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Cevisama, Spain's annual showcase for its ceramic tile industry, will hold court in Valencia, Spain from Feb. 27 through March 3 at the Feria Valencia. The five-day event will feature more than 900 exhibitors, and record-breaking attendance is expected.

An extensive array of products, ranging from the best selling to the avant-garde, will be on display. New lines featuring innovative finishes, varied and expanded sizes, and the latest developments in production and glazing technologies will be on hand for all to see.

Glazed porcelain collections from Vives.

A porcelain explosion

Strength and non-absorptive durability accounts for much of porcelain tile's growing popularity, but Spanish manufacturers' current focus is on expanding the product's design potential. As the number of Spanish porcelain producers continues to increase, so does an array of new technologies developed to yield never-before-seen effects in both glazed and unglazed porcelain.

More than 30 Spanish tile manufacturers currently produce porcelain tile and, during Cevisama 2001, additional companies will join their ranks as they debut their inaugural porcelain lines. Spain's porcelain production encompasses a full range of products including extruded porcelain, which is frequently found in swimming pools and industrial applications; all-through-body unglazed porcelain, which is known for its high resiliency and popularity in commercial installations; designer double-loaded porcelain, which is available in a wide variety of patterns; and glazed porcelain, which provides a multitude of possibilities for both residential and commercial settings.

A host of new applications and finishes are prompting other innovations in glazed porcelain. Semi-glazing, glazes added to the loading process, tumbled finishes, semi-polished glazes, and new clay formulas designed to improve the coloration of tile will all be unveiled to the public during the event.

In unglazed porcelain, the all-through-body tiles offer a great randomness of pattern, which is produced during the loading process. The use of rolling screens to apply colored salts to the porcelain body creates abstract designs in colors reminiscent of rare gemstones.

Minerals and stones for rustic floors by Rocersa and Diago.

Adventurous combinations add interest

The increasing range and variety of Spanish ceramic tile has served as new inspiration for more innovative and adventurous applications. Differing sizes and formats of the same line are being combined, mixed and matched to create layout patterns of greater geometric interest and variety.

Natural marble is appearing in listellos, baseboards and moldings to be used in combination with tile. The distinctive look of these borders, whether polished or tumbled, so faithfully meshes with ceramic field tiles that imitate natural stone that the transition from one to the other is nearly indistinguishable.

The juxtaposition of metal accents with tile is also developing a following. Metallic finishes on listellos, ranging from burnished pewter colors to blackened, stainless-steel shades, may be combined with ceramic and porcelain tiles to create a contemporary look. Wall tiles are imitating metals as well. Their glazes include shades of gold, bronze, nickel, pewter, and steel.

Alaplana's Arabigo Series.

Softer rustic interpretations and slate looks abound

Uneven, weathered-looking rustics remain very popular. These fulfill the consumer's desire for a natural look, whether the tiles are made to imitate stone or simply reveal the distinctive tones of their own natural clay.

Some handmade looks include surface indentations that resemble imprints made by a craftsman's hands, while others feature etched shell and leaf patterns. Rustic finishes are subtler and softer this year; the tiles appear rubbed or gently worn, and polished.

New, sophisticated rustics in a pale, neutral palette of sand, beige, taupe, and gray can create a subtle background in any room. Earth-toned wall rustics in traditional small sizes, ranging from 4- to 10-inches square, are being used with accenting borders and listello trims highlighted with leaf, flower, fruit, and vegetable motifs.

On the rougher side of rustics, the slate look remains in vogue. New lines incorporate realistic metal strikes, iridescent looks and cleaved surfaces, as well as other special effects. The abundance of slate imitation brings darker colorations to the color palette, including charcoals, dark greens and deep browns.

Roca's Arles features tone-on-tone color variations.

Precision-rectified tile for walls and floors

Doing away with the need for visible grout joints in installations, large-format tiles with precisely rectified, waterjet-cut edges combine the realistic look of a single, smooth sheet of polished natural stone with the durability and easy maintenance of ceramic tile.

Complementary versions of wall and floor tiles are still in focus this year, with several manufacturers offering rectified, large-format wall tile in sizes as large as 13"x 26" with matching 13-inch-square floor tile. These can be found in smooth semi-matte finishes, as well as the traditional glossy marble look.

The colors of the moment include clay red, tranquil blues and sage green - bright and spicy hues derived from nature's forests, oceans and gardens. Blue is experiencing a strong rebirth, especially in the ocean shades, aquas, blue-violets, and deep cobalt. Earth tones, particularly those with a red influence, are very evident, along with sand tonalities and warm off-whites.

Iridescent colorations and translucent looks created with multiple shading techniques further expand the spectrum of rectified tile. Bright white products used in combination with Mediterranean blue, terra cotta, and other rich, vibrant colors give a new look to tile, inserts, and borders of all shapes and sizes.

You can feast your eyes on all these Spanish tile products and more at Cevisama 2001. For more information, visit the Tile of Spain website at