Far from the world of Hollywood glam that legendary playright Arthur Miller once described as ‘dark but full of diamonds,’ a vast universe of tile captures both the brilliant midnight shades and retro shimmer of an era woven into the soul of cultures everywhere. Metallic mosaic tiles, panels of translucent glass, and artful, shiny collaborations of form and dimension both call up the past and point to the future in motifs worthy of a place in time.
With a look that is both evocative and modern, pieces drawn from a spectrum of producers compose a symphony of textures and hues—random and complex, yet authentic and true. Variety and what is sometimes an offbeat blend of materials are what sets the theme apart from the ordinary, yet the collections are far from incompatible—truth is, they get along just fine.
A collection known simply as The Factory by Settecento adds panache to any space with full-color body glazed and rectified porcelain tiles of iconic figures such as Humphrey Bogart (Bogey) and Marilyn Monroe—a single piece that is simply and quite sweetly entitled Norma Jeanne. Inspired by pop art culture, the gloss-finished tiles pay homage to their luminary subjects but also spice up a wall, whether in a residential interior or public space—a restaurant or boutique. Gorgeous variations on the theme include custom works depicting jazz musicians, a couple performing a dramatic salsa, sky, sea and bridges.
A new arrival at Tagina, Joe is a collection with a special origin, born after a patient artisan’s rediscovery of the softness of the double-fired white body and the value of glazes applied during the luster manufacturing process. The tiles offer strong references to the classic ceramic tradition with a contemporary face.
Perhaps one of my favorite group of collections comes from Marazzi, a U.S.-based company with a line of handmade certamic tile blends with an eye toward relating up-to-the-minute, sometimes futuristic designs, to the past and classic tradition. The combinations own a richness of depth and texture that seem to hold sway in a marketplace that has gone beyond global.
STUDIO M Samba
From STUDIO M—a glass tile collection by MARAZZI—a line of mosaics offers subtle shimmer and subdued shine to a room. Graceful segues from one beautiful shade to another, in stain-resistant, allergen-free glass, produce individual pieces with a watery translucence and unique displays of color at varying levels within the tessera. Chocolates and sages, pomegranates and sienas--all come together in an artful palette.