Tile of Spain is forecasting macro trends for 2018 which include monochromatic colors; planks for wood & beyond; vintage looks; non rectified edges; encaustic mashups; gauged porcelain (large format thin tile) and thick pavers in porcelain.
When looking at the innovations as a whole, there is a reverence for clean materials. Collections are being designed with broad expanses of installations in mind. Tile is not just an accent, it’s literally everywhere indoors and out. The intentional distressed look of neglect is beginning to give way to a more refined vintage look with a maintained feel. Ceramics are all about the balance we are all struggling so hard to find in our daily 21st century lives.
Grey, White, Black remain the top three colors in that order for both floor and walls with Greige (gray-beige) following as a close fouth depending on the design inspiration. The only departure from this is in the wood planks collections where classic wood tones still reign. The complimentary colors of choice have shifted from the oceanic blues, teals and turquoise that were in place for the past two years. Accent tones of choice for 2018 are denim blues and deep wine bottle or British racing greens.
Manufacturers are reporting their top sellers to be planks. This seems to be a truism in most global marketplaces but certainly is the case in North America where design and architecture features so much of the native timber. The interesting thing is that stone, metal and even cotto are finding success in the planks formats. North America tends to favor planks in the 8-by-36-inch size with upscale markets favoring the longer 48-inch planks.
Rectified Edges Driven by Cost
In recent years, North America has been trending away from rectified edges in all looks, with the exception being traditional marble and textured wall tiles in the 12-by-36-inch or upwards sizes. The luxury market, on the other hand, tends to prefer the seamless look a rectified edge provides and don’t mind the installation costs. Installation costs seem to be the key component to the shift towards a traditional calibrated tile. This has also opened the door for the rusticated edge look that was strong in the 90’s to make a come back.
Heavy rustication and weathering are on the decline this year to make way for more of a vintage, worked by hand look. In looks ranging from woods and stones to glazed ceramics and cottos, the overall impression is one of a long life with care rather than one of neglect and hardship. The stripped and painted woods have mellowed to a burnished sand-blasted look and the ceramics have multiple effects of lustered glazes, subtle metallics and varied finishes to deepen the overall aesthetic.
The strongest look remains to be the encaustic cement look and other riffs on the style where multiple patterns are mashed together to create a layered look. Most of these looks are offered in the traditional 8-by-8-inch format but many are printed as deco’s in a larger format field. Other directions in deco this year are favoring textures in damask or lace patterns, as well as an influence from paper and textiles in all styles. Geometrics are also back in several collections this year, either as overlays or in tone-on-tone versions.
In contrast, small formats continue to be a choice for wall tile, aided by the ongoing popularity of subway tile. The winning sizes being 8-by-8-inch, 6-by-12-inch and 4-by-30-inch.
Gauged or Thin Tile
This market segment continues to gather a head of steam, especially to reduce grouting in bathrooms and kitchen countertops. The market is adjusting to this material, and it is becoming more commonplace at point of sale.
Pavers Cement Their Position
One of the components to the growth of this 2-centimeter thick category is that they are more consistent to cut than traditional cement pavers. Because of this, the contractor base is promoting the switch to porcelain in projects.
Previous years saw almost exclusively 24-by-24-inch formats, but this year there was a cornucopia of 16-by-32-inch and 24-by-48-inch pavers, with some even being cut down to 12- or 8-inch planks as well. Some of the paver offerings, especially in flagstone or cobblestone looks, featured the weathered edge also seen in cottos and French limestone looks in traditional thickness programs.