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Coverings reflects strength of industry

Alexandria, Va.—Coverings, the largest international tile and stone show in North America, had over 1,100 exhibitors from all over the world and over 45 educational sessions at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Nearly 25,000 industry professionals attended the week-long expo from May 8-11, a 20% increase from 2013, the last time Coverings took place in Atlanta.

“The energy at the show this year was truly palpable,” said Alena Capra, Coverings’ industry ambassador. “The increase in attendance from the last time the show was in Atlanta demonstrates Coverings critical role in the tile and stone industry as well as the market’s overall strength.”

Returning Coverings exhibitors noted the excitement on the show floor and the myriad of education and networking opportunities that took place during the show.

“The buzz at the show was electric this year,” said Tressa Samdal, director of marketing for Florida Tile. “It was great to get immediate feedback from designers, architects and dealers from around the world. Coverings offers one of the greatest opportunities to showcase new products to both our existing partners and potential customers.”

There was also plenty of excitement from the Ceramics of Italy pavilion, which impressed attendees with an array of tile products from its renowned manufacturers. “The atmosphere at Coverings 2018 was fantastic,” said Davide Saguatti, marketing director at Atlas Concorde. “We were so excited to tell the story behind our new products.”

Tau Ceramica, an exhibitor from the Tile of Spain pavilion, found Coverings to be an important destination for sales and networking. “We had a lot of good traffic from quality customers,” said Adam Ramirez, U.S. brand and sales manager, Tau Ceramica. “Coverings is truly a mecca for tile and stone, and there’s no better show to attend if you’re new to the industry.”

Coverings leadership was also pleased with the outcome of this year’s show. “We were delighted to return to Atlanta this year and to see the growth in show attendance since 2013,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Events, the management company for Coverings. “The A&D, builder, remodeler and installer communities took full advantage of thousands of Coverings’ exhibitors and more than 45 educational sessions, as well as many new features at this year’s show, including the Quickfire Sessions, Orientation Theatre and the Happy Hour on Tuesday with extended show hours.”

Coverings 2019 will be held April 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.

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NTCA names winners of Five Star Contractor Project of the Year

Atlanta—The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) named the winners of its sixth annual NTCA Five Star Contractor Project of the Year Awards at Coverings 2018 here. 

NTCA’s Five Star Contractor Awards were presented for both commercial and residential tile installations. Many submissions were received and judged via the following criteria: Scope (size of project), Complexity (challenges), Technical Soundness (resolution of challenges) and Design & Presentation (overall appearance, layout and artistic value).

This year’s judges included: Kent Klaser of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc., San Diego, Calif.; Gregory Mowat of Forensic Tile Consultants, San Diego, Calif.; Richard P. Goldberg of Professional Consultants International, LLC, Avon, Conn.

Sponsored by Daltile, NTCA Five Star Contractor Grand Prize Award winners received a custom plaque and were awarded two round-trip airfare tickets and a two-nights hotel stay in Atlanta for Coverings.

Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, Inc. of Lakeside, Calif., was the recipient of the NTCA Five Star Grand Prize Award for Commercial Project of the Year. The Mesa Commons installation in Irvine, Calif., resulted in a striking visual appearance, design and layout, and the complex environmental challenges overcome during construction are those a NTCA Five Star Contractor could solve easily with its specialized training.

Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc. of Visalia, Calif., was the recipient of the Five Star Grand Prize Award for Residential Project of the Year. Workmanship and artistic qualities brought the Hoffman Residence in Fresno, Calif., to life. A challenging mixture of both natural stone and ceramic presented the opportunity for Visalia to showcase its Five Star Contractor skills.

David Allen Company of Raleigh, N.C., was the recipient of the Five Star Grand Prize Award for Commercial Elite Project of the Year (over $1 million). Nearly 80,000 square feet of marble and tile were meticulously installed in the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Of the many complexities which presented themselves working in a metropolitan area, the narrow doorways offered a unique opportunity for this contractor to showcase its innovative thinking.

“We would like to thank our contest judges and sponsor for their support and, of course, all of the Five Star Contractor members who submitted incredible projects.” said Bart Bettiga, executive director of the NTCA. “Each of these winning installations, as well as the other submitted projects, clearly demonstrates the value of engaging an NTCA Five Star Contractor in such complex arenas.”

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Coverings: Latest tile, stone introductions hit all the right notes

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24

By Mara Bollettieri

Coverings, billed as the largest international tile and stone event in North America, delivered as promised as attendees from near and far came to see the hottest and freshest trends in the industry. More than 1,100 vendors showcased their respective products across the vast showroom floor at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta

“It’s really about connections for anyone who attends,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “You can meet new vendors, people you can partner with. It’s for tile installers, fabricators, retailers, distributors. Everyone wins because [the connections are] what the show is really about.”

