Designers seeking to move away from speccing tile classics, such as the subway and penny-round, rejoice: these shapely and illusory finds are cures for the common wall (or floor). Shaking things up further, two of these are fashioned from concrete.
Fireclay Tile’s Chaine Femme
Fireclay Tile: Chaine Femme
Reminiscent of chain links, these ceramic tiles sport a shape that fits together much like jigsaw puzzle or Tetris pieces to create an eye-catching geometric field of single or multiple colors. Fireclay can produce these with a standard white clay or recycled body with different glaze options. The approximately three-by-four-inch tiles are 5/16-inch thick and come in a range of sophisticated hues from neutral French linen and jet black to on-trend turquoise and tangerine.
New Ravenna’s Janus
New Ravenna: Janus
Part of the Illusions Collection — which was designed by company founder and creative director Sara Baldwin in collaboration with Paul Schatz — this cheeky mosaic design adds a bit of human touch, whimsy, and classicism, playing on the myth of the two-faced Janus. The optical pattern is offered in three standard palettes: Calacatta Tia and Saint Laurent marble; Carrara and Thassos marble; or aquamarine and quartz jewel glass.
Ogassian Brise from Ann Sacks
Ann Sacks: Ogassian Brise
Los Angeles artisan and industrial designer Daniel Ogassian developed this handcrafted sculptural concrete series as a modern-day update of the glass and cinderblock products that were frequently used in 1950s and ’60s design, particularly as screens and partitions. It consists of three highly dimensional designs — one square and two hexagonal — that produce optical illusion and light and shadow play. Each is available with white or light gray glazes.
Setsumi from AKDO
One of four styles in AKDO’s Origami collection, this tile is expertly cut of zebra marble to allow the naturally occurring straight veining to form symmetrical, geometric patterns. Setsumi is suitable for both floors and walls, creating an M.C. Escher-esque composition that the eye reads as cubes, diamonds, or hexagons. Two sizes are offered.
KAZA Concrete’s (left to right) Florentin, Cruck, and Seed
KAZA Concrete: Various
The United Kingdom-based company (with its factory in Hungary) manufactures modular concrete mosaics that result in stunning, sculptural walls that almost look directly carved into. A wide selection of core designs are available — ranging from floral and contoured to geometric and faceted — in a choice of 24 colors with matte or glossy finish. But KAZA also works directly with clients on bespoke products.
Quadilic (left) and Cruck (right) from KAZA Concrete