Tile of Spain, the association of over 125 Spanish tile manufacturers, is forecasting macro trends for 2019 which include: neutral colors, innovative formats, chiseled edges, vintage looks, geometric accents, gauged porcelain panels, and porcelain pavers.
The overall feel of the trends this year are multi-layered and sophisticated without feeling pretentious. There is a decided respect for materials and a studied restraint shown in an effort to not over-design or embellish, but simply highlight the elements that make that material special. The overall design language on the surface may not look dramatically different from last year, but the attention to detail and deep introspection leading to purposeful edits certainly is just that, dramatically different.
The major colors remain, in order of importance, white, grey and black and that’s not likely to change. With whites selling 10x the combined total of all other colors, there is a gamut of whites emerging with the most interesting being a ‘soft-white’ with a soft grey undertone. An interesting trend is a return to beige and brown to round out the neutral palette. The neutrals are classic, mid-spectrum, un-embellished and clean tones that are easy to build a scheme around, offering broad appeal to a lot of design styles. Accent colors tend towards over-saturation this year with no clear front-runner in terms of a specific color but a trend towards deep and brooding tones in Atlantic blue, tannin-soaked burgundy, steely selvedge denim and dark arboreal greens.
New and innovative formats this year are either huge or tiny in terms of facial dimensions. With lamina style presses, massive slabs and panels can be as large as 5’x11’. Even more traditional “tiles” are growing with sizes like 32″x64” and 48″x48” becoming more common.
However, large format tiles are not for everyone, and so, the revival of the small format floor is real this year. Our love affair here in the US with the small format wall tile has never cooled since Grant and LaFarge designed them in 1904 for the NYC subway system which became their namesake. Smaller format floors have come in and out of vogue over the past few decades but it is clear that in 2019, they will be back stronger than ever since the early eighties. 8×8” and 8×16” were the most preferred sizes, however sizes as small as 5.5” are becoming more and more popular.
The chiseled and broken edge is back again this year proving that 2017’s introduction was not just a flash in the pan. With its return comes the revival of the modular, multi-format Versailles pattern. The responses to this revival seem quite polarized depending on geographical market. People seem to be either all in with their acceptance and excitement for the return of a more natural and relaxed aesthetic, or they are indignant towards the style and wider joints necessitated by the irregular edges.
In accordance with last year, heavy rustication and weathering are on the decline to make way for more of a vintage, worked by hand look. In looks ranging from oxidized steel to glazed ceramics, the overall impression is one of a high-quality material with a long lifespan due to care and consideration rather than one of neglect and hardship. Metals have mellowed to an oxidized but lovingly burnished finish and the ceramics have lustered glazes, subtle metallics and varied finishes to deepen their overall aesthetic.
Texture in place of color also features heavily in the decorative arena. Using shadow and highlights is something the manufacturers are doing better than ever to create decorative elements as subtle and refined as the graphical variants are bold and expressive. Both have a strong place in modern design.
There are two main inspirations that are quite fresh for 2019. Art Deco, organic inspired graphic design, and simple lines or un-pretentious geometry. Both of these styles feature a sophisticated appreciation for great graphic design and bring elements of it into our environment. Seamless patterns that effortlessly jump from piece to piece, allowing decorative elements to be on any scale the client desires.
Gauged Porcelain Panels:
This established but still niche segment of the tile industry continues to gain popularity. There is a definite place for these large formats in the traditional tile installation segment, however manufacturer’s will need some shifts in their marketing and sales channels to fully take advantage of the opportunity gauged porcelain offers. Counter/worktop markets are an obvious starting place; however, the major players here are not the traditional tile distributors. Even large tile distributors don’t have the warehousing, logistics or even showrooms to put this material in front of the right people at the critical purchasing decision time. Stone fabricators, veneer supply companies catering to millwork and furniture manufacturers, even door and exterior panelling supply companies are the key areas for true growth in this segment.
Similar to gauged porcelain panels & slabs, this is another somewhat new market segment that offers huge growth potential for the industry is porcelain pavers. Previous years saw almost exclusively 24″x24″ formats but this year there was a number of 16″x32″ & 24″x48″ pavers, with some being cut to 12″ or 8″ planks. Most popular are the quartzite looks like the ever-popular Oyster Grey and wood look pavers.
For even more trends from Tile of Spain, be sure to visit us at CEVISAMA this coming January.