Coverings has long stood as the surfacing industry’s tour de force in North America, showcasing the best and most innovative ceramic tiles and natural stones from around the world.
While it’s always a pleasure to see the hottest trends in the industry, what fascinated me the most was an announcement by The Council of North America, Inc. (TCNA) that the industry is striving not only to create larger slabs, but thinner. Only a few short years ago, we were blown away by the advancements in technology that allowed for high-definition printing on ceramic surfaces, creating more durable and realistic faux wood and stone tiles. It’s clear that since then, the tiling industry has not been resting on its laurels, instead improving technologies to push the boundaries of manufacturing.
Given the vast expanse of the show, it’s impossible to highlight every booth that gave me pause, but the following are a few of my favorites.
Across the show floor, there definitely wasn’t a lack of natural tones and faux minerals, but the inner (actually, let’s be honest, outer) geek in me was blown away by the inspiration of two of Crossville’s new products: Oceanaire and Moonstruck.
Using what they call ‘bio mimicry,’ Oceanaire is meant to give the impression of natural sandstone—a much softer stone appearance as it is composed mainly of tiny rock grains creating smooth patches and thin veins, compared to more dramatic types of minerals such as marble. It’s available in five shades and six sizes.
Similarly, Moonstruck mimics nature, albeit the more celestial type. Inspired by the images of Mars’ surface and the “what-ifs” of the planet’s water molecules, the line is offered in five colorways and three sizes.
Already an industry leader with its high-definition printing, Florida Tile is adding three new metallic colorways for floor and wall. The Nexa HPD (high-definition porcelain) will be launching later this summer in sterling, copper, and iron hues in five sizes. Rectified and treated with Microban technology, the high-wear porcelain
evokes feelings of high-end lofts built into refurbished industrial neighborhoods, while giving off just the slightest glimmer of luxury materials.
Italian company Atlas Concorde announced their official release of American-made products with several new collections, including the eye-catching Redeem, Forge, and Fray collections. Expanding on the trend of reclaimed materials, the collections mimic distressed wood, industrial metal, and fabric. Each is available in four colors in both the American-made porcelain floor slabs, and Italian-made white body wall tiles. Although the trend of weathered tiles appeared throughout the show, Atlas Concorde struck me with almost 70 different patterns available in each collection, as well as its distressed textile look, which gives a softer yet bold appearance.
Released in February, Keraben Grupo’s Track series is inspired by garage doors. Featuring a linear patterning running vertical across the tile, it is available in six colors for the floor, and four for walls, including an eye-catching copper. The impressive element of the 9-mm tile is that, although offered in a limited pallet and single size, the simplicity of the design can be used as a feature or as the entirety of a project.
After winning the ADI award at Cersaie in 2015 for Digital Art, Ceramica Sant’Agostino presented another three-dimensional, porcelain-rectified, digitally printed collection at Coverings 2016 entitled Tailorart. Mimicking textiles in warm tones, the series looks almost soft and reminiscent of midcentury modern fabrics. Available in six colorways and patterns.
This year, Marazzi pulled out all the stops with a booth displayed front-and-center of the south hall, and two designs in particular caught my interest: the Urban District BRX—in conjunction with the Urban District STX and HEX—and the Luminescence series.
The Urban District BRX took historic inspiration a step further in scanning the faces of Chicago’s bricks to create the graphics, which were then printed in high-definition on the porcelain tile. What resulted was incredibly realistic tiles at a fraction of the cost and without the harmful environmental effects of producing brick.
On the other side of the scale, the Luminescence series is an elegant jewel-toned glass mosaic. Available in eight colorways, the glass is hand-cut and polished, and finished with a clear glass filler to create a clean, flat surface that appears three-dimensional.
One of the most stunning unveilings at Coverings hardly made a whisper on the scene, as it was announced under lock-and-key—or, more appropriately, within a small enclosed booth at the back of the hall. New Ravenna’s Black Pool mosaic, available in rectangular or square glass tiles, is a beautiful work of art translating watercolor into surfacing materials. Comprised of up to 10 colors, each piece of glass takes on a range of hues, creating the blended tones that mimic a painter’s brush strokes.
Del Conca’s Cantina collection takes the look of brick where the medium has never been before in its several-thousand-year legacy: around smoothed corners. By molding the porcelain tiles, they can be created to form in- and out-corners with the natural look and feel of traditional fired bricks. Available in three colors (white, red, and black), the slabs are durable and long-lasting, perfect for accent walls and fireplaces.