From April 29 to May 2, 2008, tile and stone companies from around the globe gathered to present their newest and most notable products at the Coverings show in Orlando. Here are some major trends we noticed.

With a recession in the United States, tile manufacturers are promoting the versatility of their products beyond just the kitchen and bath. One of the ways they are doing this is by making porcelain and ceramic tile that imitate other materials, usually ones that entail more maintenance. Some of the most popular of these were tiles that imitated fabrics, leather, and wood:

  • Porcelanosa introduced a ceramic tile with a "high fashion design" that takes on the look of an "upholstered fabric wall," according to the company. It is part of the Venezia collection. www.porcelanosa-usa.com Porcelanosa.

  • Horus Art Ceramiche launched its Wallpaper collection of small-format ceramic tiles. www.horusart.com

  • Serenissima highlighted its Timber City series, which reproduces raw timber planks. www.serenissima.re.it

    Serenissima.

  • In StonePeak's Touch collection, a porcelain tile takes on a stitched leather look. www.stonepeakceramics.com Metallics were also a huge hit at the show—from subtle flooring with a metallic sheen to tiles with more intricate designs:

  • Cerdisa's Reflex Design series features a swirled metallic design. www.cerdisa.biz

    Cerdisa.

  • The through-body porcelain Jet Set series from Saime San Prospero features a more subtle metallic style. www.saimeceramiche.com

    Saime San Prospero.

  • Edilcuoghi has the Stardust series, porcelain tile with metallic flecks. www.edilcuoghi.com

    Edilcuoghi.

  • Tagina Ceramiche d'Arte has its Fucina porcelain stoneware line, which features six metallic, polished surfaces. www.tagina.it

    Tagina Ceramiche D'Arte. Warmer gold and copper hues were also popular, along with simple black-and-white tiles, spurts of bright reds or oranges, and a sea-inspired blue:

  • The limited edition Gold collection by DesignTaleStudio features 24 carat gold and circular patterns. www.designtalestudio.com

    DesignTaleStudio.

  • Part of Florim's Rex collection, Gold features gold leaf in between panes of glass. In this picture, it is shown with the company's tile that imitates horn. www.florim.it

    Florim.

  • In Florim's Cerim collection, the Bloom series (shown) concentrates on the black-and-white trend, while the Glossy series features bold red and blue colors. www.florim.it

    Florim. Textured surfaces added another layer of interest and versatility to products:

  • Marazzi's Soho series pieces together colored pieces of porcelain that have varying shapes and thicknesses. www.marazzitile.com

    Marazzi.

  • Etruria Design showcased its Mondrian Diamontato collection of beveled square tiles and mosaics. www.etruriadesign.com

    Etruria Design.

  • Monocibec's Enigma series features sequences of squares with three-dimensional accents. www.monocibec.it
    Monocibec.
  • Oceanside Glasstile introduced its Casa California collection that includes dimensional field tiles, liners, and decos. www.glasstile.com More advanced digital and inkjet printing technology allows manufacturers to better imitate natural stone. In particular, these tile products with a marble look showed off that trend:

  • RHS's Evolution collection uses four-color digital printing applied to ceramic products to mimic Calacatta marble. www.rondinegroup.com
    RHS.
  • Cotto d'Este's Exedra reproduces marble in a range of patterns. www.cottodeste.it

    Cotto d'Este. As with all types of products these days, many manufacturers highlighted their green qualities such as recycling content during the manufacturing process, using recycled content in products, and using all natural materials:

  • The Greentech series by Ergon Engineered Stone contains 40 percent post-industrial recycled content. It can count toward two LEED points. www.ergontile.it

    Ergon Engineered Stone.

  • Mosaico Italiano has its Reclaimed Brick collection. www.mosaicoitaliano.com

    Mosaico Italiano.

  • Hakatai's Ashland-e series has a content of 30 percent to 70 percent recycled glass from glass bottles or other waste glass. www.hakatai.com

    Hakatai. Finally, as European-influenced minimalism makes its way into the United States, larger formats are becoming popular, because they lead to fewer grout lines:

  • Ceramiche Caesar's Glam collection comes in a variety of colors and formats, including the pictured 24-by 48-inch Platinum floor tiles. www.caesar.it

    Ceramiche Caesar.

  • The Kerlite Plus series from Cotto D'Este comes in three large formats: 3 meters by 1 meter, 1 meter by 1 meter, and 50 centimeters by 50 centimeters. www.cottodeste.it