ISLAND TILE: STILL ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF EMERGING INTERNATIONAL TRENDS
Over the past 35 years in the business, Melbourne-based Island Tile has seen many design trends come and go. But developments in digital technology have given international tile manufacturers the ability to create small batch orders and custom colors, which has led to a shift in the industry.
“Tile has become much more like the fashion world with digital manufacturing capabilities,” Island Tile President Cliff Hirsch explains. “From the diversity of sizes to the range of colors and models, we can create so much more than we could with the more rigid processes of the past.”
Island Tile’s motto – “Where Tile Becomes Art” – fits perfectly with this modern approach, giving central Florida homeowners the ability to completely customize their home’s floorings and finishes to suit their taste. The Island Tile showroom offers a wealth of inspiration, with several colors, sizes and textures in a range of surface options, from wood-look tile to marble and beyond. Some customers arrive knowing almost exactly what they want, with the Pinterest boards to prove it. Others come in looking for guidance.
Hirsch and his team at Island Tile try to look at each person’s individual project and get a feel for their style, taste and personality. “Most customers are shocked by the increased size of the tiles today, and typically these larger designs are the most popular now. You want to consider the size of the home and work with the layout and flow from indoor to outdoor spaces, but often you’re looking at three by three or four by four feet as the most desirable sizes for square tiles. For wood-look tiles, the most popular length is 48 inches, but we offer up to 96 inches in length, with eight to 10 inches in width giving the ideal proportions,” he says.
“It’s really all about scale and layout.”
For the past 30 years, the Island Tile team has participated in the International Coverings show, which took place this year in Orlando. During the show, Hirsch gets a good feel for the global trends in the tile industry, and he’s noticed an emerging preference for more saturated color and a variety of textures and finishes. “Colors and design choices tend to be a little splashier during a strong, prosperous economy,” Hirsch notes. “So, during the most recent recession beginning in 2009, you saw a lot of whites and grays, but over the past decade and especially recently, we’re seeing the return of more color.”
When homeowners choose muted color choices or a monochromatic scheme, Hirsch sees an emerging preference for a variety of textures and finishes. “Two of the most popular choices are marble and wood-look tile, and you can really play with finishes for either of those options, from a piano gloss to a heavily weathered or hammered texture,” he explains.
Larger tile sizes, custom colors and variety of textures all give customers an endless array of options. At Island Tile, creating art has always been the goal. Using new technology, homeowners will find the perfect finishes for their home.