What do mathematics and your kitchen backsplash have in common? More than you might think: according to recent findings published in The Guardian, mathematicians have had a breakthrough in the world of pentagons, resulting in a new class of mathematically tiling shape. This newly discovered iteration is capable of continuously tiling a surface without gaps, unlike the majority of its similarly five-sided cousins. Known in mathematics as the most elusive tile shape due to its seemingly endless angular possibilities, the pentagon has been the focus of serious scrutiny for over a century.
With the discovery of the fifteenth type of pentagon last month at the University of Washington Bothell, we've decided to compile a list of the most eccentric and intriguing tiles currently available. Dive into the world of wild backsplashes and unorthodox ceramics after the break.
Tile has played a crucial role in design for centuries, dating back to the ancient gilded mosaics of the Byzantine era. Gone are the days of ordinary monochromatic tiles: technological and mathematical advances have transformed designs from dated to inspired, producing ceramics in every shape and size imaginable. From honeycomb to scalloped, tile design has evolved far beyond simple rectangles and squares.
Though there are few tile designs that take advantage of the 15 different types of tessellating pentagon, Madrid-based DSIGNIO created an asymmetrical pentagon for Harmony-Peronda reminiscent of the surface of the Watercube swimming centre in Beijing. Smooth to the touch but swollen in appearance, the tiles shatter the plane to create a curious tactile experience.
Currently one of the most popular styles, honeycomb tile comes in many forms. Formed of a perfect hexagon, the motif has endless applications and a simple, pleasing aesthetic. And, by using a variety of surface heights, the tiles can eliminate the grid effect to enhance visual stimulation. The Portland tiles by Land Porcelanico in honeycomb add a three dimensional element to the mosaic, eliminating visual monotony.
Let's not forget decorated tile, of course. Beyond shape, a patterned motif can add stimulation to a space quite simply. Here, the honeycomb is taken to a new level as seen on the popular Instagram account I Have This Thing With Floors:
Scalloped tile is also quickly becoming one of the most popular styles. California-based Fireclay Tile has been producing unorthodox tile designs since 1986, including the highly-sought after scalloped motif in dozens of colours. The whimsical style can be applied in a variety of directions to varied effects:
Now to the exciting tiles. Home to a serious collection of curious patterns, Fireclay Tile has options for the wildest of imaginations. Roam free, tile lovers:
Have a pattern to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!