Obituary: Vic Allen, J W Allen Tilers

TSJ is sad to report that Vic Allen of J W Allen Tilers passed away on Friday 17th March after a prolonged battle with poor health.

Vic first began tiling in the late 1950s when working for his father on tiling contracts in the days of ‘sand & cement’ or ‘compo tiling’ as he used to call it.

J.W. Allen Tilers originated in 1958 and grew into one of the most respected tiling companies in the Greater London area.  Working alongside his late brother Mick, Vic established within the firm an apprentice scheme that saw many young tilers progress through the company,  often going on to establish their own tiling business and returning to Vic for advice and help Vic always took great pride in seeing his tilers going it alone after spending many years working under his direction and guidance.

J W Allen Tilers was the tiler’s tiler.  Other tiling contractors would sub-let certain contracts that had to be finished to the highest of standards to Vic knowing he would respect confidentiality and meet the exacting standards.  In Vic’s passing, the tiling industry has lost one of the true masters of the trade.

“I had the pleasure of working for and with Vic for several years. The most important thing to Vic, outside of his family, was the business of tiling; and that we did every job right because it was his family name and reputatio).  He expected high standards because he set them!  And, when you did a job well, you knew it because Vic recognised the importance of praise;  but he also told you when you were wrong.

Vic loved his family life, his holidays in the sun, snooker and, in his retirement, indoor bowls, gardening and attending his local British Legion club. Vic was a very open, honest and generous person, and a genuine man to work for – and with.”  George Kellett of IYJS

“I have very fond memories of Vic, who was always very hospitable and did what he could to teach me about the practicalities of the tiling industry.  Vic was always very open minded and generous with his time and knowledge.  I once spent five days working with J W Allen on site, at Feltham Young Offenders Institute, to better understand contracting.  Vic’s love of life and golf was infectious.  He was a genuinely nice man with a lovely family and a wide circle of friends, and he never seemed to lose his down to earth approach to life.” Paul Wallis of Strata Tiles.

“Vic, like his brother Mick, were great characters in the trade and many tilers will have fond memories of working alongside them and some learning their trade with Vic as their mentor. Vic was a long serving member of the NMTFA and enjoyed the outings and company of the old guard of the fixing fraternity.  He often reminded me of his time at Wilson and Wylie with fond memories of the projects he was involved in and now he joins the great Architect above, along with his brother Mick and other tile fixing legends; no doubt exchanging views on how metres a day they could fix in their prime.” Bob Howard MBE , The Tile Association.

Vic is survived by his wife Doreen and two daughters, Dawn and Angela. He will be much missed and remembered by all who knew him.

Vic’s funeral service will be held on:

Monday April 3rd @ 2.40 pm at

Hanworth Crematorium, Hounslow Road, Feltham, Middx.

There will be a reception held afterwards in what was Vic’s ‘watering hole’ at the Hanworth Royal British Legion Club, located on Cross Road, Hanworth, about a 10 minute drive from the crematorium.

Geometrics go all out for glamour

British Ceramic Tile’s Head of Design, Claire O’Brien, gives her thoughts on geometric tiles and explores in which directions this well-established tile design trend may be heading in 2017.

Geometric tiles have been around for centuries with their early origins in Morocco and Spain. Characterised by their bold, intricate patterns, geometric tiles have enjoyed popularity throughout the eras with similar styles very much in demand during the Victorian period. Today’s designs stay true to their heritage with collections drawing upon Moroccan and Victorian influences.

Geometric tiles are known for adding real impact to walls and floors, bringing depth and a sense of decoration to a design scheme. Plus, they are incredibly versatile delivering vintage styling or a contemporary masterpiece depending on the overall look and feel of the room. Whatever the final look, geometric designs speak of art deco styling offering a sense of nostalgia.

The demand for geometric tiles has gathered momentum from textiles, with prints lending themselves well to surface patterns. But what has also contributed to the resurgence in geometrics design is the trend for reclaimed tiles and upcycling. Many decorative tiles are based on geometric patterns, so today’s modern approach of recycling materials combined with using tiles in an eclectic fashion has created a strong, directional look. It’s here to stay, but as any trend it will evolve and change as new influences filter through.

Looking forward to 2017, grey remains a firm favourite for consumers, but you can add impact by fusing geometric tiles into the mix, bringing pattern and impactful prints to a contemporary design scheme.

