With the warm and neutral earth tones of autumn on the horizon, ceramic tile manufacturers have seemingly followed suit, mimicking the look of fall for the floor. Faux fabric looks, stripes and metallics are also in, as are a growing number of mosaic offerings. The following are some of what some major players are debuting this season.
Ceramic Tiles of Italy
According to Danielle DeVita, what’s old is new again. “Thanks to popular shows like ‘Mad Men,’ the swinging ’60s are making a big comeback. In tile, surfaces will be transformed into masculine stripes, delicate fabrics and muted metallics. The 2011 forecast calls for everything from renaissance-inspired looks to patchwork patterns to what Pantone is calling ‘the mosaic of color.’
“Love the vintage ostrich and crocodile skin accessories of the 1950s and ’60s?” she asked. “Keep an eye out for Paolo Zani’s new Murmansk for Ascot. The textured surface of this high-tech, double-pressed ceramic begs to be touched.
“Like a tailored suit, Lea’s Lines collection is also backed by a designer label from Patrick Norguet and features crisp, clean stripes of varying heights.”
Along with Waves, the two series are big and bold. FAP’s Nastro tile and accessories bring Paul Smith’s stripes into the bathroom. La Fabbrica’s 5th Avenue features decors including moon, waves and stripes, while its slim Cathay 4 Fine series is a ceramic alternative to ornamental latticework.
“Maison Sichenia’s Jardin is dusted with barely there flowers and interlaced brushstrokes revealing a contemporary romanticism,” DeVita continued. “The same elegance can be found in Phorma’s Pietra di Damasco. With decors inspired by boiseries and Baroque coffered ceilings, ABK’s Marbleway gives a new twist to antique paneling. Like a modern quilt, Cir’s Villa Emilia pieces together tiles with lightly stamped floral and geometric silhouettes.
“Fondovalle’s Metalgloss and Murano each add a subtle and sophisticated metallic sheen to the glazed porcelain surface,” she concluded. “Speaking of glazes, Cersarda’s Cotti Glamour blends traditional terracotta with a liquid metal mix to form a vibrant and luminous collection that is available in 11 colors. Similarly Flair, another new line from Cir, presents a kaleidoscope of color.”
Crossville has enhanced its popular Empire Porcelain Stone line, which echoes the grandeur of 19th-century France, with the look and feel of natural marble, noted Laurie Lyza, director of marketing. Empire now boasts 20% SCS-certified recycled content, has an updated color palette and is offered in a range of sizes and shapes, from mosaics to 21- inch large format to popular planks. A choice of polished and unpolished finishes increases Empire’s versatility. Designed for commercial and residential installs, Empire resists staining and scratching and will remain virtually maintenance free. Inspired by the American landscape, Vista Americana captures the warmth of its coast, the romance of its rolling hills and the grandeur of its mountain ranges, Lyza noted. A moderately priced porcelain stone in four design-friendly colors and a variety of popular sizes, this new series is ideal for both commercial and residential applications.
And as part of Crossville’s Get Planked! program, Vista can be cut into additional popular plank shapes with no minimum order and a short lead time.
Neutrals remain the top-selling colors, said Lori Kirk-Rolley, senior marketing director. “According to the Color Marketing Group, overall colors are trending toward those influenced by gray undertones.
New from Dal-Tile is Identity, a color body porcelain floor and glazed ceramic wall collection that features three distinctive surface textures: Fabric, which resembles fine tweed with subtle grains and metallic specks; Grooved, which mirrors the depth of raked sand, and Cement, which possesses the modern look of cement combined with movement and variation. Available in the same seven coordinating colors as the floor tile, the wall line comes in a contemporary 8 x 20 size available in gloss and matte finishes. A coordinating gloss and matte decorative accent is also available in each color.
VitraArt Harmony and Tranquil are due in October. Harmony will feature two glass backsplash choices and wall tile lines. The collection will come in six blends of solid and frosted colors in three sizes.
Tranquil, made of 80% recycled content, comes in 12 solid colors in six sizes and is GreenGuard certified. “New sizes showcase a blend of rectangular formats and colors,” said Sean Cilona, director of marketing.
Another new offering is Quartez HDP, a color body porcelain featuring digital printing technology. It is available in commercial and residential floor and wall tile lines, and features a quartzite look with high variation and three bold colors, three standard sizes and three mosaics, including a 3D pattern, bullnose, listellos and cove base.
According to Jim Dougherty, director of porcelain tile, this fall Mannington is introducing two tile series: Cairo and Catalina. “Cairo represents what we call ‘Old World meets high style’ and offers the look of slate in a porcelain product.” It comes in 12 x 12, 18 x 18 and 12 x 24 sizes with bullnose, and two complementary mosaics.
Catalina is a sandstone look and offers a visual interest “without being overpowering,” he said. It comes in 13- and 18-inch sizes with bullnose and a complementary mosaic.”
