professional attention to tile installations
With the backdrop of one of my favorite cities in the world, let alone Spain, setting the stage- Tile of Spain’s Passport to Creativity guests met for the first time on the scenic rooftop patio of Derby Hotel’s Claris Barcelona on the afternoon of Feb 3rd. Desipite long flights arriving just that morning the bubbling excitement of everyone was palpable, pairing beautifully with the free-flowing Cava. This would foreshadow the gregarious tone for the entire week. 

Rooftop Pool & Terrace of Hotel Claris
Immediately apparent to all, this was a highly intelligent group with as many big personalities as there were faces. Though it may sound like a recipe for disaster, nothing could be further from the truth- it was my honor and privilege to share a week with these beautiful people whom I believe felt likewise for everyone involved. So allow me to introduce my partners in crime this year- the cast of 2013’s Passport to Creativity

From the Press Crowd:

Jennifer Adams- Editor in Chief- TILE Magazine & Contemporary Stone & Tile Design
Olivia Farquarson- Assistant Web Editor- Interior Design Magazine
Elaine Markoutsas- Design Feature Writer- Universal Press Syndicate, Field Editor- Meredith Corporation (Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, etc.)
Wanda Lau- Associate Editor in Technology- Hanley Wood Business Media (Architect, Eco-Structure, etc.)
Emily Hooper- Associate Editor- Contract Magazine
Megan Krause- Assistant Editor- Boutique Design

From the A&D crowd:
Cheryl Kees Clendenon- President/ Lead Designer- In Detail Interiors
Aneetha McLelland- Director of Interior Architecture- HDR Architecture, Inc.
Robert Scarano- President/ Chief Archtect- Scarano Architect, PLLC.
Steven Trott- Project Architect- Hnedak Bobo Group

From the Tile of Spain Crowd:
Rocamador Rubio: Trade Commission of Spain- Miami
Lori Dolnick- Vice President- Frank Advertising
Yours Truly- Curator of all things awesome that come from the earth & honorary Spaniard

The 2013 Grupo
My hat goes off to the Trade Commission and Frank advertising for planning and pulling off such an ambitious & rewarding trip & judging from the thank you letters, it will be a lifelong memory for all.

The realization that something special was happening was immediately apparent right from check in. The accommodations chosen for the first leg of the trip were as unique as the invited guests. Presiding over a corner lot in the trendy L’Eixample neighborhood of downtown, the Claris Hotel’s Façade proclaims to passersby the spirit of Spanish design- firm historic roots with an innovative spirit. The 19th century Façade of the Vedruna Palace has been beautifully restored and tastefully augmented with a modern, polished aluminum addition of the crowning two stories & rooftop terrace.
Hotel Claris Façade
East 47- The Lobby Bar
The surprises continue inside as the hotel takes the design term Period Fusion to the next level. The lobby bar, East 47 holds an original Andy Warhol and sprinkled through the rest of the lobby area are Egyptian, Roman & Buddhist art pieces from multiple centuries. This fusion of diverse time periods & locales requires a practiced hand but is at heart, the iconic style of the 21st century (as we would discover later at Cevisama) because it intimately tells the owner’s story to every guest in the space. No surprise that the Claris belongs to the exclusive Design Hotels- international brand.    

Junior Suite at the Claris
Freddie Mercury’s operetta duet named for the city proclaims- “Barcelona- Such a beautiful horizon. Like a jewel in the sun” and truly it was drawing us onward that afternoon despite a long day of travel for all.

With bellies full of canapés & cava the group hastened from the stunning rooftop terrace on to the bus for an architectural tour dubbed “The Tale of Two Parks” with a short four hours of daylight remaining. First stop- Parc Guell.

Iconic trencadis benches
Originally planned as a 20th century version of a luxury sub-division, the park contains only two homes, one of which Gaudi was forced to buy and live in for years. Although this is my favorite place for sunrise in the city, the late afternoon sunlight we found ourselves enveloped in did make for a beautiful setting for the start of our tour. With the group sitting on the iconic benches lovingly clad in Gaudi’s favored trencadis mosaics, we first heard a name that would be oft repeated throughout the trip, Toni Cumella. Cumella’s studio undertook a restoration commission of the ceramics in the park in the 1990’s.

