In response to the global pandemic, the tile industry has shown creativity and resilience. Product launches draw inspiration from changing ideas about how we work and play.
Hygiene is at the top of the agenda, so surfaces are designed to be safe and clean. Anti-bacterial porcelain ranges designed to help eliminate bacteria are widely available in this year’s collections.
In addition, sustainability is paramount, with clear ecological labelling provided for most products.
Almost all the Spanish brands are offering green in their ranges. Shades of blue and lilac have been promoted by Dulux and Pantone as “colours of the year”, but in the tile industry at least, emerald is the predominant hue. Employed by interior designers for its calming properties and loved by homeowners for its outdoorsy vibe, green brings the natural world inside.
Hexagon designs are also increasing in popularity for practical reasons, working equally well on walls and floors or in external applications. The shape is also said to offer a stylish, contemporary vibe. Patterns can be achieved by combining hexagons, allowing for intriguing placement of tiles, which is appealing for those seeking a custom look. Many tile collections offer a hexagon shape alongside other formats, so that they can be mixed or matched. Other ranges are said to be more ambitious, combining marble-effects with wood and cement effects or juxtaposing plains with complementary decors.
Recent times have seen growing enthusiasm for industrial looks such as rusty steel or oxidised copper. This year, a glance at the product launches shows an interest in much more glamorous finishes. Surfaces to suit a high-end bathroom refurb or a luxurious spa are offered in sophisticated colour palettes, notable for their elegant details. Finishes are polished rather than distressed.
Tiles by Spanish manufacturers are reportedly often designed to provide a degree of flexibility with installation. Small formats that can be arranged in various ways allow designers and architects to make their mark. Instead of traditional laying patterns, tiles can be mixed up or placed vertically or diagonally.
Competing with all-over marble effects, geometrics that flow over ceramic surfaces feature in many of the year’s launches. These designs require some space, since the pattern is only achieved when piecing together multiple tiles. The designs can be seen on small 20x20cm formats, but also on larger 60x60cm formats.
In response to the pandemic, Spanish manufacturers are reportedly adding an extra layer of anti-bacterial protection during the firing process. This technology can be seen in all formats and styles including cement, marble and wood-effects. Some brands plan to roll it out on all of their ranges, not just as an optional extra.