Each year, the Feria Valencia Centre in Valencia, Spain, hosts Cevisama, an annual internationalceramic tileexhibition, which draws in tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to view the latest products and technologies today’s market has to offer. However, this year the show had a different ambiance, as it was intermingled with two other trade fairs relative to the home — the Feria Hábitat Valencia and Fimma-Maderalia — to attract a broader audience of professionals.

Appropriately coined, Nos Vemos en Valencia (“See you in Valencia”), the show was held from February 11 to 14, 2014, and it featured the latest, most attractive trends in ceramic tiles, furniture, lighting and textiles, and some of the most renowned suppliers for the wood and furniture sector, including machinery. More than 80 Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) member companies displayed their latest products at this edition.

The exhibit halls were filled with many innovative tile collections. Manufacturers have been working to keep up with the demand for large-format tiles, and exhibits showed both floor and wall applications. Additionally, tiles that resemble the look of stone remain a popular choice. Tiles today now offer the look of marble, slate and limestone — complete with authentic-looking textures and veining.

Wood-look tile is also demonstrating that it is here to stay. Reaching beyond the aesthetic of basic hardwood, collections now offer worn and distressed wood looks. Advances in technology allow for tile surfaces to possess inherent characteristics of hardwood such as grain and knots. Moreover, tiles with surfaces finishes that have the look of worn concrete were prominently displayed throughout the show floor.

In addition to the exhibits, every year Cevisama features a popular exhibition of architecture and interior design, Trans/hitos, which showcases innovative uses of ceramic tiles. This year’s theme was “Reflections,” with a unique exhibit designed by a team of architects from the University of Harvard, in collaboration with ASCER. The exhibit consisted of “a ceramic deck with a double-curvature surface, floating about 3 meters above the floor,” which allowed the general public to view it from different angles. The project was directed by engineer and architect, Martin Bechtold.

“Reflections” also highlighted the most innovative technologies that are currently being implemented and in constant development in the Spanish tile manufacturing sector, such as the applications in decorative technology by digital inkjet printing, which provide interesting metallized effects, in addition to other types of techniques. Alike previous shows, Trans/hitos 2014 was designed and coordinated by the Area for Design and Architecture of the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC).

For the 12th consecutive year, Cevisama also incorporated the ASCER Tile of Spain Awards for Architecture and Interior Design. Two projects were selected by a panel of field-experienced judges — an urban project designed to enhance a public space and a single-family home — and each awarded a cash prize. The “Remodeling Work on Riera de la Salut,” an urban and social project relative to the current-day situation of society and economy completed by Pol Femenias Ureña, won first prize in the Architecture category. The single-family home, “Casa Luz,” which was completed by the Arquitectura-G studio (Jonathan Arnabat, Jordi Ayala-Bril, Aitor Fuentes and Igor Urdampilleta – former students from the ESARQ Ceramic Tile Studies Department at the International University of Catalonia), won first prize in the Interior Design category.

The Awards also included a category for the Best Degree project completed by undergraduate students at architectural schools, which features the predominant use of ceramic tiles. This year’s winner was Gohar Manrique San Pedro from the Madrid School of Architecture for his “Research Centre for the Promotion and Conservation of the Heritage of New Gourna” in Luxor, Egypt. Further details about the projects and awards can be found at tileofspainawards.com.

The steady increase in exports

Keeping its visitors up-to-date on current market trends, Cevisama also educated industry professionals on the latest import and export statistics for the Spanish tile sector, noting that imports have fallen by a little more than 25% since 2012. On the contrary, presentations at the show also revealed that, from 2012 to 2013, Spanish ceramic tile exports increased by 8%, nearing the historic maximum that was reached in 2007.

In 2012, Europe received almost 50% of Spain’s exports, while exports to the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and North America grew by 21%, 47%, 23% and 22%, respectively. And although the U.S. isn’t necessarily a top-runner for exports from Spain, sales showed the U.S. to be one of the top 10 markets for Spanish ceramic tile exports, beneath France, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UK and Algeria, respectively.