Tile manufacturer Walker Zanger has released a solution for designers and clients dying for that special onyx look: the Barcelona collection.
Natural onyx is a unique material that brings hints of luxury and nature together. But due to onyx being a finicky material, it is not ideal for heavy use areas.
The Barcelona collection takes the appearance of vein-cut onyx and uses it in colored-body, glazed porcelain tiles. Available in four different colorways —silver, grey, ivory, and sand—the tiles come in cream and gray palettes. There are even more options with special orders on non-skid flooring available, along with prepared matte and polished finishes.
“I think the exciting thing about Barcelona is that it makes the luxurious, natural stone onyx more accessible, and it enables homeowners and architects and designers to use this product in high user, high traction areas,” says Erika Egede-Nissen, director of marketing at Walker Zanger. “You can really have that beautiful look of natural stone in a bathroom, or behind a bar, but that ease and care of use that you are known to experience with porcelain.”
Tiles for floors and walls are available in two predetermined sizes: 24 by 48 inches (matte) or 12 by 24 inches (polished). The large tile sizes help with low grout lines, says Egede-Nissen. Grey and sand are available in bookmatched four-piece sets, but silver and ivory bookmatch are available for special order.
“While we know everyone loves a crisp white kitchen, what we're starting to see are designers and architects lean more toward a cream or more soothing white, moving away a bit from that stark white,” says Egede-Nissen. “These colors are a bit reflective of that. They’re a little bit more of what you'd find in nature and they celebrate that look a little bit more.”
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Porcelain is a much more durable material than natural onyx, which is prone to damage due to its soft and porous body and is an expensive choice. Over time, it must be resealed by specialists on a regular basis. Because the material is so unique in appearance, it is also difficult to replace easily breakable tiles. No two onyx tiles look exactly the same.
Walker Zanger says its decision for Italian imported porcelain tiles resolves all the cons onyx presents. Porcelain is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture. There is no waxing, polishing, or finish needed.
The Barcelona collection is ideal for residential homes and commercial buildings alike, the company says. Heavy foot traffic is no issue for porcelain tiles, the material maintains its color and has a low water absorption rate.
“If you have a bar area and you want to draw customers in with something and want that warm welcoming place to sit, a bookmatched option really helps deliver that,” says Egede-Nissen. “It’s just incredibly striking and draws someone in. If you’re in a residential setting and are building a luxurious bathroom environment but you want that ease of use, and easy clean environment, again, going with that bookmatch option is really going to deliver that ‘wow’ factor.”
The tiles can be used indoor or outdoor as well due to porcelain being frost-resistant and maintains its appearance in nearly every temperature, even extreme ones, the company says.
Porcelain is a highly hygienic material as well. Strong cleaning products will have no effect on it. And the low grout lines of the large tiles help with easy cleaning and sanitizing, the company says.