TRAVEL DIARY: VALENCIA WITH PORCELANOSA, PART 2
Right peeps, get ready for some proper luxury here! In this post I'm sharing all of my photos from Day 2 of our trip to Valencia with Porcelanosa to see their factory, showrooms and new product lines for 2016. On day one we got taken to an amazing restaurant and then on a tour of Valencia's history and architecture. That could in itself have been enough but on day 2 it was down to business as we got to explore the Porcelanosa factories and showrooms. Yes, I said showROOMS - this company is HUGE! I am talking like, every showroom being the size of IKEA. We went to at least 5 of them, I lost count.
Read on to see just a fraction of what was going on at Porcelanosa's design festival. A Michelin starred chef cooking for us and some of the most exquisite bathrooms and kitchen I've ever seen are just some of what's going on in this post. Grab yourself a cuppa, cos it's a whopper!
P.S - you can click on all of the gallery images to see them full size.
Before I share my shots, take a look at this video that Porcelanosa put together of our trip!
On day two, to start off with I had to put an outfit together that was both smart, casual, walkable and suitable for the Valencian temperature of over 20 degrees... IN JANUARY! Not too hard then?!
Let's go with black. You can't go wrong with all black.
We then jumped in our private minibus over to the HQ, where we were shown a video which taught us a little bit more about the company and the celebrity company that they keep. A huge list of celeb names with George Clooney and Enrique Iglesias' mum Isabel Preysler being the two main brand ambassadors. Oh, hey guys (we saw a lot more of these two later in the day).
Next, the fun factory bit.
'Centro Logistico' which is the main factory. I'm a huge fan of the TV show 'How it's Made' so I was really excited at this! Not only was I looking forward to seeing how their floor tiles were made but also the fact that they had life size robot machines driving things around the factory, and that it was so big that they needed these cute little vintage bikes to get around. Surreal.
Inside the factory we got a glimpse at the futuristic and huge scale of the manufacturing process at Porcelanosa. Impressive stuff! It's so hard to try and translate the scale of this place through images. It made me feel very, very small!
It was here that we started to understand the quality that Porcelanosa pride themselves on. Things like they 'bake' the ceramic floor tiles for much longer than their competitors, giving them extra durable qualities which make them a lot more valuable. This was just the start of understanding the company's ethos, which was explained in more detail later.
Then we got taken on to one of the however many showrooms we would visit in the day (don't judge me, I lost count)!
It's also in this first showroom that I realised how much Porcelanosa love a little bit of shadow gap lighting. Within the first showroom I had already fallen in love with this and decided I want shadow gap lighting basically in every space in my house now (not really sure that'll work in a 30s Art Deco flat but whatever).
I see about 5 George Clooney posters in this showroom.
Now - I have to explain the way the Porcelanosa Group is set up.
Because one house under the company will make ceramic wood imitation floor tiles (for instance) and then another house will make real wooden floor planks. But aren't they in competition with each other? Yep! It's actually quite a clever way to stay at the top of their game and driving each house to push forward and outsell the other. Smart business.
When at one of the showrooms we were lucky enough to meet the founder of the company. We got to ask him various 'press-type' questions, and I wanted to know more about the high standard that they maintained throughout the company. In his words, their C grade products are what most other companies would consider their 'A' grade. They strive towards being exceptionally cutting edge and forward thinking, and never let quality sacrifice for more sales.
I liked this lot.
At L'antic Colonial we saw the various natural finishes that the group offer.
This was my favourite showroom. I don't think I've ever seen such beautiful finishes. Stone, marble and wood done exquisitely well. I just wanted to stroke and stare at them all day.
Stroke and stare, stroke and stare.
Sink porn! Some of the designers talked us through their concept and the products. I loved that they all had really hidden drainage, either with a subtle blend into the bowl or via a back drainage which was barely even noticeable.
I think these tiles were my favourite of the whole day though. They're called Faces and they're designed by Ramon Esteves.
