Thousands of attendees in tailored suits and comfort-defying heels strolled through 100,000 square meters (1.1 million square feet) of sun-filled pavilions at the Feria Valencia convention center in Spain for the 31st annual Cevisama. Tile of Spain, which represents 125 companies in the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers' Association (ASCER), organized a media tour of the conference.

Show organizers reported that 673 companies from 40 countries planned to exhibit at the show, which ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 8, and is also known as the International Exhibition of Ceramics for Architecture, Bathrooms and Kitchens, Natural Stone, Raw Materials, Frits, and Enamels. Final attendance numbers are still being tallied, but last year’s attendance topped 70,000, including 13,000 international visitors.

From the ceramic tiles that manufacturers were highlighting in their stylized displays and vignettes, several trends were clear. High-resolution printing on tiles using inkjet decoration has improved noticeably in the past few years, relegating hand-painted tiles to virtual nonexistence at the show.

Ceramics printed to emulate the look of wood finishes remain popular, but manufacturers have increased their design repertoire by offering multiple species, distressed and painted wood looks, and even a pop art take on wood. The slight textural finish enabled in part by reactive glazing and other manufacturing techniques has helped make the wood finish more convincing than in the past.

The other significant benefactors of the advanced digital printing techniques are vintage and antique patterns. Many companies displayed a portfolio of tiles featuring classic designs and decorations reinterpreted to have more modern and simple forms and to use more contemporary color palettes.

Classic tile geometries also prevailed at the show, from beveled subway tiles to custom mosaic designs. In lieu of mesh-mounted mosaic tiles, manufacturers are creating standard-sized tiles scored with grout joints to simulate the look of individual tiles within one piece. Innovations in design and printing technology have enabled this simplification, allowing tile manufacturers to plan and customize tiles to create custom murals and compositions.

From the high-polished finish on tiles that simulate marble and natural stone to the custom colors, patterns, and shapes, Cevisama showed that technology has made nearly any look possible on porcelain or clay.