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Hashtagging with #Coverings2016!

As you countdown to Coverings 2016, consider adding one new social element to your mix: hashtags. More specifically, #Coverings2016. (If you’re already in the know, then add your tips to this article. That’s the fun part about being social. Learning from and sharing with others.)
Hashtagging with #Coverings2016 means creating more awareness for your business, participating in the considerable social energy that Coverings generates before, during and after the show, not to mention that you’ll gain perspective on what at the show has captured people’s tile-related interest and imagination.
What is a #hashtag?
Hashtags represent a means for organizing and making sense of social content. They are a tool for filtering through content to find or discover updates and content relevant to you. Hashtags first appeared in 2007 on Twitter. Since then, they have evolved considerably; not only are hashtags clickable but they are also relevant to other social networks.
Hashtags consist of the # symbol combined with another word – example, #Coverings2016. Note that there’s no space in between any of the elements.
Hashtags work best on Twitter and Instagram for search and discoverability. They work on Google Plus as a way to tag what your update is about. Although hashtags work on Facebook, they aren’t yet that effective for discovering content.
The most enthusiastic use of hashtags is on Instagram where users can add up to 30 hashtags to help with discovery. From a business perspective, three hashtags tend to be optimal on Instagram so the reader can actually absorb what the hashtag stands for. On Twitter, using more than two hashtags is considered spammy.
Which networks to monitor/subscribe to before/during/after Coverings2016?
Before Coverings, create your accounts and practice a bit on your laptop as well as your mobile device using the relevant social network app. Monitor Twitter for mentions of #Coverings2016 by creating a #Coverings2016 Twitter search stream to track mentions. Start following people and practice interacting.
Do the same with Instagram. Become comfortable sharing visual content using your mobile device. Explore other hashtags to include in your updates; start following people and practice engaging with them. Figure out how to use a recipe from IFTTT (If this, then that – https://ifttt.com/) to connect your Instagram account to your Twitter account.
Observe what you find intriguing and do the same. Amplify what they post, be courteous and interact with them. What’s wonderful is that you’ll start to connect with people attending Coverings. You’ll learn about happenings at the show, including a Twitter Chat and an Insiders’ Twitter tour of the show. More on both below.
During the show, I recommend being ready to post updates to Twitter and Instagram. Twitter for fast moving updates and Instagram for fresh, visual, mobile perspectives that are 100% on target for insights from Coverings. Use both via your mobile device. Be ready to share pictures and interesting highlights from conversations and education sessions, the Social Lounge, of beautiful tile, of progress in the Installation Showcase…
After the show, continue to interact with those you connected with over #Coverings2016. Share helpful updates. Recap your images and observations in a blog article. When you publish, be sure to share links to your article on your social networks and include the #Coverings2016 hashtag. And, since you are tracking that hashtag, be sure to help others amplify their content.
Bonus – Twitter Tour on 4/18 at 3pm CST
On Monday, April 18 at 3:00 pm Central time, you can join Coverings Industry Ambassador, Alena Capra, for a curated, behind-the-scenes tour of the show. This is an interactive tour which begins at the Social Media Lounge and includes top social media participants who will share insights via Twitter throughout the tour.
Alena will offer you an insider’s look at the Coverings’ pavilions—Ceramics of Italy, Tile of Spain and Tile Council of North America. Here, too, you can follow along with @Coverings using the hashtag #Coverings2016.
Bonus – Twitter Chat on 4/20 at 1pm CST
I love Twitter chats. They are intense, fast-paced, friendly and informative. When you participate, you include the hashtag for the chat in your updates (there are tools that make this automatic). If you’re looking to connect with like-minded professionals about a topic you care intensely about, try a Twitter chat.
A terrific chat to check out is #KBTribeChat (i.e., kitchen and bath tribe chat) which takes place every Wednesday from 2pm to 3pm EST. During Coverings 2016, you can experience a live version of #KBTribeChat on Wednesday April 20th at 1pm Central time at the Crossville Tile booth.  The topic is tile and the hashtags to use are #KBTribeChat and #Coverings2016.
You are now all set to get hashtagging with #Coverings 2016! See you there!
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For more information on how you can leverage #Coverings2016 with image-based social media platforms, please join Arpi Nalbandian from Tileometry and me as we discuss Online Visual Success with Houzz, Instagram and Pinterest in the Social Media Lounge, Booth #4031. Our session is scheduled for April 18, 10:45am to 12:15pm. Register now to attend!
You can learn more about my co-presenter in Tileometry’s Arpi Nalbandian Talks Social Networking for Business.
Until then, you can connect with me via my website http://www.SimpleMarketingNow.com and blogs:

Flooring The Consumer – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/blog/flooring-the-consumer
Content Talks Business – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/content-talks-business-blog
The Social Flooring Index – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/blog/social-flooring-index-blog

And socially,

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBWhittemore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimpleMarketingNow
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cbwhittemore
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cbwhittemore/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Simplemarketingnow

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Session Spotlight: Man Made Natural: Insights into the Authenticity of Materials by Grace Jeffers

Truth to materials is a principle of modern design that holds that the innate qualities of natural materials should influence the projects created from them, and the doctrine assumes natural materials are superior to man-made materials. But are natural materials always the best choice?
The answer really comes down to what story you want to tell with your design concept and how the materials you select fit into that story. In terms of cost, synthetic materials often are less expensive. But, cost aside, one could make an argument for the use of man-made materials on principle alone in some cases. The following three case studies illustrate this point.
Vegan Leather
PVC coated textiles, otherwise known as Naugahyde, pleather and vinyl, often are viewed as low-cost, but less desirable, alternatives to leather. But today some designers intentionally use the material, promoting it as vegan leather or cruelty free leather. On one hand it is synthetic, but on the other hand the material can be used in lieu of genuine cowhide. What is more important to your clients?
Wood Grain Laminate
Ebony, zebrawood, afromosia and certain species of mahogany, cedar and teak are some of the most endangered tree species on the planet. Many laminate manufacturers have created patterns that are dead ringers for the real thing, but they use plantation-grown eucalyptus as a raw material for the paper layers. (Did you know that laminate is 83 percent paper?) By choosing laminate, designers can avoid accidentally specifying endangered species and contributing to the demand that fuels illegal logging.
Eldorado Stone
It is illegal to remove lava rock from nature in the state of Hawaii. This is because lava rock is protected as an endangered environment and also because many Hawaiian people believe there is a life force that resides in all things. So, to take things from their natural home is to disturb the spirits within. (For anyone familiar with that famous Brady Bunch episode, you know that many people return pilfered rocks to Hawaii with an apology to Pele, goddess of the volcano.) Eldorado Stone has solved this problem by creating its Hawaiian Collection, four distinctive lava rock simulations that each feature a unique color, texture and shape.
Today, more than ever, the overall design story is as important if not more important than the individual materials themselves. What story do you want to tell with materials?
Man Made Natural: Insights into the Authenticity of Materials takes place Monday, April 18, 2016 from 10:45am – 11:45am. You can register for Coverings for free here.

Grace Jeffers is a design historian, materials specialist and writer focusing on the 20th century, whose approach blends art history, social history, material science and the practice of design. As a curator, Jeffers worked to restore and preserve the Ralph and Sunny Wilson House in Temple, Texas, for which she received the Merit Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, successfully arguing that the use of modern materials in architecture warrants recognition. As a designer, she has created patterns and designs for paper, flooring, laminate and other decorative surfacing materials for more than 10 major manufacturers. Jeffers contributed to the catalog of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition “Skin: Surface and Substance in Contemporary Design,” and has served as a contributor and design editor to architectural trade magazines. She is a graduate of the Bard Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts.
 

