17 Surfaces That Combine Aesthetics, Performance, and Smart Tech

The latest materials and finishes bring together great aesthetics, high performance, and smart technology.

Tai Ping Foliage Rug

Designed by Sam Baron, this rug evokes a curtain of vegetation, rising up the length of a wall like the growth of ivy and then skirting along the floor.

When it comes to designing the perfect space, it’s often a challenge to find the appropriate surface material that will look good and perform well. Thankfully, there’s a wide spectrum of options available to suit almost every need.

Budget-friendly, synthetic, solid-surface composite materials are smart alternatives to expensive options like marble and granite. Take a look at quartz, for example. It’s one of the most scratch-resistant minerals available, and it’s extremely easy to care for and clean.

The increasing reliance on technology in interior spaces has resulted in improvements in that sector as well, from wireless charging stations from DuPont and the Power Matters Alliance, to touch-activated light switches from Legrand.

Another growing concern is noise in the workplace, which could be addressed by tile carpets from Shaw Contract Group, or felt wallcoverings from Carnegie Fabric. Here’s our roundup of surfaces, color palettes, and products that could take your design to the next level.

Maharam Arabesque Textile
Designed by Alexander Girard in 1954, this woven fabric is inspired by Islamic decorative motifs. A basket weave adds texture to the ground, while a satin weft gives the motifs a raised feel.

Astek Layered Earth Collection

Inspired by geological and biological processes, these digitally printed wall coverings incorporate photographic elements, painterly textures, and hand-drawn lines.

DuPont Corian Duracell Powermat

DuPont has partnered with the Power Matters Alliance to create new wireless charging solutions for smart devices that can be integrated into worktops made with a DuPont Corian solid surface.

Legrand Adorne Light Switch Collection

This collection includes a switch that activates lights with the wave of a hand, and one that uses capacitive touch technology. The plates for the switches and outlets come in 32 finishes.

Designtex Bocce Wallcovering
This pattern is made of delicate crisscross lines that create a woven texture in a two-tone color palette. It’s part of Designtex’s first standard-line digitally-printed wallcovering collection, Premiere.

Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop

The cooktop surface has a natural mapping user interface that intelligently recognizes cookware’s size, shape and position to deliver heat without boundaries.

Caesarstone Classico Collection

The five new additions to the Classico™ collection (Frosty Carrina shown here) have the earthy tones of the most beautiful natural marble, combined with the stain-, scratch-, and water-resistant qualities of quartz.

Mutina Mews Tiles

Designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, these porcelain stoneware tiles draw upon the textures of London’s infrastructure.

Carnegie Cache Wallcovering

This felt wallcovering in deep neutral colors has layers of stitching to create three-dimensional embroidered stripes.

Brentano Discovery Collection

Patterned like formal European gardens, these textiles (Parterre shown here) are light-fast, antibacterial, and bleach cleanable.

Cosentino Silestone Nebula Code

This collection of quartz surfacing has five colors inspired by the appearance of natural stone. The product is naturally non-porous and never needs to be sealed, and has high scratch, stain, and heat resistance.

Wilsonart Old Mill Oak Laminate

Old Mill Oak is a high-pressure laminate that recreates reclaimed wood from an old mill in Northeast America. It’s part of a collection of 12 designs that feature AEON technology to resist scratches and everyday wear.

Shaw Contract Group Virtual Spaces

These graphic tile patterns evoke the digital dimension. They are constructed using 100-percent-recyclable Solution Q Extreme nylon and EcoWorx tile backing.

Tagina Dot-to-Dot Tile

Custom facade design can be created with these “ceramic pixels for architecture,” using an algorithm that translates the colors of an image into pixels of different shapes.

Bentley Western Edge Collection

This collection of commercial carpets is inspired by the American Southwest and the radiant energy of the Mojave Desert. The carpets (Salt Creek shown here) feature Antron Lumena 895 fine denier, solution-dyed yarns.

41Zero42 Muro41 Tiles

The two-by-nine inch Muro41 tiles come in four colors—lava, olive, silver, and milk. Made of artisanal colored-body extruded porcelain, they are intended to coordinate with 41zero42’s existing collection, Jumble.

All images courtesy the manufacturers

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