The organizers of Coverings, a leading showcase for ceramic tile and natural stone floor coverings, announced that the total number of registered attendees for the 2004 show was 29,453. That figure represents an increase of 10 percent over registered attendee figures reported for Coverings in 2003. The event took place at the new wing of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, from March 23 to 26.

“We are extremely excited about the turnout and feedback we've received,” said Tamara Christian, Coverings' show director and president of National Trade Productions (NTP). “From move-in to move-out, Coverings was a success not only in terms of logistics, but importantly, energy, excitement for tile and stone, and opportunities for attendees to do business.”

Attendees and exhibitors shared this enthusiasm. “Business is up and attendees are interested to see and learn what is new in the tile and stone industry. This was not always the case in previous years,” said Stephanie Pierce of Caribe International of Phoenix, AZ.

Coverings' primary audience includes distributors, retailers, fabricators, architects, designers, builders/remodelers, and installers.

Coverings attracted some new, high-profile participants in 2004. Steve Forbes, president and chief executive officer of Forbes, Inc., and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, had the general session area filled to capacity for his keynote speech, in which he touched upon the economy, the presidential election and other current events of interest to the tile and stone industry, as well as the general public. In addition, HGTV's Michael Payne gave a standing-room-only session on “Designing for the Sexes,” while famed architect William McDonough gave a talk on “Redesigning Real Estate: Building for Sustainable Prosperity.”

The revamped educational program was met with great enthusiasm by attendees. The newer offerings included conferences and workshops directly targeted to attendees' interests. “Being an installer, the seminars have been well worth the trip. I have learned a tremendous amount,” said Larry Bogart of On Glaze Tile notes, “Coverings has definitely been a rewarding experience.”

Among the special interest forums was a Stone Fabricators Forum hosted by Stone World Editor Michael Reis. This lively session was attended by nearly 100 fabricators from around the country. Among the topics discussed at the 90-minute session were CNC technology, quartz surfacing, resin-treated slabs, materials handling, shop safety, personnel issues and more. (A detailed review of issues that were discussed at the Fabricators Forum can be found on page 106 in this issue.)

Appreciation Nights also were new in 2004. These special hospitality events shuttled groups of contractors, distributors, architects, designers and dealers off site to Universal City Walk for private parties celebrating their participation in Coverings. The events were reviewed positively from all who participated and plan to be expanded upon next year.

Additionally, the Marble Institute of America hosted a well-attended cocktail hour where members of firms from around the country and abroad gathered. This event provided a solid networking opportunity for attendees and offered show attendees a much-needed respite after a long day on the show floor.

Sponsoring organizations of Coverings are ASCER (Spain's Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractories Manufacturers), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) and TCA (Tile Council of America).

The co-sponsors of Coverings include: the Marble Institute of America, American Institute of Architects (Orlando Chapter), The American Society of Interior Designers (Florida North, Florida South and Florida West Coast), International Interior Design Association (Florida Chapter), the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors, the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada, the Tile Contractors' Association of America and the Tile Heritage Foundation.

Exhibitors at Coverings 2004

Once again, Coverings was a forum for companies to introduce new products to the marketplace and to improve

existing products. The following is a sampling of the products on display at Coverings 2003 in Orlando, FL. For more information on these products, circle the indicated number on the Reader Service Card enclosed on this issue.

Stone Suppliers

Alkusari Stone -- classic Mexican travertine with a chiseled edge and a honed square edge and in new patterns

Circle No. 285

Alony Marble -- Jerusalem Stone in a variety of formats, such as moldings, cut-to-size architectural work and tiles, including tumbled stone

Circle No. 284

Amsum & Ash -- Shalimar Gold granite from a new quarry in India; Autumn Gold marble, a wild blend of gold and various shades of reddish brown; Silver Galaxy granite; Brass Blue granite featuring a flowing pattern of darker blues, available in polished, honed and brushed finishes

Circle No. 283

Ancor -- offered more than 70 North American and imported granites in standard 12- x 12- x 3/8-inch tile, 18 x 18 x 1/2 inches and sizes in between

