By Stephen Baker, Sales Director and Marketing Director at Solus Ceramics
A growing sector of the industry, the use of three-dimensional tiles has been increasing steadily over the past few years and, with appetite for these designs, manufacturers have worked to produce ever more complex and innovative tiles to meet the growing demand.
An imaginative decoration, three-dimensional tiles have a space age appeal with inspirations drawn from geometric wall cladding and futuristic architectural ideas. The tiles give the user the ability to create expressive regular patterns to create texture and movement across a wall space, or can be used sporadically with regular tiles to create spots of intense interest.
A perfect product for chic bar design or an imaginative hotel lobby, 3D tiles also suit residential projects to create feature walls in living rooms, bathrooms or bedrooms. Infinitely tactile, three-dimensional tiles not only draw the eye, but also will inevitably demand attention and inspection from visitors creating a talking point in any space.
The term modularity is often used when discussing furniture or room design, but in 2017 we will see tile ranges that also adhere to this contemporary design idea.
Mixing the trend for 3D style and the emerging desire for modularity, Solus Ceramics’ Elegance range provides designers with a versatile array of smooth tactile tile shapes that can also be effortlessly mixed and matched together.
Inspired by the traditional look of Victorian bevelled tiles, the Elegance range evolves the trend by providing relief tiles that feature curved indentations and smooth, sunken centres. In addition to typical rectangular shapes, the range also features exciting square tiles in a variety of sizes. Designers can use a single format to create repeated, regimented designs or completely break the status quo and combine different shapes and sizes with ease. Finally, for those looking to explore even more dynamic 3D shapes, the range also includes a variety of geometric and arched décors.
Although contemporary designs are emerging at a lightning pace, demand for heritage style tiles has also never been so high. With the current renaissance of traditional British cuisine and locally sourced beverages in our hospitality industry, many new bar and restaurant have been seen to embrace more classical design ideas to enhance their user experience.
At Be at One in Birmingham, Solus Ceramics worked with Fusion Design and Architecture to supply a surprising mix of traditional and modern tile ranges. In the main bar, which is located at basement level, a vast quantity of traditional style tiles from the Opulence range were used. The neutral gloss tiles were selected in two sizes and paired with a detailed and intricate décor border tile that featured a distinctive relief design.
For those looking to combine the classic elegance of a bevelled tile, with something a little more contemporary, look no further than Solus Ceramic’s new Diffusion range. Brilliantly original, as well as including classic metro style shapes, the Diffusion range also features what is referred to as an ‘in-metro’ format. Best described as an inverted bevel, the 3D shape is depressed into the tile rather than protruding out. A new take on a traditional style, the range suits both residential and commercial applications.
A more rustic interpretation of the 3D trend, Narrow is a dynamic wall range made up of two long, thin formats that are available in a range of gentle neutral hues. The standard tiles in the series are flat and feature a distinctive uneven texture, but Narrow also includes a compelling host of dramatic décor tiles. Like the core tiles, the décor pieces feature rustic touches yet are primarily embellished with creative 3D patterns. This includes a chic looped design, a funky triangle pattern and an intriguing curved motif. In addition, Narrow also hits upon the current penchant for metallics and incorporates a beautiful gold option.
Taking the step towards three-dimensional tiles can be quite daunting and, in some situations, the use of a relief tile may not be suitable or practical. In this instance a tile range that features a realistic print may be the answer.
In response to the demand for luxury surface options, Solus Ceramics new Shagreen range not only provides the realistic appearance of sharkskin on a tile, but can also bring the idea of texture into a space where 3D tiles cannot be applied. The design on the surface of the tiles is unbelievably authentic, and with advanced printing techniques and subtle textures, the tiles almost appear to have a scaled relief. Developments in ink-jet technology are revolutionising the ceramic tile printing industry and the uptake of wide-format printers for ceramic tiles is increasing dramatically, spurred on by the demand for high definition, authentic looking printed tiles.
And it is not just wall tiles that can provide a unique and special aesthetic, as many new floor ranges are being produced that provide a hint of flamboyance and daring style. The Concreta range, which was used to wonderful effect by René Dekker Design at MVictoria St, is a contemporary concrete range that includes an alluring décor option. Lightly adorned with intricate geometric and curved patterns, the décor tiles are reminiscent of worn ancient murals, and provide a unique and memorable aesthetic. In this project, the designer used varying sized plain tiles along with randomly placed décor tiles to create an exciting patchwork style effect.
Finally, bridging the three-dimensional trend, with the current vogue material of concrete, Solus Ceramics’ new Raw range provides a finish that is sure to inspire creativity with any architect or designer. A unique product, Raw is a triple loaded porcelain range that presents one of the most accurate depictions of concrete we have ever seen.
Although the tiles in the Raw range are as thin as a typical porcelain tile, when fixed, the pieces truly appear to be authentic concrete slabs. In the special Raw finish, each tile will display a random assortment of 3D bubbles and small crevices, which are just like the imperfections you would find in real concrete cladding. It is also possible to select the tiles to feature milled anchor holes.
These holes are located at the corner of each tile and can be used in combination with large metal screws to achieve a chic industrial scheme. The user can either use true mechanical fixings to attach the tiles to walls, or use alternative aesthetic screws that are entirely for design purposes.
Solus Ceramics have a huge collection of unusually shaped three-dimensional tiles. The Diamond range features kite shaped pieces that are peaked at the tip, creating an eye-catching 3D design. Used in many bar and restaurant projects across the UK, the Diamond range works particularly well with ambient lighting schemes, as the tiles gently reflect and refract light.
In addition to three-dimensional tiles, Solus Ceramics launched a series of usually shaped tiles in 2016, marking the shape of things to come. The company’s new Geometry range feature stunning herringbone style patterns that open up endless design possibilities. The chevron-shaped tiles fit together effortlessly and easily, allowing architects and designers to create an array of cutting edge and exciting creations, from dynamic and chic geometric stripes to scintillating zig zags.
Finally, combining the latest pioneering tile cutting technology with innovative design expertise, Solus Ceramics are able to produce stunning bespoke tiles for almost any situation. From delicately etched patterns to complex mosaics and detailed water jet cut shapes, porcelain, natural stone, metal and even glass can be fabricated into almost any conceivable tile design.
Solus Ceramics’ experienced design team works closely with architects and designers to provide free drawings to visualise ideas and can even reproduce existing designs for approval and pricing.
2017 looks set to be a year full of exciting new tile trends, experimental concepts and unforgettable architectural and interior designs. Perhaps three dimensional tiles, intricately printed tiles, or concrete effect tiles are the gateway to inspiring your next project.
Company Profile and Contacts
Solus Ceramics, established in 1995, is an established porcelain, ceramic, glass, metal and natural stone tile supplier, offering a huge range of over 60,000 products, directly sourced from manufacturing partners. Tapping into strong manufacturer relationships and the company’s wealth of experience, Solus Ceramics consistently remain at the forefront of the latest developments and trends within the tiling industry.
Working with architects, interior designers and other professional specifiers to deliver technical and aesthetic solutions into a wide variety of tiling projects across Europe is key to the company’s success. Solus Ceramics has amassed invaluable experience in projects within both the public and private sectors.