28 February 2012

Cevisama - Top Products from Spanish Tile and Bath Show

Last week, I blogged about the top trends I spotted at Cevisama, Spain’s annual tile and bath trade show. The week before, I mused about the evolution of Russia as an over-the-top tile market. This time around, I’d like to share some of my favorite products from the show floor.

As I’ve mentioned twice before – and it bears repeating – ASCER, the Spanish tile trade council, represented in the U.S. as Tile of Spain, sponsored our press group and took us to visit their member booths at the show. I did get some free time to browse the show floor on my own. Much of what I saw was similar to the booths we toured as a group. Others featured products that will never cross our shores.

Many of the trends I pointed out last week are paired with nifty products, too. Here are some I particularly liked. (FYI, I'm saving a couple for upcoming Molten Gold posts!)

As I noted in my Cevisama trends post, wood look tiles were everywhere! I particularly liked the inclusion of marquetry, something I hadn't seen before, in Vives' Urbino line.

Another widespread trend was the return of the hexagon tile. Plaza gave it a fresh update in Genesis series' cocoa and coordinating cream.

Natucer gave old world brick a new face with its Adobe rustic series. It looks even better in real life!

I had to look at this Keraben New York series mylar-inspired tile mural a few times to decide if I really liked it. Well, guess what. I did. It's delicate and pretty, even if a bit old school.

Apavisa's Nano Evolution series included some of my favorite offerings at the show. I loved these handmade decos and could see using them in so many projects! Elegant and rustic in delicious detail!

Their Arch Concept series was also striking. I loved the patina-ed finish and geometric texture of this series.

Altto Glass showed off some handsome texture of its own with this Isis line. Their glass is recycled. The style is not.

Natucer also created a fresh, fun 3D look with its Volumen series. Loved this look!

For more top products, please visit my Cevisama Past, Wallpaper- and Tech-inspired Ideabooks on Houzz.com.

Photos -- I took all of these photos on my iPhone 4S.

21 February 2012

Cevisama 2012 - Top Trends from Spanish Tile and Bath Show

I was thrilled to be invited to Cevisama, Spain’s annual tile and bath trade show. ASCER, the Spanish tile trade council, represented in the U.S. as Tile of Spain, sponsored our press group and took us to visit their member booths at the show. This provided us with a fabulous overview of Europe’s latest tile innovations. Here are the top trends I spotted at the show that are likely headed across the pond this year. Last week, I blogged about the top trends for the Russian market, an entirely different animal!

Smart style

Tile has gotten smarter since its introduction thousands of years ago! I was incredibly impressed with the innovations I spotted at the show. Here are some of the highlights:

Ceracasa is releasing Eco, tile that stores energy and releases it for heating and cooling a room, by the end of the year.

Ceracasa already produces Emotile, an ink jet-produced mural that feature custom designs by clients submitted digitally. While mainly used in commercial projects, I can see these tiles cladding a shower or kitchen wall in an eclectic residence.

Thin was definitely in at the show, with skinny tiles that are easier to carry and cut, less costly to ship and installable over existing floors were prominent at Cevisama. One of the companies that pioneered this technology is Inalco. They also pioneered digital printing on tiles, creating ceramics that stunningly duplicate natural materials.

Designing in California and Florida has given me a passion for indoor-outdoor living spaces. Natucer’s Stone Klinker and Grespania’s weathered wood look Basilea were two top collections that come in low-maintenance indoor and slip-resistant outdoor versions – both smart and stylish!

Natucer also built rows of LED lights into tile with its clever Life Arc series.

But the smartest tiles at the show were undoubtedly Tau’s S3 system. S3 stands for Smart Surface Systems and smart is a serious understatement! I’ll cover these more in my next post on top products from the show but, like Ceracasa’s Eco tile, S3 impacts a room’s temperature. It also ties in entertainment, lighting and other home systems. Wow!

Ceracasa's Emotile uses ink-jet technology to render client images on wall tile

Go Green

Eco-friendly attributes were widespread throughout the show, too. As mentioned above, energy-storing tiles were among the offerings. So were tiles made from recycled materials. I liked Altto Glass’ mosaics made from residential windows. Plaza showed off Ecowood, tiles that look like wood, but are almost entirely made by cast-off materials from local tile factories. Scrap never looked so good!

