Product introductions come in all shapes and sizes: Sometimes products are chosen to expand an existing collection by adding complementary colors and shapes to the line, giving flexibility and freedom to designers and homeowners. Other launches trot out a brand new concept, something inventive and fresh—a head-turner. What will you find this season at showrooms? Both! There’s new profiles for Savoy, that beloved line of workhorse ceramics, and a sparkling new series of mosaic tile from acclaimed designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard—his sixth collection for Ann Sacks. With Eutopia Martyn brings freshness and verve to the ancient art of mosaic. (There’s never a dull moment in Martyn's world.)
Belcaro Fluted 12"x24 Field in Lilac
There’s one powerful idea that prevails over this formidable group of newcomers and it’s texture. These are tiles and stone you want to reach out and touch. If you’ve ever seen the light play off a wall of mosaic like a spindrift of glitter, or moved your fingertips toward the creamy and cool surface of honed marble then you know that appeal lies not just in the visuals but in the tactile as well. The touch trend manifests across a bevy of enticing themes — here’s the rundown.
Silea and Nero Marquina; Design by Jean Stoffer; Photography: Stoffer Photography Interiors
Pulling off the seemingly unlikely pairing of enduring classic and whimsically playful, checkerboard never hits a wrong note. The variations and applications are endlessly malleable. Old World Stone offers several options of limestone and marble; the product is honed but with antiqued edges calling to mind rustic European homes. Grand Rapids–based designer Jean Stoffer uses a product like this to help her achieve her look—interiors that feel like they could have been original because of their quality and patina—she says. “When laid as a floor, a chiseled edge on a marble tile looks so appropriately aged, there is a sense of weight and beauty that is both elegant and enthralling.”
Ashmont 6"x6" in Beige and White, Design by OD Interiors
Ashmont is weathered porcelain in a beguiling palette of sea blue-greens, navies, and neutrals, deriving its inspiration from the stucco that adorns buildings in the “Floating City” of Venice. For painterly color interplay, this is the place to start, but a pairing of Beige and Bianco is no less breathtaking.
Checkerboard 18"x18" Field in Nero Marquina and Carrara; Design by OD Interiors
And finally there’s the Checkerboard collection itself—nine honed or polished marbles for mixing and matching, from the high-contrast pair Absolute Black & Eastern White to tonal plays, such as Silea & Carrara.
Checkerboard seems to appear in nearly all the historic houses and published homes Jean Stoffer admires; she notes that archeologists have found the pattern dating back to as early as 1500 BC. “It is almost muscle memory for our eyes,” she says. “We know it. We understand it. We like it!”
Belcaro 12"x24" Pleated Field in Nubo Verde
This is the main event: tile and stone that’s taking it 3D.
Among the most admired of the dimensional introductions are the new varieties of pleated products. Yes, you read that right.
“We fell in love with fluting and now we’ve adding pleats,” says Deedee Gundeberg, Ann Sacks Director, Product Development and Design. “Everyone loves a pleat!” The shape is the evolution of the groundbreaking Fluted shape, and the feeling is a bit more structured and a touch more modern.
The shape isn’t limited to one line—it’s making tracks all over. There are Waterfall versions of Belcaro marbles, pleats in the creamy Valo marble, pleats in Terrazzo Form, and more in Savoy, which is where it started. “We tried it there first and immediately said: This works, where else can we put pleats!” says Deedee.
Belcaro Pleated in Amelie, Lilac and Nubo Verde
To best understand the pleated shape, look at Belcaro, a series of three marbles. The pleated pattern in dashing green Nubo Verde is a feast of color, pattern and shape. It pulls out all the stops. Conversely, in elegant Amelie, a beautiful white stone with soft veining, the eye is drawn to the architecture of the shape—you’ll be looking more at the form and thinking less about the hue.
The stone Lilac—a white marble dramatically streaked with violet veining—was a recent big introduction, showing that purpley hues can play nice just about anywhere that neutrals go.
Lilac slab in a honed finish
Joining the roster this season with even more eye-catching veining is Nubo Verde, a jubilee of green hues, from the soft and aloe-like to vivid gemlike chartreuse and emerald—a veritable world of color in a slab of stone. Says Deedee: “When we saw this green, we thought: this is it. All these greens and yet it’s so harmonious together—it’s nature painting a picture—there’s no wrong color, it’s always perfectly balanced.” It’s Lilac and Nubo Verde that join Amelie in a collection, Belcaro, dedicated to fluted and pleated forms.
Nubo Verde 12"x24" Honed Field
Eutopia by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Sultan's Garden
Martyn Lawrence Bullard is back with another show-stopping contribution to the Ann Sacks library of ideas. In his newest collection, Eutopia, he brings ancient mosaic craft hurtling forward into the modern mix.
The breathtaking botanical patterns, each of them with a familiar historical, global, botanical motif—think enchanting flowering vines and full-blown chrysanthemums—are rendered in exquisite hand-cut glass.
Eutopia by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Marmaris, Pagoda Vine, Indagare
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