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Dal-Tile builder specialists are key asset for builder consumers

Dallas, Texas—Dal-Tile Corporation’s team of builder specialists are an ever-present and key asset for the company’s professional builder customers. These builder specialists represent several of the brands owned by Dal-Tile: Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean.

“Our Dal-Tile team of builder specialists are a key differentiator for us and help make our builder customers more profitable,” said Dan Butterfield, vice president, builder channel, Dal-Tile Corporation. “Although we successfully engage with our builders at the national and regional levels, a crucial role when the product really takes life is with our builder specialists.  They engage directly with those who influence the selling of product to the end consumer. Our builder specialists are a valuable resource regarding product and industry knowledge, design expertise and trends insights.”

Dal-Tile’s builder specialist team is a nationwide network of over 25 professionals, covering 100 of the key MSAs (market statistical areas) in the United States. Each specialist caters to the unique needs of their region.

“Many times, my builders will simply send their customers my way and I walk them through the entire selection process, ensuring they select a tile product that is well-suited for their needs, personal style and budget,” said Jennifer Hipp, builder specialist—South Central United States, Dal-Tile Corporation. “On other occasions, it is a builder’s own in-house designer with whom I am collaborating. Because I have such a strong working knowledge of all of our product lines, she can just give me a general sense of the ‘ideal’ product for a particular room and immediately I know the right Daltile, Marazzi or American Olean products to suggest that her clients consider.”

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Marazzi introduces three collections for summer 2018

Atlanta—Marazzi has launched three new collections for summer 2018. Known for pushing the envelope with stunning, cutting-edge designs that deliver exceptional quality, the latest collections from Marazzi offer customers three distinct styles inspired by the hottest industry trends.

“We are extremely excited about these three new collections because each line brings something unique to the table,” said Micah Hand, brand marketing manager for Marazzi. “In recent years, we have seen growth in the tile industry because designers prefer the inherent benefits of tile. With this preference, manufacturers are stepping up with new fashion-forward designs—a leading space where Marazzi has been at the helm, bringing unique, stylish designs to the market, as evidenced with our 2018 summer collections.”

Bella Vista marries bold innovation and striking movement with the look of blended limestone. Inspired by the majestic views found in the Italian countryside, this enchanting collection offers the classic look of a natural stone in large-format sizes, contemporary shapes and a modern color palette.

In line with the on-trend industrial design aesthetic, SistemP offers a minimalistic concrete-look ideal for commercial settings. This ultramodern collection is available in large-format sizes with rectified edges, simplifying maintenance, and in polished and unpolished finishes.

The captivating Influence collection uses a linear metal graphic to create a sleek, contemporary metal effect. This luxurious collection, available in metallic colors including steel, silver, iron, brass and copper, creates a dramatic statement as a visual exclamation point.

 

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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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Marazzi builds doghouse for TCNA donation at Coverings

Dallas—As part of Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) doghouse donation to a local charity during the upcoming Coverings tradeshow, Marazzi has produced a custom-tiled doghouse that is playfully themed to capture the vivacious and happy energy that dogs add to everyday life.

“This year we wanted to create a doghouse design that was all about fun,” said Sarah Morales, product design assistant, Marazzi. “We chose Marazzi’s Costa Clara tile in Blue Wave to tile the majority of our doghouse. Costa Clara has a hand-crafted, artisan visual and texture that lend themselves to the fun-loving theme we were going for.”

The doghouse will join several others donated by fellow TCNA members and will be on display during Coverings in the TCNA Art Tile Courtyard at Booth #7249. Following the show, all doghouses will be donated to the Homeless Pets Foundation, a nonprofit organization that saves the lives of homeless cats and dogs in Atlanta-area animal shelters and promotes the benefits of pet ownership.

Morales was the designer of the doghouse and the tile installer was Albert Pena of LAB Exhibits.

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Dal-Tile wins exclusive tile provider status

Dallas—Dal-Tile Corporation was recently named as the exclusive tile provider for Woodside Homes. With both companies keenly focused on offering products rich in style and design, this relationship provides homebuyers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah with a new resource to help achieve their desired home. 

