The humble porcelain tile can present many decorative possibilities for the design-curious homeowner—here, we reveal some of the key trends seen in Spain’s ceramics hub in Valencia

Located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Valencia is the most important ceramics district in Spain, and a city where the headquarters and factories of many notable Spanish porcelain manufacturing firms are located. Held in Valencia, the annual Cevisama ceramics and bathroom trade fair highlights new trends in both sectors, and is among the unmissable design events in the country.

Although the June edition of the trade fair was cancelled, the event took on a different guise; the organiser arranged for international journalists to attend a series of intimate sessions and press tours with trendsetters and key brands. These included inspiring talks with creatives in the world of ceramics, interior design and architecture, as well as private visits to factories to see how tile collections are produced.

The latest trends in ceramics not only respond to the design and hygiene needs that arose from the Covid-19 pandemic; they also underline a desire for environmental sustainability, and for a variety of decorative elements that help to fulfil our desire to create calming spaces that are also beautiful to behold. Here, we highlight some of the key trends to watch.

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1. Form: Fun Factor

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Photo 1 of 3 The Star and Pietra tiles from Vives Ceramica
Photo 2 of 3 The Frame Natural tiles from Ape Grupo
Photo 3 of 3 Natucer Cerámica’s Malta Star taupe tiles

A mix of geometric patterns will certainly add a playful touch to your interior. Popular designs include small brick-effect tiles, as well as versions in hexagonal, star and diamond shapes that can be combined with tiles in simpler forms to create unique designs for various areas in your home.

Highlights include the Malta Star taupe tiles from Natucer Cerámica, which feature interlocking options in two geometric patterns, as well as Vives Ceramica’s concrete-effect Star and Pietra tiles, which were designed to be combined.

2. Colour: Brighter Days

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Photo 1 of 2 Tiles with contrasting blue-and-white diamond motifs from Undefasa
Photo 2 of 2 Patterned tiles with pistachio green accents from Land Porcelanico

After the Nordic modern minimalist trend that dominated the noughties, colour is now creeping into even the most understated of spaces, whether on tiles applied to the walls or flooring. As witnessed at the Cevisama sessions, these Spanish ceramic companies have created vibrant new decorative collections that feature bold colours: the grey hues that were preferred in the past also take on warmer, creamy tones and are paired with brighter hues.

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3. Texture: Marble Awe

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Photo 1 of 2 The Canyon collection from Land Porcelanico
Photo 2 of 2 Realonda Ceramica’s Gatsby collection

Porcelain tiles with marble-effect patterns were already a big trend in recent years. Instead of subtle designs, these tiles feature more dramatic veining and patterning.

The Spanish tile manufacturers have also created playful patterns that mix and match plain tiles with those sporting marble-effect patterns to create a strong decorative impact; these include the striking striped design of Realonda Ceramica’s Gatsby collection.

4. Texture: Wooden Warmth

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Photo 1 of 3 Collections from Gayafores include designs with wood or stone-effect patterns
Photo 2 of 3 A bathroom with wood-effect tiles from Porcelanosa Group
Photo 3 of 3 An interior featuring tiles with wood and floral motifs from Ceracasa

The desire for an interior with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that’s connected to nature has led to the creation of numerous ceramic tile collections that feature hues and textures inspired by natural wood. It is now possible to choose tiles with finishes inspired by a wide range of textures inspired by various varieties of timber.

Be it a pattern inspired by light bleached oak or dark ebony wood; these tiles feature tactile textures that mimic the organic appearance of woodgrain. Weatherproof and durable, these tiles can be applied to both indoor and outdoor settings too.

5. Style: Vintage Edge

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Photo 1 of 3 Zinc collection from Apavisa
Photo 2 of 3 Zinc coAzuvi’s Style2 Breccia Violetta AZ porcelain tiles
Photo 3 of 3 Theia marble-effect tiles from Dune

Tiles with patinated textures is another interesting style that has taken hold. These include the Zinc collection from Apavisa, which features tiles with patterns inspired by oxidised metal. The colours have become more intense than before, with the resulting effect adding a characterful patina to any interior scheme.

Another intriguing design is Azuvi’s Breccia Violetta AZ tile from its Style2 collection, which features a marble-effect look with purple veins to create a beautiful retro-influenced aesthetic.

6. Form: Large Format

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Photo 1 of 4 Tiles from Exagres in stone- and concrete-like finishes
Photo 2 of 4 Tiles from ExagPorcelain tiles from the XTONE large-format collection by Urbatek
Photo 3 of 4 Slaterock large format tiles from Vitacer
Photo 4 of 4 Filo beige natural tiles from Apavisa

In the past, tiles were typically made in two classic shapes: square and rectangular, and in small sizes. They were relatively easier to produce, while still requiring a lot more manpower. To minimise the appearance of grout lines, manufacturers have adapted and created tiles in larger dimensions that are applied not only to floors, but also used on other surfaces in the home.

The goal is to create a seamless look, with almost imperceptible joints. Beautiful to look at and easy to clean, such large-format tiles can be used in various settings, be it a sophisticated living room, an open-plan kitchen or even in the bedroom.

7. Form: Multi Dimensional

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Photo 1 of 3 Empire collection from Realonda
Photo 2 of 3 Adex’s products include the 3D Studio Vizcaya Deco tiles
Photo 3 of 3 The Core collection from Gayafores

With the improvement of ceramic production processes, you can find more tile designs that feature 3D forms, such as the Studio Vizcaya Deco tiles from Adex as well as Realonda’s Empire tiles; the latter features geometric motifs with tactile effects. These faceted options represent a new frontier in the tile industry, and are becoming an increasingly important decorative element used in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Abstract designs, curvaceous forms, concrete-effect textures and stone-like patterns make up the wide range of the 3D tiles available. Changing natural and ambient light conditions throughout the day help to bring a sense of dynamism to spaces that feature these multidimensional surfaces; it’s a luxurious way of introducing both visual richness and tactility to an interior.