The 2007 edition of Cevisama took place from February 6 to 10 at the Feria Valencia Exhibition Centre, and the exhibit floor spanned more than 82,000 square meters. This marks a significant increase in floor space, which was only 10,000 square meters when the show was first launched 25 years ago. And this year, tile manufacturers were a dominant force, comprising 62% of the show exhibitors.
The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) also had a presence at the show, promoting Spain’s ceramic tile industry, products and manufacturers. And, 135 ASCER members were exhibitors at this year’s show. Additionally, 25% of the exhibitors came from abroad. The number of attendees also showed an increase over the 12,000 business professionals who toured the halls in 2006.
As has been the case in the past several years, ceramic and porcelain tile resembling the look of stone, wood and textile were seen in abundance, but it is apparent that technology as well as research and development become more sophisticated with each passing year. The collections that were on display at Cevisama 2007 are among the highest quality on today’s market. Stone-look tiles feature the random veining and color patterns that are true to natural stone products, and the grain, texture and color of the wood-look tiles also appears very authentic. Tile manufacturers are also replicating the look and feel of numerous fabrics, including linen, suede and burlap, which make for some interesting design possibilities.
Advances in digital technologyTo achieve this authenticity, many manufacturers are utilizing digital technology. “It is a really big breakthrough,” said Mike Hammond, U.S. agent for Inalco Ceramica. “Digital technology allows us to recreate nature by printing it on tile.”
Inalco refers to this innovative method as IPLUS Digital Technology. The company first introduced this revolutionary breakthrough at Cevisama 2005, but this year showed that the list of series that are manufactured with IPLUS has grown substantially - ranging from porcelain tiles to large-format and white-body tiles, Inalco reports.
“With the IPLUS technology, our factory is going in three different directions - wood, stone and textiles,” said Hammond. IPLUS incorporates digital printing techniques using CMYK ink-jet systems to decorate the surface of the tile. Additionally, it makes it possible for the entire surface of the tile to be decorated right to the edge, including high and low reliefs, which was not able to be done before, the company explained.
Among Inalco’s new series that are now available with IPLUS technology are Signia, Hardwood and Suite, which are all apart of the Maderas collection. These three series are varying versions of wood-look tiles.
“The colors in Signia are very good for the U.S. market,” said Hammond. “And, Hardwood was developed for the States. It has a hand-scraped look.”
Large-format tileAnother new trend that was prominent among the displays at this year’s exhibition was large-format tiles. Many manufacturers introduced new collections of bigger sizes for both wall and floor applications.
Grespania, who has one factory for floor tile and one for wall tile, was among the exhibitors who offered several new collections of large-format pieces. Among the new large-format wall collections was Rivoli - available in six colors of 12-by-18-inch tile. “This size is becoming a great fashion,” said Sascha Alsdorf, Area Manager for Grespania. “It’s well known that in the U.S. most people are still looking for smaller stone-look tile, but there is a smaller growing market that is looking for something new and different.”
For those seeking a fresh look, Grespania’s Rainbow collection might offer fresh ideas, according to Alsdorf. The large-sized wall tiles come in 12-by-24 and 25-by-40 inches. The collection also includes matching floor tile, which is available in standard 12-by-12-inch format.
“We are always trying to give the most options possible,” said Alsdorf. “We try to make at least two options.” With the company’s Alhambra collection, consumers have the benefit of choosing from matching listels, floor tile and decorative pieces to match the 12-by-36-inch wall tile.
The Toledo collection, which is another of Grespania’s large-format wall tile collections, mimics the characteristics found in fabric. “This is a design that is becoming very popular,” said Alsdorf. “It is very elegant. No matter what side is up, the tiles will always match.”
Keraben was another manufacturer who introduced a host of new tile products - including large-format sizes - at Cevisama this year. Seeking inspiration from metal, the Kursal series was created by combining industry elements and ceramics. The tile is ideal for commercial as well as residential applications, according to the company.
Kursal by Keraben is available in varying formats, including 100-by-50-cm rectified tiles with a thickness of 13 mm, 32-by-64.2 and 64.2-by-64.2 cm.
Moreover, the company revealed its Chicago series, which also is available in bigger sizes such as 49-by-49, 32-by-58.5 and 100-by-50 cm. According to Keraben, this series features new oxide ceramic that with its semi-polished natural finish conveys the essence of the purest materials with textures that are sensitive to the touch. This new series is offered in three colors: Caldera, a blend of warm shades, and Oxide and Grey, which are more cold and industrial. While designed for flooring, the tile in the Chicago series is also ideal for ventilated facade systems, reports the company.
Unique texturesIn general, tile lines have become more three-dimensional. Advances in technology are enabling tile manufacturers to create detailed textured surfaces that bring depth and life to a design. An example of this would be the Carbono series, which is part of Tau’s Materia collection. With this product line, the company is reinterpreting the look of more technologically advanced materials such as those used in the aeronautical industry, the motor industry and in top level sporting competitions such as sailing, Tau reports.
“Tau is sponsoring a TP 52 class racing team, the Formula 1 of sailing, and we are also an official supplier to the Spanish Challenger for the America’s Cup,” stated Manuel Llopis, the company’s head of marketing. “This partnership has taught us an enormous amount about the fabrics, fibers, compounds and materials that are used on elite sailing vessels, and this has inspired us to come up with a fantastic ceramic collection. The work done by the Tau Product Development has been truly extraordinary, developing a number of ceramic pieces which make a real statement in the most innovative areas of interior design.”
The Carbono series was inspired by the effect and texture of carbon fiber. These fibers, which are five times thinner than a human hair, are made up of chains of carbon atoms linked together and combined with other elements, such as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The highly sophisticated manufacturing process involves weaving and sticking them together using epoxy resins and then submitting them to high temperatures in controlled atmospheres, and the result is a high strength polymer product, according to Tau.
“Like the material on which it is modeled, Carbono generates tiny geometric glints and shimmers of unique elegance, bursting forth from its microtextures on porcelain tiles, allowing it to be used in an infinite number of decorative ways and creating spaces with amazing and very contemporary aesthetics,” stated Llopis.
Carbono is available in 60-by-60-cm tile with two finishes - natural and polished. Currently, it is only available in graphite, but two more colors, blue and white, will be offered soon, according to Tau.