“Woodside Homes self-describes as ‘Better By Design,’ and they put primary emphasis on helping home buyers customize their space with their own personal style,” said Mike Profilio, director of national accounts – Western U.S., Dal-Tile. “As their exclusive tile provider, Dal-Tile puts three of the world’s top tile brands (Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean) at Woodside’s disposal to create programs that meet all style and pricepoint needs.”

“Our strong brand awareness also enhances the home-buyer experience, while customers are exploring Woodside’s online Inspiration Gallery design platform and during their in-person Woodside Homes Inspiration Gallery visits,” added Profilio.

For product information, visit daltile.com, marazziusa.com and americanolean.com.

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Marazzi presents new products to designer at Gensler event

Dallas—Marazzi’s newest products received enthusiastic reception from Gensler designers and architects recently during an event held at the Gensler Washington, D.C. office. Gensler is self-described as “an integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm—5000-plus professionals networked across 44 offices.” The D.C. Gensler office employs approximately 400 team members, all of whom were invited to the event for purposes of showcasing some of the best and brightest products offered by trusted vendor partners.

“Gensler’s D.C. office caters to very cosmopolitan needs,” said Lonnie Nortman, architectural representative, Marazzi. “As a design-driven brand, Marazzi is a perfect fit for those needs. The office also covers several market segments: healthcare, multi-family, corporate and government. Marazzi nicely meets this need because our products cross-over all market segments.”

Curator of the event was Brian Haave of Ginsler.

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Dal-Tile renews agreement with D.R. Horton

Daltile River Marble 1Dallas—Dal-Tile Corp. was recently renewed as the “exclusive tile provider” for America’s largest home builder by volume, D.R. Horton. In addition, Dal-Tile was also selected as the home builder’s “preferred countertop provider.” Dal-Tile manufactures and owns top tile brands, including Daltile, American Olean and Marazzi.

“In this relationship, America’s largest home builder and America’s largest tile manufacturer become a formidable force to bring the highest levels of design, quality and value to homes across the nation,” said Dan Butterfield, general manager of the builder channel, Dal-Tile. “D.R. Horton is committed to excellence in construction, consistently delivering top-quality new homes to homebuyers. Dal-Tile is the ideal partner for such a builder.”

Butterfield continued, “When builders partner with Dal-Tile, our specialized builder team becomes an exceptional resource for each builder’s corporate, regional and local needs, including customized program development. Dal-Tile puts three of the world’s top tile brands (Daltile, American Olean and Marazzi) at a builder’s disposal to create programs that easily meet all product and style needs.”

For more information, visit daltile.com, americanolean.com and marazziusa.com.

 

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Ceramic: Next-gen digital printing technologies unlock tile’s potential

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.26.15 PMDigital printing has helped to change the tile industry by providing manufacturers with limitless designs that mimic what is trending amongst consumers. Whether it’s natural stone, cement, marble, slate or wood looks, digital printing offers consumers the looks they want, the ability to put it where they want and at a desirable price range—all of which ultimately benefits the specialty retailer.

Case in point is Confindustria Ceramica, which finds digital printing to be one of the key technologies used in Italian ceramic tile production. “When it was first introduced, it could only guarantee satisfactory results for certain materials, but it can now be used successfully for any kind of product,” said Vittorio Borelli, chairman. “Its role has been further strengthened by the emergence of the second major innovation in ceramics, that of large-format panels and slabs, given that digital technology is essential for decorating these products.”

As technologies continue to advance, manufacturers from all over the globe are developing newer visuals and textures. Some of the newer design trends Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing Emser Tile, has noticed include Moroccan and Spanish looks, as well as antique visuals that mimic handmade tile. The main development she sees focuses on the manufacturer’s ability to customize products. “Another trend we’re seeing is the ability to create art on tile. Artists are now doing renderings and it’s being reproduced on tile. All of that is great to do now that the technology allows for it. I think in general we’re seeing a lot of customization.”

Haaksma explained that the new customizable features of tile are a bonus for specialty retailers, especially those who have designers or customers who want to create their own images. This trend lets tile take on higher-end looks with greater nuances, not only among tiles but customers as well.

Other tile manufacturers, such as Dal-Tile—the parent company of Marazzi, Daltile, American Olean and Ragno—are also creating more sophisticated products with the help of next-generation digital printing. “The evolution of printing technology has led to manufacturers being able to create unique patterns and designs on individual tiles, similar to the natural materials, like wood or stone, which we are replicating with high degrees of authenticity,” said Gianni Mattioli, executive vice president, product and marketing.

