Coverings 2007: The Leading Edge of Tile Trends

Chicago, IL, April 25, 2007--Trend spotters had a field day—four field days, in fact—at Coverings 2007, the premier international ceramic tile and stone show held at Chicago’s McCormick Place from April 17 to April 20. Those in search of high style found the mother lode on an exhibition floor filled with fashion-forward examples of the latest design and technological innovations from around the world. As trend guru Maxine Laurer of Sphere Trending noted in her Wednesday morning lecture, “Tile Trends: On the Edge and Ahead of the Curve,” this is an age of abundance and of high-end luxury, and today’s design-savvy, globe-trotting, digitally linked consumers want to enjoy every aspect of every experience—in personalized environments filled with products customized to their individual specifications.



Many of today’s most stylish tiles seem straight off the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York: metallic surfaces, particularly liquid-like gold, silver and platinum, are everywhere. So, too, are the eternally chic faux looks: faux marbre, faux bois, and faux skins, among others, are omnipresent, and often finished with a chic metallic sheen. Menswear seems here to stay, with linen looks, pinstripes, and herringbones dressing an array of new products. Yet the feminine mystique remains, with arabesque patterns, lace-inspired tracery, and flowers, flowers, flowers flooding the show floor. Organic themes abound, too, as do graphics, super graphics, and geometrics, particularly circles and dots. Texture, too, triumphs as a top trend—and in a wide variety of scales. Tiles today are awash in color, in a palette of bold brights and cheery hues that expands well beyond the traditional spectrum of the rainbow. Moreover, in this technologically transformed society where continuous change is the only constant, the desire for the tactile, the handmade, and the artful continues to resurface.



Trends being trends, overlap happens. Designers, like consumers, revel in the mix. Circular motifs, for example, may be limned in gold or silver leaf; texture and color may converge; exotic woods and linen looks may take on glimmering glazes; and so on. But art, as always, abounds.



Coverings 2007 put on a heavy metal show, with gold, silver, platinum—and bronze, brass, and pewter—adding sparkle and shine to a host of new products. In its DesignTaleStudio program of ceramic art, Ceramiche Refin offered Pareti d’autore, a limited-edition series of two designs, one with platinum and one with 24-karat gold; each can be hung singly or used in multiples to create décor on the wall. Steuler Design introduced gold tiles in various shapes and sizes. Adex USA featured diamond-shaped tiles with lopped off corners and various textures (pillow, bevel, lattice) covered in liquid-like gold, silver, or copper glazes, as well as textured accent pieces (sphere, pyramid, flat) in the same metallic finishes. Stonepeak Ceramics introduced Gray Wool, textured tiles that resemble woven wool with a mod metallic finish. Artistic Tile introduced La Leaf, glass tiles backed in metal leaf, and Goldstone, with etched circular patterns filled with metal leaf. Eliane had metallic tiles with several different textures. Deltaker introduced a wide range of metal-finished tiles, including the Piedra Metallic collection, which includes both 10 x 10 pieces and a wide variety of patterned inserts. Favrile Glass Tiles featured two metal-heavy glass tile series: Favrile, and Gilded Age. Cobsa launched Codigo, a platinum-finished series of decorative tiles and accents. Monocibic introduced Brass, Graphite, and Mercury finishes.


The Fabulous Faux

Skin is in, in tile as in fashion accessories. From croc to alligator and snake, faux skin patterns are among tile’s most telling trends. Kale Group’s RepTile Collection, created by Can Yalman Design, features three styles of tiles, each representing one scale of a lizard, crocodile, or snake’s skin. Sahara Designs offers a different type of skin-inspired treatment, with its Fish Scale series, offered in two sizes. Tau presented Serp, a lizard-textured tile in a wide range of colors and sizes. Garo introduced Vendome, a sleek textured tile with an alligator-skin pattern. Florim’s Rex division rolled out Croco Tabac as part of its launch of Matouche, a collection of tiles with pronounced textures.


Faux marbres, or tiles that resemble marble and other stones, were all over the show floor. Marrazzi’s Cimmaron looks like honed slate and is available in many colors. Florim Ceramiche’s Cerim brand introduced the D.Stone Collection in a palette that includes chalk, rust, and charcoal. Floor Gres offered Stonetech/1.0, a faux-stone glaze treatment in a range of nature-inspired earthtones. El Molino Ceramicas presented JetAitana, with a surface resembling stacked shale, and Jet Sagunto, with the surface pattern and texture of Mediterranean stone mosaics.


Among the faux bois, or ceramic wood look-alikes, are Glam Wood, from Florim’s Rex Ceramiche Artistiche division, Inalco’s Hardwood Series (Nogal and Cherry), Land Porcelanico’s Warm Series, and CasalGrande Padana’s Metalwood Collection, which also includes patterned decorative panels with a mixture of “woods” that can be used to create wall murals.


It’s Raining Menswear

Apavisa and Majorca are among those launching tiles with menswear fabric themes ranging from wool to linen to pinstripe. On a less tailored note, Trikeenan featured a classic herringbone. Cerim offered the I Tessuti Collection, an interpretation of tweed available in four quietly elegant shades of gray. Atmosphere Stone Design featured Glasstek, a tile with a textured surface patterned after a mid-weight weave. Ceramiche Astor introduced the Klis Collection, a series of tiles with the texture of raw silk.

The Fabulous Fems

From lace-inspired tracery to arabesques in all scales to florals, the feminine influence flourishes. El Molino Ceramicos offered Décor Flores, a cheery floral pattern with a hand-drawn quality. Garo grew a garden of decorative floral tiles, both two-toned and multi-colored, in its Habitare Series (jasmine), Mood Series (tulips, orchids), and Sena Series (roses). Florim’s Cerim division introduced Floreale, a bouquet of floral patterns large-scale and small in shades of white, cream, taupe, and gray; it also featured Millerighe, some with allover flora, and others with just several stems. Toprak Seramik cultivated the floral market with Elisa Dekor and Pella Gardenya. Viva offered a wonderful blue-and-white floral designed by Paola Navone, as well as the photo-transfer tiles of its Luminescent Nouvelle Vague series.


Arabesque patterns also spread delicately across the show floor. Florim’s Rex Ceramiche Artistiche division launched its Metaux Collection, which included two arabesque designs, one large-scale and one small. Roca featured Pietra Damasco, and Tau also had an embroidery look, with Ranger.


Organics, Graphics, Supergraphics, and Texture, Too

From Dom’s Tonic Collection, designed in collaboration with Catherine Braconnier of MUDstyle, the Montreal-based design firm, to Decorativa’s Aichi, Kyoto, and Fuji, to Favrile Glass Tile’s Textured Antique, to N&C Live Tiles’s Perla 8 Glass Floor Tiles, texture triumphed at this year’s show. PT. Bintang Cakra Kencana introduced a series of limestone surfaces for interior walls in textures that resembled various basketweaves.

Garo offered Tate, with interlocking M.C. Escher-inspired designs in large scales and striking colors, and Fifth Avenue, with a Saul Steinberg-esque squiggle. As part of its Matouche Collection, Florim’s Rex Ceramiche offered le rythme de l’ombre, a porcelain tile with inset porcelain leaves.

Related Topics:Coverings, Florim USA, Stonepeak Ceramics