More than 300 companies showcased a wide array of ceramic products at this year’s Unicera, reports SUSHIL NAIR
The best of Turkish ceramics was in spotlight at the 24th Unicera International Ceramic Bathroom Kitchen Fair as exhibitors from 43 countries unveiled innovative, sustainable and colourful designs at Europe’s second biggest fair, wowing the 80,000-odd visitors who flocked to the event in Istanbul last month.
Held at the Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center and organised by Tüyap in co-operation with Turkish Ceramic Federation and Timder, Unicera was held alongside Kitchen World, the eighth International Kitchen, Bathroom Furniture and Built-In Appliances Fair organised in cooperation with Muder.
“Unicera is currently the largest and most extensive fair in the ceramic sector which grows from strength to strength every year,” says Bahadir Kayan, president of Turkish Ceramics Promotion Group.
He continues: “In 2009, Unicera’s welcomed 1,916 foreign visitors besides 36,223 domestic visitors. This rose to 3,530 foreign visitors and 57,311 domestic visitors to a total of 60,841 visitors in 2011. The number of visitors has surged by 60 per cent in the last three years, while the number of foreign visitors has skyrocketed by nearly 90 per cent.”
“As one of the most significant fairs in its sector in Europe, Unicera is eagerly anticipated by the professionals in the construction sector and individual consumers and this year’s event saw a 15 per cent rise in total exhibitor space.”
Turkey, which boasts 8,000 years of ceramics history, has boosted its global market share rapidly and is now a strong competitor with an enviable position in both production and export of various ceramics ware, he says.
This year, as many as 300 companies showcased a wide array of ceramic tiles, vitreous wares, ceramic coating materials, granite, glass mosaic, vitrified products, pools, saunas, taps, bathroom and kitchen furniture and other accessories and fittings in their colourful stalls.
Unicera 2012: A showcase of trendy,
eye-catching, colourful and
With the world moving towards sustainable design and greener architecture, Unicera didn’t disappoint the eco-conscious either, with several designers and manufacturers displaying novel and sustainable solutions for floor tiles, ceramics, bath tubs, glass mosaic, pools, saunas, bathroom and kitchen ware.
One of the major attractions this year was digitally-printed tiles which are fast becoming popular among Turkish firms, while tiles with Islamic art themes also proved popular among visitors.
This year, 28 companies and their subsidiaries from the Turkish Ceramics Promotion Group took part in the expo showcasing trendy, eye-catching, colourful and eco-friendly products.
These included Altin Seramic, Bien, Kale (Canakkale kalebodur seramik), Akgün, EGE, Graniser, Istanbul Seramik, Hizaltaş, Kütahya, Pera, Seramiksan, Seranit, Serapool, Söğütsen, Tamsa Fayans, Termal seramik, Vitra karo, Umpaş, Usak, Yurtbay, Yuksel, Canakçilar, Doğvit Saniteri, ECE Banyo, EGE Vitrifiye sağlik, Esvit Eskişehir, Heriş, Ideser Seramik, Kalevit Saniter, Elit Mobilya, Matel Hammadde, Turkuaz and Eyap - Vitra.
Turkey’s largest ceramics manufacturer Kale focused on sustainable design while showcasing products with traditional Ottoman designs. With a record 66 million sq m of annual production capacity, Kale says it is the largest establishment in the world which carries out production at a single plant.
Other Turkish giants including Seranit, Bien, Kutahya, Duratiles, Hitit, Vitra, EGE and Seramiksan also showcased innovative products born out of groundbreaking ideas and cutting-edge technology.
Turkey’s expert knowledge of ceramics spans over 8,000 years in history and today’s manufacturers are now using traditional expertise together with modern technology to create groundbreaking designs, says Kayan.
He says that unlike other competitors, Turkey’s ceramics industry has been able to overcome the global economic recession and post significant growth.
“When compared to 2010, Turkey’s tile exports increased by 11 per cent in 2011 to $510 million, while sanitary ware exports rose 14 per cent to $182 million,” he says.
As part of its growth strategy, Turkish Ceramics has now opened the doors to the “the first and the only ceramic virtual fair in the world” by launching a dedicated portal - www.turkishceramicsfair.com - on which buyers and can trade and do business with all its members, says Kayan.
Overall, the response at Unicera was overwhelming, despite the event being held at a time of global economic uncertainty.
“Unicera is a major business platform to find out the latest developments in ceramic and tile industry and also assess the competition while networking with specialist contractors, equipment and material suppliers,” said a Swedish buyer who was at the expo for the second time.
Indeed, the five-day expo was treasure trove for buyers and visitors who came hunting for the latest and very best in ceramic tiles, kitchenware, vitreous wares, granite, glass mosaic pools, saunas and taps.
Founded in 1997, the Turkish Ceramics Promotion Group includes the Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association (Serkap), the Ceramic Sanitary ware Manufacturers Association (Sersa), the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade of Turkey Central Anatolian Exporter Unions and Turkey’s major ceramic manufacturers.
It has the specific goal of promoting Turkish ceramics abroad as second to none in quality, class and style.