Spain’s ceramic tile industry includes some of the country’s most dynamic and pioneering manufacturers who continue to lead in terms of technological development and product advancement. A difficult economic climate has certainly not suppressed innovation within Spanish tiling; there are still a wealth of unique and interesting trends infiltrating the market which are a testament to the high level of creativity and expertise at the heart of the industry.

David Portalés Mañanós, representative from the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER), takes a look at new developments and trends within Spanish tiles.

Whilst bold colour palettes are slowly creeping into the latest collections from leading Spanish tile manufacturers, alternative surface effects and decorative aesthetics are the concepts which are driving the market and providing tilers, architects and retail professionals with inspirational alternatives for floor and wall surfaces.

Textured effects and reliefs are proving to be a one of the strongest trends so far in 2010. Technical developments made over recent years by Spanish manufacturers have resulted in realistic printing and surface texture techniques that create intricate patterns. As a result, this year’s Cevisama exhibition in Valencia presented a whole array of interesting designs, ranging from life-like wallpaper tiles to delicate lace effect prints. Three dimensional padded mosaics which imitate the look of luxurious materials such as leather or suede were also very much on show, and are arguably transforming the traditional role of the tile as we know it because they are versatile enough to be installed as a headboard within the bedroom.

Graphic designs have become another influential concept, with diamond shaped motifs being seen on tiles from leading companies such as Grespania and Inalco. Creating the impression of a three dimensional surface when used on large areas, these tiles are really impressive when used as an eye-catching feature wall. The three dimensional nature of the tile creates stunning light effects which constantly refresh the look and feel of a space. Highly effective when used in conjunction with neutral colourways, the arresting nature of the concept lends itself well to timeless tones as the overall effect is much less likely to overpower the room.

As alternative finishes are very much high on the agenda, one of our members Unicer has been busy experimenting with decorative applications for tiles. Their latest collections D-co and Eclipse represent a new philosophy for walls. Designed to target those looking to apply a more creative approach to tiling through simple touches of pattern, Unicer’s D-co range sees imaginative inserts used within tiles for added versatility. The Eclipse series also offers real scope for originality and includes a whole array of bold circular shapes which can be used when designing multicoloured or single coloured backdrops.

ASCER, the ceramic tile manufacturers’ association of Spain, represents over 150 member companies under the collective brand Tile of Spain. This is a joint initiative with the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX). For further information on Tile of Spain members products and services please email or call 020 7467 2385