VALENCIA, SPAIN—“Come and see the future” was the slogan of the world’s second largest fair for all things tile, commencing for the 29th edition here, from Feb. 8 to 11. With 776 exhibitors from 36 countries showing, Cevisama showcased the newest innovations in tile for 2011. According to Pepe Castellano, vice chairman of the Spanish Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), it is the international fair that acts as a showroom for all its products.
Opening an international press conference with good news, he reported an 8% increase in companies displaying and 4% more visitors over last year. “In 2008, we had a drop in participation but from then on things have looked very good.”
Similar to U.S. trade shows in 2011, activity at the fair seemed to be in the booths rather than milling in the aisles. Buyers attended to conduct serious business and were there to make a purchase.
Export of Spanish tile is an important market for ASCER members and other manufacturers, accounting for two-thirds of total sales. Joaquin Piñon, vice chairman, ASCER, said exports came in at 1.7 billion Euros with growth of 4% compared to 2009.
Promoting Spanish tile in the U.S. market was a key focus of the export equation. A 2% drop in sales was reported over 2009 but modest growth in exports bolstered the second half of 2010. Piñon said Spanish tile has lost sales in the U.S. while it waits for the nation to fully recover from the subprime crisis.
“We have to take into account there are new countries in our sector closer to the U.S. market that have been more successful there, namely China and Mexico,” he acknowledged. “Price has been extremely important and in the future we hope America starts consuming better quality products.” As that change occurs, Tile of Spain expects a return to a prominent position in the American market.
To facilitate that, ASCER suppliers put its best foot forward to present products that were innovative, sustainable and on-trend. Among some of the highlights were slim tiles, natural and artisan finishes, wood looks and digital inkjet printing for broad color ranges.
Known for its commercial products, its visuals are usually in the stone area and featured an abundance of hexagonal shapes at Cevisama. New at the show was NeoCountry, a full body porcelain, with high bending resistance at 61 N/mm2, frost resistance, low water absorption, and stain and chemical resistance. It is also applicable to wet indoor spaces like indoor pools and public baths.
Also new was NanoEclectic, part of the company’s NanoTech collection. A porcelain at 4.8mil comes in copper, black, white and Mojave with a variety of textures, finishes and formats.
The company that developed BionicTile, a tile that filters nitrogen oxide from the air much like a tree, previewed Ecom4Tile. The innovative product with a phase changing material (PSM) is designed to regulate the temperature of an interior, effectively reducing energy consumption and cost by 16%. The tile is said to maintain a room’s air temperature without controlling it. While its properties would certainly be effective in a home or small office, Fran Raya, director of marketing, urged booth visitors to consider the savings that could be reaped with applications in a hotel or convention center. The product is slated for a hard release in 12 months and will be priced 15% to 20% higher than standard, like-tile.
The company that manufactured the horizontal poles on the exterior of the New York Times Building in Queens, N.Y, came to Cevisama with the SoHo collection. Sizes range from 5.9-inches x 17.7-inches to 2 x 5.9-inches, including meshes, and straight and off-set tesselas. Colors come in black and white integrating, silver and gold, as well as Interiors, including white, beige, light gray, dark gray and wengue.
Manufacturing with both handmade techniques and contemporary technology, Elias presented with an extensive list of new products.
The Empuries series features both hand- and machine-made tiles with an aged and worn look imitating reclaimed materials; the Provenca series has a rustic look in three shades of terracotta for indoor and out- door use; the Rodes series features a dark patina for interiors and semi-protected exteriors, and the Millenium series emulates antique floors and walls in six colorways.
Developed exclusively for the U.S. market is the Krimiss series in natural stone and marble looks. In three basic colors, finishes range from semi-polished to matte in a range of sizes.
Also new for the show was Coverlam, an extremely large format tile at 3 feet x 10 feet. This fiberglass-backed porcelain at 3mm thick, is suitable for wall or floor, or tile-over-tile and raised flooring installations; generally anywhere suitable for a 10mm tile.
“Sure, times are difficult but we are trying to be dynamic, moving toward bigger sizes and better quality,” said Andrew Treacy, UK managing director. “We are launching products at every show, thanks to our pioneering technology.”
Known as a pioneer in the ceramic tile industry, Inalco promoted its SlimmKer collection of thin tile. A 4.3mm porcelain, applications were showcased as furniture veneers, bookcases, sunshades, sliding doors and wall panels, even an acoustical ceiling system. Most recently, Inalco added fiberglass backing for greater strength and bending capabilities. SlimmKer is available in large formats, from 18 x 36to32x48.
