Tile has always been an adaptable product, but its versatility has been increasing steadily over the last several years because of new technology. Cersaie 2018, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, was held in Bologna, Italy, in September. It is considered one of the greatest showcases for state-of-the-art trends in ceramics and bathroom design. Tile of Spain also presented global design trends at CEVISAMA 2018, the International Fair for Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings in Valencia, Spain. Coverings 2018, the largest international tile and stone show in North America, featured amazing innovations in tile. Here are some of the exciting revelations brought out during the shows. Be sure to impress your potential clients by including some of these cutting edge tiles in the homes you are building and remodeling!
Due to the latest 3-D digital printing technology, tile has taken on the convincing look and form of many other materials that are three dimensional—from vintage stone slabs, terrazzo, and cork to industrial-look concrete, rusty Cor-Ten steel, and rough hardwood boards. It is difficult to see the difference between the tile and the material it mimics, but the advantages of choosing tile are many: it is durable, hypoallergenic, mold and mildew resistant, and easy to clean. This makes tile an irresistible choice for residential as well as high-traffic commercial environments. Tile can be used in locations and for purposes that were previously unimaginable.
Some of the new fashionable statements tile is making today include: small, square, rustic tile in place of subway tile; glossy ink added to terrazzo-look tile to make the chips glossy with a patina around the edges; wallpaper inspired tile designs on large-format thin slabs that can reach from floor to ceiling; cleaner, less-distressed concrete looks that are more refined. Artisan craft tiles offer no two pieces that are alike—different chemicals are added to each tile so the radiance of the finishes are distinct. Metallic effects on tile, such as gold and platinum, are still very popular. A “sinking ink” process produces a heightened result in tile with relief.
Marble and stone looks for tile continue to be in style, but the appearance is more natural and realistic than ever before. The veining in tile that perfectly mimics the look and feel of marble is getting softer, finer, more diffused and more sophisticated. Multiple finishes are available, going beyond the usual high gloss. Unlike actual stone, the benefit of porcelain tile is that it can be used for any application since it is nonporous and stain resistant.
Internationally, the classic tile colors of white, gray and black are still very much in style. In addition, saturated earth tone colors—ochers, terra cottas, blues and greens—are on the upswing in Spain and Italy, some of the major tile manufacturers that import to the U. S. It is expected that these colors soon will become popular among designers and homeowners in our country as well. Creamy, off-white tones are on a comeback as well.