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The 36th annual Cevisama Spanish tile show in Valencia, Spain, served up plenty of color—much of it in mid-century modernist hues—but wood, stone, concrete and terrazzo effects in soft neutral tones and a minimalist aesthetic occupied sizeable real estate in many of the booths.

So why the prominence of neutrals? Perhaps it’s the market. In a press conference held by the Spanish Association of Wall and Floor and Floor Tile Manufacturers, association president Vicente Nomdedeu noted that Spanish tile sales grew by 7 percent in 2017, with exports accounting for 75 percent. Europe remained the largest market, but sales to the United States spiked by 25 percent, making it second on the list of export markets. 

The emphasis on neutrals may also stem from increasingly realistic depictions of stone, which manufacturers are producing in ever-larger formats. Argenta’s Absolut Spanish tile tops out at 47 by 102 inches, while Tau showed Insignia in a 35-by-71-inch format and Ascale in a new (roughly) 5-by-10½-foot slab. Improved color-matching across different finishes—which is no easy feat, says Ryan Fasan, technical consultant and speaker for Tile of Spain—also means better continuity when using the same design in a matte and polished finish on, say, a countertop and wall or floor.     

In some Spanish tile booths, tonal palettes of white, gray, beige, and black enhanced and unified composite wood or stone looks that may or may not exist in nature. But not all was white and gray or even rectified. Several manufacturers displayed colorful tiles with irregular edges, surfaces, and glazing that appeared as if handmade. Estudio Ceramico showed a digitally printed crackle glaze, and floor tiles from Roca and Natucer simulated years of wear with faux scuffmarks or burnished outlines.   

Also trending were refined, lighter-colored wood looks, encaustic-like designs, blues and greens, as well as pastels, and slip-resistant flooring with a smoother, more barefoot-friendly finish.

Those who want to see these trends in the flesh may want to check out Coverings, where some of the same manufacturers will be exhibiting. In the meantime, here are some Spanish tiles that turned our heads:


Argenta Ceramic Powder tile collection

1. Argenta Ceramica

Argenta’s sprawling Powder collection encompasses a variety of concrete-, encaustic- and wood-inspired designs in square, rectangular, and plank formats. The porcelain and white-body tiles come in a limited palette of beige, brown, and warm and cool gray. 


Aparici Regio stone look tile

2. Aparici

Aparici goes luxe and bold with Regio, a stone-look collection of four lively graphic patterns—two gridded and two with undulant curves—that are designed to coordinate with the company’s Apuane line of white marble-style porcelain tiles. All four patterns come in one size: 23½-inch square. 


Saloni Olympos marble-look tile

3. Saloni

Olympos features three marble-inspired colorways in 18-by-35-inch and 12-by-35-inch formats in polished, matte and brushed finishes. The collection comprises both porcelain and white-body tiles, including two-dimensional designs.


Dune Minimal Chic concrete- and stone-look tiles

4. Dune

Dune’s Minimal Chic pairs concrete- and stone-effect designs with abstract, graphic patterns inspired by Minimal artists Frank Stella, Robert Mangold, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Daniel Buren, Agnes Martin, and others. The collection employs a subdued palette of tonal grays, beige and some pastels and includes both square and rectangular formats in multiple sizes. Tiles measure 23 3/5 by 47 1/5 inches. 


Tau Ceramica Ascale porcelain countertop

5. Tau Ceramica

Tau showed an Ascale porcelain countertop with induction cooking functionality. A collaboration with TPB Tech, a Barcelona-based company that specializes in work surfaces that also double as cooktops, the multi-layered countertop consists of a porcelain surface, aluminum to dissipate heat, and Bakelite. 


Equipe Artisan tile

6. Equipe

Equipe’s Artisan simulates the appearance of handmade tile with undulant surfaces and variegated coloring. The collection offers white-body tiles in two sizes—5-by-5- and 2½-by-8-inch—in a choice of 10 glossy colors, including Aqua (shown). 


Casainfinita Khan tiles

7. Casainfinita

Casainfinita’s Khan draws inspiration from Pietra di Cardoso, a striated gray Italian stone, with floor tiles in a 29½-inch-square or 14 ½-by-29 ½-inch format and 15 7/10-by-47 1/5-inch wall tiles in three designs. Tiles come in four colors: white, cream, gray and black.


Cevica Jazz fish scale tile

8. Cevica

Cevica’s Jazz puts a cheery spin on the classic fish scale with 6-by-5 1/5-inch tiles in seven solid colors and 13 graphic patterns that include florals, botanicals, and geometric motifs. 


Natucer Stow tile

9. Natucer

Stow by Natucer replicates the look of handmade tile in a 4-inch- and an 8-inch- square size, as well as an 8-by-24-inch format. The white-body tiles have uneven surfaces and come in 11 glossy colors, including five tonal mixes: Acqua, grey, turquoise, graphite, and olive (shown). 


Perdona Marquina large format

10. Peronda

Peronda’s high-end brand Museum showed several handsome reproductions of marble, including Marquina, which is available in a natural or polished finish in 23 3/5-by-47 1/5-inch, 35 2/5-inch-square, and 30-by-60-inch formats. 


Fanal Fusta OSB tile

11. Fanal

Who knows if the OSB look will ever take off, but it’s definitely one that turned heads. FanaL’s Fusta re-creates it in a 17 7/10-by-46 2/5-inch format in a matte or polished finish.


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