This past February, I had the opportunity to be a guest of Tile of Spain on a press tour to Cevisama - the International Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings Show - in Valencia, Spain. A division of the Trade Commission of Spain, the organization promotes Tile of Spain-branded manufacturers, and the primary purpose of this trip was to create awareness of these products. Many of the editors who joined me on this press tour were from more general architectural-based publications, so this was an ideal learning opportunity for them. Likewise, it was very informative to me as well.

In the 12-plus years that I have been withContemporary Stone & Tile Design, I have visited an extensive number of stone and tile exhibitions around the world - generally three or four each year. And despite having attended so many trade events, I can honestly say that it doesn’t get repetitive. Each show always provides a forum for tile and stone manufacturers to introduce their latest developments, and each time, it is obvious that they had been hard at work for months (or longer) researching and creating their new collections. After walking the exhibition floor for only a few hours, the current trends begin to shine through. Physically attending a trade show and having the chance to actually see and touch the new products is a way to gain valuable insight into the market.

And, this held true in the case of my recent trip to Cevisama. When discussing the latest tile displays with those from my group that had attended the exhibition before, we all were in agreement that innovation was particularly high this year. It seemed that many manufacturers really stepped it up a notch and created high-quality products that were elegant, bold and inspiring.

Great textures were definitely evident at many of the exhibitor stands. Subtle sheen finishes, muted metallics and raised surfaces of geometric patterns were just a few of the examples on display in Spain. Textures such as this really bring a tile to life and can add depth to any space.

Another point that became obvious to me at Cevisama this year is that many tile manufacturers are making a conscious effort to be environmentally friendly. Companies are increasing their water-recycling efforts and utilizing other techniques to make their manufacturing process more green. Additionally, there is an increasing amount of tile products that are largely comprised of recycled material - particularly glass tile products.

Next month, I will be traveling to Chicago to attend Coverings, which is the largest stone and tile exhibition in the U.S. In addition to a number of Tile of Spain-branded manufacturers, Ceramic Tiles of Italy will have a large presence at the show as well as other contingencies of tile and stone producers from around the world, including the U.S. And I will once again be in awe of the abundance of innovative products that will be showcased.

In addition to the Cevisama Product Review that begins on page 14 of this issue, there is also the feature on kitchen and bath design (page 22) and the feature on exterior architecture (page 36) that all illustrate examples of unique tile and stone applications. From shimmering glass mosaics to large-format porcelain tile to rough-cut limestone, there is a detailed cross-section of how the latest innovations in tile and stone can be used for various design styles.