View of the city from the terrace
Parc Diagonal del Mar
The next park on the agenda was Parc Diagonal del Mar, designed by Enric Miralles. Near the ocean, in a previously industrial district this park was designed in what proved to be a successful opening salvo in a revitalization project for the area, now home to shopping centers and multiple condos. Once again trencadis mosaics are featured heavily, this time gracing the bulbous forms of hanging planters. On close inspection of the brightly colored ceramics, one notices they are all whimsical but recognizable representations of soda cans and lollipop wrappers. Once again, Toni at Ceramica Cumella did all ceramic work throughout the park.

Trencadis Planters housing local grapevines
One of the trencadis mosaic designs
Racing the sunset… and losing, we arrived at our final stop for the day at the Santa Catarina marketplace in total darkness. The renovation project preserved the 2 century old façade but redefined the structure with a modern undulating roofline clad with… you guessed it- ceramic tile. The now familiar names of architects Enric Miralles & Benedetta Taglibue working with the ceramicist Toni Cumella were given credit for the project. Sadly, without daylight, viewing the scintillating colors of the hexagonal tiles on the roofline was impossible but it had been a full day so everyone was ready for tapas & a caña or four.

Steve & I think it's time for dinner- Who else?
Day two of the trip will be saved for next time and believe me, it’s worth the wait! The day started out possibly being the most professionally inspirational of my life and turned into one of the most surreal experiences I think anyone on the trip has ever had. Check back soon!
It’s a little known fact that January 21st marks an enigmatic solstice-

The season of the tradeshow gypsies

Between January and May most of us in the design, blog or editorial field are on planes around the world with near constant regularity and living in so many different time zones we don’t have a chance for the jet lag to catch up till sometime in July.  As you know, for me this means another trip to Spain is imminent.

I know, rough life eh?

Night Scene from the rooftops of Barca
Tile of Spain hosts a media & design junket around the end of January each year to coincide with the international trade expo, Cevisama, held in Valencia. A group of six journalists and four design professionals are invited to share a week or so with us in Spain to absorb some passion for Spanish ceramics.

The purpose of the event is to immerse a group of influential North Americans in the Spanish ceramic industry. Ceramics are so much more than a building material there- like an extension of a Spaniards culture and history so there is no way a simple visit to the tradeshow will suffice.

Each year a different city or two are chosen in addition to Valencia. Thereby exposing the group to historical and modern architecture and as much culture as can be crammed in to 36-48 hours. With such a diverse history, each region in Spain breathes a kindred but unique flavor to the trip. Past trips have included cities like Bilbao, Zaragoza, Teruel, Granada, & Seville but this year’s incarnation dubbed “The Passport to Creativity” began in Barcelona.

La Boqueria- Sant Josep Merkat
Now, regardless of Barcelona being an amazing city with beautiful architecture, great food & a vibrant pulse- it has a very special place in my heart.

When I was a young boy, a family moved to Vancouver from Barcelona to open a Spanish tile importer business called Fontile, after the Font family name. My momma, or as you all know her Patti, was one of the first employees outside the family. Being the precocious and magnetic individual that I am- and possibly because of some guilt over robbing me of my mother for 18 hours a day- I was quickly adopted as a grandson or nephew to the 2 generations of Fonts. My connection to the family became so deep that when I was going into a life-threatening surgery, Mrs. Font’s face was the last thing I saw.

I owe some of my passion for life, design and in fact my very career to that wonderful family from Barcelona.

While most kid’s bedtime stories consisted of the 3 bears & Tom Thumb, mine were of Gaudi, Josep Lluis Sert & La Boqueria Market often told in English liberally sprinkled with Catelàn.

But I digress…
Las Ramblas
As you can imagine, you never know what you’re going to get when you cram 10 A-Type personalities of busy professionals into an intense tour with 16 hour days- before dinner

… Which usually happens at 10 or so & finishes around midnight with a few too many Oroujo de Herbas

I’m proud to say though that each year, like the cities we visit the invited guests bring their own flavor to the experience making it unforgettable and one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Too everyone that has shared this experience with me past or present- Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This year was no exception. What promises to be lifelong relationships have developed between everyone and I think a deep understanding and appreciation for Spanish Tile & design came with it. I’m not sure but I think we even managed to broker a deal for a container or two thanks to the boundless personality behind Scarano Grupo, PLLC.