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Session Spotlight: Tiled Shower Installation Systems – Design Trends & Techniques

This Coverings 2016 educational presentation will focus on the latest design trends and the installation of tiled shower systems. We will provide an overview of the features and attributes of tiled shower installations including a review of pertinent industry standards that govern these applications.  Some of these industry standards include ceramic tile and stone guidelines based on Tile Council of North America methodology as well as applicable building code, plumbing code and accessibility requirements. In addition, we will discuss the various types of waterproofing membranes and drains that are used for these applications.
Throughout our presentation, we will review best practices, installation methodology and various installation tips and techniques that apply to modern shower constructs. We will also discuss the design requirements dealing with the walk in showers (also known as zero entry or barrier free showers). Lastly, the presentation will review the design requirements for alternative shower system receptors, components and accessories suited for today’s modern showers including zero entry and barrier free applications. We will show photos of some great looking finished showers, which will hopefully stimulate some great design ideas. This presentation will cover the needs of all audiences including architects, designers, installers, builders, remodelers, retailers, distributors and green building professionals.
Hope to see you there! “Tiled Shower Installation Systems – Design Trends and Techniques” takes place Monday, April 18 from 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM. You can register for Coverings free here. 

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Meet British Ceramic Tile

The cold snap may have hit Britain, but it hasn’t dampened our spirits as we plan our fifth trip to Coverings 2016. Preparation has been busy for the show with our product development team working hard to create stunning new collections of wall and floor tiles to showcase the best of British design and manufacture, while our marketing team has been putting creating some show-stopping theatre for our stand, to impress our stateside friends old and new.
A British tile manufacturer for over 100 years, we’re constantly looking to push the boundaries of design and lead trends, creating ranges that appeal to retailers and consumers in our overseas markets and this year no different with seven new collections, as well as our key sellers.
We’re never ones to shy away from the crowd and this year we’re planning to make some noise at Coverings with our stand, giving visitors a taste of our brand and who we are here at British Ceramic Tile.
Our stand is themed like a house with clearly defined areas showcasing our new ceramic, porcelain and glass ranges. The big news for 2016 is the launch of the new high definition (HD) ranges, with new designs including Accolade, Insignia and Paragon. Designed to replicate nature and imitate the appearance and intricacies of real stone, the HD collection has been created using the very latest in high definition inkjet technology.
These ranges are a striking addition to our existing product portfolio as they take wood and stone-effect ceramic tiles to a whole new level of design. The print quality is so realistic that we will be challenging visitors to the stand to ‘tell the difference’ between the real and the HD tile.
The state of the art technology has allowed us to introduce new designs and textures such as the 3D HD Accolade, an elegant wave effect ceramic tile which takes inspiration from natural sandstone with meanderings of mono-minerallic crystallised elements throughout. Trophy, which recreates a timeless and natural limestone effect with a pigmented look will also be on stand in a range suitable for both walls and floors.
A big focus for us this year is to tell you more about who we are and what we can offer, so we’ll be giving you an interactive taste of the brand through our new Design Hub. This will enable you to take a closer look at a variety of our tile samples, get a feel for them and discuss in more detail how we can work together.
Come and experience a little bit of Britain with our very own Sentry guard who’ll be standing watch outside the house. Try and make Henry the guard laugh, snap a selfie and ‘pin it to win it’ on our board for a chance to win a $500 Ted Baker voucher.  A British themed sugar boost will also be on offer with a traditional pick and mix sweet bag to take away to keep you buzzing as you make your way round the rest of the show.
We look forward to seeing you at stand 4645 or for more information click here.
Register now to attend Coverings for free and to see British Ceramic Tile!

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Experience Coverings 2016 With Unique Programs from Local Chicago Partners

This year, Coverings is excited to feature a couple of unique programs that showcase tile as a medium for creative design.

SAIC Tiled Bench Exhibit
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will exhibit tiled benches designed by their students, and the Chicago Mosaic School will provide interactive educational classes.
Over the course of a three-week program, SAIC students studying Architecture, Interior Architecture and Fine Arts, will learn about the process of selecting tile materials, creating construction/installation drawings, and installing the product to perform optimally. During the course, the National Tile Contractors Association will provide instruction on installation techniques, methods, and standards. Teams of students will then collaborate to create benches that incorporate tile and stone as the primary construction material.
You can check out the final products at Coverings 2016, where the benches will be on display for attendees to view. The benches will be up for critique by a panel of judges, who will be looking at overall design and installation. Stop by the ceremony on Monday, April 18th at 4:30pm to see this up-and-coming talent!  

Workshops with the Chicago Mosaic School
Through the partnership with the Chicago Mosaic School, Coverings attendees will have an opportunity to interact with tile as a creative medium during workshops at the show.
During these sessions, Chicago Mosaic School instructors will educate attendees on how the different tools and materials can create various mosaic effects, while the interactive workshops will provide hands-on introductions to materials best suited to mosaic applications.
Two workshops and two demonstrations will be held each day from April 18 to 20, with limited capacity for each session. Advanced registration for the workshops and demonstrations is required and can be completed during general show registration.
Hope to see you there! 
Joining in on the fun? Be sure to register for FREE.  

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Alena Capra Announces Trend Predictions for Coverings 2016

It’s that time of the year again! As we near Coverings 2016, we’ve tapped Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra to share the trends she’s excited about seeing on this year’s show floor, and she did not disappoint! From new shapes, to new textures and hues, 2016 is looking to be a great year for tile. Take a look at her guest post below, and let us know what you’re most looking forward to seeing this year by joining the conversation online @Coverings with #Coverings2016.
And don’t forget – Coverings is free to attend! Register here.
As a professional designer, I’ve found that staying on top of new products and trends – especially in the tile and stone industry – helps me provide the best options to my clients and keeps my designs fresh and up-to-date. It’s true that product selection (not to mention, installation) can really make or break a design. 
Since the start of the year, I have been working with Tile of Spain, Ceramics of Italy, TCNA to learn about the new styles and designs their manufacturers are planning on bringing to Coverings 2016. Here are the new trends I’m predicting will grace the show floor this year in Chicago:
Trend 1: Brick Looks
With a nod to texture and classic shapes, I expect to see a number of brick-look tiles on the show floor this year. This includes everything from traditional brick-and-mortar looks to sleek and elongated linear brick tiles.
 

Trend 2: Blues and Aquas
Another trend I’m seeing this year is the resurgence of blues and aquas. I love blue because it can both be neutral and bold, and fits into all types of design aesthetics. Options range from a more traditional white and blue (inspired by historical styles) to beautiful bright aquas, reminiscent of the Mediterranean Sea.
    
Trend 3: Three Dimensional Walls
With recent innovations in production, three-dimensional accent walls in tile can now appear to be almost seamless. This year I’m seeing a lot of variety, including wavy and fragmented designs, as well as more geometric shapes. Sizes range from individual accent tiles to large format, and are available across glass, porcelain, ceramic, and wood porcelain.

Trend 4: Modern, Soft, and Neutral
This trend is popular among all elements of design this year, including textiles, paint and furniture. Light grays and taupe remain popular color selections throughout the home, and we’e seeing this palette in tile as well. For example, I’ve come across sandblasted woods in soft tones, fabric-like textures on natural elements like wood or stone, and watercolor effects in neutral tones.

Trend 5: Florals and Fabrics
This popular trend first emerged in 2015, and we’re seeing it evolve in 2016. New this year? Unique patterns such as chevrons, paisleys, and damasks on a variety of background and materials.  We’re also seeing wallpaper inspired textures, and fabric-like prints paired with other trends – like wood-look and blues. 

What trend are you most looking forward to seeing on the show floor? Do you think I missed anything? 