With respect to trends, larger-format tiles, which were prominent throughout the show floor, continue to trend. While the larger format is overtaking the European market, the U.S. is still slowly absorbing the trend, explained Juan Molina, general manager of sales and marketing, Del Conca USA. However, larger tiles are now being used in certain high-volume metropolitan markets, such as Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, to create open spaces.

At the show, Del Conca USA highlighted its Alchimia porcelain stoneware collection, which is available in different sizes and colors—from 120 × 120 cm to 40 × 80 cm. “We are here every year and believe in the show,” Molina said. “This particular convention is the most important one in all of North America. It’s the best environment for customers in our industry to make good comparisons from one factory to another.”

Larger format tiles were also seen in the show’s tiny home displays. Many of the homes used formats as large as 48 x 48, which Capra referred to as a “super large format.” Capra noted that, “some of the homes only had six tiles throughout the whole house.”

While larger, thin-format tiles are currently on the rise, many were on display with more standardized sizes that are wider and not as tall, according to Diana Friedman, Novita Communications, Ceramics of Italy. “Along with that, we are seeing some companies that are doing thick tiles—20mm—but in actually smaller sizes,” she explained. “It’s a new way of showing these thick tiles.”

Wood is (still) good

Wood-look tiles are still holding strong in the marketplace as these visuals are finding their home both inside and outside. What’s more, wood-look tile is incorporating other tile trends such as thinner, longer formats.

“We’re seeing a couple of companies have thin wood looks,” Friedman explained. “We are seeing a 3 x 24-inch version that’s really nice and smooth—almost like a buttery wood, a leathery texture.”

Gianni Mattioli, president and CEO, Ragno USA, sees the importance of wood looks in the marketplace, although he explained it is probably leveling off. Ragno USA saw brisk traffic at its booth during the show, with many attendees stopping to look at wood visuals. To cater to this market, the manufacturer continues to introduce new wood finishes such as traditional and rustic wood looks.

Blast from the past

Honoring the past was an ongoing theme throughout this year’s show, as many exhibitors embraced old-fashioned designs and styles. According to Friedman, a lot of textured tiles with classic looks and ideas were on display in the Italian Pavilion, which displayed over 120 brands of Italian exhibitors.

A huge retro trend that a majority of companies displayed was terrazzo. “Terrazzo has been big and is getting even bigger,” Friedman stated. “We’re seeing a hyper-realized idea of this post-modern look, so there are a lot of colors, a lot of these pastel tones.” She explained that there is almost a “terrazzo inception” going on, where lots of companies are displaying tiles that have terrazzo within a terrazzo pattern.

“Ornamenta has a beautiful ombre tile, which is large and thin,” Friedman noted. “It’s called the Operae collection, and it has a stylized palm leaf motif. The company takes these hyper-realized, classic known elements and makes them bold and bright with a new take.”

Capra also noted the return of terrazzo as well as patchwork. “Terrazzo has been around for a long time in tile form,” she explained. “It has a batch of different benefits and features, so that’s a great option.” With respect to patchwork, “We definitely saw a lot of the patchwork-type look, whether it’s all consistent in black and white—and a lot of color as well, softer tones,” Capra said. “There were a lot of coordinating soft color tones that go with this patchwork—everything from bold geometric patterns to the more traditional-type looks.”

Color tile conquers

Many exhibitors and attendees commented on the usage of bright colors, blues and pastels at the show. As Beth Wickliffe, Clayton Tile, Greenville, S.C., told FCNews, “Anything with color—bright colors—is coming back. A lot more blues coming around—bright blues and navy—but grays are still around as well.”

Manufacturers, such as Marazzi, are tapping into this wide range of colors to create tile for all occasions. Marazzi’s popular line, Middleton Square, is full of bright, vibrant colors in 4 x 12 wall tiles with undulations, 3 x 12 and 6 x 6. “We’re getting a lot of good feedback that people want to move away from blacks, whites and grays,” said Ray Piña, Northeast regional sales manager.

Capra also emphasized the rise in color tile. “Something we noticed is a lot more color—a lot of bright color,” she said. “A lot of dark teals and aquas, different shades of blues, soft pinks and soft greens and yellows.”

One new trend that caught Capra’s eye is contrasting colored grout with neutral or colored tiles, such as gray tile with yellow grout, or turquoise grout with black and white tile. This style, she said, would work great for an accent wall as a kind of statement.

