Video from Day 1 of Coverings 2014

On the first day of Coverings 2014 in Las Vegas, our video crew walked the show floor talking to the exhibitors who represent some of the greatest innovations in design and technology seen here at the show this year.

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Get social @ #Coverings2014

Photo courtesy of
We are very excited to give you a rundown on all of the fun social media programs that we’ll be running at Coverings 2014. From opportunities to meet your Social Media friends, to a curated tour of the show, to plenty of opportunities to win big, we’ve got something for everyone.
Twitter Tour: For the first time ever, Coverings will provide a special opportunity for social media savvy show attendees to participate in a guided tour through Coverings’ pavilions — Ceramics of Italy, Tile of Spain and Tile Council of North America. The Twitter Tour will highlight some of the show’s must-see product introductions, and encourage participants to mix and mingle with colleagues while they post their favorite products and findings on Twitter using the hashtag #CoveringsTour. Join us at the Social Media Lounge located on the ground level of the show, Booth L16070, on Tuesday, April 29 at 2:00pm to begin the tour. 
Tweetup: The social media fun continues on Wednesday, April 30, as our annual Tweetup makes its return at 5 p.m. in the Installation Design Showcase, booth 16097. Coverings attendees with a Twitter account are encouraged to stop by the special happy hour conversation that brings together industry influencers along with the participants of the Showcase for a special installation and design celebration. It is a great opportunity for social-savvy attendees to network both in person and on Twitter using the official show hashtag, #Coverings2014.
Coverings 2015 “Selfie” Wall: Make sure to stop by both Coverings Social Media Lounges, Booths 16092 and L16070, to get a sneak peek at Coverings 2015 in Orlando, Post a photo of yourself on Instagram in front of our “Selfie” Walls using the #Coverings2015 hashtag and tagging @coveringsshow and you could win a trip to next year’s show. The photo with the most likes wins!
Coverings 25th Anniversary Party: Are you attending the Coverings 25th Anniversary Party? It’s on Wednesday, April 30 at 9:00pm at the Hyde Bellagio. While you’re there, take photos with your favorite industry colleagues and post them on Twitter or Instagram with #Coverings25. The next day, you can find yourself on the Coverings Facebook and Pinterest pages!
Start using #Coverings2014: Just like last year, we will be rewarding the Covering attendee who uses #Coverings2014 the most during the four days of the show! Hurry up and get tweeting because the winner gets a free iPad! Please be sure to follow Coverings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. See you at the show!

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Spotlight: The Tile Industry in 2008

The 2008 Explorer Collection from La Faenza
With Coverings 2014 just around the corner, we have almost reached the present day in the trip down memory lane in the tile + stone industry. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Coverings, we chatted with ceramic tile and stone expert Ryan Fasan to talk about how the industry has changed since the show began. This week we stop in 2008.

In 2008, the United States was squarely in the middle of the economic meltdown. While this resulted in a tighter reign on research and development teams, the uncertain times didn’t halt innovation in our industry. It simply meant that manufacturers had to become far more strategic in their introductions of new collections. Each had to have clearly defined and well researched target markets.
Perhaps due to the frugality seen in production and innovation, color choices and graphic inspiration for collections were decidedly safer during this time. Geometries, stripes, polka dots & simple floral patterns that never go out of fashion became the mainstays.
In addition, 2008 brought an almost universal mandate to reduce production costs. The driving principle behind this mandate was to bring lower-priced material to market at higher margins to weather the economic storm. This meant a focus on reduction of energy, water and raw material costs.
A big effort was made to utilize the collective waste-stream. Larger manufacturers purchased waste tile and slurry from their smaller counterparts to reduce raw material needs. Collections that used up to 80% pre-consumer recycled content began to be introduced.
Next week, we jump forward to present day and see all of the latest and greatest innovations in the industry at Coverings 2014 in Las Vegas! We hope to see you there!

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Crystal Ball Look at Future Transportation Issues

Look deep into the crystal ball and see your logistical future!
Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Jeff Knapp, the Regional Director of Commercial Development for Shapiro, a 98-year-old leader in regulatory compliance and global transportation.

Every winter as you prepare your budgets for the upcoming year, I imagine each of you Logistics Managers standing in front of a mirror and saying, “mirror, mirror on the wall, what are my ocean freights going to be next Fall?”
While the image may be slightly comical, the thought highlights a very real problem. You and your management teams are trying to finalize future purchasing decisions, which depend on forecasting intelligence for transportation costs, which average close to 10% of the total cost of your goods (and much higher in many industries). Unfortunately, your “landed cost” estimates are based on rates that often change on a monthly basis. Even with “locked in” service contracts, you’re subject to new surcharges, fluctuating fuel indices, and the painful reality that the first cargo cut from a vessel is almost always the lowest revenue cargo.
When I entered the industry almost twenty years ago, most of us looked to the steamship carriers for insight regarding rates for the coming year. Back then, the rates were much more stable and the base line was set in May, but we now live in the era of monthly General Rate Increases (GRIs) and immediate mitigation. Swings of $600/container in a single month are common in some lanes. So, is there no hope for our sanity?
Well, there is hope, and we call it the “Crystal Ball Approach.” As the name implies, it is not foolproof and does not have a mathematical equation. But what it does possess is a process of gathering key data elements, understanding their relationships and providing a logical estimation in a rate setting process that is highly embedded in the supply and demand curve.
During the “Crystal Ball Look at Future Transportation Issues” presentation, we’ll identify the many factors that should be used for the “Crystal Ball Approach” such as vessel fill, economic projections, new ship building, and several scenarios that could upset your projections. We’ll also provide an early analysis on how the deeper and wider Panama Canal could affect rates to the USA when it opens in 2015. However, we’ll not be providing a lane-by-lane estimate of freight estimates for the next year or we’d be there until next Chinese New Year.
This presentation is all about demonstrating a method for making rate projections that does not rely on dartboards and devices with magical powers, but uses the best information available to provide educated estimates that will allow you to sleep a little better at night.