Large format feature floor tiles will also be popular next year and will incorporate traditional designs as well as modern styles to create a floor less ordinary. Whether it’s highly decorative patterns in on-trend tones of grey and beige, or three-tone designs delivering a 3D effect, consumers will be looking to tiles with geometric motifs to create a seamless pattern across the floor.

When bringing these tiles to a retail or home environment, there are a few decisions to be made – wall or floor tiles, coloured or monochrome? Choosing a uniform size is a strong starting point, but the beauty of selecting a stunning geometric design is that you can go for all out glamour using geometrics from floor to ceiling or mix the design with plains for a more understated look.
T: 01626 831391

Protecting external tiles from damage

By Stuart Ross, Technical Advisory Service Supervisor, Building Adhesives Ltd

With space at home a premium these days, more and more people are expanding their living spaces outwards to create much needed, usable spaces.

In September 2011 a publication by the Royal Institute of British Architects entitled “The Case for Space” showed results from a survey which indicated that 49% of people moving home wanted more outdoor space. This was a larger percentage than those wanting larger internal rooms or the proximity of local services.

This trend for outdoor living has led to a growth in the domestic market for external tiles on balconies, large roof/ground floor terraces and patios.

As well as adding monetary value to a property, tiled external areas can be aesthetically pleasing, offering a wide range of colours, textures and finishes. Inside/outside tiling is preferred over cheaper alternatives due mainly to the durability, longevity, life-cost (replacement of materials etc.), and for being low maintenance i.e. easier to clean than many non-tile coverings and structures.
Outside living can also help to promote health and well-being benefits as these extra useable areas for open air living, help to soften heavily urbanised locations and steadily increase the number of green and usable spaces for leisure.

Balconies, roof terraces and patios are part of a trend which is inspired by aspirational and luxury living in suburban and rural areas alike.

When specified with the correct system assemblies for tiling, many types of tile installations are possible externally. This includes the use of finishes such as ceramics, porcelain, some natural stone and pavers.

By selecting the appropriate products and systems;  long-lasting balconies and terraces can be achieved for all year round enjoyment. External areas are important extensions of our living areas and of course should be well constructed, functional and remain as usable as the internal spaces that we occupy so frequently. To ensure this availability, the tile coverings used should be durable, hard-wearing, of suitable slip-resistance and capable of withstanding all-weather types.

Recent estimates suggest that more than 50% of all coverings on balconies and terraces are damaged in Northern Europe due mainly to poor installation and incorrect selection of systems.
The challenge historically has been that poorly constructed assemblies have resulted in visible tile/surface damage which can include, tiles cracking, efflorescence, stained or patchy tiles – all of which can be influenced by excess water residing within the assembly for long periods of time. To expand on this when water ingress and retention is combined with fluctuating temperatures; the outcome can prove destructive to both the covering and potentially the substrate/base.

As water penetrates the surface and permeates through the grout joints and then adhesive capillaries, into the lower levels of the assembly, the water  begins to pose a serious risk to the covering and also the structural integrity of the entire assembly supporting the tiles. Significantly thick screed systems will retain more water and subsequently can take longer to dry leaving the opportunity for this water to become a problem and affording more time for low temperatures to adversely affect it.

Any water that reaches the primary waterproofing has no escape. This puts more reliance upon the waterproof membrane to be functional  as no provision is made for water to drain away efficiently and the more chance it has to sit and find weak points in any primary waterproofing layer.

British Standards provide guidance on  the need for removing water away from the tiled surface and the various layers within the cement based assembly quickly and efficiently. Not only for the purpose of reducing  the risk of frost damage from freeze/thaw cycles expanding trapped water but also for the prevention of void formation, efflorescence and lime bloom. This can also materialise through grout joints and at main water exit points as described below:

BS 5385 Part 2 2014, Balconies and roof terraces states: “The formation of soluble salts can occur when water becomes trapped for prolonged periods of time within cement-based systems.
“It is important that balconies and terraces should therefore be designed and constructed as to allow water to drain free and effectively.”

To ensure that moisture staining, frost damage and efflorescence do not become problems in the future, it is crucial to specify the right products.  It is important to remember that water sensitive tiles and slabs should not be used externally.

The correct combination of products and materials include:

  • Appropriate drainage assemblies – structures with effective falls, drainage and often with reduced thickness.
  • Suitable backgrounds – non-absorbent, rigid, fully cured and dry, unaffected by temperature fluctuations and preferably cementitious
  • Correct selection of adhesive and grout – rapid setting/low water demand i.e. white for light natural stone such as BAL Rapidset Flexible Fibre or BAL Stone & Tile PTB.
  • Tile/slab selection – with low porosity, break-proof, suitable for external use i.e. frost resistant.

