Dark Tones, Metal Accents at New Ravenna

The axis in the world of tiles just shifted.

Where neutral whites and grays once were dominant, darker tones accented by brass and chrome now shine in kitchens and baths.

“We’ve only been allowed to design in white and gray for the last 10 years,” says New Ravenna’s Sara Baldwin. “We could have designed in other colors but everyone has been in an extremely conservative mood – nothing else was selling.”

Over the past decade, people wanted kitchens and baths more akin to hospital rooms. “When it went on the market, it wouldn’t have anything objectionable,” she says. “White became the neutral, and gray complemented it and was deemed acceptable. Maybe something else was thrown in, like black, for drama.”

Now dark grays and black are de rigueur, punched up with bright metals. “It means a return of the ‘70s – it’s fresh because it hasn’t been around,” she says. “Faucets are cast out of brass, so from a functional point of view there’s a brass finish, and some chrome.”

She recently introduced a collection called Trove, for walls and floors that sparkle with metallics that are simultaneously soothing and beautiful. “It’s all about things that emit or reflect light – the sun, the stars or the moon,” she says.

Trove harkens back to the abundance of gold once relished for its light-directing abilities of Byzantine-era Venice and Ravenna. “There was a sparkle – a wonderful texture that transmitted light to the ceilings of cathedrals, and it bounced all around,” she says. “No one considered putting that texture in their home until recently.”

New Ravenna’s on the leading edge for the trend, though the edges of its tiles may be a little softer. “We wanted to able to add in textures – black with different colored stars – and pillow the edges,” she says. “We can throw one of those stones in one of our machines with proprietary technology that puts a finish on it – and age it and pillow it for a secondary texture.”

It might be the second coming of the ‘70s, or it could be the rebirth of the Byzantine era. Whatever this trend’s inspiration, New Ravenna’s out front, once again.

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