Jeff Knapp will present “Crystal Ball Look at Future Transportation Issues” on Monday, April 28, 2014 from 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM at Coverings in Las Vegas. Click here for more information on his session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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Catching up with the Coverings 2014 Installation Design Showcase designers

Eric Roberts’s plans for the retail space.
One of the most popular programs at Coverings (and one of our favorites!) is the Installation Design Showcase (#CoveringsIDS). With Coverings 2014 rapidly approaching, we connected with this year’s four lead designers. The Indoor Courtyard is headed up by Jonathon Anderson, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at UNLV, the Retail Space is led by Eric Roberts with AIA Las Vegas and of SH-Architecture, The Bar is designed by ASID Central California-Nevada’s Stephen Leon, and the Sustainable Accessible Bathroom is directed by USGBC Nevada Chapter President Daniel Huard.
The designers were able to pull themselves away from putting the finishing touches on their projects to tell us how their design concepts have changed since conception and what they are most excited to see as their designs are realized at Coverings next week.

A rendering of Stephen Leon’s bar area.

Coverings: How is your Installation Design Showcase project shaping up in the last week prior to the show?
Stephen Leon: I’m really looking forward to meeting my installation team. We haven’t met yet but I’ve spoken to them on several occasions. The Installation Design Showcase is such a terrific concept – to be in on the process from the early planning stages to seeing it all materialize before my eyes (and everyone else’s) is really special.
Daniel Huard: As is likely expected, we are all excited to see the construction start in order to view the space relationships of the fully realized project so that we can add those small but important accessorial final touches.
Coverings: How has your project design evolved since you first conceptualized the space?
Eric Roberts: We spent a lot of time early on in the process doing nothing more than coming up with ideas that would make our installation partner crazy! Through the design process though, we felt more and more that the tile product had a beauty that would be diminished by complicating the installation method. We are very happy with how it has all come together!
Jonathon Anderson: Honestly, the project is conceptually very similar to our original idea. Minor changes have been made to tile sizes and colors and some of the furniture that will stage the installation is different but the look is still there.
Coverings: What elements of your project are you most excited to see come into fruition on the show floor?
Eric Roberts: We are excited to see the whole tile palette come together and to see how the highlights “play out” in the final design. We are also looking forward to seeing how well the space presents as an actual retail space.
Stephen Leon: I’m excited to see it all come together as the furniture I’m using will truly be show-stopping! Red will be the dominant upholstery and art color set against the mostly white and neutral tile and stone. And we even have a back bar featuring a sink! It’s all going to be great – a bar in Las Vegas! What a natural.
Jonathon Anderson: I am most excited about the herringbone walls. It will be a difficult install but the gradient of colors will move your eye throughout the space.
Daniel Huard: I am really interested in the visitor response to see how much of the integrated universal design and sustainable concepts we used become obvious and what flies under the radar.

The four vignettes will be open for the duration of the exposition and conference for all attendees to enjoy. A full tour with presentations by the designers and installers detailing each vignette will take place on Thursday, May 1 at 4:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception to follow. This free program and reception is open to all attendees, though it is suggested to pre-register while registering to attend the show at
For full details regarding the Coverings Installation Design Showcase, please visit Follow along with the designers, manufacturers and installers as the Installation Design Showcase approaches by using the hashtag #CoveringsIDS across all social media platforms.

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UNLV student benches complete and ready for auction

After weeks of preparation, expert guidance, patience and skill, students in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), School of Architecture design tiling course – “Mediations on Making– Exploring Furniture Design” finished their benches in time for Coverings.
Tom Cassutt and Beverly Andrews of ProSpec provided students with best practices advice and hands on assistance to grout their benches using ProColor Grout mixed with ProColor StainGaurd Grout Additive. Once the grouting was complete, Tom and Beverly also helped the students finalize the benches in preparation for taking them to the show this weekend.

Jonathan Anderson, professor of the course, said the benches will be transported to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sunday, April 27. They will be on display in booth L5070, where attendees can place a bid to win one of these pieces of art. The silent auction final bids will be announced at the 25th Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on April 30. A seventh bench will be on display in the ProSpec booth, 5098.
Thank you to the following companies for providing
products and assistance with the course: 

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The Coverings 2014 Mobile App

Sometimes Coverings can feel a bit overwhelming when you want to explore 900+ exhibitors, 80+ educational programs and more in just a few days.
Never fear!
We have the perfect tool to make planning your Coverings experience and navigating the show on site faster and easier. With the Coverings 2014 Mobile App, you’ll have all of the show information that you need right at your fingertips:

Exhibitors and Featured Exhibitors List
Special Events
Show Features
My Show
And more!

Download it today for free in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, and others.
We’d also like to thank our Coverings 2014 App sponsors, Burlington Materials, ETemplate Systems, Original Mission Tile, and ProSpec.
Calling exhibitors! Want to promote your booth on the app? There’s still time. Opportunities are as low as just $500. Advertise now.

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Strategies for Success: 15 Easy Ways to Maximize Your Customer Care

Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender of KIZER & BENDER Speaking!

Let’s face it: We’re all time-starved, with too many items on our “to-do” lists. Some days we don’t even have the time – or strength – to even make out a to-do list. At the same time, you want to improve your store – you need to improve your store – but you’re just so busy. We understand. We’re here to help you keep it simple with 15 easy ways to maximize your customer care. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment, but each one will pay off big time in customer satisfaction. So, rip out this article and hang it in a place where you’ll be sure to see it every morning, and get ready to make things happen!

