initiatives will be divided and expanded over a three-year period and reviewed for improvements for the following years. This fall, Cersaie will focus on paper consumption and materials as well as transportation. FSC-certified paper will be used for all publications and printed material, while the press folder will be produced and available electronically. To increase the use of public transportation and minimize personal travel, an agreement with Trenitalia will give attendees a special reduced fare on high-speed rail lines to and from Bologna.

Cersaie 2012 will focus on water, electrical energy and waste. The waste produced in the pre-exhibition set-up stage will be monitored this year, and in 2012, a program to encourage separation of paper and plastic will be implemented. This will include providing a larger number of collection points, setting up separate waste collection islands and launching an initiative to convert waste into building materials. Electricity and water consumption will also be observed at the 2011 show with recommendations on how to conserve for the following year. An onsite institutional stand will be organized to provide information on these green initiatives and used toshow results achieved by the sector in terms of sustainability. This undertaking makes Cersaie the first trade fair -- outside the environmental sector -- to focus strongly on sustainability.

"Sustainable solutions and innovative products continue to be at the forefront of the Italian tile industry," statedFranco Manfredini, chairman of Confindustria Ceramica. "We are proud to support one of the largest trade shows in the world that shares the same philosophy as our Italian tile manufacturers in reducing our environmental footprint." Complementing the show's green initiatives, Cersaie will welcome a series of lecturers during the conference program, "Building, Dwelling, Thinking." Acclaimed architects and designers will discuss architectural solutions and design-forward philosophies. Highlights include:


  • Wednesday, September 21 (10:00 a.m.) -- Patricia Urquiola, Spanish architect and designer,will discuss unifying architecture, art, identity and design in her presentation, "Blurring Boundaries."


  • Wednesday, September 21 (2:00 p.m.) -- Kengo Kuma, founder of the prestigious Tokyo-based practice Kengo Kuma & Associates, will present "Power of the Place."


  • Thursday, September 22 (10:00 a.m.) -- Alessandro Mendini, the great Milanese designer, will present "Lesson in Reverse."


  • Friday, September 23 (11:00 a.m.) -- Kazuyo Sejima, winner of the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and founder of the architectural firm, Sanaa, will give a keynote lecture.


  • Friday,September 23 (2:00 p.m.) -- Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, will discuss shelter solutions that can alleviate and prevent damage from disasters such as earthquakes, floods and migrations.

 For the second year in a row, Cersaie organizers will host the "Beautiful Ideas" competition -- a contest to choose the official 2012 Cersaie poster design. Students enrolled at Italian schools and universities were asked to submit a graphic design focused on "ceramic evolution." This themeexplores the future with technological advancements in the ceramic industry, sustainable innovations and ceramic products creating personal expression in design while looking to the past where old traditions bring quality and excellence to every product.A total of 209 projects were submitted and only 13 finalists were chosen from a jury of design leaders, including: Michele De Lucchi, Beppe Finessi, Franco Origoni and Lia Piano. The results of the 2012 Cersaie poster competition will be announced on Thursday, September 22 at 12:00 p.m. during an award ceremony in the Galleria dell'Architettura.