The Spanish tile industry may have seen its U.S. numbers slip in 2007, but manufacturers are still focused on setting the trends. Here at Cevisama 2008 in Valencia, Spain, tile makers are unveiling new products that feature new digital printing technology and larger-format tiles that aim to provide the architectural community a way to add scale to their commercial and residential projects.

Some manufacturers chose products that offer a twist on classic style. Natucer, for example, introduced Formats, an extruded line of tiles that come in subway-style configurations. But unlike the traditional sizes such as 2 inches by 4 inches, the company's line comes in 6 by 20, 2 by 10, and 2 by 20. Targeted at high-end buyers, the line also offers curved pieces that create a basket-weave look and a range of complementary pieces.

Tau pursued products that promote relaxation, order, and clean lines. The products, such as Gael, come in soft quiet colors such as beiges and browns. Saloni, on the other hand, chose cutting edge with the avant-garde Stone System, which come in five colors, large formats such as 18 inches by 36 inches and 23 inches by 23 inches, and with hard-edge decorative pieces. The company also introduced Metalia, which integrates iron oxide and ceramic ink in its glaze to produce products with a stainless steel look.

And Roca introduced Tempo, a large-format tile that the company says works with any type of decoration, from a minimalist application combining its white bases with metallic finishes to baroque designs. The tile also features a scored middle that, when grouted, gives the tile a subway-tile look. It is available in seven colors including red and two finishes.

In times past, cutting-edge European designs reached the American shores after a year, and sometimes took longer. But these days, trends arrive at U.S. coasts in six months and sometimes faster depending on the market and the construction type. Manufacturers at the show say these tile styles could possibly reach the North American shores later this year.