And now I leave you with some images of a city near and dear to me. But next time, expect a tale about a ceramicist that speaks the language of my soul, the history of ceramic production in Catalunya & lunch in a 15th century convent with some delightful Spanish penguins!

Until then- Dos Besos hombrés

Merkat Santa Catarina
Unmistakable Facade of Casa Batlló
Interior Courtyard of La Pedrera
Roofline of La Pedrera- where the life of a chimney sweep is awesome
Trencadis signage at the entrance to Parc Güell
Catalunyan vaulted ceiling & rosettóns under the famous benches in the park
Bronze doors of Segrada Familia Cathedral
Cloister of Segrada Familia
Last week I found myself in Spain once again for another edition of the Tile of Spain press & architecture junket. I have to say that this is by far my favorite industry trip of the year. I love this country and never feel more alive than when I am immersed in the culture that creates my favorite ceramic products. There’s just something about being here, meeting the technicians & designers, speaking the language and walking the spotless factories that speaks to my soul.

The first couples days, as always, were spent in Castellón De La Plana with a visit to the Porcelanosa Grupo companies.  I arrived late last Thursday night after 2 planes and a train, equaling around 18 hours of travel, feeling like I was rolled hard and put away wet but ran directly into the purchasing contingent from Fontile (my former employer). How could I refuse to join them and their rep from Noken for dinner? A few cervesas & some delicious food at Plan B was enough for the un-knotting of my tired muscles that allowed me to sleep well and recharge my batteries for my visit the next day. 

My good friend Andy Pennington, the National Sales & Marketing Director for Porcelanosa USA was my gracious host once again this year. Whisking me through each of the eight company’s showrooms with their sales teams & technicians to get into the nitty-gritty of the new collections for the year. Amazingly, we managed to see it all in the one day I had even spending an hour with the senior product designer at the end of the day to rap about inspiration and future direction.

This addition to the trip is necessary since Porcelanosa hasn’t exhibited at Cevisama for years now and if I don’t see them, I am missing out on a key player from Tile of Spain for my Trends and other programs for the North American market at Coverings in April. Although the group is will be stopping at the main showroom from Grupo after visiting Vives’s factory, I am very happy to have spent a day on my own absorbing as much as possible.

I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek & share some of the pictures of my journey through the Porcelanosa world. You will just have to join me on the Tile of Spain pavilion at Coverings though for any of the details or explanation on the trends and innovation. Until then, enjoy the eye candy!

The next blog will delve into the amazing personalities & events that shared the rest of the trip with me. To those of you that I had the honor to get to know on this trip, you have my lifelong respect and admiration- it was a special group and my absolute pleasure to be your guide into my world of Spanish tile. 

Now... The eye-candy!
Just a select few of the drool-worthy novelties coming out of Porcelanosa Grupo companies this year... what do you think?
I know, I know... It's been FOREVER and a day since I've written a post. Many of my friends and colleagues have been wondering if I died or something. 

Never fear, both Patti and I are alive and well. It has been an adjustment learning how to handle my work and travel schedule while managing to be an engaged and doting father though! Sadly, it hasn't left much time for blogging but that is changing now.

I wanted to share with you something we are both very proud of... Mom's newly completed master bathroom reno! Like most of our work for the past 5 years it was a collaborative undertaking and as usual, all the better for it.

View from the door with shower on the left, vanities on the right and tub & washlet ahead
I did the layouts and configuration of the space over three years ago and selected & ordered all the cabinetry and fixtures from Spain. The original tile selection was done at the same time but since it was an older collection, it was reselected this year by Patti. I was consulted but cannot, unfortunately take all the credit. 

Only now that her travel has slowed finally, was she able to tackle a project of this magnitude. I for one, think it was worth the wait!

Thanks to the clean and simple products Porcelanosa has to offer, I'm proud to say this is my favourite design project I've ever completed. And there couldn't be a more fitting space for this oasis than in the abode of the Queen of Tile herself Patti Fasan. 