Do a daily morning walk through. Walk your sales floor each day before you open the doors for business. Carry pen and paper, noting which displays are working and which ones need to be tweaked. Look for shelves that need restocking and signs that have seen better days – anything that needs immediate attention.
Roll up your sleeves. Schedule yourself to do the tasks you normally assign to store associates. Work the service counter or cash wrap. Stock the departments everyone whines about when assigned to them. Clean the bathrooms. Once a month is okay, but once a week is better. This different perspective will help you see where policies and/or procedures can be changed, eliminated or streamlined. It helps promote teamwork, too.
Dress the part. Every, single associate needs to look and act like a professional. We’ve seen associates in all kinds of stores wearing things we wouldn’t wear to clean the garage. These days you have to be very specific about what is and isn’t appropriate, so write down your dress code, explain it to everyone in a store meeting, and reinforce it when necessary. No flip-flops; no sloppy jeans; no visible undergarments; no exceptions.
Welcome to the store! On busy days, station a greeter at the front of your store – his or her mere presence will delight customers. Being acknowledged ASAP makes a great first, and lasting, impression. In addition to offering a cart, basket or sale flyer, your smiling greeter can let shoppers know about in-store goings-on that are too important to miss.
Acknowledge every customer. Once inside the store, shoppers should never feel they are alone – make greeting every customer a non-negotiable store policy. Embrace our Seven Tile Rule: Whenever you come within seven floor tiles (7 feet) of a customer, stop, smile and say hello. Even if you’ve passed them before, acknowledge their presence. They’ll feel like a million bucks and they’ll tell their friends how friendly you are!
Set your end feature displays to sell. End features, AKA end caps, are high-impulse shopping areas that need to be merchandised with current, must-have items. Because they are in such highly visible locations, it’s crucial that they be set to sell – never use your end features as miscellaneous catch-alls. Create an end feature planning calendar that lists your design concept, assigned product, plus the date the display should be set, and the date to be taken down.
Customers who shop empty-handed rarely leave empty-handed. Once a customer’s arms are full, they typically stop shopping, so if you see someone trying to shop with her hands full of merchandise, get her a basket ASAP. Studies show that shoppers will spend approximately 25 percent more, and stay in the store up to 15 minutes longer, when they can shop hands free.
They can’t buy what they can’t see. Enlarge the font size on signage and price tickets, so customers can easily read them. Around the ripe old age of 40 a disease called Presbyopia kicks in and most of us have a hard time seeing close up. Don’t hang signs with less than a 30 point font, and keep a basket of reading glasses on hand, in a variety of magnifications, for customers who forget theirs. Let customers borrow them on the honor system while they shop.
Create a couponomy. Whenever you run a coupon sale, be sure to keep extras at the cash wrap for customers who don’t have one. You want to lose a customer? Tell her she can’t have the deal everyone else has.
Man the phone lines. Too many retailers these days can’t be bothered to offer good service via the telephone – you go on the opposite direction. Use your website, blog and social medias to talk up your free call-in service. Make it a big deal! Let customers know you’ll be there to help when they need you.
Talk to your customers. Ever see shoppers leave your store empty-handed? Drives you crazy, doesn’t it? Find out why by spending one day each month conducting exit interviews. Dig deeper by devoting 20 minutes each week personally responding to every customer who offers a suggestion or complains about something in the store they didn’t like. You’ll save the sale and build positive word of mouth.
Handle customer complaints promptly. Assess the situation and then apologize if the store has made a mistake or if a product is defective. Fix the customer first, and then fix the problem. Don’t wait for complaints to pile up! Your customers will remember that their problems – and their feelings – were important to you.
Confab with your staff. A daily 10-minute meeting helps associates know what’s going on in the store. Talk about product, in-store events – whatever’s happening that day. This keeps everyone in the loop about that’s new, hot and happening; important information they can pass on to customers.
Create a weekly bag stuffer. Bag stuffers are easy-to-create ads you make on your own computer. Talk up things that will bring the customer back to shop with you again. Note: The name bag stuffer is an oxy-moron; if you stuff them in bags you’re wasting an opportunity. Instead, hand them to customers – think free 30 second commercial!
Showcase your skills. Create a Brag Sheet that lists every service and convenience you offer customers. Include your product lines, specialties, major vendors, and more. Add your contact information, social media tags, hours, and directions to the store. Offer one to every customer who enters the store or makes a purchase.

We’ve made it even easier for you to wow your customers. Drop us an email at and put “Coverings” the subject line. We’ll send you the forms mentioned in this article, plus additional customizable templates and motivational tools to help you stimulate store sales!

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender will present the Featured Session, “Prospering in Turbulent Times: Strategies for Success!” on Friday, May 2, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM at Coverings in Las Vegas. Click here for more information on his session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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Networking opportunities at Coverings 2014

Every year we are proud to offer exceptional networking events for our professional attendees—architects, designers, builders, remodelers, fabricators, installers, retailers, distributors and more—to help you forge valuable relationships and develop new business opportunities. These events take place every day at the show, and include everything from curated tours to happy hours and design celebrations. In addition to the highly anticipated 25th Anniversary After-Hours Party on Wednesday, April 30 at Hyde Bellagio, the lineup includes:

Twitter Tour: For the first time ever, Coverings will provide a special opportunity for social media savvy show attendees to participate in a guided tour through Coverings’ pavilions—Ceramics of Italy, Tile of Spain and Tile Council of North America. The Twitter Tour will highlight some of the show’s must-see product introductions, and encourage participants to mix and mingle with colleagues while they post their favorite products and interesting conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #CoveringsTour. Please meet us at the Social Media Lounge located on the ground level of the show, booth L16070, on Tuesday, April 29 at 2 p.m. to begin the tour.
Social Media Lounges: Take a break from the floor, re-charge yourself – and your devices – and socialize with colleagues in-person or online in the two Social Media Lounges located in Booths 16092 and L16070. While you’re there, take part in the Coverings “selfie” challenge, inspired by the new creative campaign for Coverings 2015.
Tweetup: The social media fun continues on Wednesday, April 30, as the annual event makes its return at 5 p.m. at the Installation Design Showcase, booth 16097. Coverings attendees with a Twitter account are encouraged to stop by the special happy hour conversation that brings together industry influencers along with the participants of the Showcase for a special installation and design celebration. It’s a great opportunity to network with other social-savvy attendees in person and on Twitter using the official show hashtag, #Coverings2014.
Art, Architecture & Design Month Celebration: As a proud partner of the Southern Nevada Art & Design Collaborative, Coverings will host the closing event for the first annual Art, Architecture & Design Month, featuring a presentation from Randy Fiser, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers, followed by a cocktail reception. Fiser’s presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 30 from 4–5 p.m. in room S232, with the reception running from 5–6 p.m. at the Installation Design Showcase. All attendees must be at the show prior to 5:30 p.m.
Contractor Tours/Lounge: An annual must-attend opportunity will take place Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1 on the show floor. Nine, one-hour Contractor Tours will be held, and sign-ups are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Contractors may sign-up for a tour when registering online for Coverings. On Wednesday and Thursday, additional networking opportunities for contractors take place during the free lunches and happy hours in the Contractor Lounge, booth 16087.
Installation Design Showcase Session & Reception: On Thursday, May 1 from 4–5 p.m. attendees can meet and mingle with the Las Vegas-area design teams and NTCA Five Star Contractors who collaborated to build the stunning vignettes. During this one-hour, interactive session, the Showcase participants will discuss their design inspiration and detail the four unique spaces in the showcase—an indoor courtyard; a sustainable, accessible bath; a bar; and a retail space. Join us for a champagne toast and reception in the Showcase, booth 16097, immediately following the Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed conference session until 5:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to use the hashtag #CoveringsIDS.
Distributor Lounge: New this year, Coverings will offer a Distributor Lounge in booth 16080, providing a spacious and relaxing area on the show floor exclusively for tile + stone distributors. It’s the perfect place to hold a meeting, connect to the complimentary WiFi, and network with other like-minded professionals.
Happy Hours: Back by popular demand, afternoon happy hours will be taking place on the show floor Tuesday April 29 through Thursday, May 1 from 4–5:30 p.m. Bars will be located in the Tile Council of North America booth 9061, the Installation Design Showcase and the ground level Social Media Lounge. Grab a beverage and make new connections!
The SFA and the Stone Zone Happy Hours: On Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1 from 3–5:30 p.m., fabricators and other stone professionals can gather and network in the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA) Cage, booth L2155. The SFA Cage will also feature daily demonstrations on topics ranging from “antique finishing the face and edge detail” to “honing techniques for marble and granite.”

