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Coverings reports growth for 2016 edition

11390204_10153351850365699_3402036574733595508_nAlexandria, Va.— The growth and energy at Coverings 2016 strengthened the show’s position as the leading international tile and stone exhibition in North America. More than 25,000 industry professionals attended the week-long expo, held April 18-21 in Chicago. This figure is an increase in overall attendance from the 2015 show and affirms positive movement in the tile and stone market.

The attendance count is a 15% increase from 2009, the last year Coverings was held in Chicago. This year’s most impressive attendance segment is held by distributors, which increased by a noteworthy 18% since 2009.

“The uptick in overall attendance from last year signals continued vitality and vigor in the tile and stone industry,” said Alena Capra, Coverings’ industry ambassador. “There was an onsite energy that emanated from the show floor and it is encouraging to have that excitement verified with these recap figures.”

Veteran Coverings exhibitors noted the excitement on the show floor as well as the ample opportunities for networking and education that took place during the show.

“This year we had great feedback from key customers who came to the show,” said Sarah Eamigh, director of U.S. marketing for Stone Peak. “It’s important for us to have these quality interactions with attendees. The feedback from the architecture and design crowd is always exciting; there was a great turnout from that segment due to the show’s location in Chicago this year.”

There was also plenty of buzz from the Ceramics of Italy pavilion, which impressed attendees with a new central booth design in addition to the bevy of tile products from manufacturers.

“The atmosphere at Coverings 2016 was fantastic—we saw an exciting turnout in attendees here in Chicago,” said Dave Bouchard, representative of Emil America. “Chicago is a great town for the show, drawing in the architecture and design crowd as well as retailers and distributors. We feel confident with the sales relationships generated by being at the show.”

Natucer, a long-time Spanish exhibitor, found the show to be an imperative part of the company’s global business for sales and relationship building.

“We have been at Coverings since 1998 and have always found tremendous value in the show,” said Victor Gasque Balaguer, area manager for Natucer Ceramica. “The North American market is always one of our top priorities after the domestic market in Spain. All of the programming and networking opportunities at the show are important in growing our relationships and increasing awareness of our products.”

There was no shortage of opportunities for attendees to build on their technical skills or to network with others as Coverings offered an extensive conference program with more than 75 sessions and CEU courses.

Coverings 2017 will be held April 4-7 in Orlando, Fla.

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Coverings 2016: Manufacturers focus on design, new technologies

April 25/May 2, 2016; Volume 30, Number 22

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.17.49 PMChicago—Coverings 2016, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, experienced yet another successful year, delivering new trends, styles and designs. Exhibitors at the expo, held April 18-21 here, embraced the vibrant host city and noted a few differences as compared to last year’s show in Orlando.

“I like Chicago because it’s in the middle of the U.S.,” said Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing for Crossville. “You get your West Coast people, you get your East Coast people and you get your international people. With Midway and O’Hare [airports] it’s an easy place to get in and out of.”

Donato Grosser, president, consultant to Ceramic Tiles of Italy, observed a different dynamic of attendees. “In Orlando there are a lot of people in the business of tile including builders, contractors and dealers. At this venue we see more architects and designers.”

Waldrep also noted the days of the show may have been the cause of some sporadic traffic at the start. Because the exhibit hall opened on a Monday, travel plans may have delayed the crowd, she said. “I think the days make a difference; the show doesn’t start until Tuesday next year and I think a lot of people don’t want to fly in on a Sunday, so [Monday] was slower and [Tuesday was] crazy busy. In addition, when it’s in Orlando people come in early or stay later to visit theme parks with family so you don’t have any dead zones at the beginning or end of the week.”