Traditionally, external tiles have been fixed directly onto sand:cement screeds, into cement:sand mortar beds, thick drainage screeds, loosely laid gravel bed or by using cement based pedestal systems.

While each has their own benefits, such as ease of use and lower cost, they all fail to adequately deal with water effectively. For example while traditional sand:cement screeds, thick drainage screeds and gravel all absorb large volumes of water, and are prone to the problems highlighted above, water can also travel back up through the screed, gravel bed or adhesive pedestal causing water sensitive tiles and slabs to become stained.

The use of a drainage screed is the answer. Cavity rich, with lots of capillaries, the water drains through quickly and efficiently and also offers reduced shrinkage and deformation. When combined with a quick-setting cement for fast-track installation, drainage mortar seems to be the ideal solution, however drainage screeds alone will not solve the problems with drainage alone. The use of a complete drainage system, including drainage matting, drip/drain edge profiles, drain grates and guttering – such as BAL’s new external tiling solutions – provide rapid and immediate drainage of water.

Water is drained down through the screed and transported from the assembly by means  of a drainage mat situated below the drainage screed or over the primary waterproofing system.
BAL offers three systems, each designed to meet the height and weight requirement of varying constructions and a number of different edge finishes, depending on screed thickness, tile size and thickness and the desired look.

These new products represent a complete range of solutions from the BAL portfolio and work as a system in conjunction with current BAL preparation, adhesives, grouts and sealant products.
This means for the first time architects, designers and contractors are provided with a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for balcony, terrace and patio systems for a range of different coverings.

At BAL our Technical Advisory Service is fully equipped to provide support to contractors, architects and tilers – including NBS M40/M10/M20 specification assistance, on-site consultancy and expert technical advice on external tiling projects.
BAL Technical Advisory Service: 0845 600 1 222
Innovation and Technology Centre: 01782 591120

Wall and floor tile trends make a big impression at Surface Design Show

Tile & Stone Journal offers highlights from a very strong showing by ceramic tile manufacturers and distributors at the recent Surface Design Show, held at the Business Design Centre, Islington.

TheSurface Design Show 2017, incorporating Light School, took place at the Business Design Centre, London from 7th to 9th February 2017. Over 170 national and international exhibitors showcased some of the most innovative surfaces that the industry has to offer, with many of the exhibitors unveiling new surfaces designed specifically for the architectural, design and construction industries.

The show featured a packed programme of events; all designed to inspire and engage.  They included the Preview Evening Live Debate hosted by David Michon and the popular PechaKucha Evening – an informal and fun presentation of inspirational slides, which is hosted by Phil Coffey of Coffey Architects and included speakers Chris Dyson of Chris Dyson Architects and Matthew Driscoll of Threefold Architects.

The ceramic tile sector made a very strong showing at SDS, anlongside a wide range of other new surfaces.  To highlight just a few of the non-tiling highlights, Bay Gallery Home presented the world’s first Australian Aboriginal interiors collection, My Country.  The range of wallpapers, ceramic wall tiles and rugs reference the Aboriginal philosophy and creative process.

Spectral Lighting showcased IRIS L; a striking design made with dual sided LED boards, bringing the benefits of highly efficient LED lighting to a visually stunning aesthetic.

Changing the Faces of Composites showed off  Kimorra; a brand of laminate veneer sheets which transforms textiles into materials for hard surfaces. The thin and flexible sheets are strong and durable, suitable for furniture making or to be used in a panel form.  Kimorra gives the look of a textile while eliminating the practical issues related with such a material.

V4 Woodflooring returned to Surface Design Show with a new specification range, The Wild Wood.  This brings together new bespoke collections sourced from specialist mills across Europe, to sit alongside V4 Woodflooring’s high quality stocked wood flooring ranges.

Rust on a Roll by Innerspace confirmed that the industrial look is highly desirable but difficult to achieve.  It provides an authentic alternative to rusted steel sheets with real rust particles used in the manufacture of the product.  Every sheet of rust on a roll is individually hand finished meaning there are no repeats.

Evan James introduced Applicate 2.5, a new addition to the Applicate interactive 3D wall covering range that demonstrates the natural beauty of Birch Ply.

Based upon the concept of a peg board, laser cut ‘shapes’ can be moved and repositioned to slot into the specifically designed pre-cut holes, fostering limitless pattern and colour possibilities.
Among the many exhibitors launching new products at Surface Design Show 2017 were Arnold Laver, Altfield, CDUK, FINSA, ITC Natural Luxury Flooring  and Pfleider.

