Every year, Architectural Ceramics travels to the Coverings Tile & Stone Show to discover new products, meet new industry allies, and strengthen our vendor & customer relationships. Last year, world-wide vendors came together for "the global tile and stone experience" hosted in Orlando, Florida. This year took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Our travels started early as we were able to show off our Atlanta Showroom to a handful of current and prospective vendors.
The show can be hard to navigate if you are a newcomer, because of its large scale. Thankfully we had a wealth of experience due to our staff and a carefully mapped-out schedule that ensured we maximized our time during the week. We were honored to also have an in-house 2018 Coverings Rockstar, David Benson, on our team to guide us through the show. Check out Benson's award announcement here.
The Coverings Rock Stars – an Emerging Leaders Program – honors young talent in the tile and stone industry. The program "underscores the Coverings mission to support the growth and success of the industry by recognizing top-notch talent and fostering networking and educational opportunities".
To continue the educational element, we'd like to take this opportunity to share trends and highlights that our Architectural Ceramics team discovered at the 2018 Coverings Tile & Stone Show:
Recycled, Sintered, Enameled: Enameled glass was a hot trend across the show this year. At first glance, it is a type of glass that is low cost and is available in a myriad of colors in both polished or matte finishes. The glass looks creamy in texture and color, but can also be screen-printed to look like marble. It’s soft to the touch and can’t be produced larger than 4 inches.
Glass mosaics that look like marble.
With closer inspection, this glass passes various testing. The first, is the dynamic coefficient of friction (DCoF). Because of its slip-resistance, most of the domestically-available recycled glass seemed to be designed for residential floors and followed the brasserie style. The second, is freeze thaw testing. This glass performs well in all climates and can be installed in exterior pools.
Colorful recycled glass tile.
This type of glass is certainly not new to the market, but this is the first year we saw it saturate the show the way it did. Architectural Ceramics carries our Sugar and Truffle Collections in recycled glass. At the time those lines were launched, there was no TCNA testing available however, so we had it tested ourselves.
Angular glass tile.
Angular Glass: Most vendors that showed glass this year had an influx of angular patterned glass on display, which included geometric cuts and shapes, as well as some back-beveled glass.
Some of the back-painted glass appeared to be high-lacquer, giving it a fresh perspective on glass that almost glowed when paired with the prismatic feel from the angular cuts.
Painterly textures: This porcelain is characterized by qualities of color, stroke, and texture; and was a strong theme this year. Nearly every porcelain booth had a line with qualities that could be described as painterly. One of our vendors, Emil for example, launched a line called Tele di Marmo; and a handful of other vendors had brushstroke textures on longer brick and plank tiles.
A brushstroke texture on longer plank porcelain tiles.
Terrazzo: This trend hit the 2017 market in a big way, and was still found at nearly every booth in this year's show. While the trend had died down a bit, those who offered a terrazzo-look now, offered it in many colors and patterns with small or large agglomerate designs. Light and dark grey mixed with white was the most prevalent combination, but we also saw pink, purple, green, red, and a myriad of other assortments.
Various terrazzo color options from the vendor Casa Dolce.
Large Format: 12"x24" field tiles used to be considered large format. Now, the new large format seems to be 24"x48", or in some cases 16"x32". These sizes were seen throughout the show this year and proved their popularity. One of our vendors showed a Black Calacatta slab in 62”x126” or 5 feet by 10 feet. How's that for living large?!
One vendor's example of a large format porcelain tile.
We're excited to consider adding new large format tile collections to enhance the other large format products we already offer at Architectural Ceramics. To see a small feature of our large format tiles, read our blog post titled Bigger is Better: Large Format Porcelain Tile.
2CM: Outdoor formats are creeping up on the US market. This material was not necessarily a show stand-out, but all the mainstream brands had some sort of 2CM display, whether out in front or on a 2nd story balcony. The Florim Booth, for example, was stunning this year.
Large format 62"x126" Black calacatta slab
Patterned: Hexagons and squares in 6"x6" or 8"x8" traditional patterns on cement are heavily trending. When that same look was printed on a porcelain, it gained space in the market over the past year and soon, it may take over a portion of the cement tile market today. The porcelain look-a-likes are easier to install and require little to no maintenance. You can really stretch your budget with these patterned porcelain options compared to the cement inspiration.
One vendor's example of patterned porcelains.
Modern Bevel: Our team found different styles of beveled wall tiles in almost every Countries pavilion at Coverings this year. Large format tiles, narrow beveled tiles, and beveled shapes were clearly trending.
Bellavita's booth (from top to bottom): colorful chevrons, a beveled picket shape, and colorful penny rounds.
We were pleased to see colored beveled tile, some with a handmade pooling effect, because color is atypical for beveled tile. Beveled tiles are most often done as a 3"x6" classic white subway.
A reverse bevel tile with slight variation because of glaze pooling.
In addition to everything mentioned above, our AC team had a few stand-outs at the 2018 Coverings Tile & Stone Show that really caught our eye:
Custom mosaic glass tile from the vendor New Ravenna that look like a photograph.
Blue Grout Installation: Brightly colored grout can make any tile pop!
Feather Panels: These panels from New Ravenna are so vivid, they look like real photographs!
Chip Board Porcelain Tile: This was just plain weird, but fascinating all the same.
Blue grout used with angular tile, porcelain that looks like MDF chip board.
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