Learn more about the show’s networking opportunities, and register to attend Coverings for free, at, and remember to follow us on Twitter at @Coverings for the latest updates and reminders on site in Las Vegas!

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Best Practices for a Business-to-Business Content Marketing Strategy

Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Vincent Moiso, the Vice-President of Marketing of Quarry Collection.

This year at Coverings in Las Vegas, Nevada, I will be presenting “Best Practices for a Business-to-Business Content Marketing Strategy.” This is a seminar that I have presented the past three years at the University of San Diego to international business graduate students. I am very excited to offer it to business professionals within my industry this time around.
There are updates and new takeaways to the course each time I give it, but the focus remains on best practices for businesses selling to other businesses and how to incorporate a content marketing strategy into their current communications plan. Attendees will learn what a content marketing strategy entails and how to maximize ROI from such a strategy. Content marketing continues to be one of the hottest trends in marketing today. Using the right channels to get your message out to your customers is vital to success. This presentation will provide the path to a current and successful strategy using general business best practices as well as more specific best practices from within the tile and stone industry. Case studies from your industry peers is one of the best ways to understand what you should be doing if you’re not already doing it.
Are you maximizing your visibility? The Internet has really changed the game. This course will explore tactics for the proper social media campaign. It focuses on how to incorporate your content marketing efforts appropriately with any existing or new social media channels that you may currently be using or looking to use. Understanding which social media channels your customers are using is an important component of any marketing strategy. It is essential because you need to know what your customers want to know and where they’re going to get that information. Just knowing what content to include on your own website should be part of the foundation of your marketing strategy. Deliver the content that your customer wants.
Join me at my session at Coverings 2014 – register now for free!

Vincent Moiso will present “Best Practices for a Business-to-Business Content Marketing Strategy” on Thursday May 1, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM at Coverings in Las Vegas. Click here for more information on his session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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UNLV students begin bench builds

Students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), School of Architecture tiling course – “Mediations on Making– Exploring Furniture Design” – have started the task of tiling their benches for the Coverings 2014.
Mike Whistler, NTCA certified trainer, was on hand to instruct the students in tile layout, using a wet saw, cutting tile and applying the tile to the substrate.
In the all day work session, students used ProSpec PermaFlex 500, a high-performance mortar for difficult to bond substrates, to apply their choice of tile to the bench substrate. Over the course of the next couple of weeks students will complete the tile application on the benches and on April 15 will work with tile experts Tom Cassutt and Mike Boenisch of ProSpec to grout their benches using ProColor Grout mixed with ProColor StainGaurd Grout Additive.

The benches will be complete on April 16 and transported to the Las Vegas Convention Center in time for the start of Coverings on April 29. Stop by booth L5070, view the students’ work, and place your bid for one of these pieces of art for your company courtyard, showroom or residential patio. The silent auction final bids will be announced at the 25th Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on April 30. Register for Coverings 2014 today for free to view the benches.
Thank you to the following companies for providing
products and assistance with the course: 

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Tile Partners for Humanity is back for Coverings 2014!

Exhibitor donations collected before Coverings even opened (leftover from booth installations).
Are you exhibiting at Coverings this year? Great! Are you planning to take everything back home with you? If not, please consider donating your excess product to Tile Partners for Humanity – our nonprofit partners would truly appreciate it!
And yes, this is the same donation program that Coverings exhibitors, in partnership with Coverings and Freeman, have supported in the past. This will be the ELEVENTH year in a row that Tile Partners for Humanity has benefited from the generosity of exhibitors. In that time, we’ve collected DOZENS of trucks of tile, marble, granite, installation materials, tools, backerboard, cleaners, and sealers.
Your donations have supported Habitat for Humanity partners in Orlando and Chicago as well as other community improvement organizations in North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Indiana and California. This year, we hope to reach even more partners!

Volunteers securing pieces of marble in a crate.
So how do you donate? Easy! Email Ally Venugopal at or Herb Miller at and let us know that you’d like to donate. We’ll ask you to let us know what you think you may have and where your booth will be on the show floor. You can let us know if your material will be available before the show opens or after it closes so we know when to collect it.
Our volunteers will be on site before, during and after the show wearing Tile Partners for Humanity donation t-shirts and will tag and label all of the pieces you wish to donate. Freeman has generously offered to remove all donated items from the show floor at NO COST to exhibitors.
If you need for us to organize or stack materials after the show, we can do that. We also ask that if you ship large pieces or slabs that you consider donating the packing crates used to get them to the show. If you don’t need them for other pieces, we’d truly appreciate them for transportation to our partners!

Several wrapped pallets of donations.
Tile Partners for Humanity is the partnership of tile industry members that collectively support Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit partners through donations of tile, installation materials, tools, and labor. Since 2003, the industry has contributed in excess of $35 million in materials and labor to Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit partners.
In 2011, TPFH merged with Mountain Re-Source Center, a nonprofit that takes in large donations of all types of building materials and distributes them to nonprofit partners around the country. Through the merger, the tile industry will be able to serve an even greater number of families and organizations in need.
Please also visit us on Facebook – we have pages for both Tile Partners for Humanity and Mountain Re-Source Center. Feel free to let us know there that you’ll be able to donate!
On behalf of Tile Partners for Humanity, Mountain Re-Source Center, and all of our partners, we thank you. And lastly, if you haven’t done so already, register for Coverings today for free – it’s just a few weeks away!