SilicaStone by Alusid is a sustainable surface material made in the UK from 100% locally-sourced recycled glass and vitrified porcelain.

Amarestone is one of the UK’s leading importers of French limestone for flooring, cladding, blocks and bespoke fabrication.

Ariostea manufactures some of the largest porcelain slabs available on the market. The maximum size is 3,200 by 1,600mm, 6mm thick. These technical porcelain slabs are suitable for a wide range of applications.

Armatile specialises in the creation and manufacture of innovative tile and mosaic surfaces for interior, commercial and residential design projects.

The Versatile Collection is created in a single geometric form that can be laid in different patterns to create a large range of contemporary surface designs.  It is available in 148 by 148, 295 by 295 and 590 by 590mm formats and a choice of colours and finishes.

Inspired by Brutalist style of architecture, with an emphasis on materials, textures and construction, Armatile’s new 3D Collection produces highly expressive forms to highlight bespoke floor and wall surfaces. The unusual shapes and heavy looking material colours combine to create depth and structure in the perfectly flat surfaces.

BAL is the market-leader in full tiling solutions.  Working with architects, designers and contractors, BAL provides innovative products and technology backed by industry-leading project and technical support.

BAL Level Max has been formulated for levelling floors of varying heights from 3mm to 80mm in a single application. Suitable for commercial or domestic projects, it is fibre-reinforced, meaning it can be used over a range of substrates, including wooden substrates, at 3mm depth.  BAL Level Max outperforms competitors in shrinkage, bond strength and flexural strength.

Bedrock Tiles are commercial tile suppliers who specialise in supplying project tiles to architects and interior designers.

Imperial is a porcelain tile that provides an immaculate replica of natural stone.  This family of residential and commercial floor and wall tiles is available in six colours, each imitating with true realism a particular type of natural stone.

With matching mosaics, shapes and wall tiles, this is a very versatile design collection.

The Hyster range of porcelain floor and wall tiles represent the finest in Italian manufacturing. Blending an industrial, worn metallic look, this range can be used across all sectors of design.

Blueprint Ceramics is a UK market leader in the supply of porcelain and ceramic tiles for commercial projects.  The company has great experience in meeting the needs of interior designers and the architectural market.

Caroline Hough Design creates interior surfaces using Timber and Resin.  Inspiration comes from exploiting the timbers’ natural edges.

The company’s Iron Resin and Boxwood concept uses sliced boxwood cast in to a charcoal grey resin.  Sealed with a clear polished layer resin, this material can be used internally. All of Caroline Hough Design’s surfaces are hand-crafted to order, making each one unique.

CED Stone Group is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of hard landscaping products. With extensive stocks at five nationwide depots, CED provides expert advice and excellent service.
The Tier Standard Range is an architectural range with two components; panels and quoins/corners.  The panels are all a standard size.  Tier Standard is available in six colours: Black Slate, Multicolour, Quartz, Rustic Granite, Thin Slate and Red Sandstone.

Extremely cost effective, Tier is said to be a fraction of the cost of a traditionally-built stone wall.  The large panel size means bigger and more random stone sizes can be used.

Ceramiche Caesar is synonymous with top quality porcelain stoneware.  Project Evolution, Caesar’s architectural surface project, provides extra large porcelain stoneware slabs in sizes 1,200 by 2,400 and 1,200 by 1,200mm formats. Thanks to the new collections, Project Evolution palette of colours has grown from 11 to 26 colours to cater for even more design requirements. Along with the marble, metal, travertine and concrete-effect tiles, there are three new products: Portraits, stone-effect porcelain stoneware; Layers, contemporary surfaces in line with the latest trends in design, and Tecnolito, the ideal tile for any type of project.

The 1,200 by 2,400mm and 1,200 by 1,200mm extra large sizes are ideal for tiling walls without cuts and without horizontal grouting joints. Perfect for bathrooms, they offer new opportunities for enhancing the value of floors and walls of residential and commercial spaces.

Project Evolution slabs, 9mm thick, are modular and can be combined with other products in the Caesar portfolio to multiply the synergy between materials, sizes and colours.

Layers comes in eight tones: charcoal grey, two antithetical grey colours (Cold02 and Cold03), a cotton white with pearly reflections (Blank00), a warm and welcoming beige (Warm01), a chestnut brown with a bold character (Warm02) and a deep sepia (Warm03).