Altto Glass recycles translucent house windows into colorful mosaics

Good Wood

Wood-look tiles are not new, but ink-jet technology keeps improving their style and versatility. Vives showed how great wood marquetry can look in tile. Peronda and Grespania showcased beautiful rustic, reclaimed looks. And, as noted above, Ecowood brought eco points to the trend.

Weathered wood look tile by Plaza goes both indoors and out

3D without Glasses

One of the most playful, fun trends at the show was tile that was anything but flat. Natucer’s various 3D series cast ceramics as room dividers, shower niches, furniture legs and create wall art.

Much of Apavisa’s booth featured dimensional tile with layers, curves and waves for some of the most contemporary, artistic looks at the show.

Tau showed how stylish 3D can be with tone-on-tone Mayfair series listellos that raise pattern and style.

Look what ceramics can do! Natucer's Separate Rooms take tile to another dimension.

Old Looks, New Life

In the everything old is new again category, updates of retro styles were Everywhere! New screen print and ink jet processes give tile makers the technology to produce historic looks with impressive accuracy and affordability. Some of the most notable include:

Tile as wallpaper was one of the dominant trends at the show. Floral, striped, India-inspired and wainscot looks were everywhere! Much of the more ornate product was intended for Russia and Eastern Europe, but we could be seeing some of the subtle stripes, mini florals and grass cloth looks heading for the U.S. this year.

Tiles that revive encaustic and concrete styles were among my favorites at Cevisama, particularly Natucer’s Cementi series.

Hexagons were popular, too, with updated colors and finishes, reviving a retro bathroom look with contemporary style. Plaza’s Genesis series did this especially well!

Love the encaustic trend, shown here by Vives

All That Glitters…

Works stylishly in metallic, textured, graphic-patterned metallic tile. In my recent Houzz Ideabooks on tile trends, I showcased graphic tile as a top trend. These tiles that repeat random, geometric-inspired patterns, typically in just two colors, add interest to a wall without shouting. I really like the metallic graphics I saw for myself at Cevisama that combine shape, texture and soft shine. They manage to be both elegant and contemporary.

At the other end of the taste spectrum were the many irridescent tiles on display. Much of it was cheesy and will probably never hit our shores. A few offerings with more tasteful tone-on-tone design could make their way past the fashion police.

Graphic textures in silver metallic by Plaza shine bright


Links -- I did not provide links to the companies, as I usually do, as all can be found through the Tile of Spain web site and not all have easily-found English pages!

Photos -- I took all of these photos on my iPhone 4S.

14 February 2012

Food for Thought #5 - Is Russia the New Wild, Wild East?

I had the splendid pleasure of visiting Spain last week as a guest of that country’s tile manufacturers’ trade representatives, Tile of Spain or ASCER. They took our press group to Cevisama, a major trade show in Valencia featuring tile and bath fixtures. I’ll be sharing top trends and products from the show, and a Molten Gold or two, in the coming weeks.

Today, I’d like to muse on a particular trend I spotted there, one I hadn’t given any thought to before. Yes, I’m fascinated by kitchens and baths from other countries. Last summer, I was treated to a guest post by the Kitchen Mogul on the top UK favorites of that British blogger. I recently requested a guest post on Japanese kitchens and baths from an interior designer’s US publicist.

With this post, I openly invite a Russian blogger to share his or her thoughts and images on Russian kitchens and baths. I can only imagine their style from the tiles I saw at Cevisama that were slated for export there in the coming months.

Every time I asked a booth rep whether an over-the-top tile style was heading to the U.S. market, I got the same reply: No, Russian. That got me to thinking about that grand nation, the country of my grandmother’s birth and emigration more than a century ago.

The patterns I saw were as large as Siberia, and as fanciful as a fabled Faberge egg. The trend was formal and highly stylized – palatial even. It all reminded me of the grandiosity of an historic Texan oil baron’s mansion, or a saloon or bordello in an old movie western set.