Circle No. 282

Andrade -- Palozzo granite from Brazil, which has a faint light green shade; Marinace Green granite from the company's own quarry, which has tones of light green and dark green

Circle No. 281

Antico Stone -- natural stone moldings, borders and tiles as well as mosaics and tumbled travertine from the Ciottoli stone collection

Circle No. 280

Antolini Luigi -- an extensive collection of marble, granite, onyx, quartzite and semi-precious stones from around the world, including many exotic materials with wild veining and vibrant colors such as the semi-precious stone Brown Petrified Wood; Alabastro Egiziano onyx

Circle No. 279

Basaranlar Marble and Travertine -- Karia Cream marble and Ravanna Rose marble were featured along with a medallion mosaic -- a star consisting of pink, tan, green and cream; different patterns of mosaics and split-faced mosaics

Circle No. 278

Bermarmol, S.A. -- as Bermarmol is celebrating a 40th anniversary, marble, limestone, travertine and antique finishes were featured

Circle No. 277

BMS -- stone slabs with the patented Venezian finish, which gives a textured, aged feel to the surface

Circle No. 276

Brachot-Hermant -- Silver Pearl DB (Dark Blue) granite from Norway, which has a darker, richer appearance and is available in a range of finishes, including polished

Circle No. 275

Campolonghi Italia -- Calacatta Sponda marble, which has a white/buff tone with darker waves; Royal Blue blocks

Circle No. 274

Caribe International -- 12-inch and 18-inch tiles of slate from India as well as the Mayan Collection of honed travertine and limestone, and polished marble and the Torreon Collection of travertine and onyx

Circle No. 273

Cosa Marble -- mosaic borders and medallions assembled by trained artisans and pieced together with products from around the world; a wide range of mosaics are available in stock for immediate delivery along with coordinating field mosaics, moldings, tiles and slabs; solid mosaics in square or miniature brick pieces; intricate medallions available in stock sizes as large as 36 x 60 inches

Circle No. 272

Cremar S.p.A. -- Featured many granites, marbles and stones with distribution of a 63-page catalog

Circle No. 271

Dimpomar -- Branco do Mar limestone from Portugal, available with a pillowed edge for a casual feel

Circle No. 270

Edilgraniti S.R.L. -- Austral Juparana, a sandy gray natural stone with brown flecks in it.

Circle No. 269

Frugoli S.p.A. -- featured Arco Iris Red onyx and Spectrolite Brown granite

Circle No. 268

Gem Granites -- three new colors: Rose Garden, Green Surf and Chida White

Circle No. 267

Gramil -- Azul do Mar quartzite, which is light blue with waves of green; Giallo Macaubas, which is yellow with blue accents; Mocha Brown quartzite, which is deep brown with accents of black and light tan

Circle No. 266

Granitas -- Scabas travertine, available in tiles, slabs and mosaic pieces

Circle No. 265

Granite and Marble Resources Inc. -- an array of mosaics, antique stone moldings and antique tiles

Circle No. 264

Granitex S.p.A -- promoted two different materials -- Lapland Green and Namibia Blue Sodalite; distributed a booklet detailing the company's operations and projects featuring stone

Circle No. 263

Grein Italia -- promoted the company's high-end image for slab distributor, such as the Grein Forum concept and enhanced service benefits

Circle No. 262

Hullebusch nv -- Belgian bluestone and exclusive products with unique finishes such as Veccario, Rustica and Style Romano

Circle No. 261

I.A. Shenhav -- a new production line for large-format tiles in Jerusalem Stone, specializing in 24- x 24- x 5/8-inch modules

Circle No. 260

IGM-International Granite & Marble -- Brown Atlantide granite, which has a light brown tone with a consistent surface pattern

Circle No. 259

International Italmarmi -- English Grey Fossil stone, which has a deep gray tone and dramatic fossilization on the surface

Circle No. 258

Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters' Association (IMMIB) -- a “stone village” inhabited by producers of Turkish marble, granite and travertine, including 27 different companies; information on the Turkish stone industry, including historical literature, CD-ROM handouts, color sample books and other products

Circle No. 257

Itaarte -- the Paul Klee marble collection from Brazil, which includes white marble varieties as well as materials with dramatic multi-colored veining on the surface

