CID uncovers the optimum ways to use the latest trends to make a statement or as an alternative to carpet and wood. By Sarah Campbell.
Tiles may be durable and easy to clean, but they are also fast becoming a fashion statement, with designers and manufacturers offering unlimited options in colours, patterns, finishes and sizes. For commercial interior designers it could be easy to feel like the proverbial kid in a sweetshop faced with so many delicious designs; from coffee beans to stainless steel mirrors, cracked old masterpieces to glistening glass designs.
Gone are the days of white, serviceable ceramics; design is the order of the day. However, be warned, as the tile industry moves slightly off kilter from its recent minimalist and modern creations; prints are back, and the bolder the better.
US tile designer Ann Sacks has launched a new Mirror collection with manufacturer Kohler Company. "These porcelain tiles achieve their reflective surface through intense polishing alone, not through the application of chemical glazes," says John Hart, chief merchandising officer, Ann Sacks & Kallista. They can be finished in two colours. Silver Mirror has a stainless steel mirror effect, while Copper Mirror has a mirror effect with a visual reference to copper. The bold size and modern shape is balanced by traditional Japanese glazes that give the tile depth and texture. The palette includes subtle crackle glazes: Mint, Tea Green and Mustard; a unique mottled Sharkskin; a stunningly bold Brick Red and a bronzed metallic Iron Rod.
Michael Smith's Labyrinth range is influenced by Moorish gardens and mazes, with a deep relief: "I wanted something that was both clean and geometric but with a sense of history," says Smith.
Made in Italy
Italy's Badalotti & Morelli has launched its new MA.DE collection by IRIS Ceramica. MA.DE (Materials and Design) offers tiles enriched with new textures and nuances.
Mother-of pearl, white and ivory create an inspirational environment rich in intrigue; Red Shield and Paragon Absolute Black are new special and distinctive hues in addition to the prestigious Victoria, Orlov, Excelsior and the pleasant Cocos. Each design is available in the new 120 x 60 cm and 120 x 15 sizes as well as the original 60 x 60, 60 x 30 and 30 x 30 cm. The MA.DE collection is rich in design and decorative content with various surface textures in a range of colours.
Imagine Tile's latest collections include a totally new take on interiors for coffee shops, as well as some high-resolution mastery for bespoke patterns.
The company's new Coffee Beans range offers a unique way to brighten up kitchens, cafes and coffee shops. Available in 12x12 inches, 8x8, 6x6 and 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 sizes, the range can be used on floors, counter tops and walls.
Imagine Tile's patent product is a glazed ceramic tile, which has a high resolution image and a commercial wear rating. "Imagine Tile's proprietary process is best described as making ceramic glazes act like printing inks. Our tiles are fired at extremely high temperatures that cause glaze and tile to literally fuse together making the design a permanent part of the tile," says Lynda Portelli, marketing and PR manager, Imagine Tiles.
Other designs from Imagine include Metro, which adds a versatile and decorative surfacing product to the company's selection of ceramic tile offerings. "The new design is a warm, deep copper featuring subtle metallic patterning. The look is fitting for a variety of aesthetic applications ranging from cutting-edge contemporary spaces to classic, traditional environments. Metro is excellent for both commercial and residential installations, indoors or out, giving designers a bold visual and textural palette to work with," Portelli remarks. Metro is available as 16x16, 8x8, 6x6, and 4 1/4 x 4 1/4. Co-ordinating bull nose trims are also available.
Meanwhile, Expressions is a commercial range that is durable and fashionable. Available in Florence and Canyon designs, Expressions combines colours and textures with Imagine Tile's innovative manufacturing process. "Expressions marries the latest thinking of leading industry designers with our unique manufacturing process, in which we use state-of-the-art digital imaging combined with cutting-edge ceramic production techniques to create distinctly visual tiles with a warm, natural hand-crafted feel," says Christian McAuley, president, Imagine Tile.
"Where high style is as important for a surface as its durability and ease of maintenance, Expressions will catch the eye as well as stand up to abuse."
The Canyon design, inspired by a piece of metal discovered in a 200 year old barn, has a natural, textured look. The design was created by Roche Fitzgerald of Roche Design, and is available in Slate, Blush, Aspen Blue, and Native Red.
The Florence design is inspired by Renaissance frescos, employing some of the same techniques of master painters, naturally layering textures and colours and boasting the distressed and crackled effects of an old, enduring Italian masterpiece. Florence offers the colours, Aspen White, Cathedral, Plaza, and Lapis.