With more than 443,000 square feet of show floor space, numerous trends were illustrated from booth to booth with a few taking prominence. Hexagons, for example, are being incorporated into collections in both small and large formats. “I think the hexagon look is still ramping up,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “It’s classic—if you go to Barcelona it’s on the streets there in a large scale from long ago. We’re seeing more individual sizes and it’s a look that adds spice; clients like it. It creates interest and gives us another shape to work with in design that is fun.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.18.07 PMBrick is another look that is here to stay. “As you walk the floor you’ll see there’s a lot of traditional brick with a reworked look,” Capra continued. “Some of them are more elongated looks or larger scale while some have that rustic or industrial feel. It’s traditional brick but with a new take on it.”

Marazzi’s Urban District, for example, encapsulates both brick and hexagons in addition to wood looks with an industrial theme. The company’s new Spotlight display showcases its BRX, STX and HEX lines in a way that shows dealers and customers how the products work together in a room and “pulls the story up front and center,” according to Micah Hand, brand marketing manager, Marazzi. “It’s versatile enough to hold different shapes and sizes. We’ve got [hexagons] in here, we’ve got planks and we’ve got bricks in all different sizes. The nice thing about this display is it has longevity because the graphics can be switched.”


From floors to walls

While there aren’t any official statistics available on the percentage of overall usage of wall tile in relation to flooring, Grosser predicts general consumption will grow this year from about 25% to 30%. This is due, in part, to trending large-format thin tile that can be installed over existing tile and is popular in wall applications. “Whenever you have new product in the market the growth has to be slow in the beginning because people do not know the product. Now they are coming out with a national standard for thin tile so that will help increase its usage.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.18.14 PMTo cater to this trend, Crossville is launching Laminam Satori porcelain tile panels available in 1 x 3 meters and 1 x 1 meters at 5.6mm in thickness for installation on floors, walls, countertops and beyond. In keeping with the Japanese meaning of the word “satori”—enlightenment—the company has been doing its part to educate installers in the industry from hands-on training in the field to online videos.

Florida Tile’s Sean Cilona, marketing director, said the appeal of Glamour—a large format metallic wall tile—includes its ease of installation and cutting, lighter weight, increased durability and slight reduction in cost.

Accent walls have become an important design feature in residential applications and Sicis North America is known for providing the perfect wow factor for such projects. “At the end of the day we are creating pieces of art,” said Lorenzo Canella, U.S. regional sales manager. “It’s not just a wall for a bathroom.” The company utilizes three design variations to achieve its works of art: “pixelated” for using one color for every point on an image; “artistic” for reproducing the image in an artistic way similar to a painter with a paintbrush; and “blending” uses a combination of colors.


Wood remains strong

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.18.21 PMWood visuals remain a significant trend in tile’s heightened style and design. “Wood looks are continuing to be hot, of course, but larger formats specifically are really taking the stage,” said Scott Appel, co-CEO of Floors & More. “With wood it’s really expanding and you’re seeing it go in many different directions. You see urban designs, rustic and there is a lot of gray.”

Marazzi’s new Cathedral Heights is one collection inspired by old wood beams from mansions and doors from churches in Europe. With whites, grays and browns, this natural, reclaimed look offers significant variation.

Ragno’s Woodcraft is available in 4 x 28 planks with a worn and distressed surface for a sanded down look. The company’s Woodplace features oak visuals on exaggerated 8 x 48 elongated planks.

Landmark Ceramics’ Natural Design can be used in both floor and wall applications. Inspired by American walnut, the planks are crisscrossed by delicate design traces such as planing, veining and saw cutting. “Every detail enriches the product, giving identity, expression and strength to the four different shades in the range,” said Francesco Mezzanotte, head of marketing.

MS International introduced a new collection of wood plank series including a 9 x 48 large format. The company also made some additions to existing lines based on trends it observed. “We took the white marble look and built a display to make it easier to shop,” said Manny Llerena, director of sales and marketing. “With our porcelain bricks we added colors like whitewash. We incorporated mixed finishes into natural stone subways.”


New technology, options

With the advancements in digital printing technology, many industry members believe the game for tile has completely changed.” We can recreate stone that isn’t even in existence anymore or create new variations,” said Lori Dolnick, marketing, Tile of Spain. “We’ve moved beyond looking like wood or looking like stone to completely new things people have never seen before. There is so much opportunity for designers to customize flooring. And everything you expect from tile such as durability and environmental friendliness is still there.”

