Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spanish Tile as Building Material, Part 3

In my last post, Spanish Tile as Building Material, Part 2, I focused on the fortress city of Teruel (a World Heritage city designated by UNESCO). As a vital area for Mudejar art, a style influenced by Islamic tradition and more contemporary European architectural styles, Teruel’s extensive use of brick and ceramic tile on centuries-old buildings and façades serves as a timeless testament to the importance of ceramic tile as a building material.

The Agora (L'Àgora) in Valencia, Spain.
The Agora (L'Àgora) building within the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, is part of a larger complex of facilities designed by Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. 

With this final installation of a three-part series, I’ll take you on a journey to Valencia where architecture and design have come together to form a cohesive partnership in the City of Arts and Sciences, followed by Cevisama (the annual International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings Show) where new relationships are formed and the latest technological advancements in ceramic tile applications are revealed.

Valencian Paella
Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Lake Albufera. There are three widely known varieties of this sumptuous creation (meat, seafood, and a seafood/meat combination. All three versions feature saffron (the most expensive spice in the world) and olive oil.

Architecture and Design
The City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias), designed by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, is a breath-taking complex which consists of five main structures, or elements: the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema and digital projections), the Umbracle (a landscaped vantage point and car park), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (an innovative center of interactive science), the Oceanográfico (the largest aquarium in Europe), the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (an opera house), and Ágora, which offers a multifunctional venue for exhibitions, conferences or meetings. Built along what was formerly the bed of the River Turia, the City of Arts and Sciences was envisioned as THE venue for entertaining and stimulating the minds of its visitors with science, technology, nature, and art.

Detailed view of the Agora
This detailed view of the Ágora building’s façade illustrates how natural sunlight and the reflection of immediate surroundings can play colorful tricks on the eye. 

Trencadis mosaic of the City of Arts and Sciences
Trencadís is a type of mosaic created from broken tile shards. Millions of pieces adorn the surrounding benches, staircases, and building surfaces of the City of Arts and Sciences.

Cevisama, the Event
From Antoni Gaudi to Calatrava, and from centuries past, it’s evident architects and builders have relied heavily on the strength and longevity of ceramic tile. Throughout its rich, multi-cultural history ceramic tile has, and continues to play, an integral role in defining Spanish architecture.

As a result of this reputation, it’s no wonder that Cevisama attracts not only Spanish attendees, but an enthusiastic global crowd as well. During the most recent edition of the annual show, attendees were treated to mind-bending shapes, sizes, lengths, color palettes and textures. Here are several examples of what was revealed during the 2012 edition of Cevisama. Note: The following images were made available by Tile of Spain.

Apavisa's "Archconcept" series
Tile of Spain manufacturer Apavisa's "Archconcept " series
Grespania's "Coverlam" series
Tile of Spain manufacturer Grespania's "Coverlam" series
Aparici's "Neutral" series
Tile of Spain manufacturer Aparici's "Neutral" series
Pamesa's "Mood" series
Tile of Spain manufacturer Pamesa's "Mood" series 
I hope you enjoyed this brief sprint through Spain, a country that I look forward to visiting many more times throughout my life. If you aren't able to get to Spain any time soon, then bring Spain into your home with hand-painted Spanish tile offered by Avente Tile, or by contacting your ceramic tile retailer about the products I highlighted above.

Finally, many thanks again to Tile of Spain, the umbrella brand managed jointly by the Trade Commission of Spain in Miami, FL, and the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) in Valencia, Spain, for the opportunity of a lifetime in participating in their “Reign in Spain A&D Tour.”

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