Designer Briefing: Design Trends to Follow What’s new in tile design trends? It’s all about mixing and matching.
May 1st, 2004


May-Jun 2004

TileDealer caught up with certified tile consultant Patti Fasan at Coverings to get her “insider’s view” of tile trends 2004. Technology has driven a lot of this year’s trends.

Today’s tile programs include dozens of formats for every tile. Sizes start at the smallest mosaics, 1-inch by 1-inch or 2-inch by 2-inch and move on to include 24 by 36-inch rectangles and larger, with a full range of square and rectangular options in between. The variety lends itself to detailed installations, including borders on floors and walls, wainscoting on walls, and more.

Fasan leads attendees at her Coverings style seminars through a list of what’s “in”. Large formats represent just one of the technological developments. Technology has also introduced:

Rectified tile. Water jet cutting makes all sides of the tile uniform. The result is an absolutely flat tile that replicates stone or even wood. Tiles fit so closely together that grout is almost invisible. This is a new look & a new installation.

Weathered steel finish that looks like it’s oxidizing metal, but unlike metal, it won’t bleed onto adjacent surfaces. Fasan believes architects will embrace this look.

Double pressing refers to tile that is pressed, decorated, glazed, pressed a second time, then fired to incorporate the glaze into the tile. The resulting color depth mimics stone but offers the installation and maintenance advantages of tile. Only four manufacturers (one in Spain, two in Italy and one in Turkey) offer this technology.


The color palette options:

Last year’s vanilla and cream are deeper and warmer. Warm taupes, red/browns, and faded blacks help to balance the technology in our lives.

Black & white. Classic glamour from the 30s, along with lipstick red. Black listels frame other tiles.

Wow colors from the 50s – lemon, tangerine, lime. Rust is making a comeback with mossy greens and cream.

Stainless steel influence in glass tiles and ice blues.


Shape & texture:

Multiple listels that can be stacked horizontally to imitate stone or vertically to accentuate an arch or other architectural detail.

Molded, three-dimensional tiles in small and larger formats to create texture and pattern when used with companion two-dimensional pieces. This is especially dramatic in subtle white-on-white or gray-on-gray installations.

Subtle, tone-on-tone designs that mimic fabric finishes like damask.


What do these choices mean for the dealer?

End users are going to see more sophisticated designs combining a full range of sizes and/or textures in monochromatic layouts, eye-popping color combos using brights and neutrals, combinations of glass and porcelain, and more. Fasan believes this growing number of choices adds up to great opportunities for the dealer. These same consumers are going to search out designers and suppliers who can produce these looks for them. This favors the professional designer, says Fasan, because it takes skill to achieve the sophisticated layout to assemble and maximize the material. Fasan believes that the consumer wants technology along with expert design. It isn’t available everywhere and it’s what differentiates the dealer from the big box store.

“If you aren’t in the high end and don’t know how to design in all the sizes,” says Fasan, “you’re going to get burned.”


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