After countless interviews she settled on a GC and got to work. Bob Walton and his crew from ProActive were instrumental in all phases of the process and an absolute delight to work with. Anyone that knows Patti understands that she demands a lot from herself and likewise of the people that work with her- the ProActive team were up to the challenge every step of the way.
The side-by-side 'Neo' Vanities by Gama Decor are unified with a seamless piece of Misty Cararra honed Caesarstone
The Gama Decor cabinetry is simple, timeless & still punchy in Roblé Brezo wood finish with lacquered Rojo Brillo inserts. All faucets in the space are a matched set from Noken's Irta collection
Irta tub filler with shower wand & the + shelves from Neo collection above the washlet
All slab fabrication and install was done locally by the Tolusso family at Atlas Stone.  Furnishing beautiful seamless slabs of Ceasarstone's Organic White with a simple eased edge. When Mom compromised and decided to forego the expense of buying two slabs of material and compromise on 2 seams in the tub deck, the Tolusso boys quietly acceded but then went ahead and did the right thing for the design by providing a seamless piece at their own expense. Tell me that's not the quality of service that you want on your next project. When the slab arrived in one solid piece instead of 4 it literally brought tears to a few eyes.

The multi-function washlet does for you more than most smartphones & dovetails perfectly with the squared-off modern style of the rest of the fittings in the space. For this little beauty Mom turned to Philippe Starck's third collection for Duravit
SensoWash seat from the Starck 3 collection by Duravit
I can't forget the tile can I!!?? The flat tile on walls & floor is Madagascar Natural in a 13x39" & 17x26" format respectively with the corresponding accent tile Ona Natural 13x39" on the tub skirt, shower accents and vanity wall.

The only natural stone used in the whole design is Mosaico Moon from L'Antic Colonial in Marmara Blanco for the shower base.

All tiles, fixtures & cabinetry were supplied by Fontile Kitchen & Bath, the distributor where both Mom & I got our start in this wonderful industry. Staying true to our roots in the industry I hooked mom up with my old tile setting crew where I apprenticed, Behren's Marble & Tile. Christoph Behrens himself did the install and was as meticulous as I remembered. The workmanship is exemplary.

The only heat-source aside from the towel warmer is a radiant heat system designed by NuHeat controlled by their programmable Tempo thermostat.
Marmara Blanco Mosaico Moon
KERDI-LINE Drain unit
The shower base is completed by Schluter System's KERDI-LINE drain unit to handle the torrential downpour created by the rain-shower's floppily-jillion nozzles.

The entire shower unit is based on Schluter's Shower System with KERDI-BOARD, seams & drain units all supplied by Ames Tile & Stone.

The afore mentioned shower is called the Imagine shower from Porcelanosa's System Pool

Of course all this work couldn't be completed without a highly accomplished plumber. Travis Molzahn from Groundswell Mechanical like the rest of the trades on this project went above and beyond to pull off this intricate design.

Imagine I'm your shower... It's easy if you try
Great shot of the fine grained stainless, offset by the accent detail in the shower
I hope you enjoyed the welcome back post and it's a fitting place to re-start my blogging for the world of ceramics. I am once again on my way back to Spain this week to visit Porcelanosa and the rest of the Tile of Spain manufacturers. Off to see their 2013 Novelties and then back to Valencia for the Cevisama Fair with ASCER, the Spanish Trade Commission and this year's contingent of American A&D professionals & journalists. I'm sure it will be another amazing trip filled with great food, people & TILE!

I can't wait to see what the industry has in store for us again this year and yes, I will make sure to share it with you all before another year goes by without a post from patti-tile. 

Thanks for sticking around and understanding when a guy's just gotta be a Dad and make that his priority. Claire is rapidly approaching 2 now and I'm finding my balance again so expect more from me in the coming months. 

...She says hi to you all btw
Our friend Kemp Harr from recently interviewed Patti on diverse topics and published the following interview.
So clearly, my deadlines, travel and fatherhood are taking up too much of my time these days- leaving less for blogging about the fun stuff in the industry.

But the long anticipated second installment of this year's Cersaie files is here... FINALLY!

