Innovations Extra! What’s new from coverings 2007
July 1st, 2007

July-August 2007

Year after year, tile manufacturers create new looks and tap new technology to stay current and keep ahead of the competition. 2007 is no exception. More realistic stone, retro patterns, and the urban look—monochromatic, large format porcelain to brushed metal—are just a few of the latest looks. Overlapping styles, as in stone looks used with metal trim pieces, for example, or tiny glass mosaics used with stone and ceramics were equally popular.

Stone looks

The newest manufacturing technology makes it possible to create porcelain tile with little or no repeat in the pattern. This makes for a more realistic version of the stone look.

Crossville’s new Tuscan Clay has V-4 variation and rough edges. The company’s Buenos Aires line has absolutely no repetition in the pattern. Crossville claims that even stone professionals would have difficulty distinguishing the porcelain from natural stone.

Lamosa showed several new porcelain tile lines, three featuring a stone-look. The new Savage line has dimension and tremendous variation. Pietra del Casale is meant to resemble the rustic warmth of Tuscan floors, and Yura Stone is smooth with fossil-like materials.

Animal prints

The animal skin style that debuted a few years ago, was huge in 2006, and included even more exotic tiles this year. One chic example is by Can Yalman Design for Canakkale Seramik. The omnipresent ads for the RepTile line were very eye catching. Rather than having each tile imitate a square section of animal skin, each of these tiles represents one snake’s scale or one irregularly shaped rectangle of the hide of an alligator. This distinctive look comes in bold colors to evoke the wild side.

Metal looks

More manufacturers have gotten on the metal tile bandwagon. As decos, these tiles work for a whole range of applications. In large format pieces, shiny has really taken off. This ultra modern finish keeps morphing into ever-newer looks. The hot colors seemed to be gold, platinum, and sparkly metallics.

Ceramiche Refin introduced the Platinum Collection, which included a large format panel with swirling shiny florals on a matte metallic background.

Graniti Fiandre brought in two new looks: the Platinum Collection and the New Collection, both of which exude sophisticated urban style.

Tau’s new Metallica line encompasses two trends: metal combined with stone, and metal mixed with bright colors.

Villeroy and Boch showed a dark grey tile called Fire and Ice. It had lights within the tiles, which was shown on stair risers. Viva introduced Pietra Luna a sparkly tile. It comes in several colors, but in navy it looks like the night sky.


Glass has grown exponentially for years. Once only for pools and bathrooms, glass tile has moved into the rest of the house. Shelter magazines show glass fireplace surrounds, kitchen backsplashes, trim for floors, and glass mosaics as focus walls in living, dining rooms and even front porches.

In what was probably the glitziest booth at Coverings this year, Bisazza showed enormous glass murals, which twinkled and shimmered from across the hall. There were big patterns that looked like upholstery, natural designs, 24 carat gold mosaics, damask patterns, hounds-tooth designs, and dozens of other large scale patterns reminiscent of wallpaper, only much more glamorous.

Standard one-inch squares are no longer the only way to think of glass mosaics. Tiny unevenly shaped glass pieces were seen in many booths, as were much larger ones. Hakatai showed jazzy wall-sized murals in soft neutrals done with tiny pieces. Oceanside Glasstile announced the release of Geologie, a glass and slate mosaic blend that is full of color and still earthy.

Marca Corona introduced Mon Amore floral patterns. This pattern was especially pretty in the blue and green with various patterns that can be mixed to create a quilt design.

Fabric looks

Viva presented Haute Couture at Cersaie 2006. Aptly named, the line has elegant leather texture, and neutral colors such as noir, café, amande and blanc.

Other new textile inspired introductions this year include Ethe’s Masterplan collection of large format, textured surfaces and resistant materials in sophisticated black, dark brown, grey, hazel, light grey and ivory.

Canakkale Seramik and Kalebodur showed “Textile Series” with a linen texture. Another of their introductions exemplifies a trend two-for-one that incorporates large overall patterns and fabric looks. It is called “Design 1960” and it features brown and orange abstract florals.

Texture and Lines

Another trend that seems to have grown in the past year is the multi-colored striped tile. From a distance, these colors visually merge into a neutral. Upon closer inspection, they prove to be a range of colors from browns and oranges to white and blue combinations. Because they are colorful, the tiles exude warmth, but the straight lines and the neutrality of the overall look makes these tiles perfect for the urban style, too.

Companies introducing tiles with lines this year are: Sant’Agnostino with N.O.W.; Land Porcelanico with the new Reflexion series of rectified porcelain pieces for commercial use; and Vitra with the Dahlia series, full of striking colors.

In the wavy line department, there were also many new introductions. Saime showed its new Pop Art line. Ragno has its new Arkitessuto with wavy lines and Bijou from Viva’s Nouvelle Vague Collection with curved lines.

The range of textures has grown to include tiles that have large sculptural dimension. There are also many tiles with lines either carved into the surface, or protruding. There are many straight lines but also curving and turning lines. Many companies showed wavy lines both on two-dimensional tiles and on three-dimensional pieces.

Progetto Ceramic showed Particular Mostarda, which has ripples, and Particolare Origano in olive green with rings and ridges. Their new Matrix design has interesting bumps in a square pattern.


Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, discussed color combinations that will speak to consumers’ emotions. Highlights were a rich burgundy, metal looks and luxury. Among other colors, Eiseman predicts that deep rich pinks, burgundies, and other rosy purples are going to be popular in 2008.

Art tile

As one might expect, the handmade tile artists always have lots of creative new looks in tile. Motawi showed several new floral designs; Calla Lilies, Amaryllis, and Tea Roses from the Dard Hunter collection. They also presented the New Louis Sullivan line. According to Karim Motawi, “We make what we like ourselves. Sullivanesque architecture was keeping me up at night. So, I knew we just had to create this line.” They introduced Chicago-style relief tiles: Halsted, Sheridan and Burnham.

The future

Essentially the trend this year is to one-up last year’s new designs. Modern looks get hipper, stones and woods get more realistic and exotic. Metals get more glamorous with gold and platinum. Glass mixes with every other material to create new looks. If there’s a look you or your customers want, it’s out there!


StonePeak brought their Italian-designed Ville Collection and the new Vulcani series, both through body porcelains in a variety of colors, sizes and trims.

Leuca has a Mediterranean stone appearance.

Viva showed Etno Chic, a large scale pattern of coral on white field.

Elaine introduced “Labrador,” a natural, stone-look porcelain for both residential and commercial applications available in 12×12 and 18×18.

Crossville’s Color Blox Too introduces a new striped version that can be used alone or with the solid Color Blox series.

StonePeak has a new “Fashion Collection” that celebrates the texture of linen, wool and cotton in a through body porcelain.

Canakkale Seramik and Kalebodur showed “Textile Series” with a linen texture. Another of their introductions exemplifies a trend two-for-one that incorporates large overall patterns and fabric looks.

Villeroy Boch showed a steely gray tile with a pink tapestry focal point.

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