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Coverings Rock Stars: An Interview with Eric Tetreault

This week, submissions for Coverings Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program officially closed. While our judges deliberate before announcing the winner on April 18th at Coverings 2016 in Chicago, we touched base with one of last year’s winners: Installer Eric Tetreault of EJT Contracting, on his experience in the industry, favorite projects and advice for newcomers: 
What does it mean for you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star in 2015? 
It’s a huge honor. At first I was flattered. I’ve been working tirelessly the past 10 years to be the best installer I could, and it was nice to have others acknowledge and celebrate my hard work. My experience at the show was definitely more than I expected – I felt the Rock Stars were really celebrated, and we received a positive reaction on the show floor.  With the additional write-ups, winner spotlights, and other recognition that came with it, it was really much more than I had expected.
As for everyday life, my customers and prospects are quite enamored with the award. When they understand who gives the award, what Coverings is, what it means to be selected, and the reasons I was selected, many prospects will pick me as their installer. I’ve been lucky this past year having customers who will choose an installer for reasons beyond budget. 
Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry? 
When I started working in construction right out of high school, I was working with a great builder who got me involved and experienced with all of the trades. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the more I installed tile, the more I seemed to enjoy it. Today, although I work in many parts of residential remodeling, I’ve really carved out a good niche in tile work, and I’m known for my tile work far more than any other trade.
I suppose one reason I enjoy this industry so much, is because tile work is a fine craft and extremely difficult to get “just right” unless it’s done by someone who is absolutely passionate about the finished product – not just in how it looks, but how it lasts, how it performs, how it maintains, and how it makes an overall impression on the design and feel of a room. It gives me great satisfaction to be part of the process and have my work adored for years and years to come. 
Do you have a specific project or moment in time when you were particularly proud of your work?
In this past year, I was contacted to tile a basement floor in a high-end remodel. The concrete was in place, and the architect called for a hydronic radiant heating system installed under the tile – but with height limitations. Insulating the slab for efficiency was also a huge request, but the architect had no idea how to get everything done with such little room for buildup. After much research, I was able to implement a system, designed and approved from Wedi, to install a 3/4″ foam core cement coated building panel on the floor, route out channels in the foam to install the tubing, and tile directly on top of the building panels. In one step, we had insulation, a tubing system, tile underlayment, and after the tile was installed we had less than 1-1/2″ of buildup- a full inch less than the next best plan. This was a challenge for me, and one I am particularly proud of because I took a project that was “impossible” to others, and found a way to make it happen for the customer.

Another example was for an NYC-based designer who wanted to install large thin porcelain panels on a TV and fireplace surround. The condo was on the 19th floor, and the panels were too large to fit into the elevator. She had exhausted all of her resources trying to figure out how to get the project done, and asked the manufacturer for the name of someone who had experience in this type of material, as well as a willingness to accept the challenge. The manufacturer gave her my name, and I assessed the site. Thanks to the help of the building supervisor, I was able to develop a plan to get the panels up to the 19th floor and installed to perfection. These are moments that make me particularly proud of my work. 

Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice? 
This industry has some of the best people I’ve ever met in my whole life. I don’t have a single mentor, but a huge network of mentors who will help me with anything I ever need, without hesitation. The first resource that helped launch me into the industry years ago was the John Bridge Forum. Beyond being able to chat with other professionals and find useful and relevant information, the John Bridge Forum will occasionally host “group training seminars” where members can gather at a central location to learn about a specific topic. Industry manufacturers will often host the event in an unbiased format for the greater good of the industry. I’ve attended a few of these, and met countless professionals who are always more than happy to pass on their knowledge, experience, trials, and “secrets”. 
Soon after joining the John Bridge Forum, I joined the NTCA, which has also been an invaluable resource. The people who run the NTCA are again, always more than willing to go out of their way to help their members just because they enjoy the industry as much as I do.
Please share some advice for young professionals getting started in the tile and stone industry
Younger people are the future of this industry, and we need as many as we can get. There is a big shortage of labor, which is a shame because it is one of the best trades in my opinion. It also opens up windows of opportunity everywhere, and opportunity is undeniably scarce in most other lines of work. It isn’t hard to find a mentor, and if you start out and learn the tile trades well, it can be very rewarding. It is not always glamorous and it isn’t always easy, but the support I’ve seen from the industry is second to none, and there will always be demand for good tile setters. 
You can meet the 2016 Coverings Rock Stars at the Opening Night Celebration on Monday, April 18 from 5:30-7:00 PM at McCormick Place. Sign up now when register for free for Coverings 2016.

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Coverings Rock Stars: An Interview with Adriano Caetano

Have you nominated someone to be a Coverings Rock Star? Submissions are open until Monday, January 25 and we look forward to seeing who will join the ranks of Ryan Fasan and Phillip Belloff, 2015 Rock Stars who we’ve featured on the Coverings blog recently.
This week, we set our sights to the installer segment to highlight Adriano Caetano of Adriano Marble Productions & Installations. Adriano began his obsession with tile and stone as a child, and learned the art of installation from both his father and uncle. Here, he shares his tales of passion, hard work, and his sheer love of designing and installing:
1. What does it mean to you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015? 
Having been selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015 is my greatest professional accomplishment to date, and I am extremely proud, grateful, and honored to hold this title. None of my work that has been featured in design magazines has been attributed to me, since generally the profile will focus on the architect and interior designer, so it’s nice to finally receive public recognition. 
2. Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry? 
I have been obsessed with tile and stone since I was a child. My uncle in Patos de Minas, Brazil, Dorval Santos, mentored me once my father introduced me to the trade as a youngster. He emphasized that the installation is only as good as its initial preparation, and today one of my favorite things to complete, though it lacks in creativity, is the perfect mud job. 
Nothing, however, makes me happier than designing and installing an extremely complicated and outrageous geometrical floor pattern that will simply leave people’s mouths agape. I have done this many times, and the feeling of accomplishment is incredible. While I am working on these floors, I become so focused and passionate, fueled by my black coffee and techno music, that the building could practically be burning down and I would barely notice. I am very fortunate that I get to work with beautiful, graceful materials such as onyx, marble, and granite, essentially creating living works of art.
3. Do you have a specific project or moment in time where you were particularly proud of your work?
Professionally, I am most proud of the Park Avenue apartment that I installed for esteemed real estate developer, William Mack. This work was prominently featured in December 2014’s “The Art Issue” of Architectural Digest. The materials were excellent and classic, and the design was extremely elegant. 
Another project I am proud of is Golden Crest, a Stanford White designed, circa 1900 mansion in Elberon, NJ that is a labor of love. This is my laboratory, and where I get to experiment and let loose creatively with its very enthusiastic and equally tile-obsessed owner. My dearest tile memories are at this home. For example, last year I created an 18′ tall blue marble cathedral ceiling atop an amazing black and white geometrical starburst floor. I am currently installing another floor there that I designed and is inspired by the famous black and white floor of The Wolseley Hotel in London- though my version is definitely more rock n’ roll! (You can watch a clip of the installation here.)

4. Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice? 
I find myself always turning to designer Randy Cain for advice. She is one of my closest friends and, simply put, an amazing human being. We met many years ago when I looked like a “wacko” (as she loves to remind me), at a time when I favored extremely baggy pants and any clothing with skulls on it, I am ashamed to admit. “Listen, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, so let’s see how this installation works out,” she said at our first meeting. Since then, she has always encouraged me and stood by me. 
5. Please share some advice for young professionals getting started in the tile and stone industry.
I will tailor my advice to flooring designers and installers, as that is what my expertise is limited to: 
First off: passion! I can’t begin to tell you how many people I’ve worked with who simply want to get the work done as soon as possible and go home. If you’re in this field simply because your father/friend/uncle is, or you think it’s a good way to make a quick buck, you’re in the wrong business. The work is dirty, heavy, and difficult. The industry doesn’t need any more guys who want to sloppily throw some thin-set on the wall with some 12″X 12″ tile. Don’t be one of the bad guys. Have some pride and be one of the good guys. Please. 
Secondly, I would encourage experimentation: there is so much that can be done with a 3/8″ piece of tile and an excellent quality wet saw. In Brazil, I worked with cave man tools compared to what you’ve got here. Take advantage of this! Experiment with shapes, cuts, angles, and materials. It will only make you stronger and more desirable in the industry. You are limited only by your imagination, and hopefully you paid attention in 10th grade geometry class, as this will make your life much easier, as well.
Thirdly, find a good mentor, even if it means doing a ridiculous amount of manual labor in the beginning to please him/her. You will prove your worth and reap invaluable advice from someone who has been doing this for a while. I have my tricks, but they are top secret! I will eventually share them, however, with someone who is a hard worker, eager, and sincere. 
Lastly, give back! Donate your time to help those in need as often as you can via Habitat for Humanity, your local church or synagogue, or even go directly to the elderly/disabled neighbor or the friend who has been out of work for a while. Trust me, karma is a you-know-what, so this can and will only help you. It’s my understanding that The Tile Gods look very favorably upon this last piece of advice.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Shine at Coverings 2016!