Circle No. 256

Jerusalem Marble-A. Grebelsky and Son -- Gray Gold limestone, which has an appearance that combines the look of Ramon Gray and Jerusalem Gold limestone

Circle No. 255

JMS/Jurassic Stone -- Jura limestone in polished, split-faced, sandblasted, bushhammered, tooled and honed finishes; German Greenstone, a dense fine-grained calcareous sandstone; Bavarian Gold, a stone ideal for exterior facades because of its excellent weathering characteristics

Circle No. 254

Kangli Stone -- a range of slabs and tiles from China, along with pre-finished vanities and countertops

Circle No. 253

Levantina Natural Stone -- traditional marble from Spain in honed, brushed, polished and acid washed textures

Circle No. 252

Levantina de Granitos -- Featured numerous granites, including Blanco Castillo, Verde Imperial and Juparaiba, which are also featured in the pamphlet

Circle No. 251

MAP -- slate mosaics in various sizes; slate tiles with a brushed finish and cushioned edges

Circle No. 250

Marmocil -- a variety of Brazilian granite slabs available to the international market -- including traditional varieties as well as exotic stones -- processed on a new production line in Vitoria, Brazil

Circle No. 249

Marmoleria Gallos -- stone with the Tempora® surface finish, which gives stone an antique-rustic appearance; announced that its new factory in Peru is scheduled to open in July of 2004

Circle No. 248

Meshoppen Stone Inc. -- Bluestone on finishes such as honed, thermal and natural cleft in various thicknesses; also featured Oak Arizona, Sedona Red Arizona, Arizona Peach flagstones and Pennsylvania bluestone

Circle No. 247

Micapel -- new styles of mosaics in slate and quartzite, including combinations of both materials; slate with a brushed finish, all from Brazil

Circle No. 246

Michelangelo -- a range of granites, including Red Dragon, Golden Beach, Golden Coast, Michelangelo White and Sea Foam Green

Circle No. 245

Milestone Imports Inc. -- featured an igneous stone similar to granite in a new color -- Green Porphyry

Circle No. 244

MS International Inc. -- the Brix Collection, natural stone in a pattern to recall the look of brick, which can be used for flooring as well as vertical applications

Circle No. 243

Mystic -- Teak Wood quartzite from India, which recalls the appearance and coloration of rich woodwork; a gray and tan granite called Juparana Atoba

Circle No. 242

Ozer International, LLC -- new stone borders along with Yellow travertine and honed chiseled French Pattern Black marble flooring

Circle No. 241

P & L Marble -- a range of stone products from China, including quartz and slate tiles as well as mosaics

Circle No. 240

Peval -- Fleto Rosso quartzite, which features warm waves of maroon, light green, tan, available in slabs and blocks

Circle No. 239

Pokarna Granites Ltd. -- Pokarna Green granite, which has the characteristics of onyx

Circle No. 238

Polycor -- a range of granites from its operations in Canada, as well as natural stone varieties from its latest acquisition, Georgia Marble Co.; domestic marble varieties include traditional Georgia White marble as well as colored materials

Circle No. 237

Precision H2O -- promoted its waterjet-cut Medallion Program for independent distribution

Circle No. 236

Qualita -- Golden Flakes granite from Brazil, which has tones of light gold, dark gold, gray, black and white; Gold & Diamond granite from Brazil with has varying shades of gold, black and gray and dramatic patterning

Circle No. 235

Quantum Stone International -- had a full line of Italian stone in addition to its selection of Jerusalem Stone

Circle No. 234

Stone Impressions -- a new line of decorative, natural stone murals and borders, created with a patented process that utilizes techniques from the fields of photography, printmaking and painting

Circle No. 233

Stone Suppliers LLC -- a new rich, golden marble called Royal Dorado, which comes in antique, brushed and polished finishes

Circle No. 232

Tem-Mer Mermer Pazarlama ve Dis Ticaret Ltd. Sti. -- Tem marble, which has a grayish tone; Crema Golden, which has flecks of brown