Technological advancements

Although many suppliers are feeling nostalgic what with the return to old-fashioned designs, many are also embracing technological advancements to create innovative tile, such as digital printing. For example, Refin Ceramics displayed its new line, Kasai, a collection that pays tribute to Japanese culture. The line is simple and made in three colors with various decorations inspired by Japan, according to Nick Schenetti, sales rep for the Northeast and Midwest American market, Refin Ceramics. Through the usage of digital printing on the tile, the company has created a tile that gives a look of burned wood.

Many show exhibitors are digitally printing their tiles to develop new styles. “There was also a lot of metallic gold veining on already digitally printed porcelain,” Capra said. “There was a lot of gold over existing design. People are playing with technology to go ahead and create new things.”

Texture has also played a huge role at this year’s show. “I noticed some pattern tile had some texture on it,” Capra added. “There was one with a cactus on it, and you could feel it. You’re seeing subtle textures to really strong textures, like 3D texture. With the advancement in technology, they are able to do that.”

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Covering 2018 opens with new experiences, impressive products

Atlanta—Coverings, the largest global tile and stone exhibition in North America, made its highly anticipated return to the Georgia World Congress Center yesterday. Representatives from the Ceramics of Italy, Tile of Spain, Tile Council of North America, Ceramic Tile Distributor Association and National Tile Contractor Association gathered May 8 for the official 2018 ribbon cutting ceremony. The show, which runs through May 11, showcases hundreds of new products with more than nine miles of tile from 1,100 exhibitors, and offers more than 45 accredited and free seminars and live demonstration sessions.

“Coverings has truly enhanced the show experience this year with the addition of several very exciting opportunities for attendees,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “Some of this year’s highlights include the new interactive installation experience, an incredible array of community give-back programs and the show’s new after-hours networking event, not to mention the most spectacular display of tile and stone in North America.”

Returning to Atlanta after five years, Coverings 2018 opened with enthusiasm that mirrored the nation’s booming construction industry. Tuesday unveiled an array of new show features designed to enhance the overall experience, including first-day extended hours with an “Around the World of Tile and Stone” happy hour networking event, and the Coverings Orientation Theatre, which allowed first-time show goers looking for advice and strategies on the best way to tackle such a massive exposition. Also receiving commanding attention was The Installation Experience, a new event where attendees can observe in-progress installations depicting common residential design challenges.

Attendees were also encouraged to become part of Coverings’ history at the Tile Heritage Foundation’s Global Monumental Hand-Print Mural. With a $25 tax-deductible donation, attendees at Coverings can press their names, hands, thoughts or logos into a wet clay tile to become part of the mural, which will be installed at TCNA Headquarters in Anderson, S.C. This is one of several community give-back programs at Coverings 2018. Other initiatives taking place this year will benefit Habitat for Humanity, Clean the World and The Homeless Pets Foundation.

Rounding out the exciting line up of activities was the return of the Installation Design Showcase, tiny home edition. For the second year, the homes were outfitted to showcase three unique themes using beautiful tile installations. Jeffery Bruce Baker Designs (JBB) took a Smart Modern Living approach, while The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry designed a Luxe Cottage and designers Carson Guest created a contemporary villa, utilizing materials from generous sponsors Ceramics of Italy, Crossville USA, Estima Ceramica, Ardex, Laticrete, Mapei, Schluter Systems, Wedi, QEP and Rubi Tools.

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Coverings preview: New products, programs on tap for attendees

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.

Educational opportunities

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.

Emerging trends

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.

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Coverings opens online registration for 2018 show

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 4.53.20 PMArlington, Va.—Coverings, the largest international tile and stone show in North America, has opened online registration for its 2018 show, taking place in Atlanta, May 8-11. Coverings provides a stage for the most innovative tile and stone products from around the world and delivers critical information about the industry’s latest trends through the show’s annual CEU-accredited conference program—all free of charge. Attendees can now register and reserve housing.

Taking place in Atlanta for the first time in five years, the 2018 show will feature 1,100 exhibitors representing more than 40 countries and take over 450,000 square feet of exhibition space at the Georgia World Congress Center. Programming for Coverings 2018 will offer sessions for every category of tile and stone professionals featuring more than 60 CEUs for attendees. Along with networking opportunities, the 2018 show will feature the latest in products, innovations and live demonstrations.

“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, to grow businesses and build lasting professional relationships,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “We’re thrilled to make our return to Atlanta in May and to engage with the vibrant community of industry professionals that comprise this market.”

Coverings offers attendees the opportunity to register through their social channels and easily invite their network to participate in the show. Benefits of early registration include notice of key programs and access to conference information, promotions and other exclusive opportunities, as well as discounted hotel and travel through our hotel, airline and other partners.

For more information, visit coverings.com.