By Megan Salzano From Scandinavian minimalist design to biophilia and even the pandemic, global influences are shaping U.S. ceramic design. Whether it’s through calming colors or nature-inspired textures, ceramic styles are tapping the needs of today’s consumer to feel connected to nature, comforted and safe while at home.
“A design movement that I personally like to call ‘Cozy Essentials,’ which can be considered an evolution of minimalistic design, is a trend that combines the color white and the clean lines typical of Scandinavian design with the warmth of modern Mediterranean rustic style and the perfect imperfection of Japanese Wabi Sabi,” said Laura Grilli, lead product designer, Daltile. “It is part of the larger global trend/influence of well-being.”
Cozy Essentials embodies the idea of mixing different cultures and design trends, so they influence each other. The typical Scandinavian colors like white, concrete gray and black are accompanied by warmer hues like browns and tobaccos as well as natural materials such as leather and golden-brown woods. Combined with this color evolution is a more tactile experience. This trend speaks to the movement toward holistic design involving all senses.
“It continues to evolve as it is influenced by other cultures,” Grill said. “Japanese culture from one side and modern Mediterranean influence from the other side. Mediterranean influence is coming from the modern reinterpretation of the rustic design typical of the South of Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco.”
“Ceramics with natural, handmade and authentic textures that add warmth and comfort to a space while helping to blur the line between interior and exterior environments are a top trend directly related to the global pandemic,” said Suzanne Zurfluh, director of design and trend, Emser Tile. “People are seeking a connectedness to nature, the outdoors and even wildlife to create a serene atmosphere and to support their overall well-being during these uncertain times.”
Warm, earthy neutrals, aquatic blues and botanical greens that evoke a rich design aesthetic that is both soothing and revitalizing are trending. Non-uniformed textures and finishes that emulate organic materials with natural imperfections aim to add dimension and appeal to floor and wall surfaces in this category.
After a year of shelter-in-place orders, it’s no wonder Americans have a newfound relationship with their homes, thus creating a desire to invest in those homes more than ever before. The global pandemic not only significantly increased the amount of time people spend at home but also the way they function in their environment. Therefore, reflecting the need to make home improvements based on versatility, comfort and wellness.
Clean and comforting
The global pandemic has helped shape ceramic design for the foreseeable future, and easy-to-clean tile in comforting shades is in high demand. “With the importance of health, ceramic tiles have been very much in demand, especially in warm, calm and neutral tones and various shapes and sizes,” said Paulo Pereira, senior merchant, MSI. “We see a switch in demand from the ever-popular whites and grays to bright colors and warm tones—such as greens and blues—across wall and floor products. Homeowners across the U.S. have never been more vigilant about having durable tiles that are very easy to clean.”
In an attempt to expand their at-home living space, consumers are also looking for coordinating indoor and outdoor tiles that unite the two spaces seamlessly, more so than ever before.
Calm and collected
“After this very stressful and hectic year, Italian manufacturers are introducing product lines with more relaxing, spa-like tones and textures, which help instill a sense of calm in interior spaces,” said Brittney Harmond of Ceramics of Italy.
The continuing travel restrictions, which have forced consumers to spend much more time at home, have inspired people to embrace warm, earthy tones that bring nature indoors. It has also moved some consumers to style their homes in such a way that evokes feelings of travel and brings global cultures—so far out of reach of late—home.
Gianni Ruberti, sales, Mirage USA, added, that classic whites and warm colors combined with fun items have been arranged with one common purpose: making the home a cozy and relaxing place. “A safe retreat with all the accessories,” he said. “Bright, serene, classic themes put together in timeless arrangements. It’s out with the colors and styles that remind you of the city, office or industry, and in with soft tones, warm hues and even fun, playful colors.”