Portraits is a collection of seven stone-effect porcelain tiles, each with its own distinctive features, but all sharing the same instinctive beauty and extraordinary strength of character.

Concreate floor and wall panels are an innovative alternative to conventional surfaces. Simple to install, transforming interior spaces quickly, using less material than conventional, heavy, poured and polished concrete solutions.

Concreate wall panels are only 4mm thick and weigh less than 7 kg per square metre, making them suitable for many uses other than just walls and ceilings.

Concreate floor panels are ready for installation straight out-of-the-box. They are incredibly durable and have a soft texture underfoot.  Fire- and water-resistant, Concreate also has excellent built-in acoustic and thermal properties.

A glass design and production studio specialising in hand-made, bespoke commissions, Daedalian collaborates with architects and interior designers to create unique luxury glass for private residencies, 5-star hotels, and super-yachts.

Typical is the Magpie Café in Whitby, once hailed as the `best fish and chips in the country` by Rick Stein.  The seafood restaurant opened in approximately 1939, but the building dates back to 1750.  Daedalian’s brief was to create a glass panel that could act as a divider within the seating area of the restaurant and yet was in keeping with the style of this iconic restaurant.

Davia Walmsley, the founder and creative director at Daedalian Glass Studios, spent the day in Whitby sketching the harbour area and creating the design.

Design Concrete provides a cement-based decorative surface. Unique, thin and flexible, it can be applied seamlessly to interior and exterior walls, floors, kitchens and bathrooms.

Design concrete is not well known in the UK, but is very popular in France, where it is known as Béton Ciré. It is a mixture of Portland cement, silica sand and polymer resins, with natural pigment added to provide colour.

Unlike polished concrete, which is a traditional concrete that is merely polished, design concrete is applied in the same way as plaster and is only 2mm thick. The finished product is hard-wearing, flexible, seamless, versatile, with a tactile finish and is resistant to abrasion and staining. It is waterproof and can be applied to interiors or exteriors, including swimming pools. Colours and finishes can be tailored to suit any design.

Dural (UK) offers a comprehensive range of profiles, mattings, movement joints, linear drains and stair nosings they are engineered to be used in conjunction with ceramic tiles and other hard surfaces to provide the vital finishing touches to any successful installation.

EK Colours produce playful, hand-printed glazed surfaces that are intended to create a human connection, while the material’s permanence adds value to any project, be it domestic or commercial.

The Contract and Specification division of Twickenham-based ESL Ceramics specialises in supplying high quality porcelain, ceramic tiles and mosaics for residential, student accommodation and hotel projects across the UK and Europe.

First previewed as a new concept at SDS 16, Chic Modular has proved a very popular contemporary 3D ceramic tile range.   It is available in matt and gloss finishes in a neutral palette.

Elements Aura is a new range of glass mosaics in a 25 by 25mm format with a circle indent on the surface.  This forms a stunning 3D effect and allows light to bounce from each individual mosaic chip. There are ten colour options.

Fila specialises in surface care solutions for marble, natural stone, porcelain, terracotta and wood. Its products are recommended by over 220 leading manufacturers of wall and floor surfaces.
Fila focused on its growing support division – Fila Project Division – at the Surface Design Show.  Set up to provide continual assistance to manufacturers, planners, contractors and builders, the division offers services spanning from advice on daily cleaning regimes to extraordinary maintenance.

The Division delivers a turnkey service for site management. Working alongside clients, Fila treatment specialists assist in identifying the best solutions for cleaning, protection and maintenance of any surface. Support spans from feasibility study to analysis of materials through laboratory tests, and from on-site technical assistance, to management of ordinary and extraordinary maintenance.

Products from Fila’s Green Line also featured at the show, including award-winning water based sealer, Fila MP90 Eco Plus. Visitors will had a sneak preview of a new anti-etching treatment that will be launched by Fila later in the year.

Float Glass Design, who produce bespoke cast glass for architectural projects, launched a new collection of coloured cast glass in 12 colours for a range of applications.

Textured glass offers exciting possibilities as a design element in a wide range of architectural applications. It has the unique ability to perform as a decorative feature as well as a functional and structural building material.

The company’s textured glass features create obscurity/privacy with maximum light transmission.  The panels are safety toughened to meet British and European safety standards, and can be back painted or mirrored for cladding purposes.  If required, custom designs or logos can be embossed into the textured glass.

SDS saw the introduction of Spectrum, a new range of coloured textured glass.  Available in 12 bright colours this range can be applied to any of the textures in the company’s Textured Glass range.

