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Tile & stone show set to make Atlanta debut

By Louis Iannaco

Volume 26/Number 24; April 15/22, 2013

Coverings 2013 is sure to be the most exciting tile and stone super show ever, noted show director Karin Fendrich of National Trade Productions (NTP), the management company for Coverings, as the biggest tile and stone market in the U.S. comes to Atlanta for the first time in its 20-plus year history.

Coverings is on track to have more than 900 exhibitors from over 50 countries when it opens at the Georgia World Congress Center on April 29, running through May 2. “There is no fee to visit the show,” she explained. “And unlike many other events, there is no charge to attend the nearly 70 educational sessions, either.

Area designers and students are bringing their creativity to the show floor, as well, with four prominent Atlanta firms taking the lead in the Installation Design Showcase. Students from SCAD will demonstrate their collective vision with tile benches on display at the show. “We’re very excited about the warm embrace this dynamic Atlanta market is providing us.

“There is no other place where every segment of the tile and stone industry—including architects, designers, specifiers, tile and stone showrooms and retailers, wholesalers, installers, contractors, builders and developers—can see the latest products and installation techniques and, at the same time, attend valuable CEU sessions, workshops and demonstrations,” she said.

Many associations are supporting the event with co-sponsorships, among them ASID, AIA, IIDA and NKBA. Shawn Alshut, principal of studio A2 and president of ASID Georgia, attended Coverings last year. “I was blown away by the show. I need at least two days there to see all the exhibits and attend the conference sessions.”

Cynthia Hovorka, president at IIDA Georgia and interior designer at Hughes Litton Godwin, echoed Alshut’s enthusiasm. “It’s a unique opportunity for the design community to get updated on the latest trends in tile and stone, and talk to the top experts in the field.”

Brittany Gardner, vice president, academic relations, NKBA’s Georgia chapter, added, “I’m looking forward to learning more about what’s new in the world of tile and stone. There’s so much to see at the show and, as a kitchen and bath professional, it’s important I stay on top of the latest products and installation techniques.”

In addition to offering a wide-ranging conference program comprised of over 70 sessions for distributors, installers, architects, interior designers, builders, remodelers and fabricators, Coverings is also specifically targeting retailers. When the event comes to Atlanta, there will be almost 1,000 exhibitors showing a wide range of innovative products and technologies. But retailers often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional-experience level ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending.

Besides the featured speakers previously announced (FCNews, March 4/11), session topics of particular interest to the retail community include using the psychology of pricing to create the sense of a bargain for the

Coverings show director Karin Fendrich anticipates the event’s 2013 edition to be the ‘most exciting tile and stone super show ever.’

customer; how Apple’s super-successful retailing strategies can be used in tile and stone stores, and understanding how merchandising real estate, from window displays to store floor plans, affect retail sales.

Sessions include:

“What Every Retailer Can Learn from Apple.” This seminar is scheduled for Monday, April 29, from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. James Dion of Dionco will explain what Apple does that you can do, too: Have a clear, consistent and simple vision to guide everything you do in your store.

“Combining Traditional Advertising/Marketing and Social Media to Build Your Marketing Plan” will take place Tuesday, April 30, from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Smart companies are combining traditional advertising and marketing with social media, the new wave of communication. FCNews columnist Lisbeth Calandrino will explain how an effective marketing plan is only possible when you understand the differences and similarities between new and old techniques, and how they can work together to reach sales goals.

“Selling & Marketing Green the Easy Way,” scheduled for Wednesday, May 1, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., is designed to help understand green from a customer’s perspective as Paul Bumblauskas of PFC Services takes you through the seven drivers of the green decision. As an added benefit, manufacturer green programs will become more meaningful as you will be able to translate their objectives into satisfying customers’ needs.

The full conference program is available at coverings.com/conferenceschedule.

In addition to educational sessions and exhibits from domestic suppliers, the event’s international representatives once again features large contingents from tile giants such as Italy and Spain. Ceramics of Italy (booth #2231) will serve as a central hub of activity on the show floor. Located in the heart of the Italian Pavilion, Piazza Ceramica will feature an open gathering space, piazza-like steps and an Italian culinary team in the café and coffee bar. It will also include an information booth where reps from the Italian tile industry will distribute promotional materials and information on the 50 Italian tile brands on display that will showcase the latest Italian tile products—from hi-tech porcelains to handmade ceramics and mosaics.

This year’s trend forecast features everything from long ceramic planks in wood and stone looks, 2cm-thick tiles for easy outdoor laying and super slim tiles, to geometric patterns, 3-D textures, micro-mosaics and majolica-inspired tiles. In addition to tiles made with recycled content, new sustainable initiatives such as antibacterial and self-cleaning products will also be prominent at the show.

Those looking for project inspiration should also head to the Italian Pavilion for a special interactive exhibit on the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the contest showcases the work of North American architects and designers who use Italian tile in their residential, commercial and institutional projects.

During the annual Ceramics of Italy Press Conference on Tuesday, April 30, at 4 p.m. in room B208, winners of the 2013 Ceramics of Italy Tile Com-petition will be announced and they will present their projects in the institutional, residential and commercial categories.

Tile of Spain’s Ryan Fasan will bring his expertise to Coverings 2013 in Atlanta, where he’ll discuss ‘The Complimentary Paradigm’ in booth #3309 on Tuesday and Thursday of the show from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., and ‘Connect the Dots’ on Monday and Wednesday at the same times.

Ceramics of Italy will once again have a strong presence at the Installation Design Show-case, an initiative organized by show producers and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). For the fourth edition, Italian ceramic and porcelain tile will be featured in two installations, which are built onsite in front of attendees to demonstrate the highest level of design and installation excellence.

This year also marks 26 years of Spanish influence at Coverings. Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), will once again bring one of the largest foreign delegations to the show—43 manufacturers.

Visitors to the Spanish Pavilion (#3309) will witness first-hand some of the most advanced ceramic tile technology and design choices. Guests will also experience sustainable design and diverse architectural solutions from Spain’s tile manufacturers.

The Tile of Spain booth, located in the center of the pavilion, will hold a variety of literature, including directories to the Spanish tile exhibitors at Coverings, and the latest issue of Ceraspaña, Tile of Spain’s quarterly magazine. Audio-visual presentations will run throughout the show, including Tile of Spain’s architectural and design projects and an overview of Tile of Spain manufacturers’ achievements featuring designs and products.

Sponsors of Coverings are the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, NTCA and Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

For more information, including free online registration and details about exhibiting, call 703.683.8500 or visit coverings.com.