The UK's Original Style has re-invented and relaunched its popular Glassworks collection. Continuing its traditions of generations of master craftsmen, every Glassworks tile is individually cut, coloured and finished by hand, creating a distinctive contemporary character. The translucent versatile material can be used on a variety of interior surfaces, and now offers an increased range of colours and sizes, from clear brilliant glass to a softer frosted finish. Options include glass or glass mixed with ceramics or natural stone, as well as many different textures.
This UK firm has launched its new wall tile range, Residence. These hand glazed tiles, with a rustic base, have been carefully designed to work with today's modern interiors. The collection is available in a range of colours that are designed to blend with a variety of fabrics and furnishings, while its gently undulating surface plays with light.
The Residence range comprises of Metropolitan - crisp, clean tiles with an iridescent finish ideal for kitchens or bathrooms; Cosmopolitan - richly opulent in warm and lively colours evocative of a Mediterranean landscape; Arcadian - soft and chalky with a crackled glaze and Decorative - a range of kitsch prints that include palms, fish, fruit and game.
Cooperative Ceramica D&Imola is an Italian manufacturer of porcelain tiles and slabs for residential, commercial, and institutional construction on floors and walls, exterior or interior. Ceramica D&Imola has added a number of new designs to its range of interior tiles. Finn offers three dimensional and dynamic surfaces with geometric or floral subjects, or modern fashion textures with a crocodile skin effect. It has a strong hi-tech impact in 30x60cm and 30x30 sizes, created to enhance the surfaces in every setting. It is available in three refined structural types: flowers, rods and crocodile skin treated with a special irregular honed finish, giving the tactile sensations of used leather with surprising optical and physical results. Finn also offers a range of options with flaming in gold and bronze glosses for a new metallic effect to furnish rooms with the nuances of avant-garde fashion.
Also by Ceramica D&Imola the Tinte Unite range extends into two surface structures in the large 60x60 cm size. Clean, essential and rigorously minimal, Tinte Unite is perfect for furnishing prestigious indoors and outdoors with elegant sobriety. Tinte Unite is a line with a current and contemporary charm made with a geometry of lines or dots to emphasise the light effect on the surfaces and the architectural volumes. Tinte Unite is available in classic white and black, which, due to the vibrating light on the thin textures, gives a wide variation in shade.
Astratta by Ceramica D&Imola offers a rainbow of pure colour. The absolute neutral white of the background becomes an exclusive canvas that in contrast brings out explosions of strong impact colours; vivacious and dynamic decorations ranging from romantic floral sensations to decorative and modern geometries. Available in the oversized 30x60 cm format, Astratta is double fired, making the bright reds, intense yellows and oranges, and the water coloured greens the protagonists for refined settings with strong chromatic sensibility.
Meanwhile, Nickel provides a more eclectic mix. Inspired by the magnetic chromatic effects of oxidised metals and their shades, Nickel characterises settings with its soft and harmonious passages of colour. The range is available in two selected finishes to strengthen the textured richness: natural and honed-rectified.
The base tile enhances the cladding with metal lines of aluminium, copper and brass effect, while the natural finish provides a modern take on glazed porcelain stoneware.
Based on the processes of steel manufacture, Spain's Apavisa has developed the Inox collection: technical porcelain that recreates the authenticity of steel. It has dimensional stability against abrupt changes of temperature - characteristics which metal lacks.
Offering an expressive, aggressive design and unique singularity, the new Inox line offers a final result finishing polish with identical grinding to the one applied in the metal industry. Inox is available in silver, chrome, copper and gold and in the two sizes 60x60 cm and 30x60 cm.
The Otta collection from Apavisa unites contemporary and the renovated baroque style. Made from porcelain, with a high bending resistance (61N/mm) Otta recreates the beauty and authenticity of natural Norwegian stone, using the latest technology to improve its technical and decorative benefits. Otto is available in anthracite and grey, in sizes 60x60 cm and 30x 60 cm, with finishes of natural, lappato (semi-polished) and corrugato (corrugated).
The new Lava collection from Apavisa is intended to be a highly suitable alternative to basalt stone but with the advantages of higher resistance and incorporating new possibilities of natural colours and textures. Its outstanding technical features make the Lava collection a multifunctional porcelain surface covering suitable for wall and floor for both outdoor and indoor use, avoiding the limitations of traditional stone. This new Apavisa collection is available in anthracite, grey, ivory and black, in sizes 60x120 cm, 30x120, 15x120, 60x60 and 30x60. Mosaics are also available.
Regarding finishes, the Lava collection will be available in the traditional natural and lappato finishes plus two new textures: bocciardato (bush hammered) and rigato (line texture).
The Zebrano collection from Apavisa offers the design, texture and colour of natural Zebrano wood. This new collection is available in four colours: ochre, rosso, black and beige. Steps, mosaics, borders and inserts are also available. The Zebrano collection is suitable for floors and walls, interiors and exteriors.