Tile of Spain USA traveled to Spain earlier this month with a gifted group of architects, interior designers and journalists for an educational and inspirational tour of Valencia and Castellón as part of its’ annual Passport to Creativity Tour. In years past, the tour happened in conjunction with Cevisama, but the trade show was postponed to February 2023. Rather than cancel the tour, @TileofSpainUSA decided to continue with factory and showroom tours, allowing the group to experience the beauty of the country and dive deep into the world of Spanish tile as they discovered the latest innovations and trends and learned firsthand why Tile of Spain is considered one of the most important manufacturers of tile.
DAY ONE – Arrival and Architectural Tour of Valencia
We began our week with an immersive architectural tour of Valencia, the eighth city to be designated World Design Capital® 2022 (WDC 2022), led by architect Adrian Torress Astaburuaga. Our tour began at the City of Arts & Sciences Complex where we learned about the L’Hemisfèric, L’Oceanogràfic, Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, and L’Àgora. Along the way we walked through the Old City where we admired the architecture and exquisite tile design in Central Market, and then headed towards the Valencia Station North, where we made sure to have the traditional drink of Valencia – Horchata!
We were honored to be invited to a sneak peek at the Agora Valencia which is a project of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and the Valencia City Council. This project also has the support of the Provincial Council of Valencia, La Marina de València and the companies Inalco, Wandegar and iGuzzini. The purpose of Agora Valencia is reflected in the materials and manufacturing of the venue and in its construction, which fuses tradition and avant-garde, crafts and industry, using only wooden rods and a material similar to ceramics known as MDi.
We ended the day with an amazing meal in the Placa de L’Ajuntament, a gorgeous building in the city square.
DAY TWO – Tile of Spain Press Conference, an Award-Winning Architectural Project, and the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics
Rested and well fed, our second day included a press conference given by Vicente Nomdedeu, the president of The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), and ICEX, where we learned how the tile industry has weathered the many challenges of the past year. The winners of the Tile of Spain Awards Awards for architecture were on hand to accept their awards, as well as an editorial award, where USA editor and journalist Jamie Gold won for an article she wrote for Forbes: Wellness And Sustainability Star In 2022 Residential Tile Trends
After the conference, the group was able to walk-through and explore the award-winning architectural project, built by MRM Arquitectos.
Then it was back into Valencia to visit the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics. This amazing museum is located in what is considered to be the best example of Baroque architecture in Spain, the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. As part of the World Design Capital exhibitions happening in Valencia, we stopped inside this museum to see the exhibit entitled, “Design the Air”, which was an interpretation by a select group of architects of an everyday object…a fan.
We walked, we learned, and then…we ate. An amazing dinner was created for us at Senuelo where each dish was more interesting than the next!
DAY THREE – Let the Showroom Tours Begin!
We began day three on an early bus ride from Valencia to the city of Castellón, where we spent the day touring the factories and showrooms of some of Tile of Spain’s many companies. We started at @Peronda_official, a family-owned company since 1827!
From there we went to @Natucer_ceramica_natural where we learned the difference between extruded and pressed tile manufacturing. If these factory photos look a bit like a scene out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – that’s how we all felt.
On to @Decocer_ceramic, another family-owned company where we learned more about why tile manufacturing and tiles are sustainable. Then it was on to @LivingCeramics whose showroom and catwalk elicited gasps from the group. We ended the day at the @Porcelanosa showroom, which is a master class in visual design.
DAY FOUR – Showrooms and Factory Tours Continued…
On our final day, we began our journey with a visit to the @WOW_designeu showroom, a relatively young company (2001), but one with a full breadth of products. 38 collections in all. After light snacks and coffee, we explored @Bestile_sl, then @Vivesceramica and @Apavisa. We ended the tour at the @Pamesaceramica showroom where again we were wowed by the gorgeous collections.
All the companies had amazing products; it’s hard to articulate just how beautiful they all were. I think we should let some of the group have the last words about this experience:
“The Tile of Spain trip was an eye-opener for me. Before going I vaguely knew that a lot of tile was made in Spain, but visiting the Valencia region and seeing the abundant variety of brands, the impressive technological capability of the factories, and the sheer cornucopia of ideas and looks put forth by the companies really drove home the robust nature of the industry there. I was also impressed by the deep history of tile making around Valencia and, of course, by the warmth and charm of the people. I hope to return one day! “ —Aaron Seward, Editor In Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper.
“As designers specializing in highly custom projects, we are very tuned into the backside of production for all sorts of custom elements…but being flown to the source and experiencing how Spanish tile is made was on a whole other level! It was truly amazing to see the tile manufacturing process from start to finish and meet the passionate people behind the products we spec so often in our work. Touring the showrooms, and seeing how each brand wanted their tile presented and displayed, was also a treat. It’s been wonderful to bring this experience back to the design team and brainstorm using new tile products for current and future projects. Thank you, Tile of Spain, for the opportunity!” —Janelle Burns, Lead Interior Designer, Maestri Studio Gallery