Mar Esteve Cortes from Neolith by TheSize looks at some of the surfacing trends for 2018.
From a design perspective, there has never been so much choice available to housebuilders and developers. Ongoing research and development in the Sintered Stone Surface market has meant there is now something to suit any taste and application.
From realistic colour palettes and sensitive detailing to silky smooth finishes and subtle texturing, the industry is constantly looking at ways to pioneer new colours and refine existing product portfolios. A combination of the latest technology and attention to detail – coupled with a healthy dose of imagination – is helping to drive innovation within the surfacing industry.
There are plenty of things to be excited about in this energetic market, but here are my top predictions for what are set to be the biggest trends in surfacing in 2018.
Thicker, Deeper, Fuller
Where we saw the 2016-17 market turning towards thinner, slighter surfaces, we are now noticing a definitive sea change amongst housebuilders and developers. A growing number of requests for thicker slabs over the past six months has indicated that there is an increasing preference for broader surfaces which convey a reassuring sense of robustness when used as a kitchen worktop. Available in all manner of realistic colours and finishes, these durable surfaces add a distinctive focal point when incorporated into kitchen design as an island or dining table-top and the bathroom as an attractive vanity.
Hyper-realism is a feature which more and more designers are looking for, especially the ability in capturing the authenticity of natural stone. Perfecting Sandstone-style surfaces will be at the heart of this move, as more clients look to incorporate the richly-textured, yellowish stone within their homes.
Turning up the contrast
We have seen contrasts of lighter and darker stone, used judiciously in the kitchen and bathroom space, to create a stylish design statement. We have also noticed opposing textures being used in conjunction to each other with rough sandstone and wood-effect surfaces offsetting polished marbles or smooth cement.
Back to the future
Nostalgia is nothing new, but across the industry we’ve noticed a revival in appreciation for design classics. Throughout 2017 we noticed an increase in demand for Terrazzo, alongside other vintage stone designs. This playful and colourful stone once so popular, from bank floors to DIY applications, is finding a new lease of life as a chic surface in the home and further afield. Characterised by bold patterning and cosmopolitan sophistication, Terrazzo has resurged in popularity largely thanks to its eco-friendly and low-maintenance qualities.
Polished to Perfection
As baking becomes more popular in the domestic kitchen, we are seeing more and more requests for a polished finish which we feel is only set to grow in the coming months. The surface itself is perfectly smooth with incredibly low porosity, ensuring unblemished dough.
The depth and contrast offered by igneous rocks such as basalt, obsidian and soapstone has inspired manufacturers to be adventurous. We expect to see plenty of surfaces which encapsulate beautiful detailing of these ancient stones, including beautiful, complex swirling, deep grains and organic, continuous patterns true to the look and feel of the real thing.