Material Matters: Tile of Spain to Explore Concepts of Sustaining and Enriching the Urban Environment with Ceramic Tile

Oct 1, 2011

Tile of Spain, the umbrella brand for the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), has long been exploring and supporting the perspective of ceramic tile as an ideal building material for the urban environment. Tile of Spain’s many efforts in the United States market, which have included CEU/CES presentations, seminars and tradeshow participation, have all been driven by a strong dedication to education and the need to constantly push awareness of industry innovation.


This dedication was the impetus for Tile of Spain to develop “Material Matters” an exclusive event scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2011 in New York City. This event, held at The Times Center, 242 West 41st Street (between 7th and 8th Ave.) is geared towards architects and designers and will explore the many new facets of ceramic tile and its role as a sustainable building material. The event will be the venue for a collaborative discussion between Spanish and American architects, a sharing of working knowledge of the material and an exploration of some of the more unexpected applications for ceramic tile.


In addition to what promises to be a lively discussion, guests can get up close and personal to the material of the evening as nine Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers will exhibit the latest products and technology to emerge from Spain. This program is approved for CEU credits.

Presentations by Spanish architect Ángela García de Paredes and Beyer Blinder Belle architect Charles Kramer on the use of high performance, durable materials that add character to urban environments. The speakers will discuss the importance of using materials that reflect the context of the local environments and offer sustainable solutions.


Paredes will speak to the use of ceramic tile in her firm’s work on the Kid University in Gandia, Valencia and the Congress Centre in Peñiscola. Kramer will discuss the use of ceramic tile in the sensitive restoration and renovation of the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.


Following the presentations, a panel discussion led by Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis, will explore the use of natural materials in our cities. The speakers will be joined by Ignacio Fernandez Solla, architect and leader of the façade team at Spanish firm Arup; Richard Southwick of Beyer Blinder Belle; and ceramic tile consultant Patti Fasan.


Nine Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers, representing the newest trends, technology and innovation, will showcase visual examples of the material at the center of the presentation.


Azulev has made significant investments in the latest technologies in its three factories. A result of these technological advances and innovations in raw materials is Slim. At half the weight of conventional tiles, Slim is easy to handle, environmentally friendly and easy to install. Another of Azulev’s investments in new technologies in the ceramic sector is the recent acquisition of a latest generation digital printing system that provides for greater variety of graphics and colors.


Ceramica Elias,
Ceramica Elias offers a variety of products manufactured through both handmade practices and contemporary innovation. The various grades of roughness and flamed surface differ in each tile, enabling Elias to create beautiful, warm atmospheres primarily using the age old material of terra cotta. Series include machine made and handmade processes, Masia, a rough surfaced extruded material that gives it a rustic, hand-made appearance, Empuries which is an aged, worn product imitating reclaimed material, as well as mosaics and borders.


Inalco is a specialist supplier of ceramic tiles and services for the construction industry and architecture and interior design services, concentrating heavily on the commercial sector. With its business philosophy based on the four cornerstones of innovation, quality, service and an environmental commitment, Inalco has been at the forefront of ceramic tile design in three innovations: large format, digital printing and slim tile technology. Its most recent innovation was developing a slim tile technically appropriate for large format floor applications.


Keraben offers a complete product line for porcelain and white body ceramic for wall and floor tile, interior and exterior, residential and commercial applications. Keraben Group has also developed a collection of unglazed porcelain tiles specially conceived for use on outdoor walls, either in ventilated façade systems or as bonded cladding. The range stands out for its large formats, high visual appeal, and superb technical characteristics. Keraben’s team of specialists assist project designers and construction firms in all stages of the work process.


Natucer manufactures products through clay extrusion, where the raw material is baked at 1230 degrees Celsius in a single firing process. The system creates a tile with a solid union of clay and glaze. Natucer specializes in special and complementary pieces such as skirting, liners, steps and bullnoses. It emphasizes production flexibility, allowing for the creation of a diverse range of matching trim pieces in many shapes. The extruded tile production process provides for complex three-dimensional forms which resulted in recent solution-driven architectural collections.


Pamesa embraces digital printing technology in each production line and collection. New white body ceramic floor and wall tiles emulate the texture and color of natural materials like silk, stripped wood and cement. Newest innovations in red base ceramic tiles, the driving heart of the company, replicate exotic woods and rice paper as well as marbles, marquetry, mosaics, natural stone and slate while porcelain products appear as distressed teak, cements, fired clay tiles, natural stone and fine hardwoods.


