Trade Show Coverage

Coverings celebrates its Silver Anniversary in Las Vegas

After 25 years, Coverings remains one of the largest and most popular international tile and stone exhibitions—drawing in almost 1,000 exhibitors annually

April 1, 2014
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What better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Coverings — the U.S. international tile and stone exhibition — than in Las Vegas. This year, Coverings will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, from April 29 to May 2, 2014, and it will feature over 950 exhibitors from more than 35 countries — along with 70 educational seminars, which are free to attendees.

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On the Show Floor
A Learning partnership

Coverings was created to showcase new products, tools and machinery, but also to provide networking opportunities, training and education on an array of topics — from design trends to installation techniques and certification programs. For those looking to learn more about some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world, Coverings provides a platform to do so.

“Each year, we seek to produce a show that is more outstanding, impactful and memorable than the last,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Coverings exhibitors continually showcase outstanding products and inventive booths with international flair, like no other trade show in the U.S. Paired with the most comprehensive educational track and numerous networking opportunities, Coverings continues to provide the platform that the industry relies on to thrive and continue its success all year long.”

Coverings began 25 years ago when the tile and stone industry in the U.S. was gaining momentum and needed a single, cohesive venue for distributors, retailers, contractors, installers and other industry professionals to see the finest examples of new tile production available in North America. “Since inception, Coverings has been about people and education — and over the years, the show has only improved,” said Svend Hovmand, Coverings Board Member and representative of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “Coverings has evolved to showcase truly impressive booths, brilliant products, live installation demonstrations, and equally important — our educational track. As tile and stone have become essential to the overall architecture and design of many spaces, Coverings remains critical to fulfilling industry demand.”

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Coverings will host an official Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on Wednesday, April 30 from 9 to 11 p.m. at a Las Vegas nightclub. The special event will feature an open bar, music and networking. Exhibitors and distributors can purchase up to 10 tickets to share with customers. Tickets are $60 each, and can be purchased upon show registration at www.coverings.com.

This year’s show is sponsored by The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

With more than 20,000 professionals expected to attend Coverings 2014, there will be a variety of programs, live demonstrations and seminars (many that offer free CEU credits) to attend — all of which will showcase the latest trends and most popular products. This year, Coverings has extended its conference program to include a fifth day. Beginning on Monday, April 28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attendees can access the tips, trends and experts who can help them maximize their time and sharpen their skills.

The conference program will feature 80 free conference sessions presented by 100 of the industry’s most original thinkers and experts, according to show management. New this year, attendees can add sessions directly to their Outlook calendar so they won’t miss a minute of any important session.

Alike prior years, the show will present its Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards — formerly known as the TileLetter & NTCA Installation Awards — which honor outstanding achievements in the design and installation of tile and stone. The CID Awards celebrate creativity and technical know-how in the use of tile and stone in residential and commercial projects. Winners will be honored at the CID Awards Reception & Ceremony on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

On the show floor

For the stone industry, Coverings offers a product lineup that features stone tiles and slabs, including exotic materials from around the world. National pavilions of stone-producing companies can be found throughout the Coverings exhibition floor, including groupings of companies from Italy, Brazil, Spain, Turkey, China and other nations.

One of the most popular features at Coverings is the live installation demonstration stage that features “how-to” demonstrations, which offer an up-close look at how top contracting professionals handle a variety of challenging tile installations. Close to 20 demonstrations, given by TCNA members and NTCA staff, will take place each day.

Additionally, the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA), which is dedicated to the education of the fabricator — will also be presenting ongoing demonstrations and educational “how-to” topics in its booth, specifically designed for fabricators and installers, in the Stone Zone. The Stone Zone will also include dozens of other companies showcasing the latest fabrication equipment, tools, accessories and supplies.

Coverings 2014 will also encourage installers to learn more about a new certification program introduced at last year’s show in Atlanta, GA, known as Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT), which was developed by six of the largest organizations representing tile contractors, installers and manufacturers to take industry training to a new level. ACT focuses on specific installation skills required by architects, design professionals, specifiers, project owners, builders and consumers, and addresses four technically-challenging installation areas of current importance: Large Format Tile Installation and Substrate Preparation, Mudwork, Shower Pans and Membranes.

For a complete schedule of Coverings,

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Participants in the development initiative are Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), providing training and certification for any installer; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), whose members are skilled tile-setters who have completed multi-year apprenticeships as well as other trained masonry craftworkers; Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), representing IUBAC signatory tile contractors; International Masonry Institute (IMI), which provides professional and technical training for union masonry contractors; and NTCA, with membership open to all tile contracting companies. TCNA manufacturer members companies are contributing to development of the modules and tests.

Installers who wish to be certified in any of these programs must meet one of two criteria — completion of a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program, as offered by the union, or certification through the CTEF Certified Tile Installer program. Each ACT certification will be a stand-alone unit, allowing the installer to tailor training to meet individual or company needs. Completion of all four units is not necessary to attain a higher level of certification. Participants will be actively working on being certified on the show floor during the four-day event.

A learning partnership

This year, Coverings partnered with the students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Architecture to create a 13-week student design tiling course, “Mediations on Making — Exploring Furniture Design,” for the 2014 winter/spring semester. The course was developed to investigate the use of tile as a medium for furniture design, educating students about the factors involved in designing furniture, opportunities and constraints of tile, design visualization and presentation, construction and installation drawings, and fabrication processes.

“This is an excellent opportunity to create a dialogue between students and the tile industry as a working collaboration,” said Jonathon Anderson, course director and assistant professor at the UNLV School of Architecture. “It also will expose our talented students to the many usages of tile, enhance their knowledge of furniture design and fabrication, and gain real-world exposure to the exhibition of prototypes.”

The course included a competition, where each student was tasked with designing a conceptual drawing of a bench using tile and stone as its source material. Six students’ designs were chosen, and subsequently fabricated, which will be on display for the duration of Coverings 2014, and are part of a silent auction to benefit the CTEF and UNLV. The silent auction will take place at the 25th Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on Wednesday, April 30.

This year’s show has also extended a helping hand to photographers — amateur or professional — with its commemorative online photography contest, which honors the inspiring tile and stone installations, artwork, buildings and structures found around us every day. The social media-driven sweepstakes — which required contestants to submit their self-shot photos via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram — will offer two grand prize winners a trip to Las Vegas during the show. “Tile and stone continues to have the unique ability to transform the look of interiors and exteriors with rich textures, color, warmth and fluidity that few other products can replicate,” said Fendrich. “We’re excited to see what inspires our exhibitors, attendees and fans as we all prepare for this year’s show.” 


CHECK OUT MORE ARTICLES ABOUT COVERINGS:

Coverings Installation Design Showcase celebrates leading stone and tile installations and design talent

 The Italian Trade Commission pavilion at Coverings

Stone-specific seminars at Coverings 2014

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