Of course I'll get into everything else happening in the industry eventually too but this installment is all about the manufacturers from Spain exhibiting at the fair. Every manufacturer I focus on in this post have distribution in North America and a focus on our market (despite the poor numbers our building sector is still posting)

All new 'Savage' Series

Expands its mastery of digital glazing this year. With new glazing machines they can achieve finer resolutions and operate from a larger pool of jpegs creating greater variation. In order to decrease production costs and offer a better-priced product to market they are utilizing reactive mineral glazes to add texture to simple flat molded bisque instead of molding texture into the tile itself. In some cases the texture and depth is purely illusionary, so good are the digital reproductions. Also to keep costs down for consumers there is a line of floor and wall tiles produced in red bisque from the renowned local Spanish clay.

'Xtreme' collection in new wave format

Unveils some new weathered metals along with some subtle concrete looks that both have a raw and aged feel to them. The metals are subtle this year, merely hinting at a metallic glint with little or no sheen. The new collection is all about the 3rd dimension with complementary mosaic pieces in overlapping waves or multiple thicknesses to create shadow and depth. The new revolution is their bent or warped pieces. Apavisa is proposing options to bump, warp and twist any of their porcelain material for wall installations to create a whole new category of decorative ceramics.

New digital collections

Builds on their reputation of innovation by providing objective research with the commissioning of a 1000 square foot dwelling utilizing their revolutionary ECOM4TILE. The study will be monitored year-round to provide empirical data on ECOM4TILE’s ability to regulate indoor temperature. The material has been making waves since it’s unveiling this year at Cevisama and was recently awarded the 2011 innovation award from Architectural Products.

Also improving on their digital capability Ceracasa has implemented a state of the art digital plotter with 6 color-bands capable of astounding variation and resolution on large format tile. Unveiling 3 new lines (weathered metals, concrete and bluestone) of porcelain floor and wall material aimed at the architectural specification market. The integration of new technology and research will keep Ceracasa at the forefront of innovators to watch especially in solutions offered to design specifiers.

'Tiffany Black' from Emphasis collection

Brings out some larger formats this year playing with some new takes on traditional refinement. Three separate collections offer large formats of classic glamour finishes in a more approachable way for 2011. Gold, silver and turquoise play in graphic reinterpretations of sophisticated damasks and geometrics, which portrays an understated opulence that belies Dune’s deft artistic touch.

The Emphasis series takes mixed medium mosaics to a new level. Mixing metals, stone, glass and ceramics embues a modern twist to classic mosaic patterns creating a whole new look in multiple finishes. The new collections, like a Chanel suit, breathe an undeniable timeless luxury into any space without being pretentious or flashy.

Eureka! Expands Dune’s complementary bathroom fixture program. Classic claw-foot tubs and vessel sinks are the perfect complement to the “new luxury” tile programs presented this year. Like many manufacturers Dune has also created a low-cost for high value collection of styles. These offerings present unparalleled aesthetics in more scaled formats. All of Dune’s 2011 offerings present an amalgamation of past, present and future to create a new definition of exclusive timelessness for all price points.

Gaya Fores

Creates some simple digital solutions in natural materials. Woods, concretes and natural stones all in straightforward mattes with subtle textures provide spaces with an understated neutral canvas. One unique preposition is a plank-style porcelain wood siding tile for residential use. The uncomplicated, intelligent displays propose the clever functionality of their material.

Custom ceramic art with iPlus digital

Continues doing what they do best this year- Creating impeccable texture in the most architecturally approachable neutral palette. Three new collections arise from their partnership with the Spanish design collective ‘Bunch’. Each series evokes the experience of basalt or lava stone.

They have also proposed a custom, sustainable public art solution for commercial spaces re-creating classic artworks in multiple tiles with their iPlus digital technology. Known for their large formats, Inalco has also developed more innovative furniture solutions such as tables and bookshelves, which provide durable hygienic surfaces without any joints. Two of their new series also feature large-scale water-jet cut “mosaics” for subtle floor and/or wall decorations within the field.

affordable luxury with Magna

Magna is making high fashion accessible to the growing market of price-conscious consumers today. Employing cutting edge glazes paired with non-rectified locally sourced clay bodies, the tiles look like a million bucks without costing it. Creating multiple scored mosaic lines evoking stone, ceramic or glass, Magna is providing both material and installation savings to the client.