Founded in Carrara Italy, and now also operating in UK, Fontanili aims to offer the highest stone quality and advanced manufacturing for projects.

Palissandro is an exclusive variety of eight marbles (nuvolato, bluette, bronzo, oniciato, crevola fiorito, classico, bronzetto and reale) quarried in the north of Italy. This material is becoming more and more popular due to its aesthetic variety and wear resistance.  Projects featuring this material include the Hilton Hotel in Shekou, China, the Radisson Royal in Moscow and the Marriot in Baku.

Glaast provides comprehensive glass services and products for designers, retailers, manufacturers and trade customers. The company’s printed glass is made to measure and offers the perfect marriage of style, function and practicality. Suitable for all interior areas, it allows architects to design a surface that is hygienic and resilient to temperatures, while still remaining visually striking.

Grestec Tiles is a leading supplier of commercial floor and wall tiles to the UK’s architectural and specification market.

Grestec Tiles’ Diesel Living explores five moods, combined with aged fabrics, canvas and jute, while interpreting an urban/grunge style in line with the hard rock aesthetic of the Diesel brand. Grestec Camp is one of five ceramic tile ranges which form the Diesel Living concept.  Grestec Camp maintains the well-known military style of the Diesel brand; combining canvas, hessian and tarpaulin effects with the glossy glazed surface of ceramics, and the hard surfaces of stone.

Grestec has collaborated with Iris Ceramica to introduce, and exclusively supply, the range to the UK architectural market.

Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti’s Cerdisa brand presented new tile design that continue the search for aesthetic appeal and functionality.

In the EC1 range, two fascinating shades of grey underline and complete the chromatic range of this technically-advanced range.  It provides neutral, refined urban tones that complete the favoured palette of contemporary domestic architecture.

New Image Stone is a leading supplier, manufacture and installer of natural stone products to the high end residential and commercial fit out sector.

Its portfolio includes Agora Beige, a limestone with an elegant cream vein structure;

Apuano Leathered, a white to grey marble with a tactile and warm leather finish; and Grigio Acqua, an elegant grey-veined marble.

Onix Concrete Tiles launched in the UK at the Surface Design Show.  Onix offers a series of concrete tiles designed to create refined, sophisticated spaces that accentuate the desirable qualities of concrete.

Kew is a large format square tile, 20mm thick, with a polished surface finish.  It is available in six colours.

Flint is a large format elongated rectangular tile, also 20mm thick and polished and also available in six colours.

Pave is a large format rectangle tile.  Once again it is 20mm thick, polished and available in six colours.

Porcel-Thin bills itself as the most technically advanced thin porcelain tile developed to date, combining large formats and ultra light weight.

A great example is Book Match 1,200 by 600mm; an exquisite collection of incredibly realistic book matched marble- and stone-effect porcelain tiles printed onto large format 1,200 by 600mm tiles, that combine to produce one giant continuous stone pattern

Robel offers in-depth tile and surface expertise.  As well as supplying an extensive range of tiles, Robel produce high quality bespoke surfaces for any application, working with clients to create solutions for projects.

The portfolio includes hand-made encaustic tiles called Origin which tap into a rich tradition that goes back centuries, with the addition of unique features that sets it apart.  Entirely bespoke and given a light polish, Origin has a speckled finish.  Suitable for wall and floor use, there are over 200 patterns and 88 colours.

Beton tiles, worktops and bespoke surfaces draw on the organic minimalism and versatility of concrete; an ever-appealing material for designers.  Robel’s team of creatives and craftsmen can help architects and interior designers to create unique works of art.  The range offers 22 colours and a choice of four finishes, plus a choice of different aggregates.

Skarlis Marble occupies a large modern plant in Greece with an exclusive quarry on Skyros Island.
The company portfolio includes Silver Dark; a Dark grey marble with whitish veins and rare yellow details. This plain, uniform and durable material is recommended for larger projects.
Yellow Whitish has a white background with yellow and scarlet veins. It is an elegant translucent marble of stunning beauty.

Golden Sky has a blue/grey background, white veining and yellow patches. It is a really resistant marble, suitable for any project.  Its neutral colour makes it complement any kind of decoration from the simplest to the most luxurious one.

Portuguese luxury wall and floor tile supplier, Skuare79 has honed its keen instinct for style through its work as a producer, innovator and decorator, resulting in a polished and refined aesthetic while maintaining a high practical sense.

Solomon and Wu offer luxury surfaces designed, developed and manufactured in the U.K. Combining industrial processes and hand-crafting, the company produces commercially-focused products for the retail, hospitality contract markets.

