Blog/Tile Color as Behavioral Cue: Design Inspiration
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Tile Color as Behavioral Cue: Design Inspiration

In built environments, as in art, advertising and other experiential venues, color can engender certain emotions and elicit particular behaviors. We know that cool colors keep people calm, while warm colors can spark joy and playfulness, enhance appetite and so forth. Tile manufacturer Mosa has observed and documented how architects and designers are using their tile colors for even more straightforward behavioral cues. Here are a few of the ways smart designers are leveraging color to evoke human behavior and make spaces more user-friendly:

Color can be used to invite people in. At National Winterthur, in Winterthur, Switzerland, a two-story, floor-to-ceiling multicolor Mosa tile mural backdrop acts as an invitation to passers-by who can see it from the street via the restaurant’s double height window wall.

Pantone’s interiors trend forecast cites a continuation of the typography trend – a “fascination with letters and words as a design element.” Mosa has been creating custom made tiles with graphics, creating patterns meant to fall across a field of square or rectangular tiles. This is a modern interpretation, and unexpected, but the same thing could also be crafted the ancient way, via a custom mosaic. In hospitality, where square or rectangular glazed wall tile is still all the rage, Mosa’s deep grey tile in a simple application made an astonishing and unexpected appearance as a menu board in a café, rendering the ubiquitous chalkboard paint or slate menu boards so yesterday.

Inside the Canteen at the City of Culture in Galicia, Spain, architects Estudio Nomada executed a bold flame stitch pattern in colored tile across the face of the service bar. This could work for any reception desk or other focal area in a design. In an otherwise pale or neutral space, the bright tile creates a happy focal point. In effect, it says, ‘hello, we’re happy you’re here.’ Plus, it is a much more permanent statement than paint, wallcovering or many other finishes.

Using color and pattern as a means of directional subtext or subliminal way-finding is especially helpful in transit environments, but also in hospitality. Mosa has noted designers using this technique in all kinds of installations where various areas are aligned with different flooring, creating literal pathways to the exit doors, to a cashier, or wherever the traffic should flow.

Spatial Storytelling
Using color cleverly on floors in high traffic areas where any textile would quickly perish can add a sense of intimacy and warmth even in a public space. This technique of tile “carpets” may be ancient, but it is still one of the most effective uses for color and texture to corral open expanses.

At Boutiek Hotel d’Oude Morsh, architect Dimitri Duchenne created a signature tile pattern in subdued shades of green, anthracite and brown that carried through the entire property. The ingenious use of tile acts like a whimsically moody logo that carries through the entire space. Punctuated with variously-finished squares, including a metallic, the modular pattern makes a striking update to the concept of wainscot. It is part art, part craft, part modernist-patchwork, part neo-camouflage.

Cafe De Klub
Boutiek Hotel d'Oude Morsch