Location, location, location. That is what is often said about the popularity of a piece of property or the success of a business. The right spot makes a world of difference. But there is something to be said about atmosphere too — especially in the hospitality sector.

Would you rather eat at a dark dingy restaurant on the beach or one a block away that has a welcoming atmosphere and clean look? Personally, I’d go with the latter. To me, a place’s environment is just as important as its location. And what better way to brighten up a space then with a diverse range of tile products.

This is exactly what the owner of a Kansas City chain, The Mixx, did when opening her third location. She picked a prime space in the heart of Hawthorne Plaza for the contemporary eatery. But even though the location was spot on, the fact that the former tenant had failed illustrates that the key to success isn’t just its location. Of course you need to have an enticing and tasty menu, but a chic decor also helps.

With this in mind, the project designer selected tiles in different sizes, shapes, patterns and textures to create a fresh and whimsical design for the restaurant’s interior. “We incorporated patterned tile on the floors to emulate French-bistro designs, as well as green and white mosaic tiles on the walls and columns as a nod to mid-century modern,” explained Sybil Allegri, designer and interior architect at Clockwork Architecture and Design in Kansas City, MO. The full story on The Mixx can be found beginning on page 30. You will see the design is a combination of tile trends, yet still creates a unifying look for the restaurant.

Other examples of some of the latest introductions by tile manufacturers can be found in the Product Showcase, which begins on page 14 of this issue of TILE. It is clear that the wood aesthetic remains prominent and advances in technology have taken products to the next level. Distressed looks and plank sizes definitely add to the authentic appearance of these tiles.

It also seems that shapes are a hot item — hexagons and octagons in particular. Offered in an array of colors, patterns and finishes, these shaped tiles are ideal for creating a unique backsplash, accent wall or even floor pattern.

While traditional designs are always nice, it is also refreshing to see creativity at its best when various tile products are mixed to create one cohesive — yet unique — design. With so many diverse tile products available and the continuous stream of new products being released into the market, the design possibilities are endless.