Coverings 2023 was one for the books. From April 18-21, Orlando’s Orange County Convention Centre was packed from wall to wall with tile launches from nearly 1,000 global exhibitors, each reaching new heights of craftsmanship and innovation. Among the usual suspects (large-format slabs and wallpaper-like botanicals, we’re looking at you), several tile trends emerged as standouts. Below, we round up the top styles to look out for this year:
There’s no doubt that the right tiles can transform a space, but historically, their impact has been limited to two dimensions. This year, Spanish tile manufacturers were on a mission to change that, launching collections that were equal parts decorative and architectural. Breezeblocks, in particular, were all the rage. Case in point: Wow Design’s Icon series formed a curved, terracotta-coloured wall at the manufacturer’s award-winning booth. The I-shaped ceramic modules can be laid horizontally or vertically — both indoors and outdoors — to create partitions in a plethora of custom colours.
Elsewhere, Harmony showcased two standout collections: Pique, by Estudihac, with a stepped design inspired by 18th-century weaving techniques, and Castello, a more irregularly shaped module by Dsignio, modelled after defensive openings found in medieval castles.
Marble has long led the stone-look market, but in 2023, travertine is having a moment. In fact, according to Crossville, which recently debuted its travertine-inspired Stone Fiction collection, it is the second most specified natural stone behind marble. This year, it seemed that nearly every tile manufacturer launched their contemporary take on the old-world stone, making the normally high-maintenance material more accessible and durable.
Grespania, a Spanish brand focused on large-format slabs and countertops, presented their Capitolio collection, made using injected ink and bas-reliefs for a more realistic appearance. Available in two graphics, Vein and Cross, the line highlights cuts both with and against the grain that can be combined for added interest — and is also offered in mesh-mounted mosaics. Tennessee-based Atlas Concorde also showcased its Marvel Travertine series, a complete product system offered in a versatile range of thicknesses and finishes that make it suitable not just for walls and floors, but for sinks, outdoor spaces and even facades.
Italian manufacturer Marca Corona’s booth put it succinctly: “Mix is cool.” Gone are the days of all-white, subway-tiled spaces. Instead, brands are combining colours and textures to create richly layered interiors. Some collections were purpose-built for mixing and matching: Wow Design’s 3-piece Twister line (comprised of curved, linear and solid designs) can be configured to create endless eye-catching patterns.
Many brands have also applied this approach to create monochromatic looks: Marca Corona’s Fornace collection, inspired by London bricks, is available with or without a decorative indent. Portobello America’s new Lighthouse series is another shining example, with its combination of flat and decorative pieces, dubbed “stairs,” imparting subtle textural variation. Its palette of seven colourways was designed to perfectly harmonize with the company’s Portofino porcelain line, which also debuted at Coverings.
Coverings coined green the colour of the year, but the show floor revealed that teal was the hue of choice. In addition to Marca Corona’s Cera line, several manufacturers prominently featured the colourway in their booths. At Equipe, the wave-like Costa Nova collection was used to create a showpiece fireplace vignette. Elsewhere in the booth, the brand’s newly released geometric Wadi line was also shown in teal, and contrasted with mustard yellow.
Ergon, a division of Emilgroup, also unveiled its new Abacus series: a classic brick format that is anything but boring. Available in teal alongside other vibrant hues and neutrals, the ceramic tiles are offered in three styles: flat, ribbed, and the ever-popular undulating style, inspired by traditional majolica (more on that below).
Ahead of Coverings, we were anticipating a trend towards undulating surfaces — and this year’s tile launches did not disappoint. Alongside early favourites from Florida Tile and Wow Design, U.S. manufacturers Roca and Portobello America delivered with collections that evoke a hand-made quality and craftsmanship.
While Roca’s Artesano line is offered in timeless neutrals, their Bartile collection adds personality with bold colour. The Feathers collection, meanwhile, marries the traditional surface treatment with a trendy arched shape, available in subdued pastels. Inspired by the tranquil Tenessee countryside, Portobello’s Highland Lake series is rendered in a natural palette, while its more vibrant Gouache series is offered in 13 painterly hues.
This year, texture and tactility went beyond the surface, with manufacturers introducing organic, three-dimensional effects that elevate the most minimal of stones. Take Cluny, for instance, a new collection by Spanish heavyweight Peronda, named for the famous French city where the stone which inspires it originates. Its wavy finish combines smooth and bush-hammered surfaces that integrate seamlessly with the rest of the line.
Portobello’s Apuano Oro, meanwhile, offers a fresh take on classic Calacatta marble, with a decorative effect, aptly dubbed Stream, evoking the quality of flowing water.
Breezeblocks, mix-and-match collections, and bold colours and textures dominated the show floor this year.