Like I mentioned in my last ideabook, I’m freshly back from a visit to the Spanish city of Valencia and city’s annual tile, bathtub and natural rock showcase named Cevisama. My final ideabook coated the tub tendencies I watched, and this one’s all about the tile trends I saw. The Spanish usage tile for a default surface — it appears that everything in Spain is covered in tile. Tile’s been widely popular in Spain because before there was a Spain. It’s that tradition that keeps the Spanish tile industry at the forefront of ceramic invention.
I had been brought to Spain from the Spanish Tile Manufacturers Association (ASCER) and the North American brand Tile of Spain to see firsthand what’s happening in Spain. Spanish tile is easily available all over the world. You can recreate anything I am about to show you with the help of a local, independent tile shop.
This vignette shows a wall clad in natural rock hexagons with insets made from metallic and printed ceramic tiles. Combining these three materials in a repeating form isn’t something which could have happened to me. Now that I’ve seen it though, it is going to start showing up in my design work.
The first big tile trend I saw at Cevisama and all over Spain was tile used in places aside from kitchens and baths.
In this photograph, the walls and floor are actually ceramic tile. Employing embossed and printed tile rather than wooden paneling is a superb idea. Imagine using surfaces which never have to be painted or painted.
As frequently as I saw tile being used as background, I found it being used as only tile. The tile wall in this vignette is there to add interest and texture and it does so admirably.
Can you ever tile a wall in your living space to use as an accent as opposed to painting an accent wall?
The big buzzword in Valencia was texture, and also intensely textured tiles were there in abundance.
This textured tile is doing something I’ve never noticed a tile do . It’s been embossed and printed to appear as a mosaic, even though it’s a 12-inch wall tile.
A tile such as this one might cost less money and be simpler to set up than mosaics. It would also reduce the amount of grout joints significantly, and this is particularly important in a kitchen or other wet room.
Hexagons were a popular form, and the Spanish have perfected them in large-format, super thin, super solid ceramic tile. This wall demonstrates a tile meant to sheath complete buildings.
When applied on the exterior of a building like this, tile is not held in position with mastic and grout. Instead, it is hung on a metal rack with a coating of insulating material behind it. The term for this is a ventilated wall, and it makes for a very energy-efficient building.
This bookcase was made by the Spanish tile manufacturer Inalco. It’s made from walnut shelves and ceramic tile dividers. It might never occur to me to use tile as anything but a sheathing or a surface, but the new super-slim tiles are as strong as rock, so it is reasonable that they’d be liberated from walls and floors.
Digital printing on tile has reach a level of sophistication I never thought was possible. This detail shot of what looks like banded calcite, a natural rock, is really a ceramic tile with a printed coating.
Complex yet still complementary wall treatments were another big trend I found. I love the notion of incorporating this type of attention to a living space design.
The shapes at the center of this photo that resemble bamboo are in reality tubular, ceramic tile. The display in the windows in the foundation are also tubular tile. These tubular tiles have been strung like beads on steel poles, and the outcome is something unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.
I could therefore see with something similar to this as a display in a tub or around a pool.
Tiles printed to appear as they’re timber were everywhere at Cevisama as well. Similar tiles are available from the U.S. for some time, but the printing technology has improved remarkably. I loved seeing these”timber” tiles paired with more conventionally polished tiles to create a look that is both subtle and arresting at the exact same time.
Are you ready to move tile outside of the bathroom and into the rest of your property?
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