Hard-wearing, handsome, sustainable ... These are just some of the expectations consumers bring to the table when shopping for surfaces for their homes, and with each passing year, manufacturers are stepping up to offer more options to meet those demands. In this roundup, you'll find a range of exciting surfacing products in small and large formats, from quartz that mimics the classic looks of natural stone, to artisan tile sans the lengthy lead-time, and ceramic tile and sintered stone that draw on global inspiration for their aesthetics. Other surfacing options are made from innovative materials—sugar palm, recycled glass, thermo-setting resins ... The possibilities really are pretty much limitless.
This extended version of the article that appeared in the March/April 2021 issue contains additional products coverage.
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Caesarstone quartz surfacing in pearly whites
Caesarstone’s Whitelight Collection offers quartz surfaces in straightforward neutrals with crisp, pearly lusters and soft hues geared to bring earthy warmth and serenity to the home. Available shades include Calacatta Maximus, featuring oversized veining across a pure white background; Arabetto, which has a web of jade and copper hues across a pure white base with gray veining; and White Attica (shown, above), with gray-black tones across a white base.
Quick-ship artisan tile from New Ravenna
With production time requiring as little as two days, New Ravenna’s Studio Line offers a range of artisan designs without the lead time of a custom product. One of these designs, Tristan (shown), is inspired by Moroccan architecture and combines honed Calacatta Monet and polished Nero Marquina marbles in geometric patterns with brushed brass to create texture in vibrant motifs. The Studio Line can be ordered by the square foot.
Sustainable industrial style from Cosentino
Cosentino pushes sustainability to new levels in its Silestone Loft series with an innovative production process that the manufacturer says uses 99% recycled water, 100% renewable energy, and also significantly reduces the use of quartz. Rooted in the industrial style, this collection captures the essence of well-known neighborhoods celebrated for their raw, urban beauty: London’s Camden, Barcelona’s Poblenou, New York’s Seaport and Nolita, and Detroit’s Corktown (shown).
Smith & Fong's palm panels
Smith & Fong has expanded its line of architectural panels with linear pieces produced from Indian black palm (sugar palm). Characterized by a striking grain, with coffee, nutmeg, and eggshell-white hues, the 100% non-wood panels feature a solid bamboo core for strength and stability. The panels accept a variety of finishes and are also available with a natural oil or hand-rubbed poly finish, offering a tactile look and feel.
Metallic glass looks from Island Stone
Island Stone’s new Celestial Collection is comprised of metallic glass tile that offers subtle bling, while the dimensionality created by the glass infuses the tile with extra depth, evoking a starry night sky. Strikingly modern yet timeless, Celestial tiles are available in four colors, Moon Beam, Dusk, Dark
Star, and Galaxy Blue, and in 3 1/2-inch-by-12-inch subway tile (shown in Galaxy Blue).
Arizona Tile offers tumbled marble
Arizona Tile’s Arabescato Bianco is an agglomerate marble (small, tumbled pieces of white marble fused together using a white resin). Occasional flecks of gold or oxidation emerge against the creamy white canvas. Available in 98-by-62-inch, 2 cm-thick slabs, as well as 24-by-24-inch, 1/2-inch-thick tiles.
New colors in Fiandre Architectural Surfaces' large-format porcelain
Fiandre Architectural Surfaces has added new colors and finishes to its Marmi Maximum premium porcelain collection. Verde Fantastico (shown) features a dark green background shot with white, brown, and other earthy colors to create a snakeskin effect. Available stock sizes include 120-by-60-inch large-format slabs in polished or semi-polished finishes.
Self-healing next-gen surface from Arpa Industriale
Fenix, an innovative material created by Italian manufacturer Arpa Industriale, features a multilayer coating and next-gen thermo-setting resins, resulting in surfaces that are extremely opaque, soft-touch, and fingerprint resistant. Superficial micro-scratches can be repaired with thermal healing using an iron and a damp cloth. Fenix surfacing (shown here in Rosso Jaipur) is ideal for cabinets and countertops, particularly in high-traffic areas, the company says.
Global influences in Neolith's sintered stone
Six-S, the new sintered stone collection from Neolith, represents characteristics of Solidarity, Sanitary, Strong, Stylish, Sensory, and Sustainability, the company says, and is based on a commitment to wellbeing, community, and sustainability. The surfaces reflect a global influence, taking cues from Himalayan salt crystal landscapes, the Amazon rain forest (Amazonica, shown), and architectural landmarks such as Sheikh Zayed Mosque, among other places.
African reflections in ceramic tile from Lunada Bay Tile
The vivid textures of Lunada Bay Tile’s Namibia series evoke the landscapes of Africa’s South Atlantic coast, translating vistas of dunes, claypans, and rocky outcrops into ceramic tile in three color palettes. A hand-sculpting technique creates one-of-a-kind effects in the collection’s four interpretations: square, round, round concave, and a three-piece pattern (shown in Dunes, Sunset Bronze).
New metal laminate looks from Formica
Aligning with the trend for warmer metal looks, Formica has released 13 additions to its DecoMetal Metal Laminate collection. These new metals add warm tones of brass, copper, light gold, and black, providing designers with a full spectrum of more than 40 metal laminate designs, including colors such as Copper Stainless and Champagne Stainless, weathered patinas (Copper Patina, shown), and oiled looks that enrich the palette.
Green certified countertop surfacing from IceStone
Your countertop could have been last year’s pickle jar. IceStone is made using only recycled glass, Portland cement, and nontoxic pigments for a toxin-free material that contains no petrochemicals or resins, the manufacturer says. Eligible for LEED credit, IceStone is Cradle to Cradle certified and offers a versatile palette that includes vibrant jewel tones, crisp neutrals, and iridescent aggregates. Applications include countertops and tables.
Waterproof wall panels from Wilsonart
Made from a high-pressure decorative laminate bonded to a waterproof core, the patented Wetwall Water-Proof Wall Panel System from Wilsonart offers a grout-free surface that’s quick and easy to install, the company says. Ideal for shower walls, bath surrounds, and accent walls, the tongue-and-groove installation system reduces installation time, and panels can be installed over existing tile or similar surfaces.
Natural palette quartz surfaces from Vadara
Vadara, a manufacturer of premium quartz surfaces, has added six colors to its lineup. Inspired by classic tones found in natural marble and quartzite, each new hue presents neutral tones with veining that mimics stone found in nature and veins that run all the way through the slab. Four of the surfaces feature dramatic gray or brown veining against a dimensional white and gray background, while two others showcase delicate veining against a bright white background. (Shown: Cascada Perla)
Handcrafted-look ceramic tile from Emser Tile
Emser Tile offers tactile textures and materials to add warmth and comfort to the home and align with new consumer values of wellness and authenticity, the company says. Hues found in nature create a sense of energy as well as serenity. The Raku Collection's glazed ceramic tiles bring life to an ancient Japanese method of firing pottery in a contemporary form, offering a handcrafted look. Tiles are available in a 3-by-12-inch size in five colors: Charcoal, Blue (shown), Ocean, Silver, and White, in a glossy finish.
Nemo Tile's holographic hues for interior walls
Embrace iridescence with Nemo Tile + Stone’s Glow collection, a white-bodied wall tile finished in soft blue, blush pink, and white pastels. A unique option in the Glow collection is a hologram tile comprised of the perfect mix of each hue. Offered in a 2-by-10-inch format, the line is available in a matte or a glossy finish. (Shown: Glow Rain Hologram, matte.)
Camilla McLaughlin is an award-winning writer who specializes in real estate, design and construction.