The Zaragoza 2008 International Exposition’s Spanish Pavilion centers on Ceramica Decorativa’s ceramic tile “forest.” Designed in collaboration with the Spanish Center for Renewable Energy (CENER), it is an ode to high performance design and sustainable development.


A ceramic tile forest encapsulated the Spanish Pavilion at the recent Zaragoza International Exposition. Massive terra cotta trunks rose high and strong, dwarfing visitors below. The pillars extended upward to grasp a roof fitted with technology to harness energy from the sun and to collect rain from passing storms.

Within the surrounding forest, clear glass rooms showcased the Expo’s displays. In addition to supporting the structure, the pillars also generated a microclimate that afforded visitors respite from the blazing Zaragoza summer.

Created by Ceramica Decorativa, in collaboration with the Spanish Center for Renewable Energy and Navarrese architect Patxi Mangado, this work emphasizes bioclimatic design. The pavilion served as one of the expo’s most emblematic designs, both visually and in terms of the materials used in its construction. Today, the Pavilion stands proudly as an ode to high performance design and sustainable development.

To meet the needs of today’s eco-conscious society, products from Spain are at the forefront of sustainable design and low lifecycle cost, fully adopting the need to “build it once, build it right.” When partnered with other energy saving solutions, it becomes a highly versatile material for contemporary design.

“There can be nothing more environmentally friendly than architecture that is built to last,” said Patti Fasan, CTC consultant for Tile of Spain. “Selecting quality products that are durable and will not need replacement within the life of the structure substantially reduce resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, installation and demolition energy requirement.”

Responsible Production

Many Tile of Spain branded manufacturers have made painstaking efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, during manufacturing, every drop of retained production water is recycled. Cut scraps are returned to the beginning of the process to be reground and reformed into fresh material, eliminating material waste. Additionally, the clay and sand used are regional materials and relatively abundant resources.

Energy Conservation

Using materials that reduce energy consumption maximizes energy efficiency. Ceramic tile boasts high thermal storage capacity – which means it retains heat and emits it slowly - good for applications where climates are warm during the day and cool at night.

TAU Ceramica recently partnered with ATERSA, a pioneer in photovoltaic solar energy, to develop a patented system in photovoltaic ventilated façades. This system reduces the amount of heat that a building absorbs in hot weather by partial reflection of solar radiation, achieving considerable savings in air conditioning cost. Conversely, ventilated façades retain warmth in winter, cutting heat costs.

Keraben recently premiered its Termotile ceramic façades. The system is a combination of insulation and porcelain made from a 2.4”-thick high-density extruded polystyrene core with a ceramic cladding adhered during the manufacturing process. Combining the Termotile system ceramics offers architects and designers a way to provide a modern look to a new or refurbished building while also enhancing sustainability.

Azuvi’s Mara series from the Wood collection.

Superior Longevity

Advanced technology has allowed ceramic tile manufacturers to replicate finishes virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Designers can achieve the look of wallpaper, wood, stone and textiles while retaining benefits of tile.

For example, Azuvi’s Mara series from the Wood collection is a play on geometric patterns that add visual sensation to any space. Its wood-inspired graphics are featured in two compositions – Lines and Mosaics - that offer an endless number of combinations that are adaptable to various styles.

Environmental Friendliness

Low toxicity is another superior advantage to the eco-conscious homeowner. There is no off-gassing of the initial product and no harsh cleaning chemicals needed that can then be flushed into our ecosystem.

“Warm water and neutral cleaners are the only cleaning products required,” said Fasan. “This easy maintenance also contributes to consumer cost savings over the life of the installation.”

By using tile, designers and homeowners can also ensure good indoor air quality. It repels allergens and will not absorb odors like smoke and paint fumes or release harmful gases, toxic by-products or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain by calling (305) 446-4387 or visiting www.spaintiles.info.