Earlier this month Annie, along with other leading Australian design firms had the honour of attending a study tour around Spain organised by Earp Bros. The tour took Annie and the group to Madrid, Valencia and Seville with the opportunity to appreciate the remnants of some of the grand historical architectural sites along with the most innovative architectural buildings from the new millennium that often appear to define gravity. The tour showcased a variety of Spanish tile, stone and façade system manufacturers from both ends of the material spectrum, from handmade to futuristic.
First stop was Madrid, providing endless inspiration particularly around their approached on repurposing old sites and infusing their culture and passion of food into their food halls and market spaces. An example of this is the Platea Madrid a former underutilised cinema that was reimagined into a gastronomy leisure playground that marries both entertainment and gastronomy across multiple levels, whilst remaining sympathetic to the existing structure and history of the space. A perfect fusion of history, innovation and market place relevance.
Valencia a city so rich in history but also home to The City of Arts and Science precinct that pushes innovation to its boundaries. Subsequently home to a number of leading material and façade system factories. The tour took the group to Vicente Camp a family owned and run business, one of the only companies remaining that use traditional wood-fired kilns for their handmade ceramics. From generations of traditional craftsman ship to the most innovative technologies for glass mosaics, the group visited the Onix showroom and factory. A glass mosaic manufacturer that uses 100% recycled glass from windows to create the most extraordinary patterns and textures. With their latest, creating a slip resistance mosaic floor tile that does not have the traditional sandpaper grit making it actually cleanable.
Saving the best to last, the group headed to the Porcelanosa Group showroom and factories which can only be describe as a mini city in itself. Consisting of eight companies specialising in all areas of surface materials and systems, the study group visited Porcelanosa Groups porcelain tiling factories, test labs, and kitchen, bathroom and stone showrooms as well as being exposed to the possibility and technology around solid surfaces and façade systems. From the sophisticated systems of façade upgrades to the complex engineering behind some of the most ostentatious building envelopes around the world, it provided inspiration and showed the possibility on how we can adopt some of the systems into the Brisbane Urban landscape. The Porcelanosa Group are continually exploring new ideas and pushing boundaries, their latest focus, creating a tile that maintains its slip rating through the life of the material. Something we all would like to see achieved.
With the business component over, the group headed off to Seville to enjoy and immerse themselves in the Spanish culture. Admiring the sites and history of Seville but always remaining dedicated in experiencing the Spanish cuisine and hydrated over suitable amounts of vino.
Many thanks to Earp Bros for their generosity https://earp.com.au/