The great pretenders


Scale and proportions were the dominant themes at Italy’s Florim and its Casamood brand – where
an 80-by-80-inch format was part of the offering in the Nera collection, which emulates the look
of lava stone in a range of sizes, from slabs to mosaics, plus strips and decorations.


Marazzi Tile brought some Archaeology to Coverings. This collection recreates the look of luxurious travertine slabs used for building projects by ancient peoples and unearthed, often intact, at historic sites around the world. Using the latest digital print technology, it emulates the tiniest detail, including fissures, striations and colourations.


StonePeak Ceramics, headquartered in Chicago, took the wraps off of Raja, a tile that uses advanced inkjet technology to replicate the exotic slate found in ancient quarries of India. The resemblance to the real thing is impressive, down to the tiniest details. Raja is available in three colors, three sizes and a complete trim package.


At Tau, a Tile of Spain branded
manufacturer, Colonna was the centre of attention, mistaken for a high-sheen marble of Imperial Rome but, in reality, a porcelain tile. The series is sold in the 58-by-58-inch format and comes in amber, beige, grey and ivory versions.


The research and development team at Crossville created a porcelain tile that mimics the look of bluestone and aptly named it Bluestone. The resemblance to its namesake is uncanny, with fossil-like impressions and a subtle pearlescence created by embedded shells.


The hexagon seemed to be the “it” shape at Coverings. The Spanish firm Apavisa has taking the traditional look of stone and added a contemporary flair with the new hexagonal shaped NeoCountry, available in natural and bocciardato finishes, and randomly textured mosaic and multi-colours.


The new collections Mosaic+ brought to the show are all experimentations with geometric shapes and modular patterns. The Dialoghi collection (shown), for example, explores the possibilities of customization with the Dialoghi Design Tool, a versatile multimedia tool used to create modular mixtures and decorations with almost endless colours and material combination possibilities, based on various layouts. 


No trip to a hard-surfaces trade show would be complete without a visit to SICIS (the Art Mosaic Factory). This year, SICIS premiered PixALL, a mosaic collection that is a representation of the fragmentation of digital surfaces. Much like the pixilation of a computer image, motifs and themes take on the jagged effect typical of video art, when seen
in extreme close-up.


In the Lea Ceramiche booth the spotlight was on Slimtech, a new ultra-thin 3mm laminated porcelain that comes in extremely large formats. With a wider chromatic palette, the collection has a total of 23 colors in seven product series (shown is Slimtech Basaltina). Thin and light, Slimtech is ideal for the renewal of floors and can be laid over an old surface, avoiding demolition and waste production.


Texture was another top story at this year’s Coverings. Micro-patterns were big, and one of the most impressive was at Refin, which showcased Kaos, a porcelain tile peppered with a dimensional relief of tiny dots. The dots give way to the illusion of a linear pattern, a visual effect aided by the monochromatic, tone-on-tone shadings of the confetti-like decoration.


Florida Tile brought its new Berkshire Maple to the show, a style that takes the wood lookalike trend to a whole new level. A Coverings introduction, it not only imitates the look, it practically imitates the feel, with dimension, saw marks and details typical of hand-scraped woods.


Venerable bathroom brand Villeroy & Boch added several newcomers to its portfolio, including Outline, Silent Wave and Light Curve (shown). Created in basic colours, these matt non-vitreous ceramic tiles exhibit textures that invite light and shadows in a gentle palette reminiscent of fine paper to create distinctive colour effects.


SICIS premiered its Lifestyle Collection at the show. Five new colour stories and patterns reflect the tones and current trends the well-known Italian brand sees in the fashion and home industry. The pixel energy of Mink, Nude, Savile, Gypsy and Tango (shown) takes depth and dimension and the artistic expression of chiaroscuro to dramatic new levels.