UPDATE: Deadline has been extended to Monday, January 25.
Want to be recognized by the tile and stone industry for outstanding projects and rising all stars? Well, good news! Coverings is currently accepting submissions for two separate award programs designed to recognized the best talent in the tile and stone industry.

The Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards seek the finest expertise in craftsmanship, creativity and innovative use of materials in tile and stone projects. The CID Awards, sponsored by TileLetter and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, honor projects that showcase exceptionally creative designs and demonstrate technical mastery in the use of tile and stone in residential, commercial, international and sustainable projects. The free submission process is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals who embody excellence in design and installation skills. New to the CID Awards program for 2016 is the “Scouting Shot” category, which offers outstanding projects with amateur photography the opportunity to be professionally photographed. Installers and designers of the Grand Prize winning projects will each receive $2,000 and a one-night hotel stay in Chicago. Additional cash prizes will be awarded in 12 other categories. For examples of wining projects, click here. To submit a project to be considered for the CID Awards, please visit the Coverings’ online portal.

Coverings’ Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program is on the hunt for nominations for 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. To be eligible, 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 along with their nominators, the Rock Stars will also be honored at the Awards Breakfast at the show on Tuesday, April 19, where they can network, share insight from their experiences and discuss their shared passion of the tile and stone industry. To see how being recognized as a Rock Star changed someone’s life – read 2015 Rock Star Phillip Belloff’s story. To nominate a qualified individual, or to nominate yourself, complete a submission form at coverings.com/RockStars.

Both the Rock Stars and the CID Award winners will be recognized at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration on Monday, April 18. The celebration will include a presentation of the winners with an interactive showcase and a Taste of Chicago themed reception. The CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration is free and open to all attendees.
Don’t miss your opportunity to shine – the deadline for all nominations is Monday, January 18, 2016. For questions or inquiries, please contact info@coverings.com. 

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Call for Entries: The 2016 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition

Calling all North American architects and designers! Ceramics of Italy is looking for entries for their 2016 Tile Competition! A jury of international design experts will select three winning projects as well as honorable mentions that utilize the technical and aesthetic qualities of Italian tile in residential, institutional, and commercial/hospitality sectors. Projects displaying the highest level of functionality, creativity, sustainability and aesthetic appeal will be rewarded with valued prizes as well as exposure in the industry.
To qualify for the competition, projects must be designed by North American based architects and designers, completed in the past five years (January 2011 to January 2016) and feature a significant portion of Italian ceramic or porcelain tile. Domestic and international projects, renovations and new buildings, and all scales and styles will be equally considered in three categories (residential, commercial and institutional).
The judge’s official criteria includes:

Overall design of the project
Aesthetic and technical quality of the tile installation
Degree to which the tile enhances the setting
Sustainability

Winners will be notified in March and officially announced at the Ceramics of Italy International Press Conference at Coverings 2016. Winners will receive travel and accommodations to attend the show in Chicago, where they will receive the award. Additionally, each category winner will receive a cash prize of $4,000 plus a 5-day trip to Bologna, Italy next fall to attend Cersaie – the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings – alongside a handpicked delegation of colleagues and design journalists. The trip includes CEU credits and guided tours of the show as well as cultural visits around Italy and an amazing networking opportunity with other industry professionals from across North America.
Enter by January 15, 2016 for a chance to win! The competition guidelines, online application and an archive of beautiful winning projects from past years can be found on the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition website, www.tilecompetition.com. There is no fee to enter and multiple submissions are accepted.

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Coverings Rock Stars – An Interview with Phillip Belloff

We’re in full swing with this year’s nomination process for Coverings Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program, and are taking this opportunity to look at last year’s honorees. Most recently, we chatted with Ryan Fasan, and you can read his interview here. Now we’re setting our sights on Phillip Belloff.
This program honors the best and brightest young talent in the tile and stone industry, and Phillip Belloff is no exception. A Chicago native, Phillip is the owner of VIP Stone & Tile, the #1 retail flooring store in Chicago’s North Shore for over 40 years. A nod to his father, who started VIP Stone & Tile in 1972, Phillip grew up in the tile industry and learned not only the tricks of the trade, but the value in which this industry has given his family. 
We recently connected with Phillip to hear first hand about his experience both in the industry and as an inaugural Coverings Rock Star:
What did it mean to you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015? 
It was such an honor. Having grown up in this industry, going to my first Coverings at the age of 9, it felt like my efforts in the tile industry had come full circle. 
How did your position as a Coverings Rock Star enhance your experience at the show?
It offered so much exposure to new relationships that are vitally important to long-term success. Coverings is already known for being the greatest opportunity to network in the tile industry, but getting to connect with other young entrepreneurs, as well as Tile Council members, opened up doors that have already had a huge impact on my company. 
Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry? 
The company I took over was run by my father and started in 1972. More or less, every activity I did, meal I ate, and vacation I took was ALL from the tile industry. Realizing how it had supported my lifestyle from the age of zero, it was always important to me to give back to the industry by giving 100% effort, 100% creativity, and most of all, 100% integrity. 
Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice? 
Several. The flooring industry has so many areas of expertise (porcelain, mosaics, stone, countertops, installation, fabrication) that you must have advisors in all sectors. I am nothing without the mentors that helped me get here. Some of these people accelerated the process of my “vision” faster than I could have ever imagined, and in return, I would drop everything I’m doing on any day to return that favor. I always say, “Someone did it ‘the hard way’, so you don’t have to”. 
What advice can you offer to young professionals getting started in the tile and stone industry?
As in any industry, hard work is very important. The tile industry has always done great job of making a clear separation between those who were “all in” and those who were only lightly invested. Secondly, integrity is everything. The tile industry is so incredibly relationship based, that it is crucial to do everything with 100% honesty and good intentions. If you’re young, you have the opportunity to create a stellar reputation. Your reputation will stick with you forever, so make sure to make the “right” choice every single time. 
Are you planning on attending Coverings 2016 in Chicago? 
Chicago is my home city and place of business – I cannot wait for us to host Coverings 2016. I plan to be as actively involved as possible, and any and every opportunity to help, I’ll be there. Coverings 2015 changed my life and it’s so great to be able to help give back to the show in 2016. 

