Forty years of Cersaie: a celebration of Italian made
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Forty years of Cersaie: a celebration of Italian made

September 25–29, the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings is back

Forty years of Cersaie: a celebration of Italian made
By Redazione The Plan -

Scheduled for September 25–29 in Bologna, Cersaie turns forty this year. To mark the milestone, the 2023 International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings has been rethought and rejigged to review the previous decades, examine the present, and project itself into the future through a focus on hi-tech materials, companies, and, in particular, the people who make up the industry. The exhibition press conference was held during a hugely difficult time for its home region of Emilia-Romagna, with historic levels of rainfall, floods, landslides, and mudslides. And these events also affected the areas that form the core of the local ceramics industry, giving a dual meaning to the exhibition as a symbol of rebuilding as well as of the industry’s determination to face falling sales and production levels. The press conference saw the participation of Confindustria Ceramica president and vice-president, Giovanni Savorani and Emilio Mussini, respectively; the mayor of Bologna, Matteo Lepore; the president of Bologna Fiere, Gianpiero Calzolari; and architect Massimo Iosa Ghini.

Despite these challenges, the organizers are expecting better numbers this year than even in 2019, with overbookings requiring them to handpick exhibitors, whose numbers currently stand at 624. After signs of a recovery in 2021, which translated into sales of eight billion euros in 2022 (a billion euros up on 2021) with exports at 80%, the early months of this year aren’t as promising. On top of this, the problem with clay supplies arriving at the port of Ravenna, which first happened early on during the war in Ukraine, has again reared its head.

“The general trend of the sector is down by around 20%,” reported the president of Confindustria Ceramica, Giovanni Savorani. “The next Cersaie will focus more than ever on Italian-made products as part of marking 40 wonderful years of growth of the Italian ceramics industry, which has seen our products establish themselves right around the world.”

To take advantage of the potential of this well-established event as an international showcase for ceramics, and as an opportunity for meeting and discussion to foster technological innovation, this Cersaie will, in fact, be entirely dedicated to Italian-made products. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still work to be done, and, in terms of the hygienic benefits of ceramics, the opportunities for market growth are enormous.

And, as the president of Bologna Fiere, Gianpiero Calzolari, pointed out, with the roots of this trade exhibition firmly planted in Emilia-Romagna, it can really be seen as the region’s home event.


An overhaul from the visuals up

Cersaie Courtesy of Edi. Cer

Cersaie 2023 is being promoted around a visual of visitors passing through a symbolic gateway to the exhibition – a doorway that takes them into the future through an event that’s no longer about individual companies but is a coming together of knowledge, visions, and materials. The union of internal space and built volume, the constant connection between indoors and outdoors, opens up new perspectives and translates into new approaches to materials, structures, and colors.

Cersaie 2023 will revisit both ceramics and the way they’ve been represented until now. Ceramics and bathroom furnishings no longer occupy a separate – and therefore limited – dimension. They’ve become part of an overarching and bold approach to space, quality of living, and sustainability.

And the stars of the show will be both the products and the companies. Because it’s the companies – as a union of people, vision, and talent – that have been central to the 40 successful years of an event that, year after year, has helped redefine the concept of materials and architectural space in Italy and around the world, defined aesthetic trends, challenged the concept of intended use, and aimed to step beyond every limit. In this long history, the products themselves have contributed to changing ideas about the functional subdivision of interior and exterior spaces. And, through research and innovation, they have become key elements of buildings, in some cases becoming distinctive urban features.

Again this year, Cersaie will be an extraordinary opportunity for cultural exchange, fueled like always by parallel events, including Top Star and Bologna Arte Architettura, the keynotes by the 12 Pritzker Prize winners, the Press Cafés conversation series, and the Tiling Town workshops. Keep an eye on Cersaie’s social media accounts and digital channels for further news in the leadup to September. Cersaie 2023 promises to be an exciting journey in which the past will be incorporated into a vision of the future. For the industry and public alike, the exhibitors, products, and stories on show will give the sense of a 40-year journey that has seen ceramics transformed, emerging from the restrictive boundaries of function to become key elements of the architectural space.


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