Part of Dal-Tile’s digital printing technology includes what the company calls “Reveal Imaging.” As Mattioli explained: “[It] is our state-of-the-art digital printing process that produces realistic color, detail and veining that is unique on every single tile for a look that’s virtually indistinguishable from natural stone. Digital printing technology is giving us—as well as other tile manufacturers—a competitive advantage over other flooring categories.”

Beyond the ability to recreate various designs and patterns is the ability of the new technologies to apply different materials to the tile. For example, the innovations at Crossville allow its digital printer to manufacture gloss, matte and luster glaze effects on its tiles, according to Craig Miller, R&D director.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.26.40 PMMS International (MSI) is also incorporating newer printing technology that enables a quicker production process. “Digital printer manufacturing companies, such as Kerajet from Spain, recently developed an inkjet printer that will be able to apply both glaze and ink in one step,” said Paulo Pereira Jr., senior merchant porcelain. “Since these cutting-edge digital printers can apply both enamels and solids simultaneously—besides the basic graphic effect—products can also incorporate other effects such as metallic, shiny or anti-slip effects in the same, one-step application.”

In that same vein, advanced technologies employed at Emser Tile are allowing the manufacturer to incorporate ink-jet printing deeper into the surface. “It’s not just a print sitting on top of the surface, but it actually becomes ingrained into the bisque,” Haaksma said. “So then the patterns and the colors are now infused into the tile itself.”

Overall, newer printing technologies are allowing manufacturers to innovate throughout the entire production process. For Borelli, this includes “image acquisition techniques that allow for ever higher levels of definition; increasingly powerful graphic design software capable of processing the images; more precise and high-performance print heads; and the development of suitable ceramic glazes.”

Retailer benefits
While next-generation digital printing provides manufacturers with benefits, it ultimately helps specialty retailers sell tile product at higher margins, according to tile executives.

These new technologies are enabling the consolidation of flooring products including wood, laminates, natural stones, etc. “For specialty retailers the requirement for training their sales team goes down as product lines are consolidated,” MSI’s Pereira said. “In addition, it enables more individualism for customers in the design process as the amount of choice significantly increases.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.26.09 PMWith the help of digital printing, consumers can also get high-end looks and high-performance flooring—both of which are available through porcelain tile at a much more affordable price. One example of this is found in tile that resembles natural stone. “[Natural stone] continues to gain strength in the market, but it is not suitable for all applications,” Emser Tile’s Haaksma said. “So you can get the realistic stone look with the performance, durability and affordability of porcelain. This way you can put it in a kitchen countertop, or wet space where you wouldn’t usually want to put a stone.”

Higher margins are available to retailers courtesy of the attractive characteristics made possible through digitally printed tile. “These types of products are letting retailers expand their margin dollars by drawing more consumers to their showrooms to buy products that were once unimaginable for a typical homeowner,” Mattioli explained.

Homeowners, industry expert say, are often inspired by botique hotels, spas and hospitality spaces they encounter through traveling. “In the past, the durability concerns and price points of rare stones and marbles prevented many consumers from bringing these gorgeous high-end looks in their own homes,” Mattioli explained. “However, through Dal-Tile’s Reveal Imaging technology, our brands are able to offer the visuals of rare stones and marbles in a tile product. This lets consumers have the look they love with the performance that real-life activity and real life budgets demand.”

For Confindustria Ceramica’s Borelli, higher margins are attainable by comparing past and present products. “All you have to do is compare these products with those that were available just five years ago to appreciate the progress that has been made. But it is crucial for retailers to communicate this value to their customers so that they are prepared to pay a premium for ceramic products that stand out in terms of innovation, technology and technical characteristics.”

Digitally differentiating
Most digital printing technologies are not proprietary—meaning manufacturers are often using similar machinery to produce hundreds of different products. When it comes to differentiating digitally printed tile, most manufacturers keep a close eye on developing trends to extract key details that will be unique to their product lines.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.26.04 PM“While digital decoration technology is capable of creating products with superior technical characteristics, it does mean the same plant solutions are being adopted across the entire Italian ceramic industry,” Borelli said. “What really sets companies apart is their stylistic choices, their use of graphic designs, colors and surface textures.”

