Inalco brings wainscoting to ceramic tile; it looks like wooden wainscoting, but it really is large format, 18”x36” ceramic tile from their Suite series, the perfect material for hospitality situations requiring easy maintenance and high style.

Eighty Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers participated in Cersaie, which was held October 2-6, and coming off of the heels of the show, many new trends were identified. One of the most provocative trends that many of the Tile of Spain manufacturers have perfected is the use of digital technology. Going hand in hand with digital technology is the use of ceramic tile in unusual specifications and in rooms not usually thought of for ceramic tile. The improved, refined digital printing technology that allows for ultra realistic image reproduction on ceramic tile is a process that many Spanish manufacturers premiered at the show. While quality digital printing technology has surfaced in various tile collections, Tile of Spain branded manufacturers have perfected the art and taken it to the next level. The digital printing process turns photographs, artwork, designs, logos or virtually any images into elaborately decorated wall or floor coverings. These ‘works of art’ may be used to illustrate panoramic views, like one was looking out a window, or a more traditional mural scene creating an artistic design sensibility. This tile technology allows for the product to be used in unexpected situations, mimicking wallpaper, creating ceramic headboards or even styled to look and function as wainscoting.

Inalco, one of the first Tile of Spain manufacturers to introduce digital inkjet printing to ceramic tile, calls their technology IPlus. This technique enables the decoration of the entire surface, with maximum detail in the high and low reliefs, edge-to-edge. The CMYK (four color process) inkjet decoration allows for a level realism and variety of digital designs that can be used to create unrepeatable pieces with amazing chromatic richness. Inalco has introduced the Sybilla Series manufactured with the Inalco exclusive IPLUS digital technology. The Sybilla series comes in 18x35” format, decorated with textile motifs with highly realistic look and feel that are evocative of genuine fabric. Natural stone, slate, wood and cement are also prominent tile patterns in Inalco’s new IPlus technological digital printing process. As a pioneer in the effective application of this printing technique on ceramic tiles, one of Inalco’s chief aims is to offer its customers top quality products made using the best available technologies, without neglecting its commitment to the environment based on reducing the waste generated.

Ceracasa, using their I Plus Digital technology, can reproduce any image desired in their Emotile series; this particular one is a Chesterfield tufted white sofa cushion, which could serve as an innovative headboard or floor surface. The options are endless. Size varies depending upon the image that is reproduced, but mostly large formats are more common.

Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Ceracasa has devoted an entire line called Emotile to the technology of digital printing. What is Emotile? It’s a ceramic tile collection that applies the latest digital printing technologies to the tiles by using precise inkjet design and decoration on the surface of ceramic tiles. Their technology can decorate more than eight square meters of graphics without requiring the edges of the tile to be rectified. The design is reproduced edge to edge. With Emotile by Cercasa, “Finally you are free”, free to express whatever attitude, personality, and design aesthetic that can be imagined to create a truly unique space.

Additionally, finishes range in texture from matte, anti-slip, satin, and polished. Large format is available 19 1/3x19 1/3” or, if desired, rectified in 19x19”. Emotile is also available in 12.5x25” or rectified, in 12x25”, as well as 19 1/3x38 2/3” rectified and 12x24 1/2” rectified and 15 1/2x15 1/2” rectified.

The digital technology trend has allowed for designers and building owners to use tile in unexpected ways and places. Many Tile of Spain manufacturers have been purveyors of this trend, showing new and different ways to design spaces using ceramic tile. Digital printing technology has introduced high design to the functional attributes normally associated with ceramic tile. Digitally printed tiles are not the only ceramic tiles used in unexpected ways. Other companies promote the use of their tiles in unusual ways that don’t necessarily use digital technology, but may just have tiles that are good candidates for versatile applications. Fabric-like heavy brocade images make ceramic an obvious choice as a replacement for traditional wall coverings. The trend is gaining rapid acceptance in the hospitality sector because ceramic tile is hygienic, with an ideal surface to maintain. Consider the concept of a ceramic tile that, with a wood look, may be cleverly designed as wainscoting; a great twist for a dining area that needs a bit of practical sensibility without sacrificing good looks. Or possibly a headboard that looks like a deep-buttoned Chesterfield sofa, but is actually a digital photograph on porcelain tile and is easier to take care of than the upholstered alternative.

Unexpected but logical, and a completely new take on ceramic tile, this truly versatile interior decoration technology is executed with dynamic precision by Colorker, another manufacturer under the Tile of Spain umbrella. The Tecktonia series from Colorker draws inspiration from nature. Stone looks, modeled in high and low relief, with greater definition and richer colors than ever before. Hundreds of different patterns may be created so no tile is exactly alike, just like the genuine products found in nature.

Alcalagres, another Tile of Spain manufacturer, provides wood-like tile that is a great substitute for real wood wainscoting. The Indiana Series, also from Venus Ceramica, provides a range of colorful and multi-surfaced styles that can create the most luxurious looking headboard, but are easier to care for than conventional fabric options.

Ceramic tile is not just for the kitchen and the bath anymore. A variety of spaces can benefit from all the key attributes associated with ceramic tile. With digital technology and the ability to use tile to create bold and unique design statements, the possibilities are endless.

For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain, 2655 Le Jeune Road, Suite 1114, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Call (305) 446-4387 or visitwww.spaintiles.info.