The wood effect a major trend in tiles and flooring

Rima Alsammarae, editor of Commercial Interior Design

In February, I was fortunate enough to travel to Valencia, Spain for the world-renowned ceramic and marble trade fair known as Cevisama.

As I walked through the fair, it became very obvious that a leading trend in the international tile sector is the wood effect, or in other words—making the tile appear as wood, with timber colours and grain patterns painted onto the material’s surface.

And why is that? Is it because today’s market is demanding more nature for indoor schemes? I think the answer is clearly yes.

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The modern consumer wants to connect to nature on a daily basis, minute by minute. With the persistent construction of taller and taller skyscrapers, it seems we are going further away from our ancestor’s grounded realities. And to counter our slow detachment, the consumer today is reaching out to materials that remind him or her of our planet’s elements. Hence, the wood effect.

But what does this mean for the walls and flooring sector? If wood sourcing and manufacturing agencies are gaining from the current market trends, does that mean that tile and carpet suppliers are beginning to suffer?

Earlier in 2014, I met with Interface’s superstar designer David Oakey.

The creator behind the popular Net-Effect collection noted that there had been a global shift toward hard surfaces, from wood to cement. The demand for contemporary, clean spaces was on the rise – leaving carpeting and mosaic tiling behind. He said: “In Europe for example and now in the states, real wood, fake wood or stained concrete is just sweeping. So as a soft floor covering business, we wonder if we’re going to go out of business.”

Carpet and tiling companies have begun to produce material that imitates the look of concrete and wood. And this year, it seems the wood effect is in total control of the market. Companies from the United Arab Emirates to Spain are recreating this aesthetic so as to stay afloat. I guess, the only question left is: will it work?

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