Tile Trends from Coverings 2012 post on Gold Notes

Posted by William Buyok on

Thanks to Jamie Goldberg for giving me the opportunity to provide a guest post. I've been following Gold Notes for several years. I look here weekly to find out what is happening in the world of kitchen and bath design. I'm honored to be sharing tile trends from Coverings 2012, one of the largest stone and tile shows in North America. I'm Bill Buyok the owner of Avente Tile, a company that focuses exclusively on hand painted ceramic and cement tiles. Let me start by saying, I love tile. I'll be sharing trends and some of my personal favorites from the show.

Let There be Color

I've been attending Coverings for over a decade. It's a yearly pilgrimage for me. I'm a big proponent of color and pattern in design. One of my biggest frustrations has been the ubiquitous 'sea of beige and white' tile. Granted, these shows are focused on the larger players and they have to make products that sell well in the US market. But, year after year I wanted to see something other than beige tiles. It happened this year. I saw something very different at Coverings 2012. I saw color! A lot of color! There was accent color, bold colors and a strong emphasis on patterns. Stone, cement, or ceramic tile in neutral colors were 'spiced up' with a punch of texture. Texture is a great way to add interest and depth, and it's a trend I like.

Mosaic by Hirsh Glass

Probably not for the everyday home, this bold mosaic is certainly eye-catching. It's an excellent choice for a commercial application that needs to make a statement or pull you in. Now, that we have your attention. . .

Cement Tile by Aguayo    Cement Tile by Aguayo

Cement Tile by Aguayo

I was very fond of this traditional cement tile pattern (left) in a bold blue. It was a floor installation by Aguayo Cement Tile from the Dominican Republic. Geometric patterns were common in both ceramic and cement tile.

Organic Origins Premiered at Coverings 2012    Organic Origins Premiered at Coverings 2012

Organic Origins Premiered at Coverings 2012

For the pattern addict who is seeking something unique in bold contemporary colors, go talk to Oscar & Izzy. They also premiered their new quarter design line, Organic Origins. Their style is fun, unabashed and original. I'm glad to see tile artisans embracing color. You can use just a few for a border or accent strip. Do a whole wall if you aren't afraid to pack a punch!

Arabesque 4 in Mission Red & Tuscan Mustard with Malibu Deco  Arabesque 4 in Mission Red & Tuscan Mustard with Malibu Deco

ARTO Tile & Brick executes these Spanish and Colonial tiles with elan. They use classic patterns in fresh colors to create a timeless look. Their Malibu Tiles add interest with the right amount of panache. They pair well with the entire line of Artillo colors and finishes. Available in both concrete and ceramic tiles.


Here's an example where East meets West in the world of tile and both provide color and texture. From Mexico, I liked Original Mission Tile's playful and colorful quail pattern in this new cement tile (left). From Japan, we find a soft palette that pays homage to texture as well (right).

Tiles get Texture

I'm excited about the prevalence of texture in tile. Smaller studios and larger players are incorporating texture. I saw lacy patterns applied with water jets to onyx and dark stones. I found travertine and coral stone in relief with interlocking patterns. The best example I found was by Galrão Group from Portugal. They transform stone into textured landscapes that are absolutely captivating.

Galrão Group's Wave Stone Tile

 Galrão Group's Wave Stone Tile

You will also find large format tiles that aren't square at all. Apavisa features these tiles and they are amazing. I'm captivated by the wave-like walls on the Disney Concert Hall here in Los Angeles. These tiles have the same effect on me. They are obviously for wall applications. They would be a smart choice for an edgy and contemporary commercial installation.

Apavisa Captivates with Non-Traditional Lines for Tile

Apavisa Captivates with Non-Traditional Lines for Tile

I was very impressed with the line of cement tiles from Sabine Hill. The patterns are exquisite in their simplicity and the colors are interesting without being brash. Sabine Hill brings modern and organic designs to the tradition of cement tiles. And, the tiles do exhibit a sense of texture that I can't quite explain.

Arabesque Cement Floor Tile

Arabesque Cement Floor Tile

Again, we see a classic pattern in an updated color. Arabesque Cement Floor Tiles have low relief and are available from ARTO Tile & Brick.

Tiles Get Greener

Eco-friendly tiles were common at the show as manufacturers improve their tile-making processes and incorporate a higher percentage of recycled materials into a tile. There is a push to use local materials, when possible, to reduce greenhouse gases caused by transportation. I've seen improvements each year and it's a trend that will continue. I saw exterior tiles that allow for surface water drainage; but, my favorites were two new offerings from Wholesale Tile by Aguayo.

The first is Ecotile flooring that has a terrazzo-look. The tile face is a resin sealed composite and uses re-cycled mirrors, glass and building materials to achieve a terrazzo look. The tile back or body uses items like plastic bottles and tires. Ecotiles are design friendly as well. The made-to-order tiles allow designers to specify custom color blends similar to mosaic or field tile blends.

Ecotiles use Recycled Material.

Ecotiles use Recycled Material.

Being an advocate of cement tiles, I like the design appeal and creative approach that Aguayo uses in their new line, Fragments. Factory extras are cut into fragments creating a colorful mosaic that can be used as an accent strip on any wall. Fragments come in four colorways and two formats: square or pencil. These will look marvelous in contemporary kitchens as a backsplash.

Fragments by Aguayo

Fragments by Aguayo

Technology Puts a New Face on Tile

The last five years have seen tremendous improvements in ink jet technology to decorate tiles. The technology to transfer photos or artwork to tile and maintain accurate color articulation in the glaze is here. I saw many vendors providing this service. The reproductions are astonishingly identical to the artwork. When I first attended Coverings, the "faux stone" tiles were garish. However, each year it gets more difficult (if not impossible) to distinguish tile from natural stone and wood. The real benefit is that you can have the look of wood but with the benefits of tile - great for wet locations like a bathroom.

Ceramiche Coem & Ceramica Fioranese are sister brands spotlighting interesting introductions. Check out Pietra Valmalenco from Coem and Cottage from Fioranese. Pietra Valmalenco offers a contemporary stone look whereas Cottage features a rustic wood style.

Ceramic Tiles with a Wood Plank Appearance

Ceramic Tiles with a Wood Plank Appearance

Photo Credit: Todd Vendituoli, The Building Blox

ile - Always a Classic

Trends come and go and then come back again. Good design is always in style. And while it's nice to see something new, I feel grounded when I see classic styles executed well. This tile achieves just that! These exquisite tiles are made in the USA by ARTO Tile Studio. Job well done!

Hand Painted Spanish Floor Tile - A Classic!

Hand Painted Spanish Floor Tile - A Classic!

Other Posts on Tile Trends from Coverings 2012

Hope you enjoyed my insights on this year's event. And, if you are still thirsty, here's more buzz on what is hot (and not) at Coverings 2012.


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