Circle No. 231

Tekmar -- Rapsody, a marble from Turkey with shades of white and light gray; Crema Nuova light and dark varieties, to fit a range of design styles

Circle No. 230

Tureks -- Seashell, a new buff-colored stone variety available in rectified, tumbled, honed and polished tiles and decos; Patika, a fine selection of travertine that has been twice honed for an exceptionally smooth surface, calibrated for true square and chamfered to prevent chipped edges

Circle No. 229

Tracomal -- Juparana Nathalia granite from Brazil, which has shades of dark tan, light brown and cream, available in large slabs and blocks

Circle No. 228

Vermont Quarries Corp. -- along with the distribution of a new brochure, Vermont Quarries Corp. is now offering large-format tiles in thicknesses of 1.5 cm in honed and polished finishes

Circle No. 227

World Wide Stone Corp. -- Durango StoneTM from Mexico in large-format tiles and accents as well as mesh-mounted mosaic patterns, resin-filled slabs, and honed and filled tiles; released a video detailing the quarrying and production process

Circle No. 226

Equipment and Supplies

AGM -- the Camma Master Saw, which can accommodate saw blades ranging from 400 to 625 mm in diameter and has a head tilt of 0 to 90 degrees; it has a bridge stroke of 137 inches and a rotating bench that measures 130 x 71 inches

Circle No. 225

Alpha Professional Tools -- the AWS-125 5-inch wet stone cutter, which can be worked with the Numero Uno 5-inch blades for cutting natural stone and tile as well as engineered stone

Circle No. 224

Braxton Bragg -- displayed its new Stone Crusher, which reduces pieces of leftover stone to gravel-sized chunks -- producing fine, medium and large gravel; the Braxton Bragg Blaster, a high-quality polishing pad at a reasonable price

Circle No. 223

Breton -- the Contourbreton NC 250 CNC stoneworking center, which is engineered for cost efficiency and use in medium-sized shops

Circle No. 222

BVH Gregg Inc. -- the Stealth 7200 Digitizer for templating; the portable system weights only 16 pounds and converts measurements into a standard DFX format for direct input into CNC machinery

Circle No. 221

Cemar Eletro -- line-generating lasers for bridge saws and saws; a variety of alignment lasers for various applications

Circle No. 220

CMS/Brembana -- the Antea 1000 CNC bridge saw, which has a cutting depth up to 470 mm; a smaller version of the CNC saw, the Antea 750, has a cutting depth of 300 mm, making it ideal for countertop fabrication

Circle No. 219

D-CUT Products -- the T-050 Silverise Stone/Tile saw, with “Silverise” saw glides across dual rails instead of resting on a single bar; the saw can cut 34 inches on a single-pass rip and has a 24-inch diagonal cut; it was manufactured with a built-in reservoir, eliminating the need of a water pump, and it weighs around 50 pounds

Circle No. 218

Diamant Boart -- the new Magnum XL 20-mm diamond blade; a line of CNC tools, including edge wheels that hold a consistent profile shape longer and edge wheels that eliminate the need for hand finishing

Circle No. 217

Diamond Productions Canada Ltd. -- Tru-Form diamond tools, which can be used wet or dry on all stone varieties and require no dressing; the Bullnose Profile wheel, which is designed for grinding and shaping of bullnose slabs and tiles up to 3/4 inches and attaches to a hand-held grinder

Circle No. 216

ETemplate Systems -- Version 2 of the ETemplating software, with new enhancements; the second version is compatible with any CAD and CAM programs and can do 50- to 60-square-foot kitchens and transfer to a CAD file in about 10 minutes; also featured was the Counter Vision program, which shows the customer what the color of the stone will be in the kitchen

Circle No. 215

Faro Technologies -- the new Digital Template FaroArm coordinate measure machine (CMM), which can create and inspect three-dimensional files used in templating countertops, backsplashes, side splashes, window sills, wall caps and breakfast counters

Circle No. 214

Flow International Corp. -- the 6012 Integrated Flying bridge waterjet, which is available with non-integrated pumps and can be equipped with automated material handling and dual cutting heads to increase production

