As I am sitting on the train heading home to New Jersey after spending a day at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City, I am thankful that I have such an interesting job. Stone and tile products inherently go hand-in-hand with design, but it is even more exciting to see when manufacturers push the boundaries of creativity and make their collections an actual work of art.

Walking the exhibit hall today was visually stimulating. From the unique shapes of lighting fixtures that twinkled and dazzled from up above to the saturated colors and custom designs of rugs and furniture, the show floor was a designer's dream. And among these high-end furnishing products, there were also quite a few tile and stone displays that were just as attention grabbing. It seems that manufacturers of high-end stone, tile and quartz surfacing, along with sink and faucet suppliers, are continually pushing the envelope to allure the design community -- as well as distributors and homeowners -- to utilize their latest innovations for new applications. 

Italian stone producer Antolini's collection of Semi-Precious stones adorned its exhibit booth as a stunning piece of artwork. The brilliant colors and crystallized surface of the stones are ideal for accent walls in a luxury home as well as a chic hospitality design.

Additionally, Caesarstone attracted visitors with its "Stone Garden" -- designed by world-renowned Japanese design studio Nendo.  The uniquely designed tables are made of nine Caesarstone quartz stone colors, including the newest marble-inspired hues. The simplicity of the design reflects Nendo's minimalistic approach while emphasizing Caesarstone's inherent qualities of strength, durability and design, according to a design statement released by Caesarstone.

"The installation explores the boundary between 'furniture' and ‘non-furniture,'" stated Oki Sato, Nendo Founder and Chief Designer. "The unique variety and quality of natural colors and textures of the Caesarstone surfaces are perfect to be arranged in a composition like the stylized landscape of a Japanese rock garden."

Antolini and Caesarstone are just to name a few of the unique stone and tile displays that are at ICFF. These as well as others definitely were able to stand their own up against the lavish furnishing exhibits. Refined textures, colorful patterns and the authentic-looking replications of natural materials in ceramic tile illustrate how far technology has come and what that has done to inspire innovation.

Here are just a few products that caught my eye at ICFF today. Look for more to come in a detailed report about the show, which will soon be posted at www.cstdmag.com and www.tile-magazine.com.