Spanish Tile Highlights from Coverings 2000
One of this year’s most significant introductions from Spanish exhibitors is a newly refined capability to produce individual designs for each tile within a series or collection. Previously, a pattern would be developed, after which a range of colors would be assigned to it. This year, many factories are incorporating a unique screen, texture and pattern for each color in a new series. In a continuing effort to more closely emulate natural marble and other stone, each tile has its own pattern and structure.
Grespania,/b> recently introduced Azul Macauba, a replication of the Lapis Lazuli natural gemstone. Azuvi’s Ducal Emperador is a carefully crafted line taken from Emperador marble. The company also showcased Zoli Negro, offered in the same sizes as Ducal Emperador, but patterned after Negro Diamante stone.
Saloni is developing its own collection based on the new, individualized way of thinking. Eternity, a glazed porcelain line, boasts at least eight different formats — some of which incorporate octagonal patterning — with several trims and unique decoratives for each.
A traditional feelFor many of their 2000 collections, Spain’s tile manufacturers are emphasizing reproductions of the traditional textures and finishes of Europe’s stone floors. Honed and satin-textured tiles with distinctive finishes are far more prevalent than the usual matte, rustic surfaces. These tiles are mostly straight-edged and, at times, pillowed or cushioned with a look normally found after exposure to centuries of foot traffic. Most are elegant renditions of century-old stone that cannot, in any way, be classified as rustic. Keraben combines both individual screen design and honed surfaces in its Marmaris series of matte, rectified floor tile.
This subtle shift in texture appeals to those individuals who seek a sophisticated stone floor that is neither rustic in flavor, nor highly polished. The satiny “hands” to the tile surface help provide the ease of maintenance characteristic of a gloss tile. However, when compared to the natural stone, it is the new products’ accuracy of pattern and color that’s expected to win the approval of a new spectrum of customers.
The introduction of polished, rectified tiles in past years is convincing many stone aficionados to consider ceramic tile for wall finishes, due largely to reduced maintenance and cost — especially when compared with the more unusual stone renderings. The honed surface, with its hard abrasion-resistance level, is directed at the consumer for floors in all areas of the home.
In 1999, Tres Estilos introduced Integral, which was created by using an edge-to-edge, full-screen process on curved or convex listelos. This year, the slightly curved or bowed shape of this listello can be seen in a variety of collections. When used on a wall, the listello’s distinctive shape increases its visual impact, thereby enhancing the profile and texture of the decorative element.
New applications and finishes in glazed porcelainThe number of Spanish porcelain tile manufacturers continues to grow, which is leading to an increase in both product variety and innovation. A host of new applications and finishes — including semi-glazing, tumble finishes and the semi-polishing of glazes — is resulting in a number of developments in glazed porcelain. New clay formulas are being used to improve tile coloration as well.
Pamesa introduced Pizarra at Coverings 2000. A thin layer of glaze, acting as a sealant, is added to the double-loading porcelain tile, resulting in a highly textured surface with a slight shine. In contrast, Vives’ Auriga features a low-relief surface with a combination wet/dry effect achieved by polishing the high spots created by the “granilla,” or texturing, that is added to the glaze.
Many of these new applications are used in recreating the highly textured appearance of slate, a look that continues to be very popular. Azteca’s modular Himalaya line, for example, features a randomness in the tile surface that is achieved by using four different molds and rolling screens. A process that mixes different colored powders, including special glazes, in a full-body porcelain stoneware is behind the multi-colored look of Tau Ceramica’s Mitica collection.
New rustic collectionsThe Spanish tile industry’s new rustic floor tiles and decorative elements have more pronounced textured finishes, and chipped or irregular edges for added depth and a natural “aged” quality. Deeper, darker tones of color seen in previous collections, and more pronounced color shading, are adding versatility and character to these tile creations. Ceracasa’s ,i>Gotica collection uses four different stumps to create randomness. The tiles feature chiseled borders, and are available in cobalt, copper, snow, olive, and sand.
A softer look, reminiscent of handmade, weathered ceramic tile, is emerging in the rustic marketplace. Several manufacturers recently added this look to their inventories, exhibiting collections that effectively recreate the look of old, peeling surfaces on lightly textured tile. Grespania’s Aneto series is a classic example of this trend.