Circle No. 213

Ghines -- Sector portable routers, available in single speed, double speed or multi-speed

circle No. 177

GMM -- the Tecna 36 bridge, with saw a tilting head that can accommodate blades up to 725 mm in diameter

Circle No. 212

GranQuartz -- the Diarex Magnum router, which was developed after research, development and testing over three years; the Magnum is available in two models: the Magnum 3.0, which is a 3-HP, single-speed, 120V router; and the Magnum 5.0, a 5-HP variable-speed, three-phase 240V router; the Magnum features a self-diagnostic inverter duty motor, self-cleaning plastic roller assembly, a spindle and bearing housing assembly designed for easy removal and a durable T6 aluminum alloy housing

Circle No. 211

Groves Inc. -- the new Transport Rack designed for transporting and storing fabricated products on the rack until installation time

Circle No. 210

International Machine Corp. -- an entire line of Dal Forno vacuum lifters, including L2S 3060, L3S 2050/60, L3L 2050/60

Circle No. 209

Italdiamant S.p.A. -- a complete line of diamond blades, including the Hercules blade that has 15 mm of diamond segment

Circle No. 208

Löffler -- an integrated countertop manufacturing system including EasyTops software, as well as a bridge saw and edge processing/CNC equipment.

Circle No. 176

Marme -- a broad range of travertine and limestone products in a variety of finishes, including the new, unique BellvueTM finish

Circle No. 207

Marmo Meccanica -- promoted a numerically controlled milling machine and the CTEC3, with three working axes and rapid tool change

Circle No. 206

Matrix Stone Products -- the Daytona XL Automatic Edge Profile System, which can produce a variety of popular edge profiles to a high luster polish by recalling one of the pre-programmed edge profiles; in addition, custom shapes can be quickly created by the operator and added to the recall list

Circle No. 205

Omag -- the Profiler, a computer-controlled routing and engraving machine designed for materials such as marble, granite, limestone and glass; it is capable of working in 3 axes simultaneously allowing operations as carving, engraving, contouring and drilling

Circle No. 204

Park Industries -- introduced the ThinStone TXS Stone Veneer Fabrication System, which creates thin veneer products from processed sandstone or limestone -- either from split-face or natural finish materials; the new Destiny SE CNC Stonecenter, a machine that creates curved edgework and complex shapes faster and easier than ever before with precision computer control

Circle No. 203

Pearl Abrasive Co. -- two portable professional tile saws -- the VX 7.2XL (7-inch blade) and VX 10.2XL (10-inch blade) -- which have innovative built-in features that enable them to cut larger format tiles, such as a patented telescoping main table and extension carriage

Circle No. 202

Pedrini -- the Lux M920GR bridge saw, which features automatic PLC-controlled cycle programming

Circle No. 201

Pyramid Supply/Eurostone Machine -- the Thibaut TSC 400 contour wire saw, which can easily produce new shapes and complex designs

Circle No. 200

Regent Stone Products -- the Marmoelettromeccanica Robotop CNC machine, a 4-axis unit designed to fit any shop's budget; the Marmoelettromeccanica Dynamica, Talento, and America bridge saws, which come equipped with a 20-hp, direct-drive motor; the Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable router, which features a hydroplane base, as well as dual speed for the correct profiling and polishing of granite

Circle No. 199

Salem Stone -- a comprehensive line of Diamut diamond tooling, from saw blades and core and router bits to CNC tooling; straight Line edgers from C.M.G.; CNC multi-function centers from Ravelli; bridge saws and lathes by Pedrini as well as Saws from Kolb

Circle No. 198

Sawing Systems -- an improved product line with upgraded controls and other components; the 541 gantry saw, which is more rugged with updated features, including new pendant control

Circle No. 197

Sommer & Maca Industries, Inc. -- anodized aluminum connectors, which allow fabricators to join polished 2-cm stone pieces without machining; fabricators can also use these products to connect stone and glass for a contemporary look

Circle No. 196

Stone Boss -- the Makita Pw 5001C Electric Water Polisher, which can be used for core drilling, sanding and light grinding; the unit includes a 4-inch flexible backer pad, accepts quick-connect adapter and features a 5/8-11 center water-feed spindle with lock