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Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra Prepares for 2016

We’re proud to announce that Alena Capra will be back this year as the Coverings 2016 Industry Ambassador! In this role, she’ll continue to act as liaison to the local industries related to tile and stone, as well as with the media. With a keen eye for tile and stone, Alena brings more than 12 years of experience as a residential designer to her role, and is accredited through the National Kitchen and Bath Association as a Certified Kitchen Designer and Certified Bath Designer. We touched base with Alena to see how she’s preparing for Coverings 2016, and what she’s looking forward to in Chicago:  
It seems like the past year has gone by so fast, and I’m excited that it’s time to start thinking about all the new things we’ll see at this year’s Coverings show in Chicago!
Last month, I spent a few days in beautiful Savannah, Georgia for the Total Solutions Plus conference. I was able to reconnect with many industry friends and hear some of this year’s inspiring keynote speakers. I even had the distinct honor of introducing author and speaker, Eric Chester. Eric gave a wonderful talk about how companies and employers can “ignite passion in their people without burning them out.” As a business owner myself, I took note on his tips for creating a culture that inspires everyone inside an organization, and I even purchased his book, “On Fire at Work!” During the show, I also had the opportunity to stop by many of the booths and tabletops, see new products, and get excited about all that we can look forward to at Coverings in Chicago this spring.
I’m really looking forward to visiting Chicago in 2016. It’s the perfect location for Coverings with its rich history in architecture, and there is just so much to see! Even though it’s only November, I’ve already started preparing for this year’s show. I’ve been using social media to check out trends from Cersaie show and have spent a lot of time at various tile showrooms that I work with in South Florida, checking out what’s new for my projects. I can’t wait to get back to the beautiful city of Chicago in April!
Hope to see you all at #Coverings2016!
Connect with Alena Capra on Social Media:
Twitter: @AlenaCapra
Instagram: @AlenaCapraDesign

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Ceramics of Italy Shares Top Trends from Cersaie

Last month, industry professionals gathered in Bologna, Italy for Cersaie, the world’s preeminent exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. With over 850 exhibitors and 100,000+ visitors, the show was brimming with collaborations, craftsmanship, and innovation. Always looking out for what’s new, Ceramics of Italy shared with us the trends they identified among Italian companies at this year’s show. Take a look at the ten most popular trends and let us know which ones you’re most excited to see at Coverings 2016!
FRAGMENTS
Playing with the idea of modularity, Italian ceramic companies are designing fragmented patterns on square and rectangular tiles to produce large dynamic compositions. By randomly mixing and matching geometric shapes, the tiles pop with vivid, kaleidoscopic effect.

Pictured (L-R): Bardelli Tangram, Refin Labyrinth, Sicis SICIStone, Ornamenta Frames
HIT THE BRICKS
Each season a shape naturally emerges as a tile industry favorite. Last year was the hexagon; this year is all about brick! From micro to macro, polished to rustic, and designs ranging from faithful interpretations of old brick walls and brick with mortar spills, to painted brick and marble and wood designs in a brick format.

Pictured (L-R): Marca Corona BrickLane, Cir Recupera, Brix Micro-Brick, Monocibec Eclipse
CHEVRON CHIC
Drawing inspiration from an age-old pattern, designers will love dressing up floors and walls with these eye-catching porcelains. From rustic and painted wood looks to resin, brick and stone, Italian companies are producing chevron and herringbone tiles across all scales to create visually striking patterns that are easy to install.

Pictured (L-R): Sant’Agostino Shadewood, Novabell Firestone, 41zero42 Rigo, Atlas Concorde Etic Pro
ALONG THE RIGHT LINES
The show also highlighted endless variations on the most basic and powerful element of design: the line. Thick and thin, vertical and horizontal, straight and intersecting, flat and three dimensional, linear designs are definitely in vogue with the ability to add depth, movement or focus to a room.

Pictured (L-R): Mutina Rombini, Naxos Fiber, Lea Naive Slimtech, 41zero42 Otto
OBJET D’ART
One trend was embraced by several Italian companies is the transformation of tile into objet d’art. Ascot continued to highlight contemporary artists, while ABK and Imola were inspired by street art and graffiti.

Pictured (L-R): Ascot Game of 15, ABK Do-Up, Settecento Steve Kaufman, Imola Kuni
SOFT SPOT
There was overwhelming warmth to the tile introductions this year, lending an undeniable softness to the hard surface. From designs with distressed and tactile effects (sandblasted marble, stripped wood and fabric) to warm shades, watercolor and velvety textures, it was a welcome reprieve from the minimal aesthetic of recent years.

Pictured (L-R): Fioranese Painted_Wood, Fondovalle Infinito 2.0, Astor Context, ABK Do-Up
GREYSCALE
Despite the color’s recent meteoric rise in popular culture, grey has always been a modern designer’s best friend. And this year, an entire spectrum can be found in the latest Italian tile introductions, from cooler slate tones to that perfect portmanteau of grey and beige. With the addition of texture, chromatic variation and overlaid patterns, these tiles prove that you don’t need color to make a statement.

Pictured (L-R): Sintesi Planet, Brix Brush, Cotto d’Este Limestone, 41zero42 Signs
3D WALL
With continuously evolving technologies, Italian companies are able to create ceramic tiles with three dimensional folds, wavy ridges, raised geometry and asymmetrical profiles. Fitting these tiles together creates a three dimensional wall with a seamless sculpted surface that naturally invites attention.

Pictured (L-R): Sicis Meteors, Fap Frame, Atlas Concorde 3D Wall Design, Piemme More
SUPERSIZE ME
Tiles continue to get bigger every year, bringing a torrent of new design possibilities. Thin, large porcelain slabs – which can be used to cover all manner of surfaces including countertops and furnishings – are now available in sizes up to 5.25′ x 10.5′.

Pictured (L-R): Fondovalle Komi, Caesar Aextra30, Ava I Marmi, Casamood Neutra 6.0
LIFE AQUATIC
Conjuring images of Mediterranean life, a marine palette of greens and blues is perfect for a pop of color. From large-format and modern surface effects to more traditional shapes and motifs, these cool colors are bringing a coastal vibe to interiors.

Pictured (L-R): Atlas Concorde Dwell, Tagina Details, Cerasarda Sardinia, Imola Shades
You’ll be able to spot these trends and more at Coverings 2016. Register now!

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Coverings Rock Stars: An Interview with Ryan Fasan

Last year, Coverings honored the best and brightest young professionals in the tile and stone industry through the first ever Coverings Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program. The program is back for Coverings 2016, and is now officially open for nominations. You can learn more about nominations and the judging process here.
We’re kicking off this year’s nomination process with an interview with one the 2015 honorees, Ryan Fasan. Ryan is a presenter and designer with more than 20 years of experience in the ceramic tile industry. Currently, Ryan is a research consultant, trainer and senior partner of Professional Attention to Tile Installations (P.A.T.T.I.). We connected with him to discuss his experience as a Rock Star and hear his advice for other rising stars in the industry:
What does it mean to you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015? 
Having spent the past 20 years working in the industry, my inclusion in this emerging leader’s initiative meant a great deal to me. With my mother being a Joe Tarver award winner for lifetime contribution to the industry, getting this recognition was a very nice affirmation that I am writing my own page in the family history.
Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry? 
Tile has been a mainstay in my life since I was five when my mother was hired by a family from Barcelona that opened their own distributorship in Vancouver. At the age of 13 I started in sample production and moved through the ranks doing every job possible in distribution until there was no more to learn.
My realization that there is often a disconnect between the sales people/design professionals and installers made me jump into installation next. After 4+ years apprenticing under German master installers I moved into teaching to begin to give back to this industry that has been so good to me. At the same time, my relationship with a locally owned manufacturer started me on a path towards product and marketing design. Both my speaking and design roles continue today and are wonderful foils for each other. I’m constantly amazed by how much there is to learn and share in this industry.
Do you have a specific project or moment in time in which you were particularly proud of your work?
I’ve had many proud moments in my career and due to the many fields I’ve worked in, they are all different. I can’t honestly say what’s better – the feeling of a perfectly executed installation done completely with my own hands, a concisely designed product collection that took months of development time or a seminar program designed and delivered that captivates an audience of hundreds for an hour. They all feel great. Many of my seminars have been hosted live on Tile of Spain’s blog, and all of my product collections are found at Bellavita Tile. 
Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice? 
My mom, Patti Fasan, first and foremost. A close second would have to be the president of Bellavita Tile, Duigan Mitchell. Both have been close working partners of mine for years and the wealth of knowledge, opportunities for growth and advice they have provided me have made me the professional I am today. This award is thanks in large part to the influence they’ve had on me over the years.
Please share some advice for young professionals getting started in the tile and stone industry:
Dip your toes in every pond you can. There is so much to learn in this industry and so many opportunities to do so that you are doing yourself a disservice if you let the knowledge and experience pass you by.
Do everything you can to get to see as many factories, job sites & showrooms as you can. You never know what inspiration will find you in these most creative of spaces.
Get involved with your colleagues and clients – the younger generations are moving up the chain now and the connections you make, relationships you build and experiences you glean now are what will determine how far you rise in the next couple decades. Soak up every experience you can.
Are you planning on attending Coverings 2016 in Chicago? 
No question. Ever. I will be at every Coverings until I retire.