Crossville aims to differentiate itself from other tile manufacturers by blending traditional printing technology and ceramic material effects with digitally printed images. “We call it a ‘digital-plus’ approach that allows us to create looks that are unique to Crossville products and are not replicable,” Miller explained.

For manufacturers such as Dal-Tile and its associate brands, differentiation comes from not only creating differing designs, but also from developing multiple products. “The vast array of tile offered by our brands provides every customer with a solution for every challenge they may face,” Mattioli explained.

 

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Marazzi releases three new tile collections

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 11.58.26 AMDallas—Marazzi has launched three new tile collections, including wood-, marble- and limestone-looks. These new collections feature bolder, classically-inspired aesthetics and join the tile manufacturer’s celebrated offerings.

“Our designers and the entire Marazzi team focus on both design and creativity when curating collections to bring best-in-class flooring solutions to our best-in-class customers,” said Micah Hand, brand marketing manager, Marazzi. “Our three new collections offer trademarked bold aesthetic rooted in our Italian heritage. Combining the best of both old and new, we created the realistic look of marble in the porcelain Classentino Marble, the limestone-inspired Modern Formation and the European Oak wood-look of Chateau Reserve.”

Classentino Marble offers the realistic look of marble in a porcelain tile. The intricacies and veining of natural marble are reproduced via Reveal Imaging technology. The collection is offered in five colors, as well as two different finishes. Classentino Marble is available in three large format sizes—12 x 24, 24 x 24, 24 x 48—in matte and polished. Classic weave and linear hex mosaics accent the collection as well.

Modern Formation by Marazzi draws inspiration from the authentic appeal of natural limestone, featured in six visuals achieved through Reveal Imaging technology. The contrast of these colors and styles are offered in large format sizes and available in unpolished and light polished finishes to create dynamic spaces. The collection also features a textured structure with StepWise technology that provides slip resistance. A bold chevron mosaic and a 2 x 2 mosaic accent the collection.

Chateau Reserve is the latest introduction into Marazzi’s expansive wood-look tile collection. Offered in a 48-inch plank size, Chateau Reserve features a lightly distressed European Oak look that is highlighted by the combination of plain, quartered and rift sawn visuals that enhance its authentic characteristics. Exclusive StepWise technology delivers slip resistance, expanding its use to outdoors as well as commercial spaces, with ease of cleaning. The collection is available in five colors.

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Marazzi collections dazzle with intriguing textures, patterns

Urban District MIXDallas–Marazzi is introducing six new collections—elevating its bold, Italian-inspired tile offerings to a new level of luxury. The new products fuse the natural elements of stone and wood-looks with dramatic graphic variations to inspire and accent daring, fashionable spaces.

“Marazzi offers products that are stylish and fashion-forward—just like our customers,” said Micah Hand, brand marketing manager, Marazzi. “By unifying Marazzi’s Italian heritage with modern trend-forward style, our extension of the Urban District collection provides additional variation on the popular reclaimed wood look, while new collections like Materika and Modern Oasis allow homeowners to confidently express bold visions and create a head-turning home.”

Part of the Urban District collection, Urban District MIX helps consumers achieve shabby chic, coastal and farmhouse looks with reclaimed wood-look tile.

Edgewood glazed porcelain floor tile creates modernize classic designs with hardwood-look, and offers a four-color rich palette that can be arranged in on-trend herringbone or chevron patterns to dramatize floors and walls.

Materika, a glazed ceramic wall tile that features flat, wavy or combed surfaces, helps making a statement easy. Over-sized 16” x 48” plank sizes create stunning walls that are design elements unto themselves.

Cavatina adds drama and movement to interior designs. It emulates natural striations and patterns in travertine, and offers versatile styles including three field tile sizes and brick-joint mosaic, within vastly-ranged colorways of white, beige, brown and gray.

Accomplish a modern, serene look in residential and commercial spaces with Modern Oasis. Popular large porcelain planks designed to look like limestone in calming organic shades contrast well with wood, glass and stone elements.

The Luminescence collection of glass rectangle mosaics projects a beveled surface look, creating depth, intrigue and texture to kitchen and bath walls.