'Panal' Series' infinite possibilities

The iconic Spanish extrusion factory has been a reliable innovator for years and 2011 is no exception. Natucer chooses to continuously search for new looks, functions and ideas for their age-old production process. The Life-Arq collection’s modular siding and steel framed screening options have created a new area for ceramic specification beyond traditional floor and wall installations. This year’s addition of ‘Cube’ to their repertoire brings a more austere geometric version to the line of screen material.

This year Natucer has also pioneered a technique to bring the power of digital ink-jet glazing to the world of extruded ceramics with ‘Ink-Klinker’. The high moisture content of the unfired extruded bisque has, in the past, kept extruded ceramics from taking advantage of this new technology.

Also, keeping with the trend of creative low-cost material Natucer has re-introduced 2 modular geometric series that re-interpret classic tile patterns like fish scale into modern compositions. These programs have been updated with new colors and glazes from an existing line ensuring costs can be kept lower while delivering a beautiful of-the-moment look.

'Spa' Series flawless paneling

Pamesa continues to expand their digital technology division. Creating realistic stone looks and wood grains for both residential and commercial projects. The subtle textures and perfect color combinations combine for an approachable collection that appeals to a wide customer base. Many stone and painted wood programs harness digital glaze technology to offer a multitude of chair-rails, wainscoting panels and various other trim options. Digitally produced trims have graphic design or classic photography inset within the field proposing ceramics as a permanent artistic cladding medium for many styles of design.

Timber series weathered vintage look

With deep roots in fashion and modern art, Peronda is uniquely setup to be an industry trendsetter. The wildly successful ‘Museum’ collection of high polished iconic marbles gets an update with new relief decor pieces and a new size 44x120mm, the largest to date for the company. Innovative resin & porcelain modular décors in metallic finishes round out their glamour collections with a feel of 70’s costume jewelry. These 3-D materials are glitzy without looking fussy and can be paired with much of Peronda’s collection to add a “wow” focal point in any composition.

The wood series “Timber” creates one of the best representations of distressed or reclaimed planks on the market this year. This scratched, weathered and salt-stained series appears as if it was re-cycled from shipping palettes; a feeling enhanced by the ‘handle with care’ and “fragile” décors available.


This industry leader once again had one of the busiest booths at the show and after seeing their new collection there was no question as to why. Even as a late adopter of digital glazing, Porcelanosa’s offerings were some of the best at the show. Subtle weathered textures combine with impeccable stone and wood representations to create a nuanced feel. Masters of textured wall tile, Porcelanosa also showcased beautiful white on white textures evoking re-mixes of classic patterns and natural phenomena to add sophistication and interest without adding color to a space.

'Calypso' Series

The sanitary wear giant is also an innovation contender in the ceramics world this year. In a year somewhat light on revolutionary products, Roca came out with 18 novelty collections including multiple low-cost options. ‘Pietra Nero’ a technical through-body material is available in four finishes including a décor. The double pressed method of dry glaze imbedded in the body creates the most realistic black galaxy granite in porcelain seen to date.

High contrast was another prime focus for Roca with the Calypso series. The high gloss black & white collection presents an edited, everlasting face to interiors without feeling aloof or austere. Multiple decors and trim pieces have the feel of classic couture design that will never go out of style.

Keeping with the trend of approachable luxury Roca is offering many of their sophisticated wall tile collections in a new smaller size of 25x70mm. They are also providing a red-bodied floor tile option in many non-rectified tile programs, once again providing top-quality aesthetics at diverse price points.

In a new venture last year Roca partnered with Armani to create an exclusive collection of tile featuring Armani’s sartorial palette, patterns and textures. Available with corresponding bathroom furniture and sanitary wear, this new collection epitomizes the understated luxury of today’s elite.

