Talking Tile with Nemo Tile & Stone President Matthew Karlin

by | Mar 10, 2019 | Design, Featured

Nemo Tile & Stone, a company currently celebrating their 98th year in business, just launched a slew of new eye-catching and versatile collections. From Construckt to Casablanca and Fusion to Attire, each aptly-named collection of tiles is suitable for varying styles and projects. Third generation company president, Matthew Karlin, sat down with us to discuss them all and what Nemo Tile is all about today.

Matt Karlin President and CEO Of Nemo Tile & Stone.
Matt Karlin, President of Nemo Tile & Stone.

Downtown: We are loving all of your new collections! What inspired the launch of so many completely different styles at once?

Matt Karlin of Nemo Tile & Stone: We aim to make our collection launches inclusive of multiple style preferences, so that someone looking for a clean and modern tile can find the perfect fit, just as someone looking for a rustic tile can. We carry a very broad variety of both tile and stone collections, and are always seeking out new introductions. We frequently visit quarries and factories both in the US and abroad to ensure we are offering our customers the most comprehensive range of options at the most competitive prices.

Downtown: Can you give us an overview on Construkt, Casablanca, Fusion, and Attire?

Nemo tile's hexagon pattern in pebble colorway; Fusion collection.
Fusion Collection; Hexagon in Pebble.

MK: Fusion is a versatile glass mosaic collection available in four unique patterns and 14 colorways, further enhancing its individualized application potential. The tiles are perfect for floors and walls.

Casablanca uses state-of-the-art digital printing to mimic the red clay customary to Moroccan tiles, while maintaining the durability and longevity of today’s modern tile. The high-quality digital printing replicates every original detail, from the red clay to the weathered colors and cracks, without fear of the tile being chipped or easily damaged.

Blue casablanca tile from nemo Tile & stone.
Casablanca Collection.

Construkt is a fashionable collection that features intricate weaves of trapezoid-shaped tiles. The collection’s interlocking ceramic tiles create an architectural element with five mixed patterns, four contrasted edge patterns, and four solid hues available to orchestrate various designs.

Construkt tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Construkt Collection.

Attire is an innovative wall tile that allows for customization in design for the end-user. With its unique triangular shape and 3D finishes, Attire can mold into any landscape and small crevice, creating an illusion of a multi-dimensional surface that brings texture and character into a design. The triangular shape can also be applied to create different patterns and shapes, including rhombuses, diamonds, and hexagons.

3D Attire tile from Nemo Tile & Stone
Attire Collection.

Downtown: Casablanca is incredibly special. What inspired it and how did you capture the essence of Moroccan tiles so well through digital printing?

MK: Moroccan tile is commonly made of delicate clay, which makes it chip easily, and the colored tile’s patina wears over time. Casablanca was inspired by this aesthetic and was designed from the start to look as though the tile is worn. The mold for the tile has dents and undulations within it to help the patina effect come through in the layered digital printing, and much like the clay tiles, no two Casablanca tiles are exactly the same. The beauty is in the imperfections. Downtown: What kind of customization options do you envision with Clanca’s medley of colorways and shapes?MK: The customization is really up to the homeowner, designer, etc. There are eight colorways and two different sizes available in the Casablanca Collection. Each color works hand in hand with each other so the ability to mix and match colors and shapes is endless.

Attire tiles, customizable collection from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Attire Collection.

Downtown: Attire is a great name and we love that it offers so many customization options. What do you most love about this collection?

This is an easy one! The collection gives anybody who buys the tile the ability to create an interesting pattern with a budget-minded product. The cost is very similar to many other materials offered at Nemo Tile + Stone, although the Attire look is quite unique, offering the flexibility to create interesting shapes and sizes in various designs. There is no minimum quantity for the collection—it can be purchased for 10 square feet or 1000 square feet—and the effect is completely different depending on how the tiles are used.

Downtown: Have you seen the 3D surface version applied? If so, what is the effect?

attire 3d collection of tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Attire Collection.

