Bringing more of Spain into the design industryBy Isabel Berenguer Asuncion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I finally swung by the new Porcelanosa showroom in Bonifacio Global City. I say finally, because since missing its grand launch a few months back, I’d been eager to come by and see what the showroom had to offer.
Porcelanosa is a Spanish company that has been manufacturing tiles for over 30 years, and has since developed many other building products for the architecture and design industry. I’ve used Porcelanosa tiles a few times before, as they were already being sold locally by another retailer. A residential project however sent me off to a buying trip in Spain and that changed the way I saw Porcelanosa.
I developed an appreciation for their products, especially their care in design. I had hoped that someone would bring the full range to the Philippines. Well finally, someone did!
Top of the mind
In Spain, Porcelanosa’s name is so top of mind that its tiles are found installed all over: in hotels, malls, residential developments, primary homes, secondary homes, etc. Its not surprising, since its tiles have many patterns, colors and designs, all of which are quite tastefully put together, and naturally finding their way into the best projects.
In fact, it is one of the few tile companies I know that is consistent in the quality of design: understated and holding to a certain amount of restraint. Not “strambotico” as my mother would have described its opposite: the Spanish equivalent to being overly flamboyant, kitschy and bordering on bad taste.
You see, we Filipinos have a thing for Italian tiles, and when we can’t afford them we settle for Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian tiles, which carry only the most basic designs. Not many explore contemporary Spanish tiles despite the fact that the Spaniards have a long history of tile production, going way back to when the Arabs first occupied the Iberian Peninsula. Today, Spain has around 200 manufacturers of traditional and modern tiles.
Several brand names
Unknown to many, Porcelanosa Grupo carries its tiles under several brand names. It carries other bath and kitchen products as well.
Its local distributor, Casa Europa Inc., brought in all the different lines: the Venis range of decorative ceramic tiles; Noken, sanitary ware and bathroom fittings; the Urbatek, a range of high-performance through-body porcelain tiles; Butech, an architectural raised floor system for commercial applications; L’Antic Colonial, specializing in handmade terra cotta stone and marble tiles; Gamedecor, which carries kitchen and bathroom systems—all modern and elegant in their simplicity—plus lavatories, vanities and bathroom accessories like shelves and mirrors; System-Pool, which specializes in hydromassage baths, shower/sauna cubicles, spas and steam baths; and the Krion solid surface material. Quite recently, it introduced architectural exterior cladding systems, for those who want a new look and some insulation for their existing structures.
While the one-stop-shop concept is good, the one-track-mind design concept is what I find appealing here: The items you will see are within the same design style—the same aesthetic language—and therefore work so well together; you can mix and match and come out with something that will look and work right. The process of selection is made a little easier.
Given everything that’s in the showroom, its main inventory in Spain is integrated into a global ordering system, with all its shops worldwide hooked online at real-time so that at any moment, stocks can be checked and items can be immediately ordered. This system saves customers and design professionals the trouble of having to scour the showroom anew in order to replace items not in stock in the factory or in warehouse many days after having made their initial selection.
As I’ve gone through it many times before, this is a tiring and tedious (and annoying!) process. Finding the items that suit your design concept is difficult enough; having to check that it has all the functional features you need can really take a day to work out.
What would aggravate it is if there wasn’t even enough in the showroom to choose from. In Porcelanosa’s case, I have to congratulate Casa Europa for such a good stash; it was such a pleasure to walk through and see a more than a just preview of everything it has. Given the boom in the economy, design professionals like myself truly welcome new products in the building material market. I hope there will be more products and showrooms to visit, and I hope too, that they’ll be as good as this one.
Contact the author through firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Asuncion Berenguer Facebook account.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=84468