Gone are the days of the 3” x 3” powder blue tile backsplash in your grandmother’s kitchen. The emerging technology of the ceramic tile industry has taken quantum leaps beyond predictable sizes and pronounced grout lines. Ceramic tile of today challenges all traditional beliefs about the sizes, styles and shapes of this versatile building material.
Size MattersFrom tiny 1” square pieces of art reflected in mosaic glass to mammoth slabs of 10’ x 3’ rectified tile, size is no longer a design limitation when specifying ceramic tile. Architects and designers can envision monolithic floors, floor-to-ceiling wall coverings, roofing and whole building exterior façades – all accomplished through ceramic tile.
Shape ShiftingSquare can seem square when considering the broad range of shapes now available in ceramic tile. Designers can create amazingly scaled projects reaching all extremes of height, weight and depth. For example, Spain’s recently opened Conference Center of Aragon is a large multifunctional space that hosts conferences, exhibitions and performances. Its coup de grace – the distinctive diagonal roof comprising 120,000 triangular ceramic tiles. Laid flat, it would cover 129,000 square feet.
Defy the EyeTile of Spain branded manufacturers are exploring the third dimension both literally and graphically. Natucer’s Duna Collection creates the effect of a desert dune with two kinds of tile, one concave and one convex, both glazed with a pearlescent finish.
Some manufacturers rely on graphics to create a 3-D effect on a flat surface. TAU Ceramica has rocked the faux wood world with Deco, a design that evokes the grain of zebrano wood.
Another manufacturer, Gres Catalan, delves into tricks of the eye with Puzzle, a synthesis of optical illusions, lighting and changing brightness, all based on shimmering geometric shapes.
High PerformanceIn addition to unlimited design possibilities, designers can also offer clients a practical material choice in ceramic tile. Once installed, ceramic tile is in it for the long haul, negating the need for costly replacement and repair and keeping demolition waste from the landfills. It offers supreme durability, directly related to the impervious glazed surface, and a longer lifespan than most floor and wall coverings.
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.