An insider reveals what’s propelling the use of surfaces in atypical ways MASSIMO BALLUCCHI | February 28, 2022
For decades we associated slabs with the kitchen countertop, and really, that’s only where it was applied. But today’s amazing surfaces have moved on from just being a countertop.
Surfacing has become more beautiful. It used to be very monochromatic, but now it’s bringing in colors and replicating nature.
I wouldn’t consider this a trend, it’s more of a natural movement. As a manufacturer, we once talked about just the kitchen, bathroom, and countertops, but now the conversation has shifted to include vanities, showers, facades, as well as custom furniture and applications. What’s Impacting the Movement Commercial design is where we first saw larger flooring and wall cladding happening, and then the concept slowly moved into our homes, becoming an option for a remodeler that wants to do something special for a client. In the past two to three years we’ve seen much more growth of slabs used beyond countertops in homes.
It started with the floor. Designing a floor with slabs creates a cleaner surface with fewer grout joints. Once floor usage was established, the aesthetics naturally shifted to the desire for using slabs on walls.
Emerging Applications Wall cladding has been amazing, it creates a statement wall in another way than just paint or wallpaper. Now, you can apply a book-matched surface or even flat colors or nature-inspired slabs.
Because of this new interest in cladding, at Cosentino, we created a smaller slab for projects such as a bathroom remodel, and it’s become a big focus for us in 2022. We have also released shower pans and sinks that blend seamlessly with bathroom counters.
Aside from the growing popularity of slabs on walls, we see a lot of slabs used for fireplaces, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens. Surfaces also translate to furniture applications. We have seen tables, stools, sofas with armrest inserts, and even thinner slabs applied as cabinetry cladding. Determining a product for these uses depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Now that consumers invest more in their homes, they also want to differentiate themselves from their neighbors, they want to personalize their homes and spaces, and that’s played a major role in this movement. In addition to using slabs in a variety of ways, we also see consumers combining two different surface colors, using more color, and darker colors with gray tonalities are especially growing very strong.
While the investment in homes and desire for personalization have grown, so have organic and biophilic design trends. It’s a statement to bring nature back into our homes, but at the same time, also have products that are easy to clean and have a certain recycled content. Consumers are also more conscious about what they’re bringing into their spaces and buying products from companies with strong social responsibility. Bringing nature into the home results in manufacturers looking to replicate stones in natural elements, and because of technology, we can replicate almost 100% of the natural look of a stone but with the advantages of a manufactured product.