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Coverings Accepting Submissions for the 2016 Installation & Design Showcase

It’s that time of the year again! The 2016 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards are officially open for submissions! Sponsored by TileLetter and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we’re looking for projects that showcase exceptionally creative designs and demonstrate technical mastery in the use of tile and stone across residential, commercial, international and sustainable applications. The free submission process is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals who embody excellence in design and installation skills. Professionals are encouraged to submit multiple projects – show us what you’ve got! 
New to the CID Awards program for 2016 is the “Scouting Shot” category, which offers outstanding projects with amateur photography the opportunity to be professionally photographed. The winning project in this category will receive a complimentary professional photo shoot prior to the show, and have their photos on display during the Opening Night Celebration.
All winning projects will be honored on Monday, April 18 at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration. Installers and designers of the Grand Prize winning projects will each receive $2,000 and a one-night hotel stay in Chicago. Additional cash prizes will be rewarded.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are some of our favorite projects from last year’s CID Award Winners:
Grand Prize: Tile Project
Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Tower
Designed by: PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc.
Installed by: GSI Global Stone, Inc.
Talk about wow-worthy. This noted Hawaiian landmark and 30-story tower is covered by the world’s tallest tile mosaic mural. We love how the bright, fun colors compliment the natural environment of the island this project calls home.
 
PHOTO – Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Tower
 
Winner: Residential Stone Installation
Private Residence
Installed by: Rockford Tile Contractors
 
There’s nothing more eye-catching than a seamless stone installation. From grand entryways to luxurious bathrooms, this home is flush with beautifully installed marble.
 
 PHOTO – Private Residence
 
Winner: Sustainable Tile Design
Lakes Regional Healthcare Phase II – Surgery & Birth Centers
Designed by: RDG Planning & Design
This environmentally savvy design is sleek, modern, and warm. We love the mix of natural materials throughout the space, and the large windows that allow for plenty of natural light.
 
PHOTO – Lakes Regional
Ready to enter? You can head over to the online portal to submit, or learn more about the CID Awards here. 

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Now Accepting Submissions for the 2016 Coverings Installation & Design Awards

It’s that time of the year again! The 2016 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards are officially open for submissions! Sponsored by TileLetter and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we’re looking for projects that showcase exceptionally creative designs and demonstrate technical mastery in the use of tile and stone across residential, commercial, international and sustainable applications. The free submission process is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals who embody excellence in design and installation skills. Professionals are encouraged to submit multiple projects – show us what you’ve got! 
New to the CID Awards program for 2016 is the “Scouting Shot” category, which offers outstanding projects with amateur photography the opportunity to be professionally photographed. The winning project in this category will receive a complimentary professional photo shoot prior to the show, and have their photos on display during the Opening Night Celebration.
All winning projects will be honored on Monday, April 18 at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration. Installers and designers of the Grand Prize winning projects will each receive $2,000 and a one-night hotel stay in Chicago. Additional cash prizes will be rewarded.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are some of our favorite projects from last year’s CID Award Winners:
Grand Prize: Tile Project
Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Tower
Designed by: PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc.
Installed by: GSI Global Stone, Inc.
Talk about wow-worthy. This noted Hawaiian landmark and 30-story tower is covered by the world’s tallest tile mosaic mural. We love how the bright, fun colors compliment the natural environment of the island this project calls home.

Winner: Residential Stone Installation
Private Residence
Installed by: Rockford Tile Contractors
There’s nothing more eye-catching than a seamless stone installation. From grand entryways to luxurious bathrooms, this home is flush with beautifully installed marble.

Winner: Sustainable Tile Design
Lakes Regional Healthcare Phase II – Surgery & Birth Centers
Designed by: RDG Planning & Design
This environmentally savvy design is sleek, modern, and warm. We love the mix of natural materials throughout the space, and the large windows that allow for plenty of natural light.

Ready to enter? You can head over to the online portal to submit, or learn more about the CID Awards here. 

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Tile of Spain to Sponsor Program and Networking Event in Miami

Tile of Spain, which represents 125 ceramic tile manufacturers covered under the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), is proud to sponsor Ceramic Solutions – Innovations Pushing Boundaries of Design – a complimentary CEU program and networking event in Miami.
This event will be held at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design (First Floor) on Wednesday, October 28th from 5:30-8:00 p.m. Those who attend will have the opportunity to talk to Tile of Spain companies and have the chance to win a trip to Spain as part of the Tile of Spain Passport to Creativity contest.
The key presenters at the event will be Dr. Martin Bechthold, who is a Professor of Architectural Technology and Group Head at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and Ryan Fasan, a Consultant for Tile of Spain and Coverings 2015 Rock Star. In addition, representatives from Alttoglass, EMAC, Ibero Ceramica, Roca Tile and more will be in attendance to showcase their most recent advances in the industry.
Registration for the event will close on Eventbrite on October 21st, so be sure to register as soon as possible at www.tileofspainusa.com (space is limited).

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Coverings 2016 registration is now open

The time has come! Online registration for Coverings 2016 in Chicago is now open. Coverings will bring its impressive array of products, conference programming, and many show floor features — all for FREE — to the McCormick Place from April 18–21, 2016. The show is estimated to bring together 1,100 exhibitors and showcase more than 75 specialized training and education sessions, most offering CEUs.
Not only for peace of mind, early registration holds many other benefits for attendees, including advance notice and access to events and conference sessions, contests, promotions and insider opportunities that will quickly meet maximum capacity. Coverings also arranged discounted hotel and travel packages through partnering with several Chicago hotels, so be sure to book early!
Coverings will be held in both the North and South Halls of McCormick Place – with 420,000 square feet of exhibits showcasing the latest products, trends and resources for the tile and stone industry.
Ready to register? Head over to coverings.com/register to get on board for 2016. See you in Chicago! 

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Design and process with the 5 Star Resort Bathroom team