MK: The 3D wall tile provides a genuine three- dimensional feel, meaning that there is a depth perception with the tile that is nonexistent with other tiles. The collection has been likened to the shape of a flower, and depending on the color of grout used in application, the 3D effect can appear more or less graphic. In either case, the 3D effect is not overly pronounced and allows for easy application and installation. Oftentimes 3D tile creates challenges during installation, but the depth of the Attire tiles mean this is not the case.

Downtown: What is the most unique tile application you have seen?

Tweed Tile from Nemo Tile & Stone's Fusion Collection.
Fusion Collection; Tweed pattern.

MK: This question is tough to answer because there are simply too many incredible tile installations. I am always particularly impressed by the creativity that goes into mosaic work. The mosaics in the New York City subway stations are incredible—every tile is hand cut!

Downtown: I absolutely love the look of the black and white stripes set sideways. Where do you envision this kind of application?

MK: The Construkt Collection is ideal for feature and accent walls. We often envision it used with kitchen backsplashes or in cafes. The graphic nature of the collection makes for a perfect flair on one plane of a room.

Construkt collection of  black and white tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Construkt Collection.

Downtown: What inspired Fusion? In what kind of setting do you envision this collection?

MK: Fusion came about from our clients requesting a smaller scale mosaic tile ideal for small spaces that can be used on the walls as well as floors with a vast array of color choices. The collection is glass, which oftentimes cannot be used on floors; however, this glass is sintered, meaning it is durable enough for floor installation! Fusion is great for bathrooms, where there are smaller areas that are typically more difficult to perfect with larger tile. I also love the varying gloss and matte finishes available in the Fusion collection, which provide the appearance of more texture and enhanced visual interest.

Downtown: Is there a favorite among the four unique patterns?

Each is designed to appeal to a particular style, so each stands on its own. However, the unique patterns —piccolo, hexagon, penny, and tweed—coupled with the 14 colorways, ensures there is an option for any desired aesthetic.

Downtown: If you could pick any collection and design a room in your own home, which would it be and how and where would you apply it?

Casablanca Collection from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Casablanca Collection.

MK: These collections allow you to achieve a variety of looks, whether your preference is a more Metropolitan look featuring black and white or a traditional or coastal look that incorporates more color and texture. I really enjoy Casablanca in Sahara and would use it a bathroom, so that when you walk in in the morning you’re greeted by the warmth of the color. Yellow helps wake me up, and Casablanca’s glossed variation bounces light around a room in a reflective fashion, which helps open up smaller spaces and makes rooms appear larger than they actually are—a necessity in New York City.

Downtown: What can we expect from upcoming collections as you approach 100 years of Nemo?

Fusion collection of tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone in colored grout.
Fusion Collection.

MK:  At Nemo Tile + Stone we will be continuing to renovate our showrooms and displays, highlighting our comprehensive selection of collections, and incorporating the most up-to-date technology. In addition, we will continue to offer a good product mix that is well priced for the New York City marketplace, whether it’s in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, or the Bronx.

Our focus continues to be on educating our clients on not only the breadth of our collections, but also on the application potential and potential installation obstacles. We want to work with our clients to ensure that all of their needs are met. We’ve built many relationships over our history in the industry, and we want to continue that legacy while also introducing our unique offerings to new generations of clients and designers.

Fusion Collection of tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone.
Fusion Collection.

Downtown: What would you most like designers and homeowners to understand about your company?

MK: If you come into our showrooms you can see products and their usages in our displays, as opposed to having to try and guess what the collections look like when they are installed. If you don’t come to our showrooms, you can easily visualize applications based on information and imagery available online.

Casablanca Collection of tiles from Nemo Tile & Stone: Palm Trees.
Casablanca Collection.

Additionally, our pricing and range of product is incredible. However, our business is not simply motivated by sales, but rather on providing an unmatched customer experience. My sales force, no matter what showroom, has to have the ability to educate the client about each product they are selling. Customers need to understand the good and the bad about our products—that glass tiles require extremely precise installation and are more difficult to DIY, or that stone installations tend to require more labor due to the weight of the slabs—and my sales force needs to explain the bad before the good. The last thing I want is clients to be disappointed with their purchase. I focus on hiring educators, not salespeople, and this strategy is unified across all showrooms.

Fusion Collection: Hexagon pattern in Shadow.

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