Mediterranea is one such company creating out-of-the-box designs with its launch of Quantum. “In this industry in the past, manufacturers have tried to replicate natural stone such as calacatta or travertine,” said Don Mariutto, vice president, marketing. “Our Quantum is taking a different approach. It’s not found in nature—it’s an original creation.” The Quantum collection includes Quantum Stone and White Wood, offered in honed and polished finishes.

Wonder Porcelain introduced a fabric look that plays off of mixed materials—another route to take with the help of new technology. “Fabric Folio is a great example of that trend,” said Laurie Lyza, director of marketing. “It’s all about the texture. It gives the appearance of cement with a tweed overlay. A lot of fabric looks are delicate but this is more industrial.” The company’s Orvieto is another line that combines materials to create a unique look. It is a marble collection that features light linear veining and a subtle wood graining.

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Coverings ’16: Enhancements, new features in store

April 11/18, 2016; Volume 30, Number 21

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.03.24 PMCoverings has long been billed as the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America. This year’s event, slated for April 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, is expected to continue in that tradition with the anticipation that it will be even bigger and better than the previous show in Orlando.

“Coverings is where exhibitors present their new products and where distributors and retailers go to ensure they have the latest and greatest,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “Nowhere else can you do business with so many countries in one place. In terms of attendance, we’re expecting the show to continue to grow. Last year was our largest event since 2008 and we’re continuing to see this trend in our registration.”

While the Orlando market contributed to the show’s success in 2015, the move back to Chicago is also expected to play a pivotal role. “We are thrilled to return to Chicago and are looking forward to sharing the resources that Coverings provides designers, architects, contractors, installers, fabricators, retailers and distributors alike,” Capra said. “The Chicago market has a vibrant architecture and design community that we’re excited to interact with.”

Coverings currently offers more than 443,000 square feet of show floor space with about 10% representing new exhibitors. “Every year, exhibitors design incredible booths that tell compelling stories about the companies’ brand heritage and stories, and we expect nothing less for 2016,” Capra said. “This benefits attendees and exhibitors alike as it allows for more business transactions to happen on the show floor in addition to networking and relationship building.”


Educational opportunities

Coverings literally offers something for everyone who participates in the tile and stone industries. Each of the four days will be packed with interactive events for attendees to observe and participate in from live installation demonstrations and tours of the show floor to networking activities.

This year for the first time the Chicago Mosaic School will round out the show’s educational sessions with classes and workshops. Professionals who teach process, materials, techniques and skills in mosaic arts will bring their expertise to the show floor to share with attendees.

In addition, a perennial draw at the show—the Installation & Design Showcase—will be presented in a newly designed courtyard setting and will feature vignettes illustrating tile applications in commercial spaces. “This new setting is designed to encourage interaction and networking in the midst of the showcase,” Capra explained.

This year’s conference program comprises more than 70 sessions, addressing a broad range of critical topics facing the tile and stone industries. Each course is available to all attendees and exhibitors. At the same time, the show curates its educational sessions into tailored tracks for each segment: distributors, retailers, architects, designers, fabricators, installers, builders/remodelers and professionals seeking green education. There will be four keynote sessions and eight featured sessions from influencers and experts representing a diverse cross-section of industries.


Trend watch

Many trends are emerging from manufacturers in Italy and Spain as well as North America. “This year, as the show’s industry ambassador, I have observed a variety of trends that attendees can look for across the Coverings show floor,” Capra noted. “Brick looks—from sleek and elongated brick tiles to rustic visuals—are emerging as a distinct design statement. Rich blues and aquas remain a popular color group in tile products. Three-dimensional tiles, perfect for accent walls or high-impact statements, continue to evolve. Soft, natural colors are also trending, and the emergence of florals and fabric-like prints—as observed last year—continues to grow.”

