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Tile Tuesday: In Valencia Art is a Way of Life

Welcome to today’s installment of Tile Tuesday!  The second half of my adventure with Tile of Spain took us to Valencia, location of Cevisama the annual trade show held to showcase the latest innovations introduced by the Spanish tile industry.

The City of Arts and Sciences, a stunning example of the new Spanish architecture designed byDesigned by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
The City of Arts and Sciences, a stunning example of the new Spanish architecture designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.

We traveled by train east from Sevilla to Valencia, which is situated on the coast about 300 miles south of Barcelona. At first glance Valencia appears to be very modern with a predominance of what I call “the new Spanish architecture” featuring waves, curves and a visually interesting asymmetry.

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Iglesia del San Juan del Hospital is in the heart of old Valencia. Photo courtesy of Frank Advertising

But there is an older Valencia to explore as well. The heart of the city features structures such as The “Iglesia de San Juan del Hospital” which dates back to the 1200s! The current city grew from this center. What a crazy combination of styles!  You can see Roman, Gothic, Renaissance  and more because different sections were constantly added to the original structure.

Our tour guide       explained how Valencia's main river Turia flooded the town killing hundreds in 1957.  This prompted a massive project to re route the river to prevent future catastrophe. So far it's worked.
Our tour guide, architect Adrián Torres, explained how Valencia’s River Turia flooded the town killing 81 people and destroying thousands of homes in 1957. This prompted a massive project to re-route the river to prevent future catastrophes. So far it’s worked. Photo courtesy of Frank Advertising

Again we had a passionate knowledgeable tour guide who did not allow us to leave one inch of Valencia uncovered!

 

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Mercado de Colón, designed by architect Francisco Mora Berenguer was built in 1914 and is a perfect example of the Art Nouveau style.

 

One of my favorite spots was the Mercado de Colón, a beautiful example of the Art Nouveau style. Glass and tile adorn this early twentieth century marketplace, now a gathering place full of interesting bars and restaurants.

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Hallmarks of the Art Nouveau style include free flowing organic shapes,  rich earth tones and lots of tile! At the turn of the nineteenth century there was no aspect of living that was not touched by the movement.  It was a global trend as well.  In Germany it was known as Jugendstil, in Spain Arté Joven and Secession in Austria.  The American version evolved into the what we know as the Arts and Crafts Movement, a simplified, more linear version.   According to Art Nouveau philosophy,  art should be a way of life. No wonder I’m always intrigued by it!

A great modern interpretation of Art Nouveau by Grabill Cabinets.
A great modern interpretation of Art Nouveau by Grabill Cabinets.  Shapes are Nouveau but the white is thoroughly modern.

If you’re looking to “Nouveau” your kitchen here are somethings you can include:

-Rich brown wood stains

-Green, green and green

 

-Some curvy shapes (more affordable to do this with your counter top than with cabinets)

-Oak wood floors or cabinets

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In an Arts & Crafts Revival kitchen, an artistic tile panel by Handcraft Tile Co. and oak cabinets lend appeal to a kitchen with modern appliances. Photo by William Wright.

 

-Certain flora and fauna like the dragonfly, the ginko leaf and the thistle are all images often seen in Art Nouveau styling

-Ceramic tile backsplashes (preferably with the above motifs)

Next Tile Tuesday: More Cevisama and the future of tile.

 

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Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

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