WEB EXCLUSIVE: When touring the halls of Cevisama 2008 it became clear that large formats and glitzy metallics were the main focus of many tile manufacturers. While the U.S. market has been slow to embrace bigger tile sizes, they have become increasingly popular in some regions of the U.S. As a result, tile manufacturers are really stepping up their efforts to push large-format tiles and even expand upon the sizes that are already offered.

Among the many other products promoted were large plank-sized floor tiles, which can be used for both interior and exterior applications. Tiles mimicking the look of natural wood are ideal for wet areas such as pool patios. Photo courtesy of Natucer.


Of the total display space, 57% was occupied by the ceramic tile-manufacturing sector. And in total, 150 of the exhibitors were Tile of Spain's branded manufacturers, including Tau Ceramica.

Cevisama 2008, which took place February 5 to 9 in Valencia, Spain, was once again filled with cutting-edge, innovative products. As the 26th edition of the exhibition, it was anticipated that 96,000 trade professionals, along with 12,000 foreign buyers from 147 countries, would walk the show floor, which consisted of 85,000 square meters. Of the total display space, 57% was occupied by the ceramic tile-manufacturing sector. And in total, 150 of the exhibitors were Tile of Spain's branded manufacturers, who belong to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer's Association (ASCER).

This year, Cevisama introduced a new slogan - “Launching a New Identity” - to represent the spirit of the exhibition. The fresh show theme came with a new logo and promotional campaign, which targeted architects, interior designers and retailers.

And although the weak U.S. dollar has presented somewhat of an obstacle for tile manufacturers trying to sell to the American market, many companies remain optimistic. Quite a few of these manufacturers, who were in attendance at Cevisama 2008, spoke of supplying materials for large commercial projects in the U.S. It was also evident that they had been working diligently to develop new product lines that the American market would find enticing.

"We are absolutely satisfied with the American market," said a representative from Italgres. "We have increased dramatically in projects to the U.S."

Bigger is Better

When touring the halls of Cevisama 2008 it became clear that large formats and glitzy metallics were the main focus of many tile manufacturers. While the U.S. market has been slow to embrace bigger tile sizes, they have become increasingly popular in some regions of the U.S. As a result, tile manufacturers are really stepping up their efforts to push large-format tiles and even expand upon the sizes that are already offered.

"The North American market has always been focused on smaller sizes, but the New York area and other big cities have expressed interest in larger formats," said Sascha Alsdorf of Grespania. "This is why we developed our Abadia line. It is one of the best lines that got the interest. It has a rustic look."

Grespania also offers an array of products to meet the desires of the American market. Many of these include large-format pieces measuring 9-by-36 inches.

Among other companies that introduced new collections with large-format sizes was Keraben. The company recently opened a warehouse in West Haven, CT, so that it can better serve the American market.

"Our focus with this opening is to introduce larger formats in the U.S. and with the architect and designer community," said Javier Plasencia Abásolo, the company's U.S. Area Manager. "We want to really introduce large formats and the way to do that is by opening our own warehouse."

To meet their objectives for the U.S. market, Keraben has been working hard to develop new lines, as well as improving upon existing collections. "Kursal has now developed big rectangular formats, and for Transit, which was another existing line that was offered in 24-by-24 inches, we decided to launch larger sizes," said Abásolo. "For another collection called Twin Set, we are presenting a large plank size. We developed unique decos. They need to be sold in two pieces."

According to Abásolo, Keraben believes that a new trend on the rise today is placing large plank-format tiles in a vertical position on walls. Displays in the company's exhibition booth illustrated how these decorative large-format plank pieces can create a focal wall throughout living spaces - whether on a bathroom wall where a vanity is located or in an entry foyer.

Another Spanish tile manufacturer promoting the use of large-sized tiles to the U.S. is Rocersa Ceramica. At Cevisama 2008, the company introduced a selection of new product lines that include large formats. In particular, the Extreme Collection is among Rocersa's new innovations.

"Research in new raw materials and the use of the most avant-garde technology have resulted in a unique product," reports the company. "This product range stands out for its grandiose formats that are full of elegance and personality." Tile formats within the collection include 31.6-by-91 cm, 60-by-60 cm and 47.2-by-70 cm.

