Richard Nuss, marketing manager at Johnson Tiles, a division of Norcross SA, was at Cersaie 2014 to witness and experience the latest international tile trends and bring back inspiration for the local market.
War of the Woods
This year saw a lot of painted and white woods, along with cement combinations such as shotcrete with a wood grain. The latest technology in Europe now allows for glaze to be applied digitally so that it is possible to get both a matt and gloss feel on the same tile.
There is also a move away from artificial designs towards more natural looks and locally, with a resurgence of teaks, wenge, oak and aged wood. In keeping with the trend, Johnson Tiles has launched their first wood plank tiles of 250mm x 500m during October.
Digitally applied metallic colours is a leading trend with fifth and sixth cartridges being added to inkjet printers to allow for metallic and white inks as well as finishes created by reactive ink to be added in order to create gentle reliefs. As a first in South Africa, Johnson Tiles will launch their second inkjet machine, with this capability, in December this year.
High-gloss, reflective and polished concrete finishes were very popular at the show, with different sizes, large formats and colour variants applied in the same installation.
While the European market is definitely defined by opulent marbles and new technologies now make transparent tiles possible, the local market is more drawn towards sandstones, slates and terracotta tiles with iron oxide colours that are naturally found in South Africa.
Epitomised by bringing together different pieces of historical designs and artefacts, mixed and matched with plainer field tiles, this trend encourages architects to create bespoke designs. Although a huge variety of greys are still dominating, bold and bright colours such as red and yellow is also making a comeback. In addition, metro tiles are still very popular, but now with more inkjet technology used to create floral patterns and different colour ways on the tiles.
Lessons in Geometry
Hexagonal shaped tiles are a huge new trend, with bold designs, herringbone layout and interlocking tiles at the top of the list.
While black & white seems to be most popular, the contrast of red & white and brown & white also created striking displays at the show. For the local market, this trend will likely see more subtle blue & white, as well as colour being added by accessories rather than permanent tiles.
Plug and Play
This new style sees plain field tiles used to dominate the space, but with a pop of design or colour inserted as highlights. Often décor tiles are offered with different options and shades of the field tile.
The Devil’s in the Detail
Some of the examples showcased this year was opal stone designs, metallic trims, a bubblewrap design with a bit of lustre, as well as a play on the upcycled wood idea. Also, with waterjet technology that allows for a shape to be cut out of a tile for an insert, truly unique designs can be created.
Formats continue to expand with tiles as thin as 3mm and as big as 3m. However, the designs are now starting to match the sizes instead of being repeated. A lot of mixed formats are also combined in new ways with different sizes being installed together or using the same size installed in different patterns.
Grey is still by far the dominant colour, but in warmer shades as the previous year and with more bright accents, particularly blue and yellow. The woods are going the opposite way with greyed and aged woods featuring prominently.
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