Solus Ceramics is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of commercial wall and floor tiles, offering a range of more than 60,000 porcelain, ceramic, glass, metal and natural stone products.

Nostalgia is a distinctive range of vintage inspired 100 by 200mm wall tiles. The wide range of neutral coloured plain tiles look beautifully hand-finished and are complemented by similarly authentic looking and randomly packed decor tiles.

Stone Consultants offers expert advice on Building regulations, Codes of practice, fit for purpose, specifications, selection of material, quality control, expert witness, contract management.  The company’s ethos is to support every client to find exactly the right stone for each project.

Strata Tiles delivers high quality, innovative and bespoke tile and stone products with outstanding technical support.  Strata is well-known for sourcing inspirational products from a select group of world-wide manufacturers.

This year Strata showcased a new laminated marble range.  Joined with glass and fibreglass to create strong, lightweight and transparent products for use in both external cladding and surface decoration.

Strata Tiles takes pride in the provision of high quality products  across diverse sectors including high street retail, car showrooms, private offices, residential property developers and some of the UK’s largest transport hubs.

The Surface Design Studio specialise in custom printing for architectural and interior design projects, with an innovative approach and a commitment to pioneering digital printing methods.

The company’s tile murals offer a versatile design option for all kinds of spaces. SDS work in partnership with designers to interpret each brief.  Design flexibility means that SDS is comfortable working on contemporary or traditional projects, both small or large-scale.  All products supplied are high-fired ceramics and meet industry specifications for colour fastness and durability. The digital technology used ensures that the murals are durable, will not fade, are fully weather resistant.

Tile Merchants is a specialist importer of tiles from manufacturers throughout the world, offering an extensive range of high quality porcelain, ceramic and mosaic tiles to suit the specification market.

One of Tile Merchants best sellers is Blizzard; a 300 by 600mm porcelain tile suitable for both wall and floor.  It comes in five colours; Avorio, Grey, Mocha, Pearl and Sand.
Habitat is a ceramic wall tile range with décor and matching floor tiles.  This HD Digital 200 by 600mm wall and décor and 316 by 316mm floor tile range comes in five colours; Blanco, Cream, Grafito, Moka and Pearl.

Finally, Chester is a modular porcelain tile range in 250 by 250, 250 by 500 and 500 by 500mm formats.  This striking floor tile comes in silver and beige.

Tile of Spain is the voice of the Spanish tile industry, encompassing more than 100 manufacturers. Spanish tiles offer high-performance solutions to flooring, wall coverings and external paving and cladding.  For details of the Spanish factories at Surface Design Show 2017, turn to Tile & Stone Journal, February 2017, page 48.

Tiles 4 Architects’s T4A11 is a porcelain marble-effect tile available in three designs, polished or matt finishes, five sizes and mosaic sheets.  A beautiful traditional tile is also available in Castellon (brown marble ) and Portovenere (negro marble) colour options.

T4A68 is a natural wood wall cladding, ideal for feature walls.  This interlocking tile, 20 to 30mm thick, is available in four rows or eight rows.  The colour options are natural, white wash, erosion and random four colour.

T4A70 is an eclectic range of tiles in muted colours and fabric-effect patterns. These porcelain tiles are suitable for wall or floor applications. With large formats and unusual shapes, this tile range has a style of its own.

Treniq, a B2B marketplace, enables professional buyers to source luxury interior products at trade price, directly from sellers, without paying commission.

One of the current on-line portfolio’s stars is antiquity quartz which has been used to craft exquisite jewellery and other highly prized objects for millennia.  Now, Sonite’s advanced manufacturing techniques make possible the exceptionally thin Neo-Quartz mosaic collection, with a design that subtly emulates the rich earth-toned spectrum of natural quartz.

Valverdi is a range of co-ordinating 10mm indoor and 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles, designed to create flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces. Valverdi Indoor-Out creates a seamless transition from inside to the outside.

Available in a wide range of striking colours, Valverdi Indoor-Out tiles look stylish, are slip-resistant, and are completely colour-fast, ensuring that your tiles will look stunning throughout their life.  The enhanced slip resistance of the 20mm tiles make them ideal for outdoor applications from patios to swimming pool surrounds.

Strong, tough and hard-wearing, these tiles resist mould, moss and stains.  Frost proof, they are calibrated to ensure all tiles are of an even thickness.

With a rugged, textured finish and choice of three striking colours, the Quartz range gives the look of natural stone with all the benefits of Valverdi porcelain making them perfect for modern kitchen and patio installations.