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Measure and Incentivize Your Get-Work Employees

Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Mike Clancy, the Principal of Fails Management Institute, a management and investment-banking consultancy for the engineering and construction industry.

Whether your firm is a national construction manager or a local mechanical contractor, the ability to sell work is more important than ever. However, the availability of highly skilled work-acquisition specialists remains tight. If you have any of these people on your staff, you are trying to ensure they are happy and not going anywhere.
A well-designed performance management and incentive compensation program is a valuable tool to attract, retain and motivate the best talent. However, the construction industry has often struggled in implementing systems to track and manage individual performance. While all companies would like to believe that they have a clearly articulated strategy that unites the entire company, the sad fact is most firms have individuals with different levels of understanding company strategy and often vastly differing personal goals. The overarching goal of a business development team is to bring in profitable opportunities that align with the firm’s operational capacity and support the company’s strategic direction. In other words, not all business that could be developed is necessarily good business.
It is easy to use a three-legged stool analogy in evaluating opportunities to pursue. Any opportunity that is not one of the following should not be pursued:

Profitable work
Work that aligns with the operational capabilities
Work that aligns with the strategic direction of the firm

Employees should not be rewarded for bringing in one- and two-legged opportunities, lest the company’s strategy falls prey to an individual employee’s desire to maximize personal compensation.
A well-designed incentive program for business development and estimating keeps the business strategy in mind. It also balances input- and output-driven measurements. An input measurement tracks the effort put in, while an output measurement tracks results. Both should be used as part of the scoring criteria for the estimators and business developers.
The final step is tying this scorecard to the incentive compensation payout, reflecting one of the following two core methodologies:

Target Bonus: A specific dollar amount or percentage of salary established as a goal for the employee. Compare this targeted amount to industry averages to ensure the incentive is aligned with what is available for the role in the broader market, lest it be too small to have any effect.
Uncapped Commission: It is most commonly is used with business development employees and tends to work best in organizations with strong management and project selection systems to ensure that business development employees do not bring in marginal opportunities in an attempt to inflate their compensation artificially.

Employers must provide an environment where the best work acquirers are incentivized and valued. It is important to stick with scorecards that measure the right inputs and outputs. By incentivizing the right behavior in your business developers and estimators, the more likely you will keep your best people and attract superior talent from the outside.

Mike Clancy will be speaking on Thursday May 1, 2014 from 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM at Coverings in Las Vegas, discussing the topic: “Estimating for Advantage: Do You Really Know Why You’re Bidding This Job?” Click here for more information on his session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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It’s that time of year again; Getting the most from Coverings

It’s here again, your opportunity to get smart about tile and stone! With over 900 exhibitors and 20,000 industry professionals, you have everything to gain by attending Coverings 2014. Coverings will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 29 to May 2, 2014. Don’t forget to book your accommodations as soon as possible!
It doesn’t end there though – this year is Coverings’ 25th Anniversary and they will be holding an Anniversary party at the Hyde Bellagio. You can purchase your tickets online through the Coverings registration system.
Coverings continues to be the place to be for the newest and most innovative products and the latest installation ideas in the tile and stone industry. I continually hear people say, “I’m too busy to attend,” or “I can’t stay away from my business that long.” All of us need to improve what we do so what could be better than attending a trade show, specifically for our industry? I’ve been attending the show for 10 years now and every year I continue to be amazed by the talent and ability of the industry professionals from all over the world who attend.
So, how should you approach it? Here are some suggestions for maximizing your experience at the show:

Plan Your Attack: Check out the pre-show information and decide which exhibitors you must visit and where they’re located. The show is pretty big and booths aren’t always easy to find so become familiar with the floor layout. If there’s someone you really need to see, set up an appointment before you arrive.
Think Ahead: Talk with your employees before you leave and find out what they would like you to bring back from the show. They may be searching for specific products or solutions to an installation problem.
Keep up Online: Interact with the best and brightest minds in the industry on Coverings’ social media sites during the show and stay in touch throughout the year to be the first to hear about and participate in contests and giveaways. Follow all of the Coverings chatter on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. This year’s hashtag is #Coverings2014 – use it and join the conversation.
Network: The importance of industry contacts shouldn’t be minimized. There are experts from every facet of the industry at Coverings, from products to design trends to innovative tools. There are numerous industry professionals willing to answer questions, solve problems, and share information. You can get the latest news from your vendors on industry trends and cutting-edge ideas for your customers.
Stay up to Date on Industry News: Take advantage of and sign up for the trade and consumer publications in the bins outside the show. This way, you can get regular updates throughout the year on all of the latest news in the industry.
Educational Programming: The education aspect of Coverings is always topnotch and content rich. There are over 80 free seminars and many with continuing education units. Take a look at the Featured Sessions and Keynote Sessions for new design trends, showroom layouts and ideas for bringing customer retention and marketing. There are also social media and web design classes, seminars on how to improve your business are plentiful, and numerous free workshops to increase your technical skills. Live demonstrations will be taking place during all four days of the show!

Check out other highlights of the show, particularly the silent auction with the University of Nevada (UNLV) tiled benches. You can bid on the beautiful and unusual tiled benches made by their students – proceeds benefit the UNLV and the Ceramic Tile Education Fund.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards to share and keep yourself well hydrated and fed during the show. Remember this is one of the most exciting cities in the United States so take advantage of the nightlife, whether it’s a show, gambling or great restaurants.
And lastly, of course, join me at my sessions! I will be presenting “Maintaining and Protecting Your Online Reputation” on Tuesday, April 29 at 1:45 PM, and “How to Use In Store Events to Grow Your Business” on Friday, May 2 at 9:30 AM. I’d love to see you there – register for Coverings 2014 now for free!

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning coach, speaker and marketing specialist. A veteran of the floor covering industry, Lisbeth has spent over twenty years developing custom-tailored training programs in motivation, team building, sales and customer service. She presently works as associate publisher and social media specialist for Fabulous Floors Magazine, an international flooring consumer publication. Read more. 


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#Coverings25 Tile + Stone Sweepstakes winners!

We are very excited to announce our two Coverings Tile + Stone Sweepstakes winners! It was a very hard decision to make, given the multitudes of beautiful entries that we received, but we are happy to award two outstanding members of the tile + stone and design communities.
Our first winner, interior designer Lisa Wilson-Wirth, posted a lovely series of photos from her recent trip to Spain, including a starkly modern stone installation created by the famed architect Daniel Libeskind.  
Our second winner, Glass Tile Installation expert Amy Denny of Alpentile, also posted a nicely curated selection of contest entries. The striking close-up below highlights the intricate beauty of glass tile.

