There is no doubt that the ceramic tile market continues to be one of Spain’s most dynamic manufacturing industries and in spite of the country’s current economic climate the industry continues to innovate and make its presence known on a global scale.

This year’s Cersaie exhibition in Bologna saw 82 different Spanish manufacturers showcasing their latest collections and collectively using the show as a platform on which to introduce new trends and advancements. Whilst creativity and technicality were very much on display, a careful emphasis was placed upon launching highly commercial products which successfully blend timeless colour palettes with interesting formats and textures. Experimental formats and surfaces were overwhelming trends, with distinctive shapes and material effects demonstrating that Spanish manufacturers continue to invigorate the market. David Portalés Mañanós, representative from the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER), pinpoints a few of the key launches from Tile of Spain members at Cersaie 2010.

Tonal Textures

With over 47 years of experience, Aparici has established itself as force to be reckoned with in the ceramic floor and wall tiles market. This year’s show saw Aparici launching a textural concept called Acoustic which features a wave like profile on the surface of the tile. The uniform organic contours on the face of the tile are brought to life through a warm colour palette of muted neutral tones including restrained white, gold, black and grey. This new collection offers something different for those sourcing modernistic effects for wall surfaces.

Industry innovator Inalco continues to differentiate its tile portfolio through the development of understated tiles which explore new textural finishes. The new Icone Malla series includes an 80 x 80 format tile which features a bush hammered surface on the face of the tile. Thanks to the design versatility offered by Inalco’s recent Slimmker innovation, Inalco have been able to apply a cut-out lattice effect to the tile which creates a successful interplay between embossed and double depth effects. Icone Malla opens up scope for real creativity when it comes to internal tile applications; the tile can be used to add embellishment to interior walls or alternatively to design a decorative feature wall or room partition. The sophisticated colour palette includes white, camel, grey and black.

Fresh New Formats

Apavisa Porcelanico arrived at Cersaie 2010 with a completely new tile shape within its portfolio. The launch of the Neocountry collection saw a distinctive 59 x 55 x 51.8cm hexagonal tile being unveiled at the show, which has been designed to offer an alternative solution for commercial and domestic applications where a visual impact and individuality is fundamental to the overall scheme. Apavisa’s new format is available in either grey, beige or white; the high specification full body porcelain tiles which offers both aesthetic appeal and practicality. The hard-wearing tile is durable, frost, stain and chemical resistant and offers a low water absorption. Porcelanosa echoed the hexagonal trend by presenting Zaphire; a tactile 20 x 33.3cm tile which is available in white, cream, blue and brown and brings together random hexagonal shapes to create striking light effects on the wall.

Modern Material Effects

Tau Cerámica used Bologna as the launch pad for its latest offering Turmali; a high quality porcelain tile which has been inspired by tourmaline stone. The surface of the tile provides an iridescent effect which offers a visually stimulating finish that goes beyond traditional tile surface aesthetics. The latest addition to Tau’s Metallica collection, Turmali is available in blue, copper and pyrite and has been designed in a large 60 x 60 format which enhances the sparkling effect of the surface.

Land Porcelanico unveiled its new Jerusalem concept at the show. Drawing upon digital technology to create a natural stone effect, the Jerusalem series has been developed with commercial projects firmly in mind and includes subtle finishes called Ivory, Vision and Grey which are available in large 59.55 x 59.55cm formats. The beauty of the natural stone effect finish is ideally suited to expansive retail, office and hospitality spaces which demand a classically stylish high performance tile.

Upbeat New Palettes

Whilst neutral palettes and natural effects arguably dominated the halls at Cersaie this year, splashes of colours were still very much in evidence and the introduction of new shades reflected Spain’s continued foray into brighter hues. Gaya Fores capitalised on the forthcoming 2011 fashion trend for pink tones with the launch of the Helena range; an ultra feminine decorative tile which is available in a 20 x 60 format with block colour or floral tile options. The new Catwalk collection from Peronda was also inspired by the fashion arena and is characterised by single block colour ways which have been designed to complement more minimalist toned tiles such as black, white and grey. The fresh new colourways on display included dark blue, olive green, hot red and fuschia pink. Spain’s ingenious use of colour continued on Vives’ stand. The company contributed to the vibrancy on display with the launch of their new Satinados collection of wall tiles. A matt tile with a satin finish, the Satinados concept is available as a 30 x 60 tile and includes a decorative polka dot pattern and floral reliefs which offer something a little bit more colourful and textural.

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