The sandy colour of Jerusalem White Fossil brings a light and spiritual feel to any room, and adds a bright Mediterranean look to patios.

Glowing with warm and rustic beige tones, the Jerusalem Seashell Beige tiles would not look out of place in a relaxed country environment.

Both these ranges are offered in a 600 by 600mm format,10mm thick. or

Waxman Ceramics’ specification division helps architects and interior designers choose high-quality surface solutions, such as mosaics and large format tiles, for various residential and commercial projects.

The Wood Collection is the ideal surface solution for those looking to incorporate classic design with modern demands. By mimicking the key features of wood in the more durable material of porcelain, with the aid of digital printing technology, homes and businesses can now benefit from surfaces that have a classic look and yet are exceptionally durable. These wood-effect tiles are perfect for use in bathrooms and kitchens due to their water resistance and anti-slip characteristics.

Concrete-effect tiles can be used both in residential homes and commercial design projects. More durable and resilient to staining and wear than the actual material itself, the latest brushed concrete-effect porcelain tiles can replicate a continuous, uninterrupted effect due to the latest extra large-format offerings.  Available in many colour and sizes, concrete-effect porcelain tiles are very versatile. The possibilities of combining larger format styles on floors with smaller counterparts on walls add texture and further depth.  The introduction of thicker, 20mm, large format tiles means that the concrete trend can meet the design trend of indoor/outdoor living.  By using a combination of sizes, colours and thicknesses, larger format concrete tiles can span floor areas both internally and externally, while facilitating open plan living. The ideal choice for most design projects.

With demand increasing for larger format tiles, for both residential and commercial projects, Waxman Ceramics’ new 75 Collection offers surface solutions to meet most tastes with porcelain tiles that mimic materials from marble to brushed concrete … diverse, robust and stylish.

Since 1959 Zanuso Legno has produced veneer, sawn wood and lumber.   In the 1990s Zanuso Legno launched Q5; a sawn wood in thin layers.  In 2009 this was followed by Thermowood, an alternative wood treatment that enriched the range of possible colours.

This year Zanuso Legno presented StoneOak; wood extracted from the earth with a certified centenary history. The name evokes stone to communicate the colours and textures of the material.  It is a very rare wood extracted from the earth after being covered and wrapped under layers of clay for thousands of years.  It is created when logs that have slipped beneath the ground as a result of landslides and upheavals of the forest area were wrapped and protected under layers and layers of clay. The anaerobic environment inhibits the development of micro-organisms, thus preventing the inexorable process of slow degradation.

Over time the wood’s structure changes as mineral salts combine with the existing wood matrix, gradually transforming the organic state and creating a material with a unique range of colours and depth of texture.

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Senio offers the silky allure of Westport

Ceramica Senio’s new Westport double-fired tile range is available in one standard format – 65 by 260mm – and three new 3D shapes. Westport is characterised by its silk-like surface, which feels like a smooth veil of silk and is highly tactile.  Each design in the range is made up of six different colour nuances, mixed in harmonic blends that create a new and original concept of colour.

Florim’s Stones & More balances simplicity with accurate detailing

Stones & More is a new design from Florim’s Casa Dolce Casa brand.  The aim is to offer a spatial vision balanced between simplicity and attention to detail, yet creating a welcoming atmosphere.

This range offers a refined selection of stone and marble looks; resulting in evocative settings that reflect different sources of inspiration in a perfectly balanced colour range. Essential shapes and vintage combinations tell a story through radically different surfaces united under a single philosophy of elegance.

10mm thick, the floor tile come in 800 by 1,800, 300 by 1,200, 600 by 1,200 and 800 by 800mm, plus a 300 by 300mm mosaic and 300 by 600mm listelli.

The wall tiles, 6mm thick, are offered in 600 by 1,200, 1,200 by 1,200, 1,200 by 2,400, 1,600 by 1,600 and 1,600 by 3,200mm and have a gloss finish.  The colour options are
stone sahara noir.  There is also 6mm gloss calacatta in0 by 1,600 by 3,200, 1,200 by 2,400, 800 by 2,400, 1,600 by 1,600, 1,200 by 1,200 and 800 by 800mm.

Complementary wall tiles in ivory, taupe, moka, sage, steel and plomb, with natural finish, are available in 1,200 by 3,000, 800 by 800, 600 by 1,200, 600 by 600, 400 by 800, 300 by 600 and 200 by 800mm, plus mosaics and listelli.
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