Italian Tile Style: Understated Yet Deeply Luxurious Tile for the Kitchen


This past week I took a trip to Venice, Italy, and this included a short jaunt to Bologna to check out the huge European tile show, CERSAIE. This show concentrates primarily on the bath, but I came away with serious tile lust for a few designs from the Bouroullec brothers and others, designed for Mutina, a luxury Italian tile company. These tiles rely on texture to balance an understated use of color. Now, these may look a little boring from this vantage point, but click through and step closer...

...see? Texture!

I love understated tile like this. It makes you get up close, and it looks different from different viewpoints. It also emphasizes tile as a concrete, interesting object — not just a smooth printed surface.

Textural tiles like these of course aren't always best suited for high-splatter areas like the backsplash, but a strip of tile can make a great accent behind a shelf or on a side wall in the kitchen.

• 1 Pico Ronan and Erwan Bourellec for Mutina.
• 2 Pico - This line was released last year.
• 3 Pico - Up close, it's matte and textured, almost like cardboard with dots pressed into it.
• 4 Folded - Raw Edges for Mutina.
• 5 Folded - This tile looks like crumpled paper. Really, really gorgeous, and super hard to communicate in photos. Amazing in person.

• 6 Phenomenon - Tokujin Yoshioka for Mutina.
• 7 Phenomenon - I've been such a fan of this stuff for a while. It's lovely in person - so textured.
• 8 Phenomenon - Definitely not something for practical areas, but would make the most lovely accent.
• 9 Oversized Tile - from Petraluxe.
• 10 Oversized Tile - Now for something a little different. I really liked these enormous, wall-spanning ceramic tiles from Petraluxe. Think about having a backsplash of just one big tile...

High-end tile is generally best sourced and priced out through a distributor or a kitchen or bath designer (good luck finding easy retail access to these things!).

Related: Classic Design: A Gallery of Subway Tiles in the Kitchen

(Images: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.