Also new was the Sensations collection, described as an alternative vision of environmental materials in their purest state including Art Clay, resembling the textures of an oil-painted canvas; Concrete in large formats of natural tones, and Wood, a SlimmKer product that emulates distressed wood and comes in four colors.
The manufacturer that goes to market in the U.S. as Metropol highlighted Lifeker, a porcelain tile with photo catalytic functions. Accelerated oxidation repels dirt and
supports bactericides, fungicides and anti-mites. The photo catalytic process also reduces VOCs in its installed environment by converting NOx (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) into non-toxic nitrates. While application in the home would be effective, it is also recommended for hotels, nurseries and health care centers, as well as any area with high humidity that may support microorganism growth.
Keraben products are available across the U.S. with 80% of its sales through Keraben Grupo along the East Coast.
Natucer utilizes the extrusion process for flexibility in product offering, including a variety of matching trim pieces. Piemonte is an extruded terra cotta in traditional sizing with an antique look, but is a new line for 2011.
Filter Floor is a new, stand- out extruded product for a floating installation. Ideal for wet areas, radiant heat systems or hiding cables and wires, slatted tiles are also available. With an anti-slip surface in 12 colors, the system can be adjusted for any substrate by altering the height of the support legs on each corner of the tiles.
The manufacturer brought three new lines to Cevisama. Quartz addresses the consumer’s changing preference over the last three years away from high gloss to a matte finish. A textured finish is available in 12 x 12 and 12 x 24, while a flat or semi-polished surface comes on 12 x 24 or 24 x 24 tiles. Visuals are achieved by inkjet designs applied over the glazed surface.
Burma is a slate look in deeply colored hues of blues, reds and blacks. According to Bill Bannantine, sales area manager, Pamesa has one of the best cost-control structures of any tile company. “Pamesa makes you money, compared to other high-end lines.”
Magna is also an inkjet printed product, in the fashion of Crema Marfil marble. A stone which originates from Spain, Pamesa captured the authentic visuals of its native material. The line comes in 18 x 18, 24 x 24 and 12 x 34 sizes, in Crema and Marfil colorways.
Coming to the U.S. in 2009 with 10 distribution outlets, rapid expansion has brought Pamesa tile to as many as 60 distributors today.
The 100-year-old manufacturer presented Catwalk, a brightly colored series in 12 x 36 and 12 x 24 formats. Available in rectified and non-rectified edging, and perfectly matched colors for wall and floor, wall tiles feature a very high gloss, while floor tiles utilize an orange peel finish for safety.
Also new for the show was the Museum collection, a recreation of classic marble achieved with inkjet printing. Calacata marble, Daino travertine, Onice Ambar and Marquina are all recreated in a 17 x 17 format.
Environmental awareness is strong on Roca’s radar, shown in its new series made with 80% recycled pre-consumer waste, certified by Bureau Veritas, a worldwide certification firm. Green Earth comes in natural tones like ocre, brown, cream and beige; Green Urban covers concrete visuals in anthracite and gray, and Green City is a stone look. Suitable for interior and exterior applications, the collection comes in a range of formats, finishes, and decorative pieces.
Its products also contribute to LEED points, are certified for recycled pre-consumer material under ISO 14021, and meet the specification of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools.
Eight new collections came to Cevisama with Saloni, one of which was Fusion. A country chic look in three wood looks comes in 6 x 36, 9 x 36 or 18 x 36 formats. The fifth collection from Spanish designer Roberto Verino, the collection features inkjet printing technology.
Saloni also thought big, with Goliat, an anti-slip floor tile in a 47 x 47 format. Available in white, bronze, gray, brown and brown, the sizing creates a seamless, monolithic floor.
Four new floor collections were rolled out for the show; Turmali, Breccia, Livorno and Colonna. Turmali, inspired by tourmaline stone, is a large format tile with an iridescent finish in blue, copper and pyrite. Breccia is a porcelain tile with a polished surface that reveals veins, unique shapes and chromatic variations similar to the Breccia Aurora stone, available in 44 x 44 and 60 x 60 formats for floor. Livorno is also available in the two larger formats, a well as a 30 x 60 size with chromatic veining like Calacatta marble. The last collection is Colonna, a 45 x 45 in gray and a 60 x 60 in four neutral colorways.
“Our philosophy is not to follow market trends, but anticipate them,” said Vincente Soler, commercial director. With that he highlighted the Hevia collection, a representation of authentic terra cotta tiles. A new version of the old classic color is created using 1,200 different images with inkjet printing, screen printing and roto color to recreate the variations of handmade terra cotta.
Also of note was the Unique collection, sold by the square foot rather than piece for better pricing options and easier design planning.