The Coverings Installation Design Showcase returned in 2015 with a bang. This year, four unique bath designs came to life representing different market segments. One of the most eye-catching designs this year was the Five Star Resort Bath, which was designed and installed by the David Allen Company. We spoke with Cameron Proctor, Project Manager at the David Allen Company, and John Cox, President of Cox Tile, on the design, process, and what he learned at this year’s Installation Design Showcase:
Q: Can you walk us through the inspiration behind the design for the 5 Star Resort Bathroom?
Cameron Proctor: We took several considerations into account when designing our space.  Most importantly, we wanted to showcase a variety Florim’s products by using several different sizes and colors from the series they had selected for use. To accommodate the best experience for the conference attendees, we wanted to create an open space that allowed all areas of our workspace to be clearly viewed. Finally, we wanted to find ways to showcase the skill of our installers, so we mitered all our outside corners, which provided a seamless appearance as the tiles wrapped around the space.
John Cox: Cameron was awesome to work with, as we combined thoughts and processes in bringing everything together. Patricia Richey from TVS Design [who was involved in another IDS space] helped put the final touches on project.  She graciously took time to go shopping and put the pieces of the puzzle together to create a very fulfilling space. It was a pleasure working with Cameron and Marcus from David Allen Company.
Q: Tell us about the products you used in this space, and how they contributed to the overall design concept?
John Cox: The motif was a beach house or outdoor cottage. The combinations of colors and patterns were brought together to give a prospective owner a relaxing but very rich design. Everything was coordinated with a flow to complement each size and color. The Tileware products with the foot stoop and shampoo shelves added flair with coordinating colors with the plumbing fixtures.
Cameron Proctor: Florim recommended two series of products for our team to use: Mansion, a line inspired blend an elegant contrast between contemporary style and the elegance of stone, and Charleston, which offers a distressed wood appearance to create a shabby chic style.
Mansion “Ivory” was used as the field color on the floors and countertops for the toilet/vanity areas in sizes 18”x18” & 24”x24” and “Mud” was used on the floors in the shower area in a 2”x2” Mosaic. Charleston “White” was used for the walls and bench in the shower, and “Gray” was used on the walls in the vanity/toilet area. The “Multi Color” Charleston ran vertically on the wall wainscoting and as accent rug pattern on the floor.  We pulled dark brown pieces from the “Multi Color” tiles to create the appearance of walnut chair rails and door casings. 
Q: Were there any challenges you came across in designing this space and installing this space? Anything that was easier than you anticipated?
Cameron Proctor: This was the first Coverings Showcase design fully designed by the installing contractor, so the biggest challenge was stepping out of our comfort zone as contractors to embrace wearing the unfamiliar hat of being a designer.  We didn’t want to take the easy road or just take on a tough installation that used cool looking tile. John and I put a lot of time and thought into how we were going to lay out the features of the room to make a functional space that utilized the different products in a design that tied the room together.
John Cox: The early and thorough planning made the installation pleasurable with very few hiccups. We can’t reiterate enough how helpful Patricia Richey was in helping to select the final finishes and putting a “designer’s touch” to the completion of the space.
Q: What will you take away from this process in projects moving forward? 
Cameron Proctor: The biggest takeaway I have is a newfound appreciation for the work and thought that goes into the design of a room.  As contractors, we are often critical of designers and the ways they use tile products to achieve a particular look because of the challenges it can create for our installation.  But we’re typically only looking at it from our side of the fence, and it was very eye opening to be a part of all the work and challenges that go into creating the space, rather than just installing its components.
John Cox:  It was very satisfying to have the opportunity to work with the participants of the entire showcase, and one of my largest takeaways are the relationships that have been fostered. We may not see each other for some time – or may not ever cross paths again – but the memories and respect for one another is life-long. I truly believe we are in the relationship business. There is no doubt this probably was one of the more challenging vignettes to date, but it proves that with a lot of great minds and determination nothing is insurmountable. I am blessed to have been a small part in this unforgettable experience.

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Design and process with the 5 Star Resort Bathroom team

The Coverings Installation Design Showcase returned in 2015 with a bang. This year, four unique bath designs came to life representing different market segments. One of the most eye-catching designs this year was the Five Star Resort Bath, which was designed and installed by the David Allen Company. We spoke with Cameron Proctor, Project Manager at the David Allen Company, and John Cox, President of Cox Tile, on the design, process, and what they learned at this year’s Installation Design Showcase:
Q: Can you walk us through the inspiration behind the design for the 5 Star Resort Bathroom?
Cameron Proctor: We took several considerations into account when designing our space.  Most importantly, we wanted to showcase a variety Florim’s products by using several different sizes and colors from the series they had selected for use. To accommodate the best experience for the conference attendees, we wanted to create an open space that allowed all areas of our workspace to be clearly viewed. Finally, we wanted to find ways to showcase the skill of our installers, so we mitered all our outside corners, which provided a seamless appearance as the tiles wrapped around the space.
John Cox: Cameron was awesome to work with, as we combined thoughts and processes in bringing everything together. Patricia Richey from TVS Design [who was involved in another IDS space] helped put the final touches on project.  She graciously took time to go shopping and put the pieces of the puzzle together to create a very fulfilling space. It was a pleasure working with Cameron and Marcus from David Allen Company.
Q: Tell us about the products you used in this space, and how they contributed to the overall design concept?
John Cox: The motif was a beach house or outdoor cottage. The combinations of colors and patterns were brought together to give a prospective owner a relaxing but very rich design. Everything was coordinated with a flow to complement each size and color. The Tileware products with the foot stoop and shampoo shelves added flair with coordinating colors with the plumbing fixtures.
Cameron Proctor: Florim recommended two series of products for our team to use: Mansion, a line inspired blend an elegant contrast between contemporary style and the elegance of stone, and Charleston, which offers a distressed wood appearance to create a shabby chic style.
Mansion “Ivory” was used as the field color on the floors and countertops for the toilet/vanity areas in sizes 18”x18” & 24”x24” and “Mud” was used on the floors in the shower area in a 2”x2” Mosaic. Charleston “White” was used for the walls and bench in the shower, and “Gray” was used on the walls in the vanity/toilet area. The “Multi Color” Charleston ran vertically on the wall wainscoting and as accent rug pattern on the floor.  We pulled dark brown pieces from the “Multi Color” tiles to create the appearance of walnut chair rails and door casings. 
Q: Were there any challenges you came across in designing this space and installing this space? Anything that was easier than you anticipated?
Cameron Proctor: This was the first Coverings Showcase design fully designed by the installing contractor, so the biggest challenge was stepping out of our comfort zone as contractors to embrace wearing the unfamiliar hat of being a designer.  We didn’t want to take the easy road or just take on a tough installation that used cool looking tile. John and I put a lot of time and thought into how we were going to lay out the features of the room to make a functional space that utilized the different products in a design that tied the room together.
John Cox: The early and thorough planning made the installation pleasurable with very few hiccups. We can’t reiterate enough how helpful Patricia Richey was in helping to select the final finishes and putting a “designer’s touch” to the completion of the space.
Q: What will you take away from this process in projects moving forward? 
Cameron Proctor: The biggest takeaway I have is a newfound appreciation for the work and thought that goes into the design of a room.  As contractors, we are often critical of designers and the ways they use tile products to achieve a particular look because of the challenges it can create for our installation.  But we’re typically only looking at it from our side of the fence, and it was very eye opening to be a part of all the work and challenges that go into creating the space, rather than just installing its components.
John Cox:  It was very satisfying to have the opportunity to work with the participants of the entire showcase, and one of my largest takeaways are the relationships that have been fostered. We may not see each other for some time – or may not ever cross paths again – but the memories and respect for one another is life-long. I truly believe we are in the relationship business. There is no doubt this probably was one of the more challenging vignettes to date, but it proves that with a lot of great minds and determination nothing is insurmountable. I am blessed to have been a small part in this unforgettable experience.

Read More »

COVERINGS EXPERIENCES DOUBLE-DIGIT PERCENTAGE GROWTH IN ATTENDEES & EXHIBITORS AT 2015 SHOW

Earmarked as the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America, Coverings is proud to report an increased attendance and exhibitor numbers at Coverings 2015 in Orlando. More than 25,000 industry professionals attended the week-long expo, April 14-17, 2015, with the conference program beginning April 13. Attendance generated a 10-percent increase from the 2014 show in Las Vegas and a 12-percent increase from 2012, the last year Coverings was held in Orlando.
Emphasizing the growing specification and installation of tile and stone products in projects across the United States, the retailer, contractor & installer, fabricator, and architect & designer segments experienced noteworthy increases compared to 2012, with increases of 11, 8, 8, and 6 percent, respectively.
In addition to impressive attendee growth, Coverings 2015 experienced a surge in the number of exhibitors showcasing innovative new products. In total, Coverings hosted 1,094 exhibitors from 41 countries, representing a 12-percent growth from 2014. Exhibit space spanned 440,000 net square-feet – an 18-percent increase in show floor space from last year.
Coverings 2016 will be held April 18 – 21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

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Coverings experiences double-digit percentage growth in attendees & exhibitors at 2015 show

Earmarked as the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America, Coverings is proud to report an increased attendance and exhibitor numbers at Coverings 2015 in Orlando. More than 25,000 industry professionals attended the week-long expo, April 14-17, 2015, with the conference program beginning April 13. Attendance generated a 10-percent increase from the 2014 show in Las Vegas and a 12-percent increase from 2012, the last year Coverings was held in Orlando.
Emphasizing the growing specification and installation of tile and stone products in projects across the United States, the retailer, contractor & installer, fabricator, and architect & designer segments experienced noteworthy increases compared to 2012, with increases of 11, 8, 8, and 6 percent, respectively.
In addition to impressive attendee growth, Coverings 2015 experienced a surge in the number of exhibitors showcasing innovative new products. In total, Coverings hosted 1,094 exhibitors from 41 countries, representing a 12-percent growth from 2014. Exhibit space spanned 440,000 net square-feet – an 18-percent increase in show floor space from last year.
Coverings 2016 will be held April 18 – 21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

