Reign in Spain: From Inspiration to Innovation

By Andie Day, Principal, Andie Day, LLC

El_Pilar_de_Zaragoza_Noche With a little over a week left until Reign in Spain begins, the design team and I have hunkered down to map out our goals for what is sure to be an exciting and inspirational nine days. Though I’m not entirely sure what to expect, I do plan to experience Spain in a certain way—by focusing on innovative design and finding new inspiration for creating spaces that simultaneously are beautiful,  functional, safe, and sustainable. My mission as an interior designer is more than to create a beautiful and high-performing spaces; it also is to create a space that optimizes the client’s health and happiness in an innovative, eco-friendly way that protects both the client and the environment. All this must be incorporated into the design without compromising aesthetic appeal, and I am constantly seeking inspiration for new ways to seamlessly combine these elements.

This experience that Tile of Spain has selected me for is going to be eye-opening, not only because it will be my first trip to Europe but also because it will be my first real immersion in a region with such rich culture, history, food, and architecture. Though there are many influences of European culture and design to be found in the U.S., this tour of Spain will allow me to experience first-hand the evolution of these designs. Working backwards to understand how architecture and design has evolved will allow me to better understand where both are going, and help me to create spaces that anticipate the needs of the future.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the differences and similarities between U.S. and European design. Finding the similarities will give me a better sense of what products, materials, and trends have lasting potential, and the differences will give me an idea as to where there is room for improvement or perhaps new innovative ways to use products we already have in the U.S. This last category is of particular interest to me, and I am excited for the unique and new perspective that I will be experiencing while on this adventure in Spain.

As put by Jennifer Thiele Busch, editor in chief of Contract Magazine, there is an “ability – and some would say an obligation – to influence positive social change in society.” For me, Reign in Spain will be a journey to becoming a better innovator and a designer who can more effectively promote the health and happiness of my clients and their environments.

Barring any unforeseen delays (because that never happens when you’re flying internationally, right?) I will be arriving in Zaragoza, Spain on February 13.  Apparently, Zaragoza is quite the city, founded around 24 B.C. by the Romans, with a rich array of architecture, history, culture, and, of course, food to feast on. If my calculations are correct, this will be the oldest city I’ve ever visited by about 1,700 years.

Here are some of the most renowned landmarks in Zaragoza, which I hope to see:

Basilica-del-Pilar-Evening_Zaragoza Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, a.k.a. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar

Many places of worship have been built on this site over the years; this one was completed in 1686. And if you’re going to worship the creator of the universe, what better place to do it than somewhere with an awe-inspiring view like this one. An interesting tidbit about this Cathedral: It had three bombs dropped on it during the Spanish Civil War and not a single one exploded. 

Palacio-de-La-Aljafería-View-of-the-main-rooms-of-the-palace-taifal Palacio de la Aljafería, a.k.a. Aljaferia Palace

This enormous building was built in the 11th century and originally was home to Islamic royalty. Since its initial construction it has gone through a series of renovations that reflect the history of Zaragoza. It has been home to various Christian Monarchs and has even served as a military base. Currently, it houses the regional Parliament. It is truly incredible how the beauty of this palace is so intertwined with its function.


Andie Day, an Boston-based interior designer, was selected by Tile of Spain in December 2010 as a Reign in Spain finalist. From Feb. 4-12, 2011, she will join a group of journalists and other members of the A&D community in a junket that will travel to the cities of Zaragoza, Teruel, and Valencia, taking in Spanish architecture, culture, culinary temptations, and Cevisama, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings Show.


  1. Beautiful pictures. I had the chance to visit the Basilica a few years back and it was even more awe-inspiring in person. Enjoy!

  2. Andie,

    You must report back with photos and let us know how it unfolds for you. The Basilica is soooooo inspiring! I visited last year and was blown away. Spain is wonderful – they are such friendly and lovely people. Congrats and can't wait to hear all about your trip!

    -Heather 🙂