Proyecta series gets drainage and cove tiles
Rosa Gres

The Spanish commercial pool tile giant creates waves again this year. In an effort to propose new solutions for their target market they have introduced a beautifully refined solid color porcelain line to compliment their pool-tile collections. Like all of their current programs, the material is produced in one size, 48x48” which creates un-matched color consistency in their multiple-sized collections replete with unique technical trim pieces.  With one size of production Rosa Gres can easily guarantee dye-lot consistency for projects as each smaller size and trim piece required can be cut down from the larger format. It also lowers productions costs making them one of the most competitive suppliers for this market with the higher cost field tile being more than balanced by the substantially lower cost trims. Some of the innovative solutions proposed this year are multiple infinity-pool options and large formats for pool walls and bottoms all with corresponding porcelain coves and grates from the same material.

Graphic floral, multi-tile decors

The entire booth this year showcased ceramics with empty frames hanging on the walls, reinforcing the message that modern ceramics are not just a functional cladding material but artwork. With a strong project-based collection Saloni once again has many wall tile programs with simple textured décors at square meter pricing to keep project costs low and aesthetics high.

A master of multiple layered glazes, Saloni has once again created some of the most complex geometries, textiles and floral patterned tiles for sophisticated decoration. Even though Saloni makes some of the most realistic reproductions of natural material they seem to relish making tile programs that are so uniquely ceramic that they are purely a celebration of the material. 

Salonga Series

Has put forth a strong environmental commitment this year with their ‘Feeling Eco’ Program. By certifying and quantifying all their environmental initiatives throughout their manufacturing process, Vives has become a leader in ceramic tile’s environmental story. As members of both the Spanish and US Green Building councils they are aggressively working to elevate ceramics as the green material choice for technical cladding materials. Aesthetics have not been sacrificed with these initiatives. In fact, Vives had two of the most beautiful wood parquet programs at the show this year showcasing unique colors and textures.

Rounding out their 2011-2012 novelties are stone and concrete inspired programs in modular formats equally suited for commercial and residential use. With their strong environmental message and beautiful aesthetics Vives has become a ceramic house to watch this year and will continue to grow even in this less than bullish market.

As always you will have to wait until after Coverings for our full 2012 trends synopsis but I will have some more tidbits from the floors of Cersaie still to come.   
I know, I know... you are all salivating for more info from Cersaie 2011. It's still coming, I promise.

You will, I'm sure, forgive my delay in favor of this amazing Tile of Spain installation which debuted in Milan, Italy at the MADE Expo in October this year.

The inspiration for this exhibit was for it to physically project some of the prime foci of the ceramic tile sector in Spain to people moving through the space. In their own words, Here's how Tile of Spain describes the space:

“Fluidity: Ceramics, a material for the city of the future”
    "Today's global society requires a greater continuity between the public and     private, between indoor and outdoor spaces, from which new synergies arise, and lead to more dynamic urban spaces with a better relationship between cities and their inhabitants. Fluidity uses the characteristics of ceramics to respond to these needs, creating urban elements characterized by a double skin, in other words with an outer side, composed of elements that decontaminate the air, and an inner side consisting of extruded ceramic tubes. The floor is flexible, forming waves that move in synergy with the various layers of the skin. Walls, ceilings and floors interact with each other".
    “The public space of the future is varied, composed of elements which             interact with one another through the use of diverse materials and various building systems, leading to design projects with versatile functions".
Bird's eye rendering
Green Geometries Laboratory co-founder, José Ramón Tramoyeres was the architect-curator for this exhibit.

He and his firm are the same people responsible for last year's exhibit 'Vectorice' that debuted at the Bejing Architecture Biennial. The 'Vectorice' installation was the centerpiece of Cevisama 2011's Trans Hitos exhibit which can be seen in an older blog post HERE 

Architect's rendering of 'Fluidity'
Architect's rendering of 'Fluidity'
Architect's rendering of 'Fluidity'
The ceramics and mechanical installation systems were supplied by ASCER member manufacturers; Ceramica Mayor's- Tempio, Ceracasa Ceramica, Decorativa, Natucer and Tau Ceramica to collaboratively create a custom organic space that interacts with users and the surrounding environment in a beneficial way.

This one installation exhibits many of the strengths of the tile sector in Spain- first and foremost of which is unbridled creativity and the drive for rapid & intelligent innovations. Never liking to say no to a client; each of these factories, like most ASCER manufacturers, frequently work with architects on a project by project basis to collaborate on custom solutions.

