The latest edition of Cevisama – the International Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Equipment Fair – was recently held in Valencia, Spain, and it did not disappoint with its displays of innovative product lines
And although tile manufacturers admit that sales to the U.S. have been down in recent years due to the fallen economy, they have not slacked on their dedication to research and development. When walking the pavilion halls at Cevisama 2012, it became evident that the level of innovation is at an all-time high. Refined looks, defined textures, saturated colors and high-quality products were prominently showcased throughout the exhibition space.
The "new" beigeWhen it comes to the U.S. market, it has long been noted that homeowners seek a neutral color palette. Whether it is large-format floor tiles for a kitchen or wall tiles for a bathroom, shades of beige have reigned in residential design. But while neutrals remain a popular choice, it is noticeable that tile manufacturers are adding subtle hints of gray to these tiles for a richer looking surface. “We are having a good response for gray right now,” said Javier Plasencia, Export Area Manager of Plaza Cerámicas. “Everyone is looking for gray colors.”
White has also risen to the top of the lineup in terms of color. Many homeowners now desire crisp clean residential designs, and tile manufacturers are responding with an assortment of white tiles -- ranging in size from tiny mosaics to oversized floor pieces. With the popularity of white marble at a significant high, ceramic and porcelain tile are being made to look like the natural material.
Mimicking concrete and cementSeveral years ago, the trend seemed to be to create tile surfaces that resembled the look and feel of textiles. There were numerous collections that reflected the refined textures found in fabrics such as linen, silk and burlap. Touring the halls of Cevisama 2012, it appears that manufacturers have gotten away from that trend and are now catering to a sleek contemporary style.
Displays of tile collections that reflect the look and feel of concrete were abundant on the exhibition floor. The weathered cool feel of the tile lends itself to urban and minimalist designs. Many of the new collections showcased offer the concrete look in large-format floor tiles as well as wall tile. Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Tau Cerámica, which had a new booth illustrating a “trip around the world,” introduced its Mayfair Collection that was inspired by the Tower Bridge in London, England. Tiles in the collection resemble the look of weathered concrete and are paired with three-dimensional metallic decos.
Moreover, tiles made to look like authentic cement tiles were also a noticeable trend this year at Cevisama 2012. Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Natucer now offers an extruded tile collection called “Cementi.” Tiles in the collection are available in square as well as an octagon shape. “Octagon tiles are really a novelty,” said Jóse P. Cantavella Ibáñez, Area Manager for Natucer. “Normally we just make square.”
Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Vives also offers a product line of colorful cement-look tiles. Tiles in the Vintage Collection can create an Old World-style feel throughout a living space.
Breakthroughs in innovationOne of the more unique tile collections at Cevisama 2012 was illustrated by Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Apavisa. The company offered its ArchConcept Collection of porcelain tile. “Since September, we have been trying to introduce three-dimensional tiles,” said Pedro Miralles, Commercial Director. “Architects are always saying that tiles are flat.”
The ArchConcept Collection is comprised of five different shapes, with names such as “Wave” and “Corner Up.” “The movement you give depends on what you want,” said Miralles. “People are mixing different sized tiles to get the effect they are looking for.”
Another leader in the field of innovation is Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Inalco. “In the last 10 years, we have completely changed our mentality,” said Jose Manuel Boix. “We are investing a lot of time, energy and money in technology.”
Several years ago, Inalco first introduced its Slimmker Collection, and since that time, it has continually worked to expand upon it. “Our commitment to thin tile is so strong that in two to three years, we will stop making standard tile,” said Boix.
Trans/HitosFor the eighth year running, Cevisama featured the Trans/Hitos Architecture and Interior Design in Ceramic exhibit. The 2012 display was entitled “Spaces” -- featuring a combination of different groups who illustrated architectural applications of ceramics, as well as new uses of ceramic tile -- for both urban and domestic areas.
The innovative exhibit was situated in the heart of the show, presenting a showcase for those passing by. Among the tile products utilized in the exhibit’s design were three- dimensional pieces from Natucer. The tile manufacturer’s “bamboo” pieces from its LifeArq Collection create a unique texture for the inside of the exhibit.