I realized that the comparison is not terribly off. Nor is it meant to offend. Both cultures exemplify the triumph of energy, masculinity, exploration and discovery. Like the Wild West of American legend, Russia today is a land tapping into its vast natural resources, and enjoying great wealth as a result. Just as our tycoons did a century ago. He who finds the most treasure wins fame and fortune. Showing it off in your home is a relative benefit, and a recent one for many Russians. It must also be a refreshing change from the drab days of communist scarcity.

One of these years, I’d like to visit Russia myself. In the meantime, I’ll savor the glimpse this trade show afforded me. Let me know what you think, too!

Photo Notes:

> I took all of the Tile of Spain booth display shots with my iPhone 4S at Cevisama.
> Faberge Egg photo is from Wikipedia.

07 February 2012

Steam Showers - Guest Post by Steamist

Have you ever enjoyed a steam shower at a resort, gym or day spa? I find them incredibly relaxing and restorative. So when I was chatting with a rep for Steamist, makers of residential steam systems, I asked for a guest post.

Jeff Carney, Steamist’s VP of Sales and Marketing, was happy to oblige. If you thought you knew steam before, check out the latest gear that’s on the market now… Now I want one of these!

Here’s why, in Jeff’s own words. FYI, Steamist calls their system a "steambath," rather than a steam shower. They are essentially the same thing:


Why steam?

Here are a few benefits of adding steam to your master suite:
  • From hydrating skin and soothing sore muscles to providing relief for allergies, asthma and arthritis, the health benefits of steam are unrivaled.
  • Taking a steam shower saves water compared to filling a tub or taking a shower. A 20-minute steam shower uses about a gallon of water, whereas filling a soaking tub may require 60 to 70 gallons and even an average shower uses approximately two-and-a-half gallons of water per minute.
  • A home steam system is incorporated seamlessly into the shower stall, so it does not require the extra space needed for a large tub and does not change the appearance of the shower.
  • Steam showers are now available for almost any size space, making them an easier-than-ever, affordable luxury for your master bath remodel.

Steam 101

It’s easy to see that steam has a lot to offer. But what does it entail? The components of a basic steambath are a generator, a control and a steamhead. Here’s a quick look at each of these elements:

  • The steam generator is the heart of the steam experience. Generators are about the size of a briefcase, so they can easily be installed almost anywhere – in a cabinet, closet, basement or insulated attic up to 50 feet away from the shower.
  • The control is the brain of the system. The primary controls mount inside the steam bath, and basic functions include an on/off button, a programmable timer and temperature readout. Simpler on/off controls are also available for mounting outside the steambath to allow you to turn the steam on before stepping into the shower.
  • The steamhead is – you guessed it - the source of the steam. Available in a variety of finishes, steamheads feature a sleek, low-profile design that mounts on the shower wall and distribute steam evenly from all four sides.

This basic system, which ranges in price from about $1,600 to $3,000 (depending on shower size and construction materials), allows you to enjoy the relaxation and rejuvenation of a complete steambath at your convenience, from the comfort of home.

Getting one for your home

Since a steambath needs to be professionally installed, a plumbing contractor should be consulted to provide a quote for converting an existing shower during a remodel or installing a steambath in new home construction.

One important consideration for adding a steam system to an existing shower is that it’s absolutely essential to fully enclose the shower walls and door so the steam does not escape. Most existing showers can be updated to include steam, and a qualified plumbing contractor can quickly determine what adjustments need to be made.

Bells and whistles

For those of you interested in taking your home spa experience to the next level, there are some exciting new features available. These include advanced digital controls that allow personalized user profiles; a remote control that allows you to turn the steam on and off from other rooms in the home; instant steam generator; chromatherapy from various colored lighting; aromatherapy infusers, and in-shower audio with Bluetooth® technology to connect a smartphone, iPad, iPod touch or any Bluetooth-enabled music player from up to 30 feet away.

While any of these features can be selected individually or paired in any combination, the price for a fully-equipped steam system with all of these advanced, optional components is approximately $7,000.

Getting started

To begin the process of sizing and selecting the various components of a steam system, start by visiting a local bath showroom, talking with a bath designer or contractor, or doing your own online research.


Inspired to learn more? Check out Steamist’s site or Google "steam shower" or "steam bath" for more information.

(All photos courtesy of Steamist.)

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