Amy Denny from Alpentile
Lisa and Amy have both won a trip to Coverings 2014 in Las Vegas and have been invited to join our VIP Dinner. Congratulations! Thank you again to our three weekly winners, Tile Sensations, Malerie Wilkins, and Intercontinental Marble and to all of those whose amazing tile and stone photos have inspired us over the past few months!

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Spotlight: The tile industry in 2003

A contemporary Ceramic Tile Inkjet Printing Technology (photo courtesy of Quality Flooring 4 Less) 
This week we continue our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Coverings with another trip down memory lane in the tile + stone industry. We sat down with ceramic tile and stone writer, speaker, blogger, product designer, and consultant Ryan Fasan to talk about how the industry has changed over the years, stopping this week in 2003.
The millennium was just as momentous for our industry as the Y2K scare wasn’t for the banking sector. According to Fasan that change lay in the 2003 debut of Inkjet decoration techniques.. For the first time in the history of ceramics, decoration could be taken directly from high-resolution photography. This innovation opened up the possibility of working with a proficient and talented design-pool from the desktop publishing industry to create new and different tile designs that up to this point were not technologically feasible. Additionally, inkjet’s drop on demand delivery of pigments meant that any textured and molded surface could be decorated in mass-production with patterned finishes like those replicating wood or stone. This hadn’t been possible with screen-printing style decoration.
The height of the building boom around the world during this time meant demand was at an all-time high and tile was being produced as fast as possible. The preference was for flashy styles – often with the addition of Swarovski crystals, gold & platinum accents, exclusive woods like wengé or zebrawood, and stones like Porto Oro and Cema Marfil Select. Accent pieces began to move away from traditional listelos and molduras in favor of complimentary or contrasting mosaics. These new trends resulted in new production innovations that informed the industry for years to come.
Look out for our next post soon, as we jump forward to 2008.
Please join us at Coverings’ 25th show coming up April 29 – May 2 (with a bonus day of education on April 28) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Register now for free!

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Beyond the Spa Bath: How ‘Luxury’ is the New Rule Rather Than the Exception

A luxurious Asian-inspired bath by Christopher Grubb. 
Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from internationally acclaimed Interior Designer Christopher Grubb.  

Once a completely utilitarian space that really didn’t garner much attention, the bathroom has evolved into a major focus of any project. Elaborate bath spaces with luxurious elements were once reserved for only the most glamorous spa retreats or custom homes. But the elements and materials contained in these sumptuous spaces have made their way into the desires of your everyday homeowner—an individual who now expects to find certain elements in a bath, no matter where that bath is located.
As these expectations for a luxurious bath experience have gone mainstream, the bathroom has become one of the most intricately designed and unique rooms in any project. Since consumers are so used to seeing elements and products that exude luxury, even designers of medical spaces and commercial projects are getting into the game. Gone are days of the banal subway tiled doctors office bathroom, containing little more than a porcelain wall sink, mirror, and toilet. Here to stay are indulgent materials like beautiful stone mosaics, sculpture-inspired faucetry, and furniture-like vanities.
This elevation of style has transformed the bathroom into one of the most lucrative rooms in any project. Residential bathrooms have become the second most popular remodel, right behind kitchens. And consumer demand for top quality materials and products now means bath project budgets range from $300 and $600 per square-foot! In fact, I noticed this increased focus on the bath in the requests of my own clients. This revelation was the inspiration behind The CG Collection, my signature line of furniture for the modern bath. The collection is offered through and aimed at those who want a “designer” product but don’t necessarily want the “custom” price tag that goes along with it.
So today, homeowners, caregivers, employers, and anyone with a bathroom are taking a second look at materials, finishes, and bath elements that are both functional and decorative. As an example, natural stone has been the number-one choice for surfacing material in the residential segment for some time. But businesses are catching on to the idea that incorporating marble and granite into the design concepts of restrooms can help create the “spa-like” atmosphere their employees, customers, and guests crave. They’re now aware that it’s the minute details like these that make a lasting impression and subtly speak volumes.
Want to know more about the unique details that consumers look for in a luxury bath? Join me at Coverings on April 29, 2014 at 12:30pm where you’ll learn more about how luxury bathrooms have gone mainstream and I’ll share some of my ideas on how to inject those elements into your projects, creating an unforgettable bath experience.

Christopher will present the “Luxury Appointments Elevate Bath Projects into Lucrative Profit Centers,” on Tuesday, April 29 from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM at the Las Vegas Convention Center during Coverings 2014. Click here for more information on his session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!


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Coverings named one of the top trade shows in 2013

We are very excited to announce that Coverings has been chosen as one of the Trade Show News Network’s 2013 Top 250 Trade Shows. The annual list is put together through data supplied to TSNN throughout the year and is representative of the 250 largest trade shows by square footage. Coverings 2013 in Atlanta came in 55th on this year’s list, with a square footage of just over 340,000.

Looking forward to Coverings 2014, we are excited to be hosting the show in Las Vegas, the No. 1 trade show destination according to TSNN. Sin City has been given that distinction for 19 years in a row.

We extend our gratitude to TSNN for this honor and look forward to another great year of trade shows!

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: Maximizing Your Retail Space for Stronger Sales and Customer Engagement

Floor Store Entry 
Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, the Founder/Publisher/Editor of Retail Minded, a magazine dedicated to supporting independent retailers.