"All of the market is going to the big sizes," said Emilio Garcia of Rocersa Ceramica. "It is the product of the future."

Metallic tiles were also on prominent display at this year's exhibition. Advances in technology have led to expanded sizes and a variety of textured finishes. Photo courtesy of Azuvi.

Shimmering Effects

In addition to large-format tiles, metallics were a hot item at this year's exhibition. In the past, metallics have typically been in the format of mosaics, which can be employed for kitchen backsplashes or shower stalls. They were often showcased as accent pieces, which could be used to "accessorize" an interior design.

And while metallics are certainly still associated with the words "sleek" and "chic," Cevisama 2008 displayed these eye-catching tiles in an entirely new light. Sizes have expanded and texture has been added to bring more visually stimulating products that really create depth and feeling in a space.

With larger sizes, metallic tiles can now be used as flooring or to clad entire walls. The rich textures and sparkling nature of the metallic pieces have the ability to bring pizzazz to a room or public spaces such as hotel lobbies or bar areas.

"We have had very good experience with our metallic glaze," said Salvador Serra of Alfa Ceramica. "It can be used for floors or walls. It's fresh. [Also], something that is very important is that our metallic glaze is resistant."

Saloni Ceramica also showcased some of its new innovative lines at Cevisama 2008, including Metalia, the company's metallic collection. "It looks like a ‘living’ metal," said Neal McManus, Area Sales Manager. "Digital photography is used to put patterns on the tile."

With such advances in technology, metallic tile collections have become diverse. The numerous textures available and the larger size pieces offer endless design options to homeowners, builders, architects and designers for residential or commercial applications.

Innovative Ideas

In general, the exhibition halls were comprised of a broad spectrum of new collections. It was obvious that tile manufacturers have really been dedicated to research and development. In addition to metallics and large-format tiles, there were plentiful displays of glass tile collections as well as tiles made to resemble stone, wood and fabrics.

While these "look-alike" tiles have been on the market for some time, each year technology is responsible for making them appear more authentic. Various finishes provide richer textures and colors and overall appearances have also become more believable.

Spanish tile manufacturers Tau Ceramica never fails to disappoint Cevisama attendees by introducing cutting-edge products, and this year was no different. In particular, it concentrates on developing products that would be of interest to the American market.

"We are very focused on North America," said Oscar Castellón of Tau Ceramica. "This year it has come down a little, but it still has sustained."

Tau's latest introduction was "Diet Floor" - a tile that comes equipped with a weight sensor and a microchip. The tile can be placed in front of a refrigerator and the microchip controls how long someone has been standing on it, the weight of the person and the time of day. If the tile determines that the person has spent too much time going into the refrigerator between meals, it will, through an incorporated speaker, "remind" the person that they are not following their diet.

Developed by Tau Ceramica's creative branch, Tau Advanced, in collaboration with Barcelona inventor Pep Torres, Castellón said, "It is a concept. It is just to say tile is alive." He went on to say that this is just one example of how a sensor tile can be used.

Attendees of the 26th edition of Cevisama, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings show were able to spend several days viewing the many unique and inspiring product lines.

Ceramica Mayor also introduced an innovative product at Cevisama 2008. "This year we introduced an acoustic tile," said Carmen Molina of Ceramica Mayor, explaining that the tile has lambs wool inside. "It can be used inside and inside pools to absorb sound."

Additional points of interest at this year's event included the numerous tile collections that now come with a slip-resistant finish. These tiles are ideal for wet areas, such as bathrooms as well as exterior patios and pool surrounds.

Many manufacturers are also thinking "green." In particular, Onix Ceramica offers glass mosaics that are made from 98% recycled material such as glass from car windshields, according to the company. The glass tiles are also slip resistant, so they can be employed for both interior and exterior applications.

All in all, Cevisama 2008 provided an arena for exhibitors to showcase their latest tile collections. And with such a large pavilion, attendees were able to spend several days viewing the many unique and inspiring product lines.