Other trends are emerging that go well beyond products. As new patterns, designs and formats are introduced, new installation and fabrication practices must also be shared to ensure products are used properly in the field. “Additionally, the health, safety and wellness of end users and consumers are an increasingly important consideration for professionals who specify tile and stone products,” Capra explained. “Alongside introducing products to the industry, educating professionals on these additional considerations is an important part of the show.”


New and improved

Another new component of this year’s show is the Software Showcase, which Coverings curated to allow software companies to provide an up-close look at how their solutions meet attendees’ business needs. These how-to demos will take place in the Social Media Lounge.

What’s more, enhancements have been made to the Coverings mobile application to provide easy, onsite navigation of the show. For example, the “follow me” function will help attendees get to specific locations on the show floor. It is available for download by searching “Coverings 2016” in the Apple app store or Google Play.

For first-time attendees, offers many readily available resources to help visitors navigate the show and best manage their time. This includes a conference program lineup, which is designed to help attendees identify educational sessions of interest, as well as an exhibitor map to help them navigate the show floor.

The First Timer Orientation is also available to new attendees and those who might not have attended the show recently. This quick session gives visitors all the information needed to make the most of their time at the show. The orientation includes answers to the most frequently asked questions as well as information about special events. First Timer Orientation is held April 18-21 from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in room N427D.

Returning to the show this year are the Coverings Appreciation Days to facilitate enhanced learning and networking opportunities for attendees. These Appreciation Days feature tailored guided tours of the show floor, lunch, focused education sessions and more. The 2016 Appreciation Day schedule is as follows: Builder & Remodeler Day on April 18, Architect & Designer Day on April 19, Contractor Days on April 19-20 and Fabricator Day on April 20.

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Coverings 2016 seeks Rock Star nominations

Alexandria, Va.—Coverings 2016 is seeking nominations for its next iteration of Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.43.32 AMCoverings Rock Stars- An Emerging Leaders Program, which honors the best and the brightest young professionals in the tile and stone industry. A panel of industry professionals will determine the 2016 cohort. Each winner is selected based on the individual’s contributions to the tile and stone industry, as well as previous industry recognition.

Now in its second year, Coverings Rock Stars will be celebrated during a series of special events at Coverings 2016, being held April 18-21 in Chicago.

“The tile and stone industry is brimming with extraordinary talent in every professional segment,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “These are the young visionaries and vanguards that are continually raising the bar with innovative ideas, developments and practices.”

Rock Star nominees must be 35 or younger and must be currently employed by or as an architect, designer, distributor, retailer, contractor, installer, fabricator, specifier, trade association or manufacturer in the tile or stone industry.

The selected Rock Stars will each receive a one-night hotel stay in Chicago to attend Coverings, and will be recognized at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration on April 18. Along with their nominators, the Rock Stars will also be honored at the Awards Breakfast on April 19.

To nominate a qualified individual or to nominate yourself complete a submission form at All nominations must be received by Jan. 18.

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Coverings 2016 registration opens

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Alexandria, Va.—Online registration for Coverings 2016, being held April 18–21 in Chicago, has opened. The show is estimated to bring together 1,100 exhibitors and showcase more than 75 specialized training and education sessions.

Early registration holds many benefits for attendees including advance access to events, conference sessions, contests, promotions and insider opportunities that will quickly meet maximum capacity.

Attendees can register for the show and reserve hotel accommodations via

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Coverings 2016 issues call for presentations

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Alexandria, Va.—Coverings, the largest global tile and stone exhibition in North America, is seeking conference speakers and professional development seminar leaders for its 2016 exhibition programming, to be held April 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Highlighted for its comprehensive speaking and educational programs, Coverings is calling for leading authorities to submit proposals for one or more of the following categories: architecture and interior design, building and remodeling, fabrication, installation, green building, health and safety, retail sales and distribution.

Proposals may be submitted at The deadline for submissions is Aug. 26.