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Whether it is for its sleek appearance, durability or ease of maintenance, quartz surfacing continues to be a prime choice for today’s designs. Porcelain slabs are also rising in popularity, as they offer a consistent look and strength. Several industry professionals share their observations on the latest trends with these materials, as they pertain to design.


Ed Rogers, executive vice president, US Surfaces

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Photo courtesy of Vadara


CSTD: Do you find that there is still a growing demand for quartz surfacing? If so, why do you think this is?

ER: Yes, absolutely. Quartz surfaces marry the best of beauty, strength and durability, making them a popular material choice for many designers. Homeowners also appreciate the ability to get the organic look of natural stone with less maintenance. In addition, quartz surfaces are scratch-, stain- and heat-resistant, providing peace of mind. The non-porous surface does not need to be sealed like granite and marble and is easy to clean -- making quartz a more hygienic option than many other surfacing materials, which is becoming an increasingly important consideration.

CSTD: What colors are trending when it comes to quartz surfaces?

ER" We are seeing lots of interest in bright white backgrounds along with neutrals, grays and gold veining. There are so many options to choose from, which provides significant design flexibility.

CSTD: In addition to countertops, what other applications is quartz used?

ER" Quartz surfacing is also a great choice for kitchen backsplashes, and in the bathroom, for vanities and backsplashes, shower surrounds and shower benches.

CSTD: What would you say are some benefits of quartz surfacing in regards to design?

ER" Quartz surfaces can be produced in a wide variety of colors and patterns – ranging from cool to warm tones and from simple clean-lined designs to more dramatic looks with dynamic movement. At Vadara, our artisans carefully craft each slab to incorporate intricate veining for a very organic aesthetic that is nearly indistinguishable from natural stone.

CSTD: How would you say your quartz products have evolved in the past few years?

ER" Our designers have gone deeper into nature to find inspiration for the patterns and colors of our products. The goal is to recreate the untamed, one-of-a-kind scenes found across the globe by “setting them into stone” so they can be enjoyed every day in our clients’ homes and businesses.


Rodolfo Panisi, CEO, Florim USA

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Photo courtesy of Florim USA


Our collection has grown to encompass a broader range of colors and designs, from subtle ethereal patterns to wide rigid veining that resonate with the design community and homeowners alike. Beyond providing beautiful, durable surfaces, our designs create a connection to the natural world, which our customers really appreciate.

CSTD: Do you find that there is a growing demand for porcelain slabs? If so, why do you think this is?

RP" Porcelain slabs have been available since 2012 and since then the market has been embracing the new large format in an incremental number of projects both commercially and residentially. When first introduced to the market, there was very little knowledge between the trade, especially from the contractor and installation side. Today, after 10 years of their first introduction, porcelain slabs are becoming the answer for high-end projects. Designers and end-users alike love the seamless and high-impact look porcelain slabs can give to their projects.

CSTD: What would you say are some benefits of porcelain slabs?

RP" At Florim USA we think the large porcelain slabs will be the future of our industry and we just introduced our first collection called JEM, a marble-inspired tile featuring options of subtle to very strong veining, a variety of color hues and availability in different sizes up to 48 x 110 inches along with a book-match option. The large-sized porcelain panels versatility can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, as backsplashes and even as a statement art piece, offering all the benefits of porcelain tiles but with a continuous look. Durability, ease of cleaning and timeless designs are some of the most obvious benefits. It is also a more sustainable choice in design, using less raw materials in the manufacturing process, and inherently, reducing the environmental impact during its application and use.


Sam Kim, MSI senior vice president, product

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Photo courtesy of MSI


CSTD: Do you find that there is still a growing demand for quartz surfacing and/or porcelain slabs? If so, why do you think this is?

SK" A recent survey by Houzz showed that 88% of consumers are looking for marble countertops, but increasingly turn to engineered surfaces when they research the maintenance-intense nature of natural stone, such as marble.

Quartz surfaces such as from MSI’s Q Quartz line allow the timeless look of classic marble while at the same time having much easier care and maintenance.

Porcelain slabs, such as MSI’s StileTM line, continue to gain popularity due to its ability to go indoor-outdoor seamlessly, unique ability to withstand direct-heat contact and unparalleled realism of design.

Both types of engineered surfaces are increasingly closing the gap in terms of realism and naturalism with natural stones. Q Quartz colors with MSI’s Proprietary LumaLuxetm and LumaLuxe Ultratm formulation have enhanced quartz marble looks to have superior whiteness, dramatic veining and increased translucency -- blurring the line between natural stone and quartz.

CSTD: What colors are trending when it comes to these products?

SK" Kitchen cabinets, hardware, lighting and paint companies are seeing a shift towards warmer finishes and engineered surfaces are shifting to match and complement this trend. Millennials feel like this is a new look and the Baby Boomer generation never loved the cold white and gray trend. They love their antiques and warm wood tones they have in their homes. Today’s trending kitchens have the white tops that everyone wants but the warmth that is welcomed!

CSTD: In addition to countertops, what other applications are these products being used?

SK" Quartz and porcelain slabs are probably the most versatile surface products in the market. We see them used on the countertop, wall and floor, and we see porcelain slabs being featured in landscape designs/poolscapes/water falls. Both products come in a variety of thicknesses and finishes, as well for versatility of installation and application.

CSTD: What would you say are some benefits of both quartz and porcelain slabs in regards to design?

SK" Quartz slabs offer a truly staggering array of diverse designs due to its adaptable manufacturing process -- from monochromatic colors to extremely complex “Calacatta Borghini” Italian marble designs. MSI Quartz surfaces feature “throughbody” color, allowing for a variety of edge finish possibilities.

In contrast to quartz slabs, which emulate and improvise on natural stone, porcelain slabs are capable of delivering picture-perfect designs through digital-print of actual natural stone.