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Monday, October 19, 2020

Maximalism in the mainstream

Over 100 Spanish ceramic manufacturers showcased their latest collections at Cersaie 2019; the world-leading international exhibition of ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings.

With input from Tile of Spain, the Spanish manufacturers trade association and a key source of information about ceramic tile and its architectural application, The Specifier’s Guide has drawn together the key design trends to emerge at this year’s show. And this is no easy task as the tile market is currently distinguished by a wide range of contrasting and overlapping trends that saw ceramic tile being presented in a huge variety of different shapes, materials, geometries, colours, and styles in Bologna.

Classics are renewed
Ceramic tile materials inspired in nature, such as marble, have been updated into the most vanguard styles. Ceramic floor and wall tiles have thus achieved enhanced elegance and sophistication. The big formats resembling luxurious marble have almost reached perfection and today are often mixed together to create unique styles. This product is the answer for any surface and fits into any decor; from the most minimalist to the most exotic.

Heedless to the passing of time, wood never goes out of style. Designing with this material means creating new geometries which, in turn, means wider creativity. The mixture of different materials opens a door to new designs which surprise with their richness of colour. The fusion and combination of different marbles with wall tiles inspired by wood offers designs with incredible aesthetic results.

Playing with forms and graphics
Ceramic wall tiles with graphic designs continue to be a hot trend. More prominent are geometric patterns represented by micro-reliefs or in full colour, which go well together with plain colour finishes, creating spaces that are original and truly stand out.

Today’s market also sees graphic jungles which are complemented by daring floral designs, breaking the strict functionality of the floor tiles, turning surfaces in true works of art.

Formats for every taste
This season we will see ceramic and wall tiles with larger formats, granting a bigger presence to the materials. A true trend are finishes inspired by cement, which offers unlimited possibilities and adapts to diverse decorative styles. One option is to combine floors and wall tiles with the same material, which is highlighted by the almost imperceptible joints, making spaces look larger than they really are.

In order to balance the popularity of large formats, this year ceramic tiles have obtained a more decorative dimension with small formats, where colour is the true star. This is a really strong trend currently. Among the prominent colours are blues, pinks, yellows, and earth tones, perfect for adding a touch of individuality to any room.

These recent trends seen at Cersaie, build on design themes that have been developing over the past couple of years. One has seen the tendency to look beyond structure and function when it comes to floors and walls and think decorative. In 2019, ceramic tiles with geometric designs have played a major role in the visual design of virtually every room. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 20s and 30s, these geometric shapes create attractive spaces and sophisticated environments while being sensitive to the nostalgia of the past eras.

Alongside this, have been doses of colour that shy away from the traditional monochromatic hues and convert floors and walls into statement surfaces. These strong new tonalities are capable of completely transforming design by giving the allusion of a larger space, while also playing on the reflections of natural light. For 2019 there were no clear favourite colours, but rather a commitment to a combination of all colours in the pursuit for more daring designs and stylistic experimentation.

2019 also saw different textures and reliefs introduced in order to enhance the aesthetics of floors and walls. Weathered, high-gloss, volumetric, rugged, and embossed finishes break the strict functionality of the material and turn ceramic tile into works of art.

Collections that are based on elements from the past remained popular in 2019, and this trend will continue. Year after year marble inspired ceramics lend a sense of purity and infinity. Last year, manufacturers lost their fear of dark tones and released collections in black, green, and grey hues for a more dramatic and sophisticated feel.

The classically traditional Terrazzo inspired ceramics also remained strong in 2019, but this design direction has reinvented itself by experimenting with different colours, shapes, and sizes to suit every project.

Diamonds, botanicals and wondrous woods
With geometric tiles never ceasing to be popular, the diamond shape is a dazzling motif and is used with panache to embellish surfaces whether it is a heritage-style hydraulic tile or a sleek polished contemporary small format. This interesting shape offers multiple geometric attributes for designers to explore. A diamond can appear with all four sides congruent or as two opposite pairs of congruent sides. As the trend for maximalism reaches a crescendo, diamond patterns lend themselves to being used in big and bold ways.

Botanical patterns and green hues are proving popular for décor tiles. Greens are evocative of the rainforest or woodland and can appeal to our wilder natures through their subtlety and simplicity of their beauty. Finishes range from lustrous rich glazes such as those seen on artisanal-style tiles or a more contemporary matt. And for a really dramatic focal point, multi-coloured botanical designs make a strong statement, often featuring green as a dominant colour, but also vibrant colours such as red, pink or yellow.

Wood-effect porcelain has always been impressive with its close facsimile of the natural material, but today’s Spanish manufacturers are pushing at the boundaries of timber looks. The diversity of designs for wood-effect tiles has expanded significantly, delivering subtle details and effective mixtures of textures. Wood-effect colour palettes have expanded, with Nordic whites hitting a more contemporary note. Inspiration also comes from the woodcarver with decorative reliefs drawing upon many artisanal techniques.

New neutrals face modern maximalism
Neutral surfaces will always play their part in commercial and residential schemes with designers and architects stimulated by the greater choice in the market. Whether white, beige, taupe, grey, or black, ‘the new neutrals’ are remarkable not because one hue is more dominant than another but because the tile surface is notable for its innovation and high performance. Flooring surfaces are available that are frost-resistant, anti-slip and suitable for high-traffic areas, making them ideal for a sleek segue from interior to exterior.

Wall tiles are equally flexible. New technology allows for matt and polished finishes to sit alongside each other and to add lustre or sparkle effects. 3D tiles are ever more inventive and most often offered in neutral colours, while all kinds of textures allow for customisation in any space. Slab formats – including marble, stone and cement effects – are larger and thinner than ever, offering ease of installation and dramatic results.

Ceramic tiles with dramatic, bold looks are now everywhere; and extremes in decoration are expressed eclectically through Spanish tile designs. Many major manufacturers are creating tile ranges that show off their ability to create something elaborate, such as a forged gateway or a painted scene. Maximalism can be any kind of material or effect, so long as it is spectacular: richly veined, over-exaggerated marble effects; a geometric heritage pattern, or even a solid colour that is particularly vivid: today anything goes.

Although it is hard to highlight one colour above all others, it is evident that a large number of Spanish manufacturers are offering an imaginative décor tile range in soft pink to work as an accent alongside ranges of neutral larger formats. It seems this soothing tone continues to be in step with the mood of the times and is equally effective in a Seventies retro pattern as it is in a metro-style glazed format.

Artisanal ambience
For every trend that takes hold of our imaginations, there is its counterpoint. As much as Spanish manufacturers are impressively embracing high-tech and innovation in their sector, they are also proudly conscious of their rich heritage. The popularity of artisanal-style tiles increases unabated and there’s no shortage of small-format tiles with sumptuous glazes and ‘homemade’ effects to add character to any space.

Creating tile ranges that can easily be mixed and matched with other co-ordinating ranges is not a new idea, but it’s certainly a buzz concept. It is now essential to provide the customer with everything needed to complete a room or space.

Previously marble and wood looks might be kept apart, but now you can mix them up, enabled by a choice of identical formats in complementary tones. A heritage-style hexagon tile can transition gently into an uber-contemporary cement-effect format, and it is notable that many of the latest Spanish tile designs offer even greater fluidity in material combinations.

More at: www.tileofspain.com

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