Mannington has also fully integrated its Accent Gallery pieces into its portfolio and created the Accent Gallery Coordination Guide. “It not only shows all the field tiles and accents in our line, but it also gives suggestions for putting all those pieces together for a truly custom look. The guide has also been interpreted on our website, mannington.com. When looking at a particular tile in the porcelain section, just click on the Coordinating Accents tab to see all the suggested coordinating accent pieces, as well.”
On the subject of trends, Dougherty said, the focus is around new sizes and anything that can create a custom look. “Larger format tiles, like 12 x 24, are being routinely chosen for kitchens, foyers and baths—and not just in large spaces. And we’re seeing a lot of use of accent pieces—the jewelry that dresses up a room—in glass and metal.”
The Timeless Collection, enhanced with a spiff program offered to its premier retailers, is geared for a major fall launch, said Hector Narvaez, executive vice president, sales and marketing. The rectified porcelain captures the “true essence of honed marble’s rich color variations, dramatic veining and sensuous movement through our state-of- the-art 3D technique—digital design definition.”
Three colorways achieve “a fresh take on the perennially popular look of traditional marbles” in an extensive range of square and rectangular sizes, he explained, complemented by a mesh-mounted 13-inch hexagon mosaic.” Several field sizes are offered.
Produced in the U.S. with minimal maintenance requirements, rectified edges, durability and slip-resistance in color body porcelain, plus the contribution to LEED credits, the Timeless Collection is truly a “win-win” for today’s residential and commercial customers, Narvaez said. The associated promotion runs through Oct. 31 and offers a $.10 per-square- foot spiff on sales of selected sizes.
In 2009, Mohawk launched its first ceramic product using Reveal Imaging, an imaging design process that creates one-of-a-kind realism with un- matched color definition, detail and veining, noted Roger Farabee, vice president of marketing, hard surfaces. “With two new products in 2010, Mohawk retailers are now able to offer their consumers the exact look of slate and stone with none of the maintenance problems that traditionally come with those products.”
Novara glazed porcelain uses the technology to emulate the timeless characteristics found naturally in marble and travertine stone, he noted. “It offers luxury and richness that can be subtle and refined—or striking and bold. Novara is available in floor and wall tiles with complete trim and decorative accent packages that provide a custom look no matter where it is installed.
Cardenas glazed porcelain provides natural beauty with a more rustic stone visual, Farabee explained. It uses Reveal Imaging to produce a color palette that ranges from cream and beige to deep mocha and golden hues. Both products are very competitively priced, Farabee concluded.
Tile of Spain
Spanish tile manufacturers have plenty to offer this fall.
Azulejos Plaza will unveil Tuscany, a porcelain product featuring a combination of different reliefs and ink jet printing technology. The resulting look is classified as Rappolano, created from a selection of the finest rappolano stones available, noted area manager David Owen. “This gives great variation from one piece to another, approximately 80 to 100 different faces.” The series is available in four colors and two sizes with 2-inch mosaics.
The look of concrete is “flawlessly captured” by Ceramicas Aparici to meet minimalist design needs, noted the company’s Javi Carrasco. “This rectified porcelain tile is double-fired for ultimate durability and is available in standard thickness and our slim tile option, Slim4.”
Azulcascais from Land Porcelanico takes its name and inspiration from the natural stone typically found in Portugal, said the company’s Lola Peris. This full-body, technical porcelain is available in three formats and three colors.
Grespania has several new products planned specifically for the North American market, said Andrew Treacy, sales manager, North America. As a follow-up to its Krimiss Range launched this spring at Coverings (FCNews, May 17/24), the company will launch Scabos with an accompanying matte finish wall package. The porcelain floor tiles feature a rustic, matte finish with the wall in trademark Grespania white body ceramic.
The concentration for the Navarti Group this year is on its new HD collection. The Calacatta and Daino Reale series feature the latest inkjet digital technology “perfectly reproducing natural stone and marble in both matte and polished finishes,” said Gary Davis, East Coast regional sales manager. “The Riverstone series also uses inkjet digital technology combined with pressing to perfectly reproduce the look of natural river stones.”
Tau Ceramica’s newest collection, inspired by the most spectacular marble materials, offers interior designers elegance and exclusivity, said Paco Cid, marketing manager. “Breccia, Livorno and Colonna are as timeless, majestic and beautiful as the material by which they are inspired. The predominant feature of all three collections is spectacular sparkle and a very natural yet technically complex finish.” Each series falls under Tau’s highly successful Lumina collection.
Breccia is inspired by Breccia Aurora stone. The crystalline effect of its highly polished surface reveals veins, unique shapes and chromatic variations that can be applied to key spaces such as homes, offices, shopping centers, public buildings, etc. Livorno is inspired by Calacatta marble and features a “smooth combination of veins, contrasts, nuances and well-balanced, natural chromatic effects that give an appearance of dynamic movement,” Cid added. Colonna, is directly inspired by the material used to build the square of the same name in Rome, best known for the majestic Aurelian column, Cid noted. The marble used for the Colonna series is grayish in color and available in a lapped 45-inch format, with 60 x 60 amber, beige, gray and ivory versions.