Designer Insights: Jessica Lotner, Senior Interior Designer, The McBride Company

Trending: There’s a lot of outside-the-box, creative thinking when it comes to materials right now and a lot of focus on using found objects and curated collections to create interesting designs and more authentic experiences. I was doing research recently for work on a new Peruvian restaurant and came across a place that just blew my mind. They took the theme and really went for it with creative use of materials. For dividers between the booths, for example, they took as inspiration the idea of looms and weaving, which is such a big part of Peruvian culture. Loom frames and strings were used as booth dividers. It was such a fun idea and exactly the type of thing that’s trending now, which is taking an idea and really pushing the boundaries of it. It’s very different from the old polished, refined restaurant look.

Three hot materials: One thing I’m seeing and using a lot is wood panels that have geometric formats, like herringbone. They’re already inlaid and they come in sheets so they’re affordable and very easy to install. Paired with nice lighting, they look amazing on bar fronts and even whole walls, especially when you integrate some metal with the wood. Metals are really hot now, too — not shiny, blingy-looking metals that look dated but softer, warmer metals that add richness and character to a space. They’re being showcased as large-format finishes but also in smaller applications like hardware and nail heads on the backs of banquettes and chairs, which adds another layer. Another great new thing is custom-printed wood veneers. It’s amazing!

Current obsession: Wallcoverings as art. Sometimes you have to spend a lot of money on an art budget, but now there are great alternatives with very artistic wallcoverings. From vintage photo effects, to printed panels that look like expensive molding and can be customized for any design aesthetic and in any size you want, they’re a great way to create a unique visual experience at a reasonable cost.

Best advancements: Flooring and tile. From the standpoint of both aesthetics and durability, these two materials have come so far in the past few years. There are amazing wood-look vinyls and porcelain tiles, for instance, that absorb sound, have great durability and are affordable. And the whole decorative tile segment is exploding with affordable products that really fit what clients want right now, which is a lot of vintage and aged looks. These types of materials are really game changers.

materials treefrogReal Wood Veneer Laminates

Treefrog Open is a line of eight prefinished real wood veneer laminates. The collection includes neutral colors in white and gray oaks, as well as several shades of walnut. Many of the laminates feature Treefrog’s groove texture, which creates a deeper and more authentic wood appearance. Treefrog Open offers several fine grain wood looks as well as wider, planked veneers.


materials tile doctorGrout Goes Glam

Part of The Tile Doctor’s Crystal Glass Grout Jewels Series, Diamond Grout is encrusted with a mix of fine diamond aggregate and authentic diamonds in various shapes, creating an upscale finishing option for glass tile installations. In most cases, a single square foot of installed glass tiles will include seven or more carats of real diamonds infused into the grout, per the manufacturer. The installation process is similar to that of regular grout. Fine diamond aggregate is added to the Crystal Glass Grout base, resulting in a multidimensional effect that refracts light for a more dramatic appearance.

The Tile Doctor

materials certainteedMetal Roofing

Matterhorn Metal Roofing replicates the architecture and charm of traditional wood shake, slate and barrel tile roofing. Matterhorn is 100-percent recyclable and offers 16 Cool Roof color options. Roofs built with Matterhorn have a life expectancy of more than 50 years, according to the maker. The material is algae-resistant.

CertainTeed Corporation

materials formicaColorCore Laminate

Formica Infiniti ColorCore 2 Laminate features a soft-to-the-touch super-matte finish that is fingerprint-resistant, offers antimicrobial surface protection, thermal healing capabilities and features a matching colored core that eliminates the brown edge typically seen with laminate. Formica Infiniti ColorCore 2 laminate is suited for commercial settings such as hotels, restaurants, retail, offices, higher education and healthcare lobbies. The product can be applied horizontally or vertically and is ideal for casework, countertops, furniture and signage.

Formica Corporation

materials sensitile systemsLight Meets Stone

Terrazzo Lumina is a concrete substrate manufactured with light-conducting technology. A hidden LED source transmits light through channels embedded in the solid concrete, resulting in a myriad of light points emanating from the surface. Adaptable and customizable, these products have the durability of traditional terrazzo while integrating at least 6 percent and up to 18 percent post-consumer recycled content as well as a significant proportion of regrind. Terrazzo Lumina comes in precast slabs or tiles, or custom cast to suit specific project needs. Terrazzo Lumina is suitable for use on countertops, flooring, wall applications and multiple other solutions.

Sensitile Systems

materials nichihaNext-Gen Fiber Cement Cladding

Miraia is a high-gloss fiber cement cladding with a mirror-like finish. Miraia mimics metal’s luster and features weather-resistant qualities. Miraia is available in three colors: snow, glacier and onyx. Each panel measures 17 7/8 inches high by 71 9/16 inches wide.


materials moz designsNew Laser-Cut Metals Patterns

Móz Designs has 16 new patterns in its Laser Cut metal collection. From botanicals to geometrics, the new patterns are suitable for interior and exterior applications. Designers can use the patterns to seamlessly divide space, control light and shadows, and add unique visual elements to a variety of environments. Now with 27 standard patterns in six categories, the Laser Cut collection is suitable for use on columns, partitions, walls and exterior facades. The products come in standard 4-by-8-foot aluminum sheets with a thickness of 3/16 inch. Custom sizes are available and designers can specify the size and shape of the cuts. A range of colors and grains is available, including gradients, metallic, neutrals and standard powder coatings.

Móz Designs

materials aerisLight by Night

Aeris Hospitality’s Luminous Series features tempered fused glass embedded with low-voltage LEDs suitable for a variety of both indoor and outdoor hospitality and restaurant design applications from stairways, to wall coverings to tabletops. The surface of each unit is coated with corrosion-resistant patterns.

Aeris Hospitality

materials bankers wireArchitectural Woven Mesh

Banker Wire’s SJD-5 wire mesh pattern uses different crimp styles to create a mix of shine, satin, smooth and rough. At No Vacancy Lounge in Portland, Ore., wire mesh patterns are used to create a second-floor mezzanine railing include four different crimp styles for a compelling mix of textures. The maker can customize any wire mesh pattern and offers a variety of secondary finishes through outside vendors.

Banker Wire

materials torzoMulti-Tasking Surface Material

Made from European beech, RayFleck is infused with an acrylic resin. Panels of RayFleck can be fabricated into furniture, bar tops, wall paneling, tabletops and more. Pre-finished tabletops can also be ordered directly from TorZo Surfaces. RayFleck is available in eight colors, including natural.

TorZo Surfaces