Owning a retail, wholesale, manufacturing or any type of business for that matter is exhausting work. There are countless hats to wear among your never-ending list of responsibilities, however very rarely do business owners put on the “hat of consumers.” Ironically, this is the hat that should be worn most often.
As a business owner, it’s vital to keep in mind what customers are thinking and how they react to your business – including your store or showroom environment – in order to better support them. Among the reasons this matters includes in-store experience, product engagement, customer satisfaction and the one that truly matters the most… sales. To help do this, you should consider the following when it comes to how you support your customers within your business space.
Merchandising for Customers & Sales Success
By definition, merchandising is a visual practice that is intended to attract customer attention. In reality, merchandising is a time intensive responsibility that can either help to increase or distract from making sales. Your goal, of course, is to master what merchandising tips and tricks matter most to your unique customer and then ultimately implement them into your ongoing merchandising routines. The challenge is “how do you do this”?
To start, consider the signage within your store, the check-out area of your store and the “white space” within your store environment. How can you strengthen each of these areas to better support your current inventory, store news and overall customer experience? Some tips include the following:

Use store signage throughout your entire space to communicate store hours, special promotions, upcoming events and product details. Since you can’t verbally tell every customer what they need to know about your store or inventory, signage can help you do this. Don’t be afraid of repeating key messages through signage, as well, such as an upcoming event or your return policy. Additionally, take the time to secure your signage in frames or retail displays rather than taping them to anything… ever. This is a major no-no and turns customers off. The message they get from this is “I don’t take the time to do things right” which translates to “I take short cuts” which translates to “I may not be the right store for you to buy from”.
Recognize the variety of customers you have and identify how you can best support each of them. For example, if you cater to homeowners, contractors and interior designers, how can you better communicate your store news and inventory updates to each of them? Take the time to identify unique messages for each of your unique customers. This will absolutely mean investing more time into your store displays, signage and overall communication, but the reward in sales will be well worth it.
Accept that “white space” can be a good thing… but don’t “waste space” either. In other words, it’s okay to merchandise your store with some airiness, but you don’t want to neglect key merchandising opportunities. This may include where customers are checking out – aka reaching for their wallets. What else can you merchandise in this area to increase your sales? Adding impulse buys or must have items to this area is a great place to start. Over time, you will recognize what sells more and what sells less in this particular area of your store. React to this! Tracking inventory sell through will always help you. Another wasted opportunity might be ignoring the shelve space of a sold out item. Don’t ignore this even for a few days while you are waiting for new inventory to arrive. It’s wasted space, plain and simple.

There are literally hundreds of ways to maximize your in-store space and ultimately your sales, but it all begins with standing in the shoes of your customers. Navigate your store as if you are doing so for the first time. Challenge others to do the same. What could help you enjoy this experience more? How could you increase your chance of more sales? What can you do to strengthen your displays? While this just may be one more hat to wear and yet another thing to add to your to-do-list, it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored.

Nicole will present the Featured Session, “Maximizing Your Retail Space for Stronger Sales and Customer Engagement,” on Thursday, May 1 from 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM at the Las Vegas Convention Center during Coverings 2014. Click here for more information on Nicole’s session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!


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Design Milk Founder Jaime Derringer talks tile and Coverings 2014

The Crisp Wall Tiles from Kaza Concrete and designed by Levi Fignar were recently featured on Design Milk.
As anyone who loves tile knows, Design Milk is always on top of reporting the latest innovations in design and architecture with consistently stunning photography. We had the great opportunity to sit down with Design Milk Founder / Executive Editor and Coverings 2014 Panelist Jaime Derringer to talk about tile and stone and why she’ll be visiting Frank Gehry when she is in Vegas for the show.
In 2014, what do you think are the most significant design trends in tile and stone? Where in the home are they most commonly seen and in what sort of application?
I think that this year we will see more concrete tile, tile that has shapes to it (such as faceted tile or a relief pattern) and I also think we will see more organic shapes.
We are very excited to be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Coverings this year! How do you think tile design has changed over those years and how has it stayed the same?
That is so exciting! Tile has changed so much in the past 25 years. I think that in recent years there has been a huge shift toward the idea of out-of-the-box materials, texture and shapes. I think my favorite has been the introduction of metal and glass. But even the old standby materials like porcelain tile have gone from blah to bold — sometimes you can’t even tell it is porcelain! Designers and manufacturers are taking more risks in terms of both form and function. Here’s to another 25 years!
What do you think is most valuable about attending Coverings from the perspective of Design Milk and your audience?
As an editor, what do you look for? Our readers love to see innovative materials, creative design in terms of form, and function that makes you say “why didn’t I think of that?” I’m looking for things that make me say “Wow!” or “How did they do that?”
You feature a lot of innovative products in tile and stone that are breaking the boundaries of the medium on Design Milk. What are some of your personal favorites?
We recently featured a concrete tile that had a metallic finish, which I thought was very clever. We also featured a slate-look tile that was actually made of paper! One of my recent faves is a tile that uses a hand-laced cord to add depth and texture.
We are very excited that Coverings 2014 will be in Las Vegas this year. What do you think some of the most important places to go and see in the city are for design-conscious visitors? Any places you’re planning to check out?
Vegas sure is an interesting town! In terms of architecture, I think the coolest place I want to see is the Luo Ruvo Center by Frank Gehry. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have time for much more! I might put some quarters in the slots, though… 🙂

Jaime Derringer

Jaime Derringer will be sitting on the “Get Published” Panel at Coverings this year, alongside Architectural Record’s Sheila Kim and Dwell’s Diana Budds on Thursday May 1 from 1:30-2:30pm. Learn more about this session and the entire Coverings education program here. 

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Coverings winning bench designs selected; construction started!

As the journey continues for the students in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), School of Architecture design tiling course – “Mediations on Making– Exploring Furniture Design” – the winning bench designs have been selected for construction.
The students presented their concepts and a jury of judges selected seven designs to be constructed and displayed at Coverings – one of which will be on display in the ProSpec booth (#5098). The remaining students paired up with the winning students for the bench builds. This allows all students to gain the knowledge and experience of building with tile and stone materials and learn best practices techniques, particularly around installation and grout application.

For the first phase of construction, students built the templates for their benches out of wedi Backer Boards. Soon they will apply tile using ProSpec PermaFlex® 500 and ProColor Grout with ProColor Stain Guard Grout Additive.
The next class is an all-day build with NTCA certified trainer Mike Whistler on hand to offer one-on-one instruction on tile installation. The benches are slated to be complete on April 16, just in time for Coverings 2014, April 29-May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center!
Thank you to the following companies for providing
products and assistance with the course: 

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Talking about the ecological benefits of ceramic tile with USGBC Nevada and tile expert Ryan Fasan

It was a beautiful morning at the Las Vegas Spring Preserve for the USGBC Nevada Monthly Meeting.
Last week, we had the exciting opportunity to sponsor the USGBC Nevada Monthly Breakfast Meeting in Las Vegas and lead a discussion on the opportunities associated with Coverings 2014 for this important community of green architecture experts.

