In putting together this issue ofContemporary 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.

No matter what style a designer or homeowner craves, there seems to be a stone or tile product that can achieve the desired design objective. Advances in technology have caused an explosion of endless colors and textures - providing limitless design options. Honed or tumbled finishes on stones such as limestone and travertine can create an “Old World” style, which is reflective of Mediterranean culture. These finishes provide a softer feel than polished stone that is shiny, and as a result, bring a warm inviting feel to a space.

In contrast, sparkling glass mosaics or brightly colored glazed porcelain are ideal for achieving a more contemporary or retro design. These types of materials have the ability to create a high-end chic atmosphere - especially in places such as trendy restaurants and boutique hotels.

This issue contains a number of examples of how stone and tile is being employed in new and unusual ways. And several of the designers that we spoke with explained how their designs were inspired by cultural influences. One illustration of this is the Elemis Spa at the Aladdin Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, which is a part of the feature on hospitality design (page 38). “Our task was to design a comprehensive spa facility, creating an escapism for the guests based on the exotic Rhyad's of Marrekech, Morocco,” said designer John Pickens of Stephenjohn Design Ltd. He went on to say that the overall planning style of the facility is based on “Souk,” which is when a ceramic tiling is laid in various arrangements to simulate the sun scorched earth and spiced colors. With this design objective in mind, Pickens combined tile and stone to develop an environment that emulated Moroccan culture as well as providing a soothing and calming space for patrons to relax.

Similarly, designers for a new Godiva store in Indianapolis, IN, researched historic references of Belgium heritage to implement in the design, and this project can be found in this issue's feature on decorative tile (page 24). “We wanted to move toward a contemporary concept, while still honoring Godiva's heritage,” said Creative Director Kathi McWilliams of JGA in Southfield, MI. The design team achieved this goal by combining a marble mosaic floor with glazed crackle wall tile, featuring an image of “Lady Godiva” on a horse set in gold leaf.

The projects featured in this issue are just a few examples of the many ways stone and tile can transcend people to any period imaginable. And this trend will continue as designers and architects implement new, innovative designs that also value and honor traditions of the past.

Jennifer Adams