Starting from humble beginnings in Jamaica, Queens, in 1921, Nemo Tile has grown to become an acclaimed provider of high quality surfacing materials. From porcelain and ceramic to metal and glass, the New York-based company – which now operates five showrooms – has all the knowledge and expertise you’d expect. Here, the Nemo Tile team talk about upcoming trends within the bathroom surfacing sector, ecological concerns and the impact of advances in digital printing.

Could you talk us through some of the bathroom surfacing trends you envisage for the year ahead?
“There are five major surfacing trends we’ve honed in on for 2016 for the hospitality industry: texture, natural aesthetics, soft colours, interesting shapes and an emphasis on pattern with contrasting grout,” says Katie Michael-Battaglia, design director at Nemo Tile, IIDA NY Chapter President, LEED certified.

“Softer colour palettes are also in vogue, accentuating a classic modern interior"

“Tiles with varying amounts of texture, usually tone on tone, are a popular choice because they appear softer than tiles with hard, smooth surfaces. This falls in line with the hospitality trend of featuring softer, more comfortable touches to create a home-away-from-home feel.

“Softer colour palettes are also in vogue, accentuating a classic modern interior. For example, one of Nemo Tile’s newest lines, Chalk, features a variety of pastel hues and patterns.

“Unique and interesting tile shapes are proving to be a major trend in 2016. The hexagon is huge: both in classic, small hexagon mosaics as well as in large-scale hexagons and elongated hexagons. Nemo Tile currently carries multiple lines with beautiful hexagon shapes, the aforementioned Chalk as well as a collection called Rebar.

“In addition to shapes, geometric patterns are in high demand. You can use a simple tile (3x6, 6x6, etc) and pair with a contrasting grout or even a custom color grout to emphasize the install pattern.

“Finally, we all know that wood and natural stone are classic looks in the hospitality industry, creating nature-inspired, rustic aesthetics. Now, we are seeing very successful imitations of this look achieved with porcelain. Porcelain as a material is easier to maintain than wood, and the product is also thinner, which is great for areas where a wood floor might require more depth.

“Nemo Tile carries a line called Via Emilia with an industrial, shabby-chic appeal, depicting wood planks and squares with a distressed appearance and texture.

Do you feel that recycled, reclaimed or upcycled materials are increasing in popularity within bathroom design?
“For the industry, it is always best practice to promote materials that are ecologically friendly and sometimes do contribute to points in the LEED system,” says Katie Michael-Battaglia.

“You can find porcelain, ceramic and glass tiles on the market made with recycled or reclaimed content. For example, there are glass tile products where the glass from used bottles or other glass tiles is melted down and made into new glass tiles. These tile products sometimes have interesting origin stories, if a particular color of bottle was melted down to create the tiles.

“Porcelain and ceramic tiles are even reaching Cradle to Cradle certification, a mark that ensures manufacturers are committed to sustainability.”

Do you feel advances in digital printing will open up new possibilities for bathroom surfacing?
“Without a doubt, we have more options for bathroom surfacing due to new digital capabilities,” says Matthew Karlin, Nemo Tile CEO and President. “Take for instance, our Marvel Pro Line. Advancements with digital scanning and printing has allowed for porcelain to look nearly identical to a natural marble stone.

The same is true for our new line called Chalk, which resembles an encaustic tile. A true encaustic tile is very porous and prone to damage from chemicals. In a bathroom area, you need to have a tile that can withstand high amounts of water and harsh cleaning supplies. Chalk uses the digital printing process to re-create an absolutely beautiful encaustic look while eliminating the hassle of maintenance.”