Emerging from the fall market season and an impressive exhibition of Spanish products and innovation at Cersaie, Tile of Spain has identified a range of key trends and market influences that point towards a bright outlook for 2012. With a continued dedication that places high priority and importance on innovation, technology, design and sustainability, Tile of Spain represents more than 150 manufacturers serving as the umbrella brand for ASCER, the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association.
When identifying trends, it helps to look at key influencers behind those trends, such as the consumer mindset and the cultural landscape. These factors play an integral role in how people are making buying decisions, especially when it comes to tailoring the spaces where they work, play and live.
Essential and Traditional Values
A decided sobriety in the United States, no doubt a result of current economic unrest, has swayed a return to essential and traditional values. Decisions are more carefully weighed and characteristics such as quality, longevity and sustainability play a greater role in where people choose to spend their resources. While this power of choice is more than ever in the hands of the consumer, this does not mean straying from luxury, the concept of luxury has just changed. Today, luxury is clean, simple and timeless design accomplished with quality, hard-working materials that showcase the latest in technology and innovation. Products that will succeed will have been designed for everyday use at a level of durability that almost reaches utility grade. They are user-friendly, simple, accessible and hold greater importance to the user.
A look at habitats shows that the concept of home is evolving from a simple dwelling space to a hybrid work space. With more and more people becoming self-employed and functioning as freelancers or consultants, the home office and home office studio is a space that is seeing strong growth in residential design. At the same time, the co-housing model will continue to rise. There are 250+ co-housing developments in the US to date, 115 of which are currently under construction.
The kitchen configuration has morphed from the traditional American layout to follow a more European model. In this layout, top cabinets are removed for the sake of opening up the overhead space. Storage capacity is maintained through a full wall bank of cabinets on one side of the kitchen.
Ceramic Tile Themes
As for the predominant design themes that have emerged from the fall season, there are several concepts that will seep into the products and collections set to be unveiled in 2012:
Techni-Craft: traditional craftsmanship is achieved using innovative techniques providing the ultimate benefit of efficient functionality.
Vintage Americana: Suggests slow movement with a richer artisanal edge; the desire to rediscover a refined, forgotten “savoir faire”, a fresh romanticism without naïveté.
Re-invision: A salvaged, re-used look that includes hybrid madera or wood.
Urban Jungle: This look is strong, daring, confident and always edgy.
Neoteric Tension: Emphasizes the concept of deletion in a space with the guiding principle of “less is more.” In this world of juxtaposition and contrast, elements that play to light and dark, heavy and light, full and empty are key. A minimalistic new luxe.
Ceramic Tile Palette and Aesthetics
When it comes to the emerging color palette, gray is the principal base and is taken to sophisticated depths through layers of color and texture, accomplished through innovation in digital printing.
Driftwood, a beige heavily influenced by gray, is complimented and even contrasted by a warm red-purple influence in many neutrals. Neutral colors are paired in soft combinations such as gray with wood, oatmeal with steely mineral tones and modulations of cream, taupe and gray.
On the bolder side, color combinations are unpredictable and exhilarating. High contrast expands and explores whitespace with rich, saturated accents of purple, teal, orange and blue.
Metallic is still a desired element in design but the shine and sparkle has matured and aged. Metallic finishes today appear as weathered metal with unique technical characteristics – oxidized, satinized, burnished, pitted and aged.
Ceramic Tile Technology
Technology never stops evolving and year after year, the ceramic tile industry yields some of the industry’s most rapid change and innovation:
Bent: After decades of perfecting the art of a perfectly flat tile, manufacturers are now exploring the third dimension and finding every which way possible to bend tile in unexpected ways. Shape and curvature become contours for a new frame of reference in ceramic tile.
4Senses: Spain’s continuing dedication R+D+I has allowed the industry to develop programs that enhance the emotional relationship to surroundings through sight, hearing, smell and touch. This includes proposals such as back-lit tiles using fibre optics to emit ambient light. Light pervades the material, illuminating walls and can serve as guides along pathways.
Efficiency: Manufacturers are sensitive to the global economic concerns and have developed creative proposals for a range of approachable price points. For example, knowing the look of a mosaic wall is highly desirable but that people don’t want to pay for the time and labor, wall tile is developed with a scored surface that gives the appearance of mosaic but is actually one large format tile, saving time and cost associated with labor.
Sustainable Measures: Spanish manufacturers are consistent in their incremental pursuit toward sustainable processes and smart product design.
The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) is the private organization whose primary objective is to support Spain’s ceramic tile manufacturers and the industry as a whole by stewarding and promoting the Tile of Spain brand worldwide. A strong global leader, the ceramic tile industry of Spain comprises 220 manufacturers concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón. For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain, 2655 Le Jeune Road, Suite 1114, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Call 305-446-4387 or visit www.spaintiles.info.