It’s been awhile since I’ve traveled to a Stone and Tile show, and I realized this year it was time. So earlier this spring, I packed my bags and caught a flight to Las Vegas for the three-day Coverings 2011 stone and tile show at the Sands Expo convention center. I was amazed by the turn out —not only of professionals like myself, but of vendors as well. There were over a thousand exhibits from various countries representing the latest trends in the tile industry. The new technology I observed as I moved from exhibit to exhibit was mind-boggling.
Italy had joined the Coverings’ exhibit and I received a wonderful brochure from them. An excerpt from their welcoming message: “Please visit the stands in our pavilion and ask about our industry’s commitment to sustainability, technological advancements and design…The Ceramic Tiles of Italy label is producing tiles in Italy at the highest level of excellence.”
Of course I had to visit the booth and was treated to a nice espresso while gawking at the numerous tiles. They had slim formats and the latest digital printing technology tiles; to keep up with the growing number of sustainable tile companies, many Italian companies were also offering recycled tiles.
The Andean Stone Company from Peru was displaying amazing stone tile with beautiful veins and cross cuts. The colors were pretty and earthy; a few, like Fantastico Onyx, even resembled the ocean.
Encore showcased their new collection complete with diamond designs, awesome glazes, and more than ten display boards.
I was most impressed with the newly developed digital printing process, which offers a way to stamp pictures onto stone tile, down to the most miniscule details. The resulting tiles look like the real thing, including high-definition colors, high-gloss finishes, and recycled glass. Vendors from A to Z were represented everywhere I looked and some shared my disbelief at the enthusiastic buyers/sellers. Dave Bouchard, from Emil Ceramica, exclaimed “Everyone’s come out in full force!
During the economic downturn it was difficult to convince consumers that they would be getting the best price for their tile purchases. Fortunately, the increasingly popular inkjet technology has changed this. The inkjet machine easily prints any design with perfect precision on porcelain and stone surfaces, duplicating other surfaces for half the price and adding value and beauty to tile.
I found the high definition and print technology astounding, as well as the new wave of environmental activism. I was truly surprised at the companies that were developing green products and attempting to spread the trend of using recycled materials and design. There were even contests such as PROJECT: GREEN, which emphasized new sustainable architectural developments, and awarded prizes to vendors who displayed eco-friendly achievements. Coverings 2011 had a lasting impact on me and I returned home to Maryland with new products and ideas.
—– Davida Rodriguez, CKD.