Posted on May 19, 2017
While porcelain tile has long been renowned as a functional and foundational element in design, the style-forward nature of contemporary tile enables the material to step from the background and take center stage in overall design schemes.
Innovations in technology have taken tile big time literally—from field tile sizes with 3 ft dimensions and gauged porcelain tile panels up to 1Mx3M. The larger field tile sizes can be offered in plank lengths and varied, modular sizes. The range of options make it more possible than ever to extend tile’s reach, enabling the same stylish, creative solution on the floor to be carried upward to the wall, or even from the indoors to the exterior surfaces. Innovations in digital printing have allowed tile manufacturers to create exciting new visuals, both emulating natural materials and pulling from inspirations outside of the natural world.
The evolution of these looks emerges in both broad sweeps and subtle variations, and while identifying the large movements may be simple, understanding the subtleties is key to creating nuanced and contemporary spaces. Here are few of the most important trends at work in tile today:
Wood looks now account for an estimated 25% of the porcelain tile market, and the breadth of style options available today is broad: some realistic, some representational, and some downright funky.
While early wood visuals tended to emulate the most popular looks in hardwood, contemporary visuals represent a dichotomy in tastes, tending towards either refined, cleaner grain looks, like our Nest line, or highly textured, rustic looks married with other design influences, as in our Reclamation collection.
Concrete looks are a strong and growing trend in the porcelain tile market. As with wood looks, some of these tend towards cleaner visuals, while others are renditions of material with a patina of age and use. In either case, these dimensional looks speak to the urban chic trend so popular today and impart a cool, industrial vibe to any space. Our Gotham collection is a representation of this trend.
From linen to burlap, fabric looks are gaining a foothold in the tile market thanks to their ability to impart visual texture. Today’s printed weaves range from wide to tight and are often mixed with concrete or wood elements to create unique-to-tile looks that can suit both refined and rustic decors. Our Ready to Wear collection elegantly emulates the warp and weft of fabric.
While innovation in tile technology enables the material to beautifully emulate almost any material, there is a resurgent interest in tile that simply looks like itself, think subway or traditional Portuguese styles here. These abstract looks carry a handcrafted vibe in line with the increased appreciation for the makers’ movement that’s so influential today. Contemporary versions of these traditional favorites often feature a modern twist and utilize on-trend color palettes.
As seen in the interview (above) with Scott Jones, who serves as our director of product management, Crossville is keenly apprised of trends within our industry, as well as shifts in fashion and style that go far beyond our category. In order to be a leader for designs and innovations within the tile industry, it’s imperative for us to be in front of macro trends influencing the A&D community at large. The products we develop are a reflection of our expertise and technical capabilities in the manufacture of tile, in convergence with our knowledge of present and future market demands.