Back in March, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a guided quarry tour in Texas, which was hosted by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). This was the third MIA-hosted trip I have taken in the past year, and at the conclusion of each tour, I always walk away with a sense of awe.
In recent years, the word "green" has become an increasingly popular word in our vocabulary -- both personally and professionally. Many associations are working to conceive new ideas that will help in preserving our environment. In particular, one way to accomplish this is by promoting the use of environmentally friendly products.
I know that this has been said before, but the quality and aesthetics of the stone and tile products on the market today have reached a new level. While stone remains timeless, and its appearance and technical qualities haven't necessarily changed, new finishes and format sizes offer more diversity. Suppliers are also going to great lengths to continually introduce exotic materials that are being newly extracted in countries around the world. Meanwhile, in the tile sector, we are witnessing an explosion of new colors, sizes and textures. Glass mosaics, metallic pieces -- and even porcelain designed to resemble hardwood or fabrics -- all contribute to inspiring designs.
While glass tile has been around for many decades, it seems that its popularity has enjoyed a growth spurt in recent years -- especially glass mosaics. These shimmering tiles are being utilized for a range of applications in both residential and commercial settings, and their reflective quality is bringing depth and interest to all design styles.
While stone craftsmanship is still held in high regard today, the methods of producing the finished stonework has changed dramatically over the decades. Advancements in technology have enabled stone fabricators to mass-produce tiles, architectural details and customized pieces more efficiently and quickly.
In putting together this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, my staff and I went through the usual process of reviewing the photo selections for the issue. And during this stage of production, it occurred to me that the use of stone and tile can literally transport one back to any given era of design; whether it be classic, modern, contemporary, retro or ethnic.