Ooh look, more recessed gap lighting!
I was getting so much design inspiration from this showroom alone. But alas, it was time to move on.
Another 3 or 4 George Clooney posters. They must really like this guy!
Next we were taken to the Venis showroom, where we saw a selection of the bathroom sanitaryware that was on offer from the group. But first of all, take a look at the crazy water feature in their lobby! It's like bloody Westfield! In every showroom they also had a signature scent, which when we asked about was discovered that they actually pump it through the air conditioning vents. Clearly this is how luxury is done, my friends!
The way Porcelanosa went to such a high level with their styling and lifestyle settings was really impressive.
After a little snoop here we were ushered to a rather formal cocktail party with Isabel Preysler. It was really funny watching as an outsider (and someone oblivious to her fame) how the room got so excited when she arrived!
We got some rather lovely canapes and had a couple of glasses of wine.
Oh hey George Clooney poster.
Then she was gone and it was all over. After this it all got a bit exciting, as it was now time to head over to another showroom, because
We were about to be cooked for by michelin starred chef, Quique Dacosta!
Why? Porcelanosa have collaborated with QuiQue to create a kitchen designed around the needs of a professional chef, but for the home. We were shown how this kitchen incorporated the functionality of a pro restaurant kitchen, but with beautiful design elements added.
There was a huge extractor fan that hung from the ceiling, looking more like a sculpture than any kind of fan, sliding doors that hid work surfaces and even folded back inside the units to save space and clever storage hidden inside of units. I got a bit excited by the food and didn't manage to get any pics of it properly, but you can read more about the kitchen collaboration here.
We started being welcome by QuiQue, who shared with us a few food creations that were disguised to look like other things. A stone was a cheese truffle, a rose had a centre of spiced apple and an edible leaf.
This dish looks a little strange but it was incredible.
I can still think of the exact taste of it even now, which surely must be the sign of a great dish?! It was Quique's take on the Valencian Paella dish (which I was lucky enough to try in Part 1 of this photo diary) with charred puffed rice. The rice dish was meaty and had a real 'umami' flavour, with the charred puffed rice being crispy on top - it was the perfect juxtaposition. SO YUM.
Dessert was a light chocolate sponge with a gorgeous cream. As you can imagine we were all so busy scoffing, taking pics and snapchatting that we all forgot to ask about the ingredients. Just believe me, everything was amazing.
We then got to have a last browse of some of the amazing kitchens and bathrooms on display.
Because what's another 50 beautiful kitchens to add to my list?!
I loved that this one reminded me of a sushi bar, but would also be quite practical for a small living space.
You thought they were done with the gap lighting right?
This was probably the best way I'd seen it used all day - bearing in mind I'd seen it be used a lot!
How cool is that?! I don't know about you but I am now plotting on how on earth I can have a glowing kitchen island in my tiny flat.
And wait, there's more... glowing bathroom steps!
LIKE THE STEPS TO HEAVEN, PEOPLE.
By now we were all shattered and thoroughly overwhelmed (in the most thrilling way) but there was one last stop... KRION.
Krion is an incredible material that can be moulded into any shape you like.
Curved wall? No problem! It's been massively popular with futuristic looking dentists and chemists for work surfaces as it's also antibacterial. It's a really versatile, multifunctional surface that had me thinking up all kinds of crazy ideas! But it's like, where do you start? If you know anything is possible, how do you even know where to begin? Sometimes I find constraints helpful!
Head brimming with ideas and mind blown at the vast repertoire of Porcelanosa's many brands, it was time to head back to the airport for our flight back to London.
I fell asleep. open mouthed on the bus to the airport. I was shattered!
Coming away from the trip I'm really excited to look at Porcelanosa's product range in more detail, especially if I'm working on client projects. I'm lucky enough to have a showroom up the road from me so I'll be going to have a browse sometime in the near future! I DO need a new kitchen after all...