Porcelanosa is a global leader in the innovation, design, manufacture and distribution of tile, kitchen and bath products, provides trendsetting cutting-edge designs, uncompromising quality, technologically superior products and dependable services to its clients. Through a dynamic company owned and independent distribution network, Porcelanosa strives to be the supplier of choice in its core product categories, and by anticipating and delivering inspiring and advanced solutions to the needs of an ever evolving market.


Roca Ceramica,
Roca’s Ceramic Tile Division operates in more than 50 countries under four brands Roca, Incepa, Laufen and USCT. Roca offers complete interior decorating but also material for interior and exterior use, ideal for domestic, industrial or public fittings. Roca’s industrial processes achieve optimum wear resistance, retention of glazes and decorative effects, color fastness, precision in formats, and perfect flatness in every item produced. The product range offers solutions from rustic elements to high resistance floor tiles, marble, decorated tiles and complements.


Saloni was founded in 1971 with a commitment to offering consumers the products they need. The company currently occupies an area of 240,000m2, with a workforce of over 700 people dedicated to meeting the demands of customers on all five continents. The company strives to offer innovative products of outstanding quality and design, keeping with market needs. Likewise, it invests heavily in research and development, introducing state-of-the-art manufacturing methods to produce a wide variety of white-body, porcelain and colored-body products.


Ángela García de Paredes, principal Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos, Madrid
A project design professor and graduate of the Madrid School of Architecture, García de Paredes has also been a visiting professor at the Granada School of Architecture, Barcelona ESARQ Barcelona and ETSA Navarra. Additionally she has held visiting professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, ETH Zurich, Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio y Politecnico de Lausanne. Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos, founded in 1990 with Ignacio Pedrosa, won the Spain Architecture Award in 2007 for the Valle Inclan Theatre in Madrid. Additional award-winning projects include: Museum of Visigothic Art, Merida; Jaen City of Justice; Lugo Auditorium; Peñiscola Congress Centre; Torner Museum, Cuenca; Museum of Almería. Published extensively around the globe, the firm’s projects have been featured in Architectural Record, Interior Design, Techniques et Architeture, Details and more.


Richard Southwick, FAIA
Partner, Director Historic Preservation, Beyer Blinder Belle, New York
Southwick leads the design direction for historic preservation at BBB with expertise focusing on the sensitive upgrading of older buildings and their sustainable reuse. He managed the architectural effort on many of New York’s signature buildings including: The Morgan Library & Museum expansion (with Renzo Piano Building Workshop); Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum expansion; Frick Collection & Art Reference Library master plan; Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Governors Island National Monument General Management; Enid A. Haupt Conservatory; Apollo Theatre. Other notable projects include: The Red Star Line Memorial Place, Antwerp, Belgium; the National Trust Headquarters and the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.; Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Facility, Queens – for which he was awarded the 2006 NPS Environmental Achievement award. Especially significant is Southwick’s work in the preservation technology of modern landmarks like Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal at JFK International Airport. A graduate of SUNY Albany and Columbia University School of Architecture (M. Arch., Kinne Fellowship), he has been an adjunct professor at the New Jersey School of Architecture and is a board member of the New York City Historic Trust. Southwick authored the historic preservation section of the book “Construction in Cities: Social, Environmental, Political, and Economic Concerns”.


Charles Kramer, Architect, Beyer Blinder, Belle, New York
Charles Kramer worked extensively on the preservation of the TWA terminal, JFK International Airport.  He has lectured on the project, as well as other BBB preservation projects. A graduate of the University of Virginia, the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation Restoration of Cultural Property, Kramer has a unique understanding of the process of preserving and restoring buildings of all types. Beyer Blinder Belle has won three Presidential Design Awards, the Medal of Honor from the AIA New York Chapter, the national AIA Firm Award, and over 100 other awards for design and planning. It has grown into an international practice of 175 professionals in New York City and Washington, DC, with recognized expertise in diverse areas of architecture. Many of its projects involve the stewardship of historic buildings in sensitive urban sites. This deep sense of identity has also produced new initiatives such as its Design Build Division, and a new generation of design and planning.


