At Cevisama 2002, visitors will discover the impact that recent innovations have had on tile design and quality. New industry terminology has developed to better describe the layers of color, finishes and texture evident in Spanish tile of the 21st century.
Enhanced colors and finishes
Current technology offers the ability to create never-before-seen color palettes and finishes. Even multi-dimensional colors are possible by combining several colors and tones, and overlaying them with sheer or transparent color glaze applications. A new vocabulary for color is necessary, as these creations defy one-word descriptions. Rice-White, Corn-Silk, Sweet-Black-Molasses, and Spiced-Apple are just some of the new names that attempt to capture the nature of the infusion of colors playing on the surface of new-age tile.
Unusual finish effects further define the experience of color, and often present an optical illusion. Antiqued indentations, deep cleavage planes on slate tile and unfilled travertine pore structures appear textured, yet are smooth to the touch. The three-dimensional depth achieved with state-of-the-art glazes heightens surface aesthetics while eliminating recesses that trap soil accumulation, which thereby reduces maintenance requirements.
Color trends for 2002 are bold, expressive and confident. Cevisama attendees can expect to see a richness of color, as deep brown influences are used to create intimate, refined interiors that exude a sense of serenity. Modern decors using a steely, high-tech palette are now possible with gunmetal, charcoal and mineral-gray tones working in concert with burnished patinas, and concrete or metallic finishes that create an edgy, but balanced, harmony. These dark luxurious color schemes will often use one element of crystal cool color - such as celery green, cornflower blue or butter yellow - to add punch.
While marbles and granites have always been a source of inspiration for ceramic tile, today any material that possesses textural appeal is being translated into a tile finish. Interpretations based on woven sisal, coco matting, cork, leather, bamboo, linen, and jute are a few of the fabrics and materials expected at Cevisama. The popularity of faux-finish painting, wall washes and glaze layers will also be explored as production techniques incorporate sponge paint under glaze and stucco effects on wall tile collections.
Experimentation imitating exotic wood finishes applied to tile, borders, listels, and inserts has created effects that include the aged appeal of French country pine planks as well as the elegant statement made by mahogany inlaid with walnut. Combining a marbleized ceramic tile with a border of faux wood tile delivers a floor of classic beauty and symmetry, while providing practical single-material maintenance. Similar combinations can be achieved with the latest terra cotta tile.
New programs offer a distinctive hand-formed appearance. Complex molding technologies articulate the rustic nuances of centuries-old reclaimed terra cotta tile from the 16th century.
Decorative trims add style
Color, texture and finish techniques are not limited to field tile. Today, they extend into a cornucopia of ceramic decorative pieces. Ethnic motifs, embossed geometric shapes, and jewel- and metal-studded accents are just some of the themes employed by Spanish tile producers.
Manufacturers are cleverly designing universal decorative elements that can be combined with a variety of field colors and formats. They also offer creative options that enable the consumer to insert an economical single decor piece or use several tiles in traditional, continuous vertical or horizontal banding. Some new decor tiles combine precious metals, glass, wood, and natural stone with ceramic elements to further enhance the latest faux ceramic creations.
For the Spanish tile industry, the ultimate quest is to produce ceramic products in any size imagined or required. With large-format tile, manufacturers have pushed the limit in order to accomplish slab-like dimensions - such as the classic 1-by-3-foot size common in marble or granite installations.
Thanks to today's advanced clay formulas and firing techniques, tile is now available in this size. A tiled wainscot wall can be installed with no horizontal joint and, when a high-gloss rectified tile is used, the uninterrupted monolithic quality of the installation can be visually spectacular.
At the other end of the spectrum, miniature mosaics are seeing a revival, as are retro-styled mosaic squares and rectangles. Many small tile sizes are mounted on large-format (12-by-12-inch) sheets. Seams between individual sheets disappear after grouting and facilitate easy and accurate installation.
Porcelain gains popularity
The move to increase porcelain floor tile production continues in 2002 as new innovations add value to this high-performance clay formula. Spain's growing numbers of porcelain producers are focusing on sophisticated new technologies that can create never-before-seen effects in both glazed and unglazed porcelain.
Traditionally, unglazed porcelain has been limited in terms of color and pattern possibilities, and most such effects have been achieved through glazing. Glazing is not a viable option when superior abrasion resistance or natural slip-resistance qualities are required.
Efforts to increase the design options on unglazed porcelain include "dry glazing," whereby dry powdered pigments are seeded onto the surface of the tile during the pressing process. This technique offers design capabilities similar to glazed products without adding a glaze layer that is susceptible to wear.
Conversely, porcelain tile offers any color, pattern or texture with the application of a glaze. Although this operation nullifies deep abrasion and slip resistance, it creates an impervious or stain-proof surface. New finishes have also been applied to glazed porcelains by polishing the glaze. These tiles are reminiscent of the mirror-like reflection achieved on diamond-polished, unglazed porcelain but, because of the impervious nature of the glaze, they maintain their stain-proof features.
Cevisama 2002 will provide visitors with an excellent opportunity to preview products that will be available to the U.S. market in the selling seasons to come. Additional information on the trade show may be obtained via the Internet on the official Cevisama website at www.feriavalencia.com.