I was recently lucky enough to be invited along to Valencia to visit the Porcelanosa Headquarters, and see their annual International Design Festival, and the launch of the new designs.
If you’re not familiar with them, Porcelanosa is a world leader in ceramic wall and floor tiles, with over 5000 employees and over 40 years experience in the market. Porcelanosa Group is made up of 7 different companies and present in almost 100 countries worldwide.
For this trip, I visited the beautiful city of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain where the weather was a sunny 18 degrees; a most welcome temperature in the British Winter.
Before I tell you a little about Porcelanosa, their factories and design festival, I want to take you on a little tour of the city. My first day there was spent in restaurants, eating and drinking, and then touring the city under incredibly blue skies. I’d love to go back; what a wonderful place for a city break. Just two hours from Gatwick and next to the Mediterranean, it’s a perfect spot for either a couples or girls weekend.
Our tour took us on a 5 mile, 2.5 hour walk around the city with our very knowledgeable and fun guide, allowing us to experience some breathtaking architecture. From cathedrals to churches to colourful buildings, in both a traditional and more contemporary feel, the city is a wealth of history, religion and Spanish style.
Valencia is famous for ceramics and porcelain tiles and oranges. Orange trees were everywhere, and these, in a beautifully lit courtyard really caught my eye.
Of course, any trip to Valencia wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local food. I have to say, we had plenty of opportunity to do this, and the food was divine. From giant tomatoes with fresh tuna, to calamari, Valencian paella, and traditional deserts, to Sangria, to afternoon tea, the food is stunning and thank goodness we were walking so much or I would have been rolling home.
So, what an incredible setting for a tour of the Porcelanosa HQ and a view of the 23rd Design Festival. The second day of our trip took us the factories and HQ buildings of the group to experience their very own design exhibitions. Each year they spend months preparing their showrooms before opening them to clients from all over the world. Steeped in quality, innovation and luxurious style, the brand is well-known for its festival, enabling them to launch new products and creations.
Here in the UK we probably don’t use tiles in main living areas, in the same way as on the European continent, potentially due to the climate, but seeing the product in situ showcased how stunning they can be on both walls and floors.
Collaborations with well-known designers brings new and innovative product launches to the exhibition each year, and this year was no exception. We met several designers, all discussing their inspirations and collaboration process with Porcelanosa, illustrating their passion for design and quality. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit this bath into my case!
But, the most surprising event of the day had to be the factory tour. It was huge. And so clean, light and bright. Unlike any factory I’ve seen before, many employees use bikes to travel around. The bikes originate back 40 years to the beginning of the company and continue to be used to this day. After walking around just one of the buildings I can see why.
The pictures I’ve taken are from the floor tile factory (there’s an identical wall tile factory next door) where most operations are computer and robot controlled, even the kilns, with around 50 staff on duty at any one time. It’s a remarkable operation and illustrates the true size of this company.
Once manufactured, the tiles are stored in this racking system all ready to be picked and shipped out across the world to showrooms and clients around the world. Everything is made in the Spanish HQ, Porcelanosa preferring to keep everything close to home.
I have a local Porcelanosa showroom, and it was lovely to chat to the Porcelanosa directors who manage the UK arm of the business, and know the showrooms. If you’ve never been, do take a trip if you’re planning some decorating, they are a wonderful experience, full of inspiration and ideas for your project. You can find out more about the products and your local showroom on the website HERE.
Thanks to Porcelanosa for sharing this experience with me.