“Good design is a language, Can we talk?” – Harmony Inspire
I’m declaring it… 2023 is the year of good, if not great, designs in products.
From Coverings to NeoCon to Cersaie, all of the product-focused tradeshows brought their A games this year. My favorites from NeoCon were hidden acoustics, gamifying spaces, and active seating; from Coverings, it was travertine, and I know what you’re thinking… ‘Travertine, really?!‘ Ok, hear me out… the reason travertine is my favorite is actually due to the technology being used to create this look. At Cersaie 2022, I reported that manufacturers were starting to use 3D Digital Printing Technology to develop tile visuals and textures further. Fast forward to this year, and we saw a lot more manufacturers using it and the visual they were using it on tended to be travertine. I didn’t get a clear answer as to why travertine, but if I had to guess, it could be because of the different characteristics as well as textures that real travertine has naturally as well as mechanically applied. Travertine has two different visuals, crosscut and vein cut; both can have pitting which can be left unfilled or filled with epoxy. Natural travertine is also available in a wide variety of finishes, edge details, and textures like: honed, polished, bush hammered, brushed, chiseled edge, straight edge, tumbled, and split face, to name a few. This can make it challenging to replicate in porcelain, but the new printing technology makes it a little easier to mimic these different characteristics. I’m excited to see what stone they take on next.
Now onto Cersaie, I felt extra giddy coming back from the show this year. Maybe it was from all the extra hunting we did to find new products, but there were a lot of looks that made me go, ‘Huh, that’s really interesting.’ These products got me thinking about how these could be used in a space because they were so out there and had that je ne sais quoi.
The trends I’ll be showing below will showcase some of that ‘wow, that’s cool’ vibe and others will build upon trends we’ve seen since last spring.
Abstract blur is for sure capturing that ‘wow, that’s cool’ vibe with its next-level ombre effects and optical illusions that have been seen in other mediums like fabric and wallcovering but is now being captured in small and large format ceramic and porcelain tiles. How would you use this trippy visual in your design?
We saw the exploration of materiality last season with the introduction of our Cotto Brick collection. Tile manufacturers are taking a deep dive into materials’ compositions by deconstructing them and putting them back together. They are exploring the finishes of the glazes – they are achieving ultra matte and satin finishes and juxtaposing them against high gloss, last but not least, they are studying dimension with extruded brick forms and the positive and negative space they can create with these shapes. It’s an exciting time in the porcelain and ceramic industry, that’s for sure.
Traditional encaustics were never really my thing, don’t get me wrong, they have a place in certain areas or projects, but they were never my favorite until contemporary encaustics came along! These patterns are speaking my language! The patterns play with simple geometric forms but integrate different visuals like confetti or wood into the pattern or play with different finishes like glossy and matte to enhance the patterns. We also saw patterns in 6″x6″ and 8″x8″ formats all the way up to 24″x24″ formats.
Mini bricks is a trend we started talking about last season and was definitely present again this season. I hope this one never goes away because I love the design capabilities of this size format, it’s a lot of fun, and we’re seeing manufacturers integrating dimensional elements into these mini bricks with fluting and inverse bevels. We also saw A TON of sticks! These tiles gave off that KitKat vibe, think 3/4″ to 1″ wide by 4″ to 12″ long. Some of these tiles were individual pieces, while others were larger format tiles scored to look like individual pieces; they were very cool and a fun trend to see throughout the show!
The latest evolution in porcelain wood looks is wood slats. I started seeing this effect coming about in new wood collections, and I’m liking it. Real wood slats are nothing new. We are seeing them revitalized in residential interiors. I’m loving that it’s now available in a variety of looks mimicking acoustical slatting with the black fabric in between the wood to dimensional slats with varied heights to small or large scale slats. Since these slats are made of porcelain, this means they can be used in spaces with heavy traffic or wet areas.
You knew this one would be coming eventually! 😉 I think this is pretty self-explanatory and has been the discussion since last season, but we did see 3 new elements within travertine visuals. They are:
What trend or trends are speaking to you this season? I thought for sure everyone would be hating on the travertine trends, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that some designers are looking for this visual for their projects.
If you’re looking for something new for your project, please contact your local ASC, and we can set up a virtual project meeting to discuss your needs and see what we can source for you.
Until next time…