Launch Slideshow

Coverings Show: Day 3

American innovation in the tile industry showed new signs of life.

Coverings Show: Day 3

American innovation in the tile industry showed new signs of life.

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    Artistic Tile
    The Europeans aren’t the only ones who can do texture. Instead of ceramic, this manufacturer uses bianco carrara and hand-carves sculptural, three-dimensional surfaces in the stone. It’s available in two colors and three designs. www.artistictile.com.

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    Crossville Inc.
    Bluestone Porcelain Stone looks like the real thing but is more durable and low maintenance on floors and countertops. The tile contains a minimum of 20% recycled content and comes in four colors. www.crossvilleinc.com.

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    Diamond Tech Tiles
    Glass mosaics are common, but these days manufacturers are mixing media. In this case, the company mixes marble, stainless steel, and glass in a single sheet. The product comes in 14 color combinations. www.dttiles.com.

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    Granada Tiles
    The company produces its handmade concrete tiles in the fine tradition of Nicaragua. Made from cement and such aggregates as marble powder, the Minis collection exudes a Moroccan influence with its scale and star cross. Six colors and two patterns are available. www.granadatiles.com.

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    Portland Cement Co.
    As the name suggests, this company does not produce ceramic or stone tiles but concrete. The Swerve X line, based on Moorish and Islamic influences, comes in a textured pillow version for wall or a flat version for floors. www.portlandcementco.com.

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    Sonite
    Celestial is the newest edition to the manufacturer’s wild assortment of tiles in a variety of materials. Inspired by patterns found in the skies, the line comes in a variety of colors. www.sonitesurfaces.com.

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    Tempest Tileworks
    Technical tiles are all the rage right now, but some consumers still want a decorative on a backsplash or in the bath. These tiles feature a clay body and silk screen images that are glazed before firing. Crackle and non-crackled glazes are available. www.tempesttileworks.com.

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    Trikeenan
    One of the masters of handmade artisan tile, the manufacturer recently released Boneyard Brick. Made from reclaimed materials, the glazed thin-brick products are suitable for interior and exterior applications and come in 15 colors and three sizes. www.trikeenan.com.

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    Wizard Enterprise
    Hawthorne is a lower-priced alternative to the company’s small-batch handcrafted tiles. Featuring glazes that give each tile a unique look, the products are made from 40% post-industrial clay and are single-fired. www.wizardenterprise.com.

The truism in the American tile market is that as the European trends go, so goes the rest of the industry. That’s because the manufacturers overseas tend to take bold leaps in innovation, technology, and design.

Now that the American tile trade fair Coverings 2011 is over, it's worth it to take a post mortem of the show's offerings. For one thing, U.S. tile manufacturers showed some signs of new design life. Surely the Italians and the Spanish had a great showing of their technical prowess in wood-look tiles, large formats, thin tiles, and tile with textures that seem unbelievable if one didn’t see it for oneself.

But North American outfits and small home grown tile companies had a strong showing as well, especially in artistic tiles—America’s strength. Some companies still had products made in Asia, but many of the tiles were handmade in small factories and featured hand-applied glazes that gave them a rustic yet modern flavor.

Here are some cool products that caught our eye on the last day of the show.