April 30/May 7, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 23
By Mara Bollettieri
Coverings 2018, one of the largest international tile and stone events, is expected to deliver fresh, new features and programs when it kicks off May 8-11 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. More than 1,100 exhibitors representing over 40 countries will showcase their wares.
“Coverings aims to not only highlight the inherent value of tile and stone materials—their adaptability, durability, low environmental impact and beauty—but also foster connections between industry professionals in order to grow business and build lasting professional relationships,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador.
With displays of the latest products and hottest trends, live demonstrations, networking opportunities, educational seminars and more, attendees will have more than enough activities from which to choose during the event. Some highlights:
New and notable
This year, Coverings will host several first-time events, starting with the “Tile Installation Experience,” a hands-on learning experience consisting of a discussion with tile installers. Installers are expected to share best practices for tile installations through live demos. “This is the first time they are doing this at the show,” Capra said.
Also new for this year is extended hours offered on the first day of the show, Tuesday, May 8, which will allow for attendees to spend extra time on the floor. Along with the addition of longer hours comes a networking event, “Around the World of Tile & Stone,” which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. The event will include entertainment, happy hour specials and a chance to meet with other attendees. What’s more, attendees can network within the show’s mobile app along with an on-site Meet @ Coverings, with a designated area to meet and discuss. Also new is the Orientation Theatre, a program that provides guests with answers to frequently asked questions.
Another new feature is the Tile Heritage Foundation’s Donor Wall for Posterity, which allows attendees to be part of the show’s history. For a $25 donation, individuals can press their hands, names, ideas and/or logos into a tile of wet clay, which will be part of a larger mural that will be placed at the headquarters of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in Anderson, S.C.
On the humanitarian front, Coverings has teamed up with three charitable initiatives, with each one giving back to an area of the local community in Atlanta. The three initiatives are Habitat for Humanity and Freeman, Clean the World and the Homeless Pets Foundation. “We’re delighted to support these charitable initiatives that serve important segments of the Atlanta community at Coverings 2018,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Events.
Coverings will feature more than 50 CEU-accredited sessions primarily intended for architects, builders/remodelers, designers, distributors, fabricators, installers and retailers. Topics of interest include the ongoing labor shortage and skills gap in the industry, a forecast of upcoming trends that are best suited for businesses, what design professionals and general contractors are discussing about the industry, and how to meet the standards of these designers and contractors. Translation services will be available for Spanish-speaking attendees.
Back by demand
For the second consecutive year, Coverings will include the Installation Design Showcase (IDS), which will display tiny homes. Leading designers and contractors will be showing off their stone and live tile installations by certified installers with supplies from major manufacturers, such as ESTIMA Ceramica, Ceramics of Italy and Crossville USA. The miniature homes will be on display in Booth #8804 in Hall C.
“The Installation Design Showcase remains a favorite destination for trade professionals, as a one-stop resource to see and experience the latest in installation techniques and design trends,” Capra said.
Also returning this year are the self-guided audio tours. Guests can explore the show at their own convenience through the mobile app. Like last year, the two repeating tours include the Coverings 101 Tour, which is created especially for new attendees, and the Tile Trends Tour, where visitors can learn about the most recent and hottest trends in the industry on the showroom floor.
Visitors of the show will have the opportunity to view the hottest and latest trends in the tile and stone industry. “Tile companies are constantly seeking new ways to add movement and volume to the flat surface, whether by texture, pattern, or tromp l’oiel effect,” said Kristin Coleman, marketing representative for Ceramics of Italy. “Deconstructed is the most recent example, featuring a breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile such as Palladiana designed by Studiopepe for Bardelli and I Cocci by Fioranese.”
Coleman anticipates finding a return to retro. “Many companies are inspired by simpler times, using square formats, candy colors and retro patterns like Comfort by Dom Ceramiche and Aquarel by Tonalite,” she said.
To that end, patterns such as terrazzo and patchwork are expected to make a strong showing. Designers have embraced and updated this old-fashioned style, giving it a fresh look.
Donato Pompo, president of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, expects to see larger sizes, based on his observations from attending the Cevisama trade show in Spain. Specifically, he said, “12 x 24 inch tiles are still popular, but there are tiles as large as 24 x 48 inches. They are available with realistic types of stone, such as marble, limestone, travertine, etc.”
Concrete has become popular, Pompo noted, although the wood look is still in high demand as well. Also, thin tile porcelain panels/slabs are rising in popularity. “Porcelain tiles are as large as 5 x 10 feet and can vary in thickness from 1⁄8 inches to ¾ inches,” he explained. “With ink-jet technology, the tile gives a very realistic look of the various types of marble, limestone, concrete and other types of styles and looks.”
Glass tile and rectangle subway tiles are still going strong as well, according to Pompo. He’s also seeing movement with respect to embossed 3D ceramic wall tile combined with unique finishes.
Other tile trends that guests can expect to see on display at the show are industrial-inspired looks along with more realistic-stone looks and, of course, larger format tiles.