By Megan Salzano Coverings 2019, the largest tile and stone event in North America, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a host of new initiatives. These include a range of commemorative displays showcasing the history of Coverings with interactive opportunities for attendees to create and share their own memories.
For example, the south lobby of the Orlando County Convention Center will host a timeline with highlights from Coverings’ heritage and a 30th anniversary-branded photo booth where attendees can win anniversary T-shirts by sharing photos to social media. A DJ in the lobby reception area will incorporate music from 1989 as a nod to Coverings’ launch year. Exhibitors who have participated for 30 years will also be recognized.
“Coverings’ 30th anniversary is a testament to the success and growth of the tile and stone industry, which continues to dedicate time and resources to annually spotlight the best in product innovations, installation techniques and industry expertise,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, the management company for Coverings. “We look forward to celebrating three decades of success and those who continue to make the show possible.”
The show itself will include more than 1,100 exhibitors from more than 40 countries and feature the latest in innovations, trends and live demonstrations. “Coverings is proud to provide free access to top industry experts and products from around the globe,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador. “As we continue our annual showcase of the latest in tile and stone materials, installation techniques and design trends, we’re excited to welcome industry professionals of all backgrounds with robust new programming and product introductions.”
New this year, Coverings will introduce an online planner to help attendees maximize their time at the show by previewing key exhibitor introductions through the new product showcase, which launched in February. Guests will be able to explore innovative tools and products debuting at Coverings in advance and plan their visit by marking must-see exhibits within the Coverings mobile app to create a roadmap for their Coverings 2019 discoveries.
The Installation & Design Experience will expand its presence in 2019 with live, interactive showcases of the best tile installation techniques. Qualified, trained and certified tile installers will host demonstrations and conversations within the space, offering insights on common installation challenges and the use of trending materials.
For 2019, three vignettes will anchor the experience, designed by local designers and architects. The first will include Reginald Dunlap Interior Design; Welch Tile & Marble; and Estima Ceramica. The second is Interstruct; C.C. Owen Tile Co.; and Crossville. The third will be HHCP; Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. installation; and Ceramics of Italy.
The Installation & Design Experience will also host daily happy hours for further networking and learning opportunities.
Attendees will have the chance to attend free education sessions, many offering CEUs, with planned topics such as: taxes and tariffs, project case studies, economic forecasts, industry trends, labor shortages and solutions, installation demos and cross-segment collaboration. The seminars are designed with architects, builders, remodelers, contractor, installers, designers, distributors, fabricators and retailers in mind.
In addition to the educational seminars, many of the longstanding networking and learning opportunities will return. Those opportunities include “byte-size” sessions withshort, digitally focused educational seminars at the Coverings Connect lounge, located on the show floor, which also features recharge stations and free WiFi. The Live Installation Demo Stage will also return, featuring “how-to” classes with an in-person look at tile installation solutions for challenging projects from leading professional contractors. In addition, the Stone Fabricators Alliance will present ongoing demonstrations and educational how-to topics for fabricators and installers in The Stone Zone. On top of that, the Art Tile Courtyard will feature handcrafted tile and tiled dog houses provided by Tile Council of North America members.
Attendees will, of course, have the opportunity to also view new product lines from hundreds of exhibitors touting the latest looks and on-trend designs.
“With so many shapes, sizes, patterns, textures and colors available, tile offers an aesthetic for nearly any space,” Capra explained. “For 2019, we’re seeing a trend toward eye-catching styles with patterned and mirrored tile as well as large-format tile and gauged porcelain tile slabs, which lend themselves to a sleeker look. A favorite trend of mine is sophisticated dark marble looks on porcelain, which are beginning to gain momentum. Industry leaders, such as Tile of Spain, The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and Ceramics of Italy are showing more dark marble-inspired tile that can be used as ‘new neutrals’ as alternatives to the white, gray veined marble tiles that have reigned in recent years.”
The Italian Pavilion will be home to 81 booths with 140 Ceramics of Italy member companies. Visitors can expect to see thousands of innovative new products, ranging from a new 12mm-thick tile for kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities to 20mm-thick porcelain pavers. In addition, among the thousands of designs, the organization said some of the standout trends in tile and stone will include hyper-realistic natural looks, unconventional installation patterns and ceramic wallpapers.
Tile of Spain will also have a large presence at the show with 98 Spanish ceramic and stone manufacturers exhibiting. The Spanish pavilion will also be home to educational seminars and video presentations. According to the organization, trending designs at the show will include geometric prints, patterns, bold hues and black and white looks.
In addition to browsing the latest tile designs, including a wide array of artisan tiles, visitors to the TCNA pavilion will see the newest installation materials, tools and design solutions. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with experts from the industry’s leading organizations co-exhibiting with TCNA, including Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, International Masonry Institute, National Tile Contractors Association, Tile Contractors Association of America and Tile Heritage Foundation.