World-renowned tile expert Ryan Fasan joined us to deliver a lecture on the ecological benefits of ceramic tile. Fasan started his talk by stressing the sustainability of tile; highlighting its minimal maintenance requirements, long lifespan, resistance to adverse conditions, and raw material resource availability. He pinpointed several specific inherent characteristics of ceramics:

100% natural material composed primarily of clay, silicates, feldspar and other natural minerals
Inorganic and inert – inhibits growth of mold, bacteria and other allergens
Unaffected by UV exposure
Resistant to both fire and flood
Neither primary (contained within) nor secondary (sink for) indoor air contaminates – Zero VOC
Ability to spot-repair
Usual maintenance requires only PH neutral & biodegradable cleaners – no solvents or caustic chemicals required to maintain or refinish most installations
Has a useable lifespan longer than the average North American building’s lifespan (60 years)

Fasan conceded that tile did not have a large presence on green building material lists when early standards were being developed, but mentioned that it was a result of the low presence of the overall industry at that time. Such is certainly not the case today – the tile industry is one of the most active building material sectors in sustainable design standardization and best practices. The industry is proud to be involved at every level in USGBC, ISO, ASTM standards committees and working groups to further sustainable design practices.
Overall, it was a very productive morning in Las Vegas. We look forward to continuing to work with this powerful group as we move towards Coverings 2014, April 29-May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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Coverings 2014 Conference Program: The Essentials of Stone Restoration

Our Coverings 2014 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Rawi Tabbah, a specialist in the restoration of natural stone surfaces and President of International Stoneworks, Inc.

The process of stone restoration is not nearly as straightforward as it may seem. The simple process of polishing floors and countertops is just the beginning. At International Stoneworks, we pride ourselves in thinking outside the box in solving our clients’ needs. It is the process of going that extra mile in solving these challenging stone restoration projects that we will explore in our session at Coverings.
In our session, “The Essentials of Stone Restoration,” we will be sharing stone restoration and maintenance cases that we have experienced in the field for you to learn from and apply to your own businesses. We will also focus on some of the most complicated and challenging cases we have tackled and walk you through how they were solved.
Here is a preview of one of those cases:
A busy Houston office building had been using a wax system on their marble floors for many years. In order to lower maintenance costs, we suggested that they strip all of the floors and naturally polish the marble. While this would mean a high upfront cost, it would soon be made up by the decline in maintenance needs. On top of it all, it would solve the “yellowing” problem they were seeing as well.
The customer was sold on the fact that the floor would only need to be stripped once and that they would not have to worry about constantly buffing out scuff marks and sealer scratches. We restored the floor by stripping off all the wax and used a diamond-grinding system to polish the marble. Ever since our initial restoration, we have been maintaining the traffic areas of this building for over 10 years with polishing compounds. We not only sold them the restoration process, but a maintenance program as well.
This is just a sneak preview of what we will be discussing. Come prepared to learn about the technical side of stone restoration as well as how to bid these projects. We also want you to share your ideas, challenges, and solutions.
Additionally, in preparation for the show, we will be hosting a Tweet Chat with Coverings on the importance on stone restoration and maintenance, the current trends in stone finishing, and how you can be as eco-friendly as possible in taking care of stone. Please join us on March 25 from 2:00-3:00pm ET using the hashtag #Coverings25. Please follow your hosts @Coverings and @IntlStoneworks and get ready to learn!

Rawi Tabbah will be speaking on Thursday May 1 at Coverings 2014 in Las Vegas from 9:15-10:45am in the session “The Essentials of Stone Restoration.” Click here for more information on Rawi’s session and to view the full list of Coverings 2014 conference sessions. Register today for free to access all the education and exhibitors at Coverings 2014.


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Coverings sponsors IIDA Southwest’s Couture 2014

Best of Show (Professionals) winning design from Bar Napkin Productions and Koroseal. Photo courtesy of IIDA Southwest.
We had the honor of sponsoring the International Interior Design Association – Southwest Chapter’s Annual Couture Event two weeks ago in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a night full of inspiring people and beautiful design at the lovely Scottsdale Center of Performing Arts.
Architects and interior designers within the IIDA Southwest Chapter were randomly paired with a color or forecast theme and an industry manufacturer’s materials. They were asked to create and model a runway-ready fashion using only the color assigned and materials provided.

Best of Show (Students) winning design from the Arizona State University Senior Class. Photo courtesy of IIDA Southwest.
The panel of judges included fashion designers Angela Johnson and Elena Eros, radio personality Natasha Castles, Christina Ziegler of Phoenix Fashion Week, and Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals. The panels chose winners in the follow ten categories.

Best Accessory – Gensler / Tandus, Centiva Flooring
Best Craftmanship – ideation DESIGN GROUP/ Teknion, transact commercial furnishings
Best Haute Couture – Creative Interiors Inc. , Masland Contract
Best Pret a Porter – Bar Napkin Productions / Koroseal
Best Styling – WARE MALCOMB / Knoll, KnollTextiles, Spinneybeck, filzfelt
Best Sustainable – Ayers Saint Gross / Arc|Com
Honorable Mention – RSP Architects/ Mannington Commercial, Amtico
People’s Choice – WARE MALCOMB / Knoll, KnollTextiles, Spinneybeck, filzfelt
Best of Show (Students) – Arizona State University (Seniors)
Best of Show (Professionals) – Bar Napkin Productions / Koroseal

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to IIDA for a fun and design-filled evening!

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UNLV’s tile design/installation course off to a great start

Together industry technical consultant Mike Whistler, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), and Tom Cassutt and Mike Boenisch, both of ProSpec, guide the UNLV students on best practices of tile installation and grouting.
With the start of Coverings 2014 just weeks away, the students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), School of Architecture design tiling course, “Mediations on Making– Exploring Furniture Design,” are busy getting started with its project to design six benches using tile and stone as source materials.
The class recently kick-started its design journey with a tile workshop where certified trainer Mike Whistler, and tile experts Tom Cassutt and Mike Boenisch of ProSpec were on hand to offer one-on-one instruction to the students and guide them on best practices of tile installation and grouting. This team of industry experts will be involved in the entire process providing hands-on guidance to the students.

“The students were extremely involved in the all-day tile workshop and asked very engaging questions,” said Tom Cassutt, director of R&D for ProSpec. “I think the industry will be surprised at the innovation, complexity and beauty of the final benches on display at Coverings 2014.”
Next up, the student presentations of their bench designs with the top six designs selected for construction and display at Coverings (April 29-May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center) and a seventh design which will be displayed in the ProSpec Booth, #5098.

Thank you to the following companies for providing products and assistance with the course: 

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