60 Kilometres up the Mediterranean coast from Valencia lies the headquarters of the Porcenalosa group, the giant Spanish stone and ceramic expert.
All photography by Aylott + Van Tromp
Over the course of the next two days, we managed to visit their seven core facilities, each producing a different offering and end product.
Porcenalosa is synonymous with tiles yet they also produce a whole host of other material finishes and architectural products, from real wood timber flooring, to wafer thin concrete cladding, kitchens, bathroom, shower heads, Krion (Porcenalosa’s own version of a ‘corian’ type acrylic resin) right through to facade systems, plaster wall finishes and grout. Literally every interior and exterior building finish imaginable.
As opposed to being information overload, the materials were cleverly laid out and arranged beautifully in situation/showroom settings which to a designer was not far off being a huge sweet shop. Not only did this show the materials in the environments intended but when combined with a technical expert from Porcenalosa, it demonstrated just what is possible for us to create and certainly got the mind working.
Of course, when passing through Valencia it would of been rude not to have visited the Santiago Calatrava’s Ciudad de las Artes.
It is stunning in reality, with millions of cracked ceramic fragments making up the curved facade of the main shape. This nod to the local tile industry just isn’t visible within photos and like most ceramics needs to be seen to be appreciated.
Alongside the materials themselves, the sheer size of this place was awe inspiring. The warehouses are beyond vast and overseen by a mixture of robots and factory staff whizzing past on their personal bicycles. Upon entering a factory space like this, it always feels slightly disorientating, the scale throws your balance and having vistas which appear to never end make you feel miniature. You only come back to you reality when a pallette carrying robot asks you to politely move out the way.