Ten Tile Trends for 2016
Trends, schmends.. I confess I’m not a great one for following trends.
Usually I think we are all better off following our instincts and surrounding ourselves with things we like rather than things that are in fashion. Particularly in interiors, because however easy it might be to discard last season’s shirt or dress you are tired of, it’s a whole different ball game to change everything in your palazzo or studio because grey has gone from Woo-Hoo to Meh. Not to mention the ethical and sustainability dimensions..
However, it is interesting to see what is new in the world of decoration and to track the changes in how we furnish our homes. Especially when we map these to political and societal changes. Are we so interested in modernist designs of the twentieth century because they are from a period when there was an optimism about the future which we no longer share?
Anyway, I recently went to an interesting presentation of the latest trends in tiles by Jess Piddock and Jules Archard from Domus, the authoritative supplier of all things tiles, stone and wood. Having been to CERSAIE, the international ceramic show in Bologna, they were able to share their views on new patterns, colours, materials and likely trends. Many of these link to wider trends in interiors and demonstrate both the increasing versatility of tiles and how technological developments are driving forward the scale and use of ceramics.
Here’s what I learnt.
Pastels are big in the world of tiles too
A big trend in decoration for the past few years, pastel shades are spreading to tiles. These are much fresher and less sickly than you might imagine and work well with the greys so prevalent in modern schemes.
Tiles don’t have to be monochrome or earthy in hue
Conversely, deep saturated rich colours are also becoming much more prevalent than before. These deeper shades, previously used in ceramics and mosaics are now being seen in porcelain too.
Grout can be interesting and colourful
Grout is moving centre stage as the focus for tiling schemes, with contrasting colours used to emphasise the shape of tiles and making an important contribution to the design scheme itself.
The handmade aesthetic is big – whether handmade or not
These lovely Tratti tiles reference craft and handmade marks as part of a trend reacting to industrial production – although they are in fact factory made.
Signs are hand pressed and also celebrate the uneven, irregular aesthetic of the maker.
Rustic and natural textures are big
This trend also celebrates the natural imperfections and textures of raw materials. These coarse finishes and patterns follow on from the popularity of concrete and stone, while referring to textures more popular in previous decades. Timeless harks back to Terrazzo – also seeing a resurgence at the moment.
Crazy paving is back!
Hurrah! Crazy paving is making a comeback too as part of a trend of fragmented surfaces. Cracked Earth was successfully used in Hugo Bugg’s Gold Medal winning Chelsea Flower Show Garden in 2014.
DRY is a modular tile with asymmetric grooves that can be laid out in a variety of ways.
Sicistone shows that fragmented patterns can be sophisticated too.
Pop Art has been a big design influence for some time and now it’s having an impact on tiles too, from India Mahdavi’s Dots to Tom Dixon’s Grit. Bold colours, graphic patterns and, above all, a sense of fun prevail.
Grit also references another retro finish we haven’t seen for a while: pebbledash.
Playing with the Grid
These examples make playful interpretations of the grid, the traditional shape formed by tiles. Some do this through the tile shape and the use of grout lines. Others use the grid as a surface pattern.
The soft tones and variations of colour and shape of Mews by Barber & Osgerby for Mutina give a much warmer, softer feel than a traditional grid of tiles.
Similarly, the hand-drawn lines of Tratti contribute to a gentler aesthetic.
New Geometrics are a development from the Old Geometrics
Another wider design trend, Geometrics continue to influence tile designers. The resurgence of encaustic tiles a few years back led the way and the new geometrics are now playing with scale and shape.
Irregular tile shapes are set to be popular, along with triangles and rhombuses, while hexagons are elongated. On Off plays with the distortion of a familiar pattern by offsetting the hexagonal design within the tile.
Supersized Formats are now possible
Technological advances mean that tiles up to 3.2m x 1.6m are now possible. Developments in inkjet printing enable high quality reproductions of the texture and detail of natural stones and woods on porcelain.
So, there you have 10 predictions for tile trends in 2016. The manufacturers highlighted here are at the cutting edge of tile design, with many of the design world’s biggest stars coming up with new patterns and shapes. You can be sure though that many of these ideas will filter down to the high street over the coming months and years.
Thanks to Jess and Jules of Domus for their insights. Thanks too to the manufacturers and suppliers for the use of the photographs. Follow @domuslondon @bisazzalondon @mutinaceramics @SicisOfficial on twitter and instagram to keep up to date with innovations in the world of tiles.
Use the comments form below to give us your take on tile trends.