Tiles of Spain: Technical & Design Innovation
 
October 2nd, 2009

Fourth Quarter, 2009

The Spanish ceramic tile industry’s commitment to emerging technology continues to push the realm of the impossible. New sizes, shapes and even functions (tile as air cleaner?) have taken the products quantum leaps beyond predictable sizes and pronounced grout lines. The same technology explosion has pushed design into dramatic new directions of color, shape and texture, embracing art, innovation and ingenuity.

SIZE, SHAPE, FUNCTION

First, from tiny 1″ square pieces of art reflected in mosaic glass to mammoth slabs of 10′ x 3′ rectified tile, size is no longer a limitation. Introduced earlier this year, Inalco’s SlimmKer is only a quarter inch thick, and easy to cut or perforate and in a substantial 18″ x 35″ format. It is also easy to handle and install but meets all technical and sustainability requirements.

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. It’s available in white, beige, silver, violet and gold-olive. Gres Catalan tricks the eye with Puzzle, a synthesis of optical illusions, lighting and changing brightness, all based on shimmering geometric shapes. Puzzle is available in silver, black and white, and in formats 23″x23″, 16.5″x23″ and 4″x23″, all rectified tile.

Can a building function like a tree? BionicTile by Ceracasa improves the environment by continuously decontaminating the air, filtering harmful nitrous oxide. Nitrates left inert on the tile surface are washed away by rain, fog and humidity leaving the surface ready to destroy more nitrous oxide molecules.

The Puzzle series is a synthesis of optical illusion, lighting and changing brightness based on geometric shapes in relief. Puzzle is available in silver, black and white, and in formats 23" x 23", 16.5" x 23" and 4" x 23", all rectified.

Developed in collaboration with FMC FORET and the Institute of Chemical Technology from the Valencia Polytechnic University (Spain), one square meter of BionicTile is able to decompose 31.2 mg of nitrous oxide each hour. An urban core of 200 buildings covered with BionicTile would remove 82 tons of nitrous oxide each year.

The Segorbe series achieves the palette of a forest floor—a mesh of moss, leaf and stone. Available in marengo, negro, beige, marron, ocre and marfil in both 18" x 36" and 18" x 18" formats.

Natucer’s Filter Floor is a floating extruded ceramic floor with a thickness of ¾”. Installation requires no setting materials. This results in rapid water drainage and guards against stagnant water and slippery surfaces. Ideal for use on terraces, around swimming pools, balconies and most external floor applications. Available in a 14″ X 14″ format.

EARTHY, ARTY, NATIVE TRENDS

In addition to technical properties, Tile of Spain branded manufacturers are also showing off a handful of important style trends.

Earthos reflects the continuing popularity of earthy looks as well as recycled, earth-friendly materials. The Segorbe series by Grespania captures the color of the forest floor. Roca Ceramica’s Top Green collection includes Green Earth with 80% pre-consumer recycled material. Terracotta Glass by Ceramica Decorativa uses hand-made terracotta as a backing for fluxed glazes and surface brushing.

A new concept for interior flooring, Terracota Glass uses hand-made terracotta as a backing for fluxed glazes and surface brushing at differing speeds. The result is a shimmering collection that includes a wide range of formats in colors Polar, Antracita, Blanco and Cuero.

The Articrafts trend exalts southwestern style. Hinting at roots in Mexican and Asian culture, this style trend is awash in global ethnicity and eclecticism. Articrafts relies on the palette and texture of adobe, stone, marble and dark wood, calling to mind Early American and Arts & Crafts design. Asian-inspired color adds a contemporary interpretation. Ceramica Decorativa recently introduced Terracota Colors, a chocolate floor tile, and the Tao series which features long ribs of terra cotta arranged in different patterns.

Safarience is rich in hue, texture and native motifs. Bold splashes of color and animal prints abound anchored by natural stone, warm browns and ecru patterns. Consider, for example, Grespania’s Ghana collection in deep, natural tones and a welldefined texture reminiscent of an elephant’s hide. Vives was inspired by the Bosphorus Strait dividing turkey into its European and Asian halves.

Tile of Spain (The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association, ASCER) is a private organization whose primary objective is to support Spain’s ceramic tile manufacturers as well as the industry as a whole by stewarding and promoting the Tile of Spain brand worldwide. The ceramic tile industry of Spain comprises more than 220 manufacturers concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón. Spain’s tile production is 5.4 billion square feet, representing 40% of the European Union production and 10% of the world’s output. One out of every five imported tiles is made in Spain, accounting for 20% of the market share of global trade of ceramic wall and floor tiles.

The Top Green Collection includes the Green Earth series produced with 80% preconsumer

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