The unique space employs ventilated facades with a unique glaze & surface texture that neutralizes NOx in the atmosphere (BionicTile); a raised flexible flooring installation (Tau's S3 Systems) & columnar extruded tile interior/exterior walls that even transition to benches (co-operative effort by Natucer's Life-Arq. and Tempio's custom installation framework) The custom molded ceramic benches outside of the super-structures propose a highly durable & hygienic custom solution for public areas.
If you missed the MADE expo this year- do not despair! Fluidity was built to last and will be seen in this year's incarnation of Trans Hitos at Cevisama this February. Yet another excuse to get yourself to Valencia to experience the fair first-hand. Make sure to contact us on Twitter at the fair!
Now that the first major tile fair of the year has come and gone I really can’t neglect the blog  anymore. I’m sure you will forgive my protracted absence, with my travel schedule I find my new daughter so much more compelling than the LCD screen of my laptop- but I digress.

Cersaie, the international tile and bathroom fair in Bologna Italy came a week early this year and as usual didn’t disappoint.  As the next couple weeks go on I will be doing my usual overview of trends and innovations but I thought I’d intersperse it this year with some manufacturer spotlights. The first of which is the trifecta of awesomeness that is Land, Aparici & Apavisa from Tile of Spain.

Last year, Land’s colossal basket-weave installation of warped slim porcelain drew nearly every eye at the show but Apavisa had the show-stopper this time. All three company booths featured the bent, stretched and warped material that has become an industry phenomenon as well as their dry-pressed & rectified Hexagonal tile. More on that material in an older post HERE.

In a patented firing process the group is able to take tile to a new level. The magic of the kiln transforms the flat greenware bisque into a 3 dimensional marvel. This process can be applied to any of the slim material produced by each company. Taking ceramics from a cladding material into true art installations.

Which was in fact the premise of Apavisa’s booth this year. The booth was titled ‘ART GALLERY’ and it truly read like a beautifully staged and curated exhibition of modern art. From installations evoking sculptures to tapestries each area of the booth challenged the viewer to re-think the traditional hum-drum kitchen and bath installations of ceramic tile. Proposing ceramics to be exactly what they have become over the past few years- art.    

Amazing right? Let us know what you think.

... And that's simply a few of the amazing shots I got from their booths at the show. I LOVE the opportunity to go to Cersaie every year. Many thanks go out to Tile of Spain for sending me there, these trips never fail to rekindle my passion for ceramics. Stay tuned for more on Cersaie 2011 and more manufacturer spotlights.
After a long hiatus- Due to the arrival of my daughter, the patti-tile blog and @Tile_Trends on Twitter are Active again!

So it has been a while since I have chimed in on the old blog. The reason for this is simple- you may or may nor know but I have recently had my first child. The little time I have after all my work commitments and travel dates has been taken up and then some by my wife and daughter’s needs during the past 3 months. Something had to give and unfortunately, that was my time blogging and on twitter. I’m a do it right or don’t bother kind of guy so I threw myself into daddydom with gusto and by the same token, decided it was preferable to leave writing alone completely rather than post halfhearted entries. But I am back and happy to report wife and baby are both doing great and settling in to our new life together.

As any other parent knows, life changes dramatically with your first child.- mostly for the better. I know my life is infinitely better with my daughter in it! What many parents tend to gloss over though is that your bundle of joy is going to put you through the proverbial crucible and test you and your spouse to the limit. I started thinking, shortly into little miss Claire Isobella Fasan’s first week of life, that having a new baby is much like living through a full scale DIY renovation. Trust a self professed tile junkie to find a correlation between my life and something in the design/build industry. So that will be my return blog post- Why having a baby is like renovating your house… while living in it… and doing most of the work yourself.

It also gives me an ironclad excuse to throw in a couple pictures of my little monster… I may have daddy goggles but I think she’s gorgeous.

Claire Isobella Fasan
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Social Media icon, Paul Anater on the Reign in Spain trip this year at Cevisama. He has been blogging up a storm (read: Business as usual for him) about the trip and the manufacturers' new products. If you are not familiar with Kitchen and Residential Design do yourself a favor and go join the convo.

Today's post is a great write up on Grespania's CoverLam with plenty of beautiful pictures to salivate over... Have a peek!