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Lori Weitzner x Artistic Tile Collaboration Wows at HD Expo

An example space featuring the Forest pattern in the Whisper colorway. Photography courtesy of Artistic Tile.

 

Collaboration is the name of the game in today’s design industry. Pairing the inspired sensibilities of a big-name designer with a manufacturer whose technical capabilities can realize their vision has resulted in some stunning products over the years. It’s also highlighted the robust abilities of manufacturers to not only fabricate product, but act as talented design partners in the creative process.

The latest iteration of this trend can be found at HD Expo, where Artistic Tile unveiled two new collections made in collaboration with award-winning textile designer Lori Weitzner. Designed specifically for interior vertical surfaces, the Lori Weitzner x Artistic Tile Collaboration features two organic patterns, River and Forest, that originated at Weitzner’s White Box Sanctuary Studio.

Read more: Kohler’s WasteLAB’s Crackle Line with Ann Sacks Breaks the Mold 

The River pattern in the Night Shadows colorway. This look is rendered in China Black marble. Photography courtesy of Artistic Tile.

 

“When Artistic Tile first proposed this collaboration, I knew our studio could bring something to them that they didn’t currently have in their portfolio,” explains Weitzner. “Organic, textural looks are something that our studio does very well. For Forest and River, we created a lot of preliminary looks through painting, drawing, and paper folding. Then we worked with Artistic Tile to narrow down the selection.”

In exchange for her substantial expertise in creating earthy, tactile patterns with textiles, Artistic Tile opened up a whole new world of materials for Weitzner to discover. “I had no idea there were so many different kinds of stones in world—it was an eye-opening experience for me,” says Weitzner. “Because I didn’t have much knowledge of what was actually possible to create with stone, I could really push the envelope in terms of coming up with patterns. The exceptional design team at Artistic Tile would then say ‘Oh we can’t do that, but maybe we could try this.’ Everyone really benefitted from working and exploring together.”

The Forest pattern in the Whisper colorway. This look is rendered in Bianco Carrara marble. Photography courtesy of Artistic Tile.

 

When it came time to select colorways, Weitzner and Artistic Tile settled on three varieties of marble in black and white tones. “Sometimes people don’t think of whites and blacks as colors but they absolutely are,” says Weitzner. “We selected whites and blacks that create mood and easily serve as backdrops to other colors, but aren’t dead.”

The Whisper palette utilizes Bardiglio Nuvolato and Bianco Carrara marbles. The lightness of these stones creates an ambiance of calm, quiet, and sanctuary. On the opposite end, the Night Shadows palette veers towards a masculine, urban sophistication rendered in China Black marble.

Both River and Forest are available now for specification. 

Watch now: Product Insight: ExCinere by Dzek in Collaboration with Formafantasma

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Potential tile tariffs drive a wedge between distributors and designers

A pile of tile stacked in Shigu, Yunnan, China (CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/Wikimedia)

Seizing on the momentum generated by the Trump administration’s timber and steel tariffs, a coalition of tile manufacturers is lobbying the U.S. government to impose tariffs of over 400 percent on Chinese-supplied ceramic tiles. While the approval of new duties could lift domestic producers, some design industry professionals are pushing back.

On April 10, eight U.S. ceramic tile producers, all members of the Tile Council of North America, successfully petitioned the Department of Commerce (DOC) to launch an investigation into China’s practice of tile dumping. That group, collected under the name “Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile,” included American Wonder Porcelain, Florida Tile, Inc., Crossville, Inc., Florim USA, Dal-Tile Corporation, Landmark Ceramics, Del Conca USA, Inc., and StonePeak Ceramics. The coalition claims that the Chinese government is subsidizing the production of ceramic tiles to below-market-rate prices (or even below production costs) to artificially crowd out the competition, and the group is asking that the DOC impose retaliatory penalties on Chinese manufacturers to level the playing field.

To avoid confusion over what is and is not a tile, the coalition has issued a blanket request pertaining to any tile-like product, no matter the use, thickness, or design, for pieces up to five-feet-by-fifteen-feet. The scope of the complaint also includes tile originating in China and modified— beveled, painted, or refined in any way—in the United States.

In response, the newly-formed Ceramic Tile Alliance (CTA), a group of designers, retailers, and distributors, has launched a petition against imposing new tariffs on Chinese tile. The group argues that doing so would hurt the long-term health of the U.S. ceramics industry to the benefit of domestic manufacturers, that architects and interior designers would lose valuable connections that they’ve cultivated with international artisans, and that retailers would only be able to offer a limited selection.

Additionally, the CTA alleges that showrooms would need to renovate their displays, some of them larger wall and floor pieces, to reflect that certain products would be no longer available. Overall, the CTA estimates that “thousands” of jobs could be lost as distributors and retailers would be forced out of business by higher prices and restricted supplies.

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) will issue a preliminary injury determination by May 27. If the ITC and DOC find in favor of the coalition, the duties could be imposed as early as the beginning of next May.

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