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Coverings 2015 exhibitors showcase tile trends with innovation, ingenuity and design

Across the show floor brimming with thousands of new product introductions, exhibitors at Coverings 2015 showcased the latest and most remarkable trends in tile and stone. There was no shortage of innovation at this year’s show, and we had an amazing time venturing through the show floor looking for standout design trends. Take a look at what we found, and let us know what trends you’re seeing in tile and stone:  
Plays with Geometric Form
Following in the path of the ubiquitous square and rectangle, the hexagon has firmly established itself as the tile shape de rigueur. A far cry from traditional hexagonal tiling, this new wave includes micro and macro sizes, rhombile tiling effects, irregular cutouts, and multiple dimensions that yield depth and complexity. Lunada Bay displayed a three-dimensional approach to the trending hexagon, most notably in its Crest line of hexagon ceramic tiles—named after the highest point of a wave, each tile is slightly raised in the center, creating a visual display that plays with light and shadow. 
   Lunada Bay – Crest
Pop and Contemporary Art 
Sometimes walls are not just backdrop for art—they are the art. Several exhibitors wowed attendees with tile featuring designs of pop art and contemporary culture. Ceramiche Ascot presented Game of Fifteen, a new tile series dedicated to the work of 15 contemporary artists. The first Game of Fifteen collection showcases designs of pop art master Keith Haring with 13 individual patterns and one larger composition.
   Ceramiche Ascot – Game of Fifteen with Keith Haring
Mirrored and Metallic
This year also saw a bevy of decorative tile with mirrored and reflective metallic surfaces. Dialing up the glitz factor was the Borja Regina collection, which dazzled with angular facets reflecting light to create a glittering effect on the wall. The tiles are available in either a gold or silver finish.
 
   Borja – Regina
Industrial Inspiration
The increasingly popular industrial look of steel and concrete, rusting and fading continued to reign. Crossville shined the spotlight on Laminam—large-format, real porcelain panels that can skim both floors and walls. Among the collection’s most impressive finishes was Oxide, which gives the appearance of oxidized metal. Providing another option in the industrial style was Tau, which promoted its Bayon collection that mimics the look of cement.
 
 
   Tau – Bayon
New Frontiers of the Wood Look
Tile resembling wood continues to diversify in its variety, with many exhibitors leveraging new innovations to produce tile that not only looks, but also feels like wood with dimension, textured knots, distress marks, and details typical of hand-scraped woods. ABK Group showcased its Dolphin collection of wood-look porcelain panels, which were praised not only for their aesthetics, but also for their exclusive new auto-leveling installation technology that essentially eliminates the need for leveling spacers, joints and glue.
   ABK Group – Dolphin
Stone Look-Alikes
Technology continues to up the ante with digital printing and manufacturing processes that enable tile to achieve the look and feel of natural stone, ranging from luxurious white marble and creamy travertine to the rich hues of semi-precious stones. One of the most impressive: Stonepeak Ceramics showcased Arabescato Vena, one of the six new colors from the Plane collection—seen at the show in 5’x10’ large porcelain panels. The company’s display of Plane illustrated “book matching,” which aligns the veining of neighboring panels to create an attractive mirror effect.  
   Stonepeak Ceramics – Arabescato Vena
 Movement and Motion
Exhibitors also proved that tile can create dynamic looks as several exhibitors showcased tile with raised surfaces in swooping, wave-like designs.  Vallelunga & Co. evoked nature with the Foussana “River” and “Ambra” patterns—both designed to add a sense of movement to a space while still maintaining a minimalist sophistication. Mother Nature’s inspiration continued with Saloni’s Vantage Drip, which features a sensuous, waterfall-like design on a white-body tile.
 
 
   Saloni – Vantage Drip
 
 
 
 
Check out Coverings on Pinterest for tile trends, design inspiration, and more! 

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Our favorite winners from the Architizer A+Awards

Earlier this month we celebrated amazing projects in tile and stone during the annual CID Awards at Coverings 2015. Since we’re always looking for interesting and innovative uses of tile and stone, we looked to Architizer and their third annual A+Awards. The Architizer A+Awards are the definitive global architecture award program that features over 90 categories with over 300 judges. Winners were recently announced, and we took the opportunity to highlight our favorite projects to share with the Coverings community. Be sure to check out the full list of projects on Architizer’s website!

Name: The Compact Karst House
Firm: dekleva gregoric architects
Location: Vrhovlje, Slovenia
Category: Private House (XS
Why We Love It: This little stone house has a traditional aesthetic while suiting the needs of a young modern family with contemporary technological principals. It settles nicely into the environment around the home and despite being modeled after a traditional design, is surprisingly contemporary. 

Name: BV House
Firm: Jacobsen Arquitetura
Location: Porto Feliz, Brazil
Category: Private House (XL >3000 sq feet)
Why We Love It: The use of large-scale dramatic stone walls perfectly blend the outdoors and in to create a seamless living experience. The open concept of the home lends itself perfectly to living harmoniously with the elements. Needless to say, we’d love to live here.

Name: Soho Fuxing Plaza Shopping sMall
Firm: AIM Architecture
Location: Shanghai, China
Category: Shopping Center
Why We Love It: This gawk-worthy shopping plaza caught our eye because of the grand use of marble. The design is timeless and monochromatic, and the architecture firm worked to make this space an experience. The design and lighting lend itself more to an upscale modern home than a

Name: Kaleidoscope Kindergarten
Firm: A2arquitectos
Location: Porto Cristo, Spain
Category: Elementary School
Why We Love It: What’s there not to love? Inspired by a Kaleidoscope, this space is bright, fun, and fit for the young minds that play within it. The firm did an incredible job of incorporating color, light, and playful shapes into this design.

Name: San Francisco International Airport, Boarding Area E
Firm: Gensler
Location: San Francisco, CA
Category: Airports
Why We Love It: Air travel can be stressful, which is exactly why we love this zen boarding area at the San Francisco International Airport. The space incorporates innovative design, interactive technology, and a healthy environment that helps travelers relax and actually enjoy their time in the airport. Added plus: there’s a yoga room!

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Congratulations to the 2015 Coverings Rock Stars

Last night Coverings announced the inaugural class of “Rock Stars,” 10 honorees who were recognized for their individual achievements and contributions to the tile and stone industry.
“Coverings is proud to spotlight the accomplishments of these bright, talented leaders representing several professional disciplines in the diverse and vibrant tile and stone industry,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “In reviewing the dedication and experience of these Rock Stars, it is evident that the future of the industry is in extremely capable hands and we look forward to their leadership and successes in the years to come.”
The following 10 outstanding young professionals were inducted into the 2015 cohort of Coverings Rock Stars.

Philip Belloff, VIP Tile & Stone, Retailer
Adriano Clebes Caetano, Adriano Marble Productions & Installations, Installer
Ryan Fasan, P.A.T.T.I. / Bellavita Tile, Presenter & Designer
Matthew Karlin, Nemo Tile Company, Distributor/Retailer
Fernando Lozano Assad, Tile Council of North America, Industry Trade Association / Partner
Jairo Martinez, Crowe Custom Countertops, Inc., Fabricator
Jill Muggleston, Walker Zanger, Distributor/Retailer/Manufacturer
Eric Tetreault, EJT Contracting, Installer
Mathew Weiner, Westside Tile & Stone, Retailer
Carrie Zahradnik, ITZEN Architects, Inc., Designer

For more on the Rock Stars program, see: coverings.com/RockStars.

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