Tile trends 2012
Kevin Jackson, RAK Ceramics UK General Manager, Tiles
Predicting tile trends is a risky business. Here’s the problem: trends are often fleeting whereas tiles tend to stay put for a long time.
The Cevisama tile fair featured an array of the daring and the dazzling, linear retro looks fought for attention alongside rich metallics, lustre mosaics and all things shiny and glittery. The wild and wacky may take centre stage in the exhibition halls, but it’s the contemporary look that can be relied upon to keep the tills ringing.
The appeal of the natural stone look shows no sign of diminishing. Today’s modern ink jet technology has created some strikingly authentic reproductions of limestone, marble and slate, which are difficult to differentiate from the real thing.
White tiles enjoy an enduring popularity, today’s whites come in a variety of reliefs and textures to create added interest. Large format whites are often paired with a polished mosaic strip or a contrasting black panel to give a classic look.
There are signs that the constant move toward bigger tiles has at last been arrested with smaller formats showing signs of a revival as manufacturers seek to deliver value for money: 33cm x 50cm and 20cm x 50cm sizes are becoming increasingly popular.
One of the most talked about innovations over the last 18 months has been the introduction of thin porcelain tiles. Most of these products are 3.5 – 5 mm thick and are particularly suitable for refurbishments where they can be installed on top of existing coverings, and being so much lighter than standard tiles they are easier to handle and cut.
Polished porcelains are a design trend which shows no sign of abating, often used with matching mosaics. Polished porcelains in 60 x 30cm and increasingly 60 x 60cm continue to be the product of choice for many people seeking that sleek contemporary look.
Neutral tones, natural stone effects, whites and polished porcelains - these trends look set to run and run.
Looking ahead to 2012
Industry comment from Rob Jull, MD of RAK Ceramics UK
Recession clearly assists companies like RAK Ceramics, whose prime benefit is value-for-money. Price has come back onto the wish-list of most buyers and is right up at the top again. Manufacturers like us, who produce to a high European standard but sell at a lower than average European price, are booming. Our sales expansion has mostly been for the large format porcelain products. Perhaps a little repetitive message but 60x30 porcelain grey, ivory, beige and black are taking a large part of the market. It is interesting that customers are not necessarily down grading their product choice, but sourcing what they really want at better prices.