January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17
By Nicole Murray
The bigger the pattern, the better. That pretty much sums up the overarching trend seen in tile introductions unveiled at Surfaces 2017.
Daltile, via its Panoramic collection, introduced a porcelain slab measuring 10½ ft x 51⁄3 feet. The products are available in eight colors in- thicknesses of 6mm and 12mm. According to Kim Albrecht, brand manager, the large slabs are ideal for floors, wall or countertops. “This is a testament to what can be done,” she explained. “We have never done anything this large. It is one thing to hear about it, it is quite another to actually see it. These looks have been popular in Europe and we now see it coming over to the U.S.”
The large-format theme was evident across the show floor, including the Marazzi space. The company’s signature product at Surfaces was Materika, which was displayed in a 16 x 48 wall format.
Materika is offered in four color options available in three styles—Flat, Linear and Wave. “Our focus is on high-end residential bold designs with a very fashion forward look,” said Micah Hand, brand manager. “As long as we are being innovative and think outside the box we can continue to create extraordinary products.”
Manufacturers attributed the move toward bigger formats and larger overall sizes to changing consumer tastes and preferences. “Everything is getting wider and longer, and people are loving it,” said Manny Llerena, director of sales and marketing, MS International (MSI). “As tile sizes expand, it is important to have every single size, style and width visibly available in your showrooms so consumers can visualize what they are going to end up with.”
In illustration, Llerena cited the company’s new porcelain wood plank waterfall display that showcases the various options for the consumer.
Beyond larger formats, suppliers also demonstrated their ability to develop a wide array of colors and styles. Take MSI’s Domino collection, which plays off black and white to give consumers flexibility when designing. The collection contains 3 x 6 wall tiles available in white, gray or almond paired with a glossy, flat or beveled design, which may be accented with black and white floor tiles measuring 12 x 24 or 24 x 24.
“These colored tiles have been around forever because they are very style neutral,” said Emily Holle, creative director. MS International. “These colors can be applied to a traditional house as well as a modern house depending on how one’s style may adapt over time.”
Suppliers are also developing products and programs that give consumers and designers the ability to mix and match. Case in point is Emser Tile’s new CODE series, which features a variety of shapes, colors, dimensions and finishes.
“CODE lets consumers create their own aesthetics for endless looks and design flexibility,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing. “It is as if the consumer is using a set of puzzle pieces to get exactly what she wants. For example, she can use hexagons and trapezoids faced in multiple directions for different looking patterns. The customer can even add a three-dimensional effect as an accent line along the wall.”
Other suppliers focused on out-of-the-ordinary products. K Stone, for example, displayed a variety of onyx and marble tiles available in a wide array of colors and designs. “We specialize in products that your neighbor doesn’t have,” said Adam Anderson, president. “Depending on the customer’s preferences, we have an onyx or marble design that is for her. We have whites, golds and grays—just about everything.”
—Ken Ryan also contributed to this story.