Cutting-edge design can cover a variety of appearances, from the glamour of polished alabaster into the grittiness of a graffiti-covered urban road. Whether inspired by the mainstreaming of subculture via films such as Exit Through the Gift Shop, the prevalence of converted lofts, the prevalence of Tony Duquette inducing cravings for malachite, or the ’70s-luxe styles caused by Kelly Wearstler’s odes into bravura contemporary, the tile industry is watching and responding. Following is a sampling of a few of the very cutting-edge appearances from all over the globe which are trending in tile to 2013, on screen at the Coverings show in Atlanta in spring 2013.
Tech has played a huge role in daring tile appearances, like with the Semiprecious show from Fiandre. Images are ink-jet printed onto a slab of engineered clay and then terminated; the last result is a large glazed porcelain tile that resembles a slab of polished stone, inculding malachite (revealed) and agate.
Fiandre has a patent on the method, and the substance can be adapted into flooring, counters, doors, cabinet faces and much more.
I saw these bits up close and personal, and they were really stunning; my jaw dropped and my eyes bugged out, then I had to shake my head and look again. I’d have felt dumb, except everyone around me had similar responses.
Trend: ’70s Glam
Digital imaging and ink-jet printing imply that ceramic and ceramic tile may take on the appearance of just about any exotic stone, like brown marble. Many of the rich browns, taupes, bronzes and golds possess a bravura modern appearance.
Alabaster-inspired tiles give this flooring a superglam ’70s appearance. I can see the influence of Kelly Wearstler’s layouts as well as Rachel Zoe’s style aesthetic at work here.
Metals also took on decorative prints as well as pretty gilts. Luxe metallic tiles shimmer and twinkle as they reflect light. These tiles are particularly popular on accent walls, particularly on a fireplace or headboard wall, or totally covering a little powder room.
Shown: Rendering Decor Bronze by Apavisa
An accent wall takes over the look of gold leaf.
Trend: Industrial Chic
Some metal finishes are carrying on the rusted appearance of Cor-Ten steel or the patina of copper. These rusty and crusty metallic seems work well with a industrial design decorative.
Shown: Xtreme Black by Apavisa
Professional design is also moving tile designers toward concrete appearances. These new tiles have been designed with components such as exposed brick in mind and immediately add the look of industrial wear and tear to loft-like homes which were constructed from scratch.
Shown: Jazz by Keraben
These tiles resemble obsolete and worn concrete flooring you’d see in factories and warehouses.
Shown: Pavimento by Viva
Concrete flooring and countertops are popular in today’s minimalist kitchens.
Trend: Street Culture
Not since Jean-Michel Basquiat’s heyday has graffiti been so near mainstream, with collectors shelling out countless road art in galleries, which admittedly, is a bit hard to wrap one’s brain around. Whether you see it as ironic or not, tile designers have taken notes, tagging tiles with graffiti-like art as well as creating tiles which match subculture looks.
Street-sign graphic details include an urban touch to this concrete-like tile.
Shown: Dolcemaro by Viva
Doodles and Union Jacks are part of this chalk-brick pattern, motivated by nostalgia for the British punk scene.
Shown:Underground by Cir
More tile trends: The Wood Look | Pattern and Geometry