Ignacio Fernádez Solla, Architect, Façade Team Leader, Arup Spain
A recognized expert in the fields of façade design and construction, Solla combines his architectural knowledge with hands-on experience as a former cladding contractor and façade systems supplier.  He supports architectural teams in the design, specification and construction supervision of facades and roofs. Projects of note include: Palacio de Congresos, Zaragoza International Expo 2008; Communications Palace, Madrid; Telefonica Headquarters, Madrid; Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza International Expo 2008.


Patti Fasan, CTC, principal P.A.T.T.I., ceramic tile consultant
A Ceramic Tile Institute of America Certified Ceramic Tile Consultant, Fasan is an award- winning presenter with an emphasis on educating specifiers, distributors and contractors on the properties of ceramic tile. As an executive board member of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, Fasan has helped to co-author instructional programs on the functional and design attributes of ceramic. She has lectured in Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. Fasan’s programs have been featured at a variety of industry events including NeoCon, AIA, Coverings, Surfaces and DesigNYC. For the past decade Fasan has been under contract to Spain, assisting the Tile of Spain brand with educational and training initiatives.


Susan S. Szenasy, editor in chief, Metropolis
Since 1986, Szenasy has lead the award-winning Metropolis magazine in landmark design journalism, achieving domestic and international recognition. She is internationally recognized as an authority on sustainability and design. Szenasy sits on the boards of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, FIT Interior Design, the Center for Architecture Advisory Board, and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. She has been honored with two IIDA Presidential Commendations, is an honorary member of the ASLA and AIA NYC, and the 2008 recipient of the ASID Patron’s Prize and Presidential Commendation. Along with METROPOLIS publisher Horace Havemeyer III, Szenasy was a 2007 recipient of the Civitas August Heckscher Award for Community Service and Excellence. She holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University, and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.


Congress Centre in Peñiscola
Location:  Castellon de le Plana, Spain
The location of the site, near the Peñiscola Castle, a National Heritage Monument in front of the Mediterranean, helped define the proposal for the project. The goal was to link all interior spaces to the park and the sea and as a result, the building displays an open, fragmented front towards the park, allowing views of the sea from the upper level and down through the outer plaza. The loggia at the entrance is the main feature of the project as it ties the park and the Congress Hall together, creating a meeting point. It is made of ceramic, in a three-dimensional pattern that filters the wind and protects from the rain.


Kid University in Gandia
Location: Parque Ausias March, Valencia
The Kid University in Gandia (UPI) is an experimental initiative proposed by the Municipality of Gandia. The UPI is not a conventional kindergarten, but a group of specialized classrooms and workshops located in a natural setting. Here kids can develop their creativity and have fun as well as learn. The concept doesn’t impede the Ausias March Park. It respects the position of six existing white mulberry trees, arranging the classrooms around them and shaping a central courtyard. The courtyard is the core of the Kid University, linking open spaces, covered areas and indoor rooms. The exterior exhibits a continuous façade serving as a sort of palisade built up with ceramic tiles.


Trans World Airlines Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
Location: Jamaica, Queens

TWA Flight Center was the original name for the Eero Saarinen-designed Terminal 5 at Idlewild Airport — later called John F. Kennedy International Airport. The terminal had a futuristic air with wide glass windows that opened onto parked TWA jets. Departing passengers would walk to planes through round, red-carpeted tubes. It was a far different structure and form than Saarinen’s design for the current main terminal of Washington Dulles International Airport, which utilized mobile lounges to take passengers to airplanes.


Design of the terminal was awarded to Detroit-based Eero Saarinen and Associates. It was completed in 1962 and is the airport’s most famous landmark (as well as being a National Historic Landmark). Gates in the terminal were close to the street and this made it difficult to create centralized ticketing and security checkpoints. This building was the first airline terminal to have closed circuit television, a central p/a system, baggage carousels, an electronic schedule board and precursors to the now ubiquitous baggage weigh-in scales. JFK was rare in the airport industry for having company-owned and -designed terminals.


Following American Airlines’ buyout of TWA in 2001, Terminal 5 went out of service. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had proposed converting the main portion of the building into a restaurant and conference center, but some architectural critics opposed this move. In December 2005, JetBlue, which occupies the adjacent Terminal 6, began construction of an expanded terminal facility, which would utilize the front portion of Saarinen’s Terminal 5 as an entry point. The peripheral air-side parts of Terminal 5 were demolished to make space for a mostly new terminal, which has 26 gates. Besides being well-known to JFK passengers and architectural buffs, it was also the site of the Steven Spielberg movie “Catch Me if You Can.”


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


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