British Ceramic Tile’s Head of Design and Product, Claire O’Brien introduces Tile & Stone Journal’s feature on metallic tiles, on of today’s top tiling trends, by discussing how the role of metallics in interiors has subtly shifted from rock and roll to something far softer and more sophisticated.
The use of metallic tiles within design schemes is changing. This year we will see a much more relaxed approach. Unlike the harsh industrial trend we familiarised ourselves with over previous years, raw materials and exposed steel have a new demeanour as interiors transition toward a softer, more feminine aesthetic.
Metallic tiles are incorporated within design schemes sparingly and seen as more of a stylistic accessory to create accents rather than sweeping full expanses. Less is definitely more within current design trends. The loud and proud shimmer and shine that was once in demand has been replaced with a more demure approach.
Available in a multitude of finishes, the metallic tiles on the market today offer a wide range of finishes from high sheen through to burnished and hammered effects which create an aged appearance.
The finish is all-important with metallic tiles as it can create such a different look from sleek and ultra glam through to weathered luxury. Metallic tiles in a range of different glazes will complement ceramics beautifully for a look that is understated and refined.
This new approach to metallic creates a much more sophisticated space. Although they will become less obvious in styling, these subtle accents help to create a greater impact. It’s this adaptability that makes metallic tiles so popular, as they work well in a number of different trends from industrial chic through to the Art Deco movement we’ve seen.
A successful Art Deco scheme will weave together high shine lustre with dramatic colours and designs. Moody, matt blacks and tarnished brass effects combined with rich emeralds create a masculine theme, whilst soft, shimmering shades of silver and rose gold, alongside light carrara stones and splashes of blush pink add feminine glamour.
Gold, copper and silver have long been the epitome of luxury. Conjuring images of opulent and glittering precious jewels, these tones certainly grab attention, while having a classical elegance that makes it completely timeless. This appeal is captured by the opulent Gold Tiles from Steuler-Fliesen: 72 by 72mm wall tiles with a real gold gloss finish.
Used sparingly, metallic accents serve as a highlight for a particular area or feature, with their shimmering nature automatically drawing the eye. The Winchester Tile Company’s Roman Gold tiles can be used to create a feature wall or a decor panel; both creating a sense of luxury.
Used in swathes, wall-to-wall metallic tiles will create a dramatic effect with the added benefit of bouncing light around the space. Gold, in particular, is a versatile shade to use in interiors and The Winchester Tile Company reports that it has experienced something of a renaissance lately. Gold tiles and other homewares create a sense of warmth and there are so many different shades of gold available that there really is something for any environment. From glowing yellow golds to warm ambers and rustic antiqued hues, gold tiles can be matched to any style of interior.
Silver and pewter tones, such as those found in Gallium, work well in contemporary settings as they evoke a sense of coolness that suits a more modern environment. Shimmering silver tiles work equally well as an accent or feature area, but for a chic twist, combining tiles of different sizes is very effective. They can be teamed with a dark grey grout to create a dramatic finish.
Almandine features warm coppery tones that are reminiscent of burnished metals; while Rose Gold is a contemporary, rich pink hue which changes under the light Good examples of all these gold accents can be found on the company’s website: www.winchestertiles.com.
Of course, metallic tiles come in many different forms. Tin ceiling tiles from the turn of the century, a feature of period town houses from New York to Sydney, inspired the outstanding Voyager collection from Refin. This care-worn design takes the design-savvy on a journey that starts in Genoa. Here Refin recovered metal from movable bridges and platforms, aged and rusted by salt and time. The journey continued across the ocean to the Victorian urban dwellings of North America. The rediscovery of these materials led to a range that translates architectural elements of the past into a highly contemporary ceramic aesthetic.
Metallic inspiration can also be found much closer to home. Topps Tiles offers Satin Gunmetal Modular Tiles, 300 by 300mm, in black, and silver. These modular mosaic glass tiles can be used to create a real style statement in the home. Featuring gunmetal shades, Satin Gunmetal Modular is both modern and timeless, perfect for creating a feature wall or a splashback.
Smart Gunmetal Grey 23 by 73mm Mosaic Tile from Topps Tiles is a grey porcelain range that comes in 300 by 300mm sheets.
Playing to today’s trends, Topps’ Smart Mosaics range is perfect for those looking to bring their interior décor fully up to date. These gloss mosaic tiles are available in contemporary shades of white, black and grey, for a chic, elegant look.
Another option is Johnson Tiles’ Sokrates Gunmetal Natural from the Absolute Collection in 600 by 300mm. Sokrates, a unglazed porcelain range, features an organic colour palette and creative mosaics to deliver many strong design combinations. Johnson Tiles’ also offers the Zeppelin range in metallic finishes.
Pewter by Fired Earth is a 298 by 298 by 7mm iridescent glass mosaic. Also available is Pewter Fusion rectangular mosaic in 265 by 265 by 7mm; another iridescent glass mosaic. Hand-made in Mexico and exclusive to Fired Earth, this wall-only range uses earth oxides which are added to the smelted glass from recycled bottles to create a palette of iridescent mosaics. These can be used on their own to stunning effect or utilised as an accent border with field tiles. These fusion tiles feel wonderfully luxe and offer a hint of mid-century sensibility.
There are many stunning metallic tile range on the market today. Wall & Floors portfolio includes several: Metallico, Iridium, Dazzle, Metallic Metro, Astro Mosaic and, particularly, Metalen.
Porcelanosa and the groups’s Venis brand offer many good metallic options including High-Tech, Arabia, Xlight, Gravity Aluminium, and Par-Ker Irish Silver from Porcelanosa. It is also work looking at Gold & Metal mosaics from the L’Antic Colonial brand, and Metalis from the group’s Venis brand.
Original Style, as one might expect, score highly in the metallic stakes. Standout options include the Aurelio, Fusion, Zenith, Astral, and Silver Nugget ranges
Decor experts Dune have a particularly strong metallic portfolio that includes the Agadir Silver, 3D, Aria, Aston, Bronzo, Copper Mirror, Corten, Duende, and Gilded ranges.
In 2016, designers started to fall in love with copper, a glimmering and cost-effective material that brings a touch of luxe with a dash of cool. So little wonder that copper mania made its presence felt in Spanish tiles. Pioneering brands specialising in metallic glazes have unveiled shimmering wall tiles enhanced by 3D features in matt, gloss and antique finishes; plus copper-effect porcelain flooring designs complemented by intriguingly textured geometric wall pieces. Leading the way was Aleatory Copper by metallic experts Alea. These ceramic wall tiles have high gloss copper-effect glaze in 150 by 150mm. The Aleatory Copper range coms in a selection of finishes and three textures for unique 3D applications.
One of Spain’s leading manufacturers Pamesa has also bought into the metallic look with Khan, Luxglass K-Sintex, T4U Lead, and Tripoli, to name but a few ranges.
This list goes on, with Trousse by Dado and, at the top end of the market, Progetti’s Vintage Obsidian/Bronze/Pewter/ , Copper/Gold Mirror, Silvered Leather, Platinum Mirror, Molten Bronze, Oro Antoco, etc. This is really high-end tile fashion and very, very beautiful.
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