Circle No. 195

Stone Tool Supply Inc. -- a new router, a single speed edge profiler and other standard equipment

Circle No. 194

Tyrolit Vincent S.p.A. -- the Raptor Tyrex high-performance blade for low or high horsepower bridge saws

Circle No. 193

Vic International -- Cn-Cut CNC Bowl Hole System, designed to make cuts for sinks and cooking tops; the new StoneMaster® StoneHawg Manual Edge Polisher, a product developed by the company with parts easily found in the U.S. -- almost any tool can be adapted into the spindle

Circle No. 192

VMC Technical Assistance Corp. -- the Edge Master for paced floor service contractors; the Edge Master automatically dispenses water and also picks it up at the same time, leaving virtually no mess; the unit can be used to level edges and eliminate lippage in marble, granite, concrete and terrazzo has never been easier

Circle No. 191

Vytek Industrial Laser Systems -- the new F/X2 laser engraver system with a motorized table to accommodate thick and thin pieces, offering a 35% increase in speed, new productivity features and a 30% smaller footprint with the same size work area

Circle No. 190

Water Treatment Technologies -- the EnviroSystem, which combines simplicity and efficiency to produce “crystal clear water,” guaranteed for polishing and CNC applications, and “gray water” for cutting and cooling functions; the unit turns sludge into manageable dry cakes, which are quickly removed from the shop

Circle No. 189

Wood's Powr-Grip -- the Air-Powered Tilter 1500 with a vacuum gauge, vacuum reserve tank, vacuum line filter, spring mounted pads and individual pad shutoffs to the center pads

Circle No. 188

Z. Bavelloni S.p.A. -- the Bavelloni Egar 315-4, a 4-axis CNC machine for granite and marble, which can fabricate items such as countertops with ogee edges

Circle No. 187

Installation and Maintenance Products

Akemi -- introduced Triple Effect, a 3-in-1 cleaner, protector and polisher available in a convenient 17-ounce spray bottle; Darkener Super, an impregnating, color-enhancing product that can be used on all stone types, including polished surfaces; Anti-Slip Mix, floor treads that prevent slips, trips and falls on all natural stone and stone-related surfaces

Circle No. 186

Aqua Mix Inc. -- Antibacterial Cleaner, which disinfects surfaces, inhibits the growth of mold and mildew and leaves behind a fresh, clean scent; a full line of stone restoration products

Circle No. 185

Bellinzoni -- offered Blitz, which provides the strength of an epoxy but has the cost and setting time of quality polyester, and is ideal for bonding all stone; Anti K, a topical water-repellent sealer that protects and enhances stone as well as providing an instant “wet look” that can be used on any finish; Sand Plus, a product that chemically hones the surface of polished marble in 5 to 10 minutes, creating an antique finish and will also enhance the colors of certain stones

Circle No. 184

Fila -- Fuganet, a powerful grout cleaner that cleans the joints quickly, without attacking them or harming the tile; the product can be left to act for a few seconds, then wiped with an abrasive sponge or long-handled brush; Fugaproof, a water-based grout cleaner specific to seal the grout, which eases removal of dirt and prevents the absorption of stains; the product has a spout that allows practical and fast application

Circle No. 183

HMK Stone Care -- new HMK S42 Exterior Color Enhancing Impregnator, developed to offer the same protection as HMK S34 Silicone Impregnator, as well as the color enhancing effect from HMK S35 Stone Sealer Matte Finish

Circle No. 182

Miracle Sealants Co. -- Miracle Disinfectant, a one-step, non-rinse cleaner that is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and inhibits the growth of mild and mildew; Quarry Kleen, which is formulated to remove grease and oil from quarry tile and grout surfaces without the need to agitate with a brush

Circle No. 181

Schlüter-Systems -- promoted the Schlüter Shower System, including a floor drain with an integrated bonding flange, a pre-sloped shower tray, shower curb, shower ramp, polyethylene waterproofing membrane and waterproofing strip used to seal butt joints; distributed a CD ROM with a complete explanation of the system

Circle No. 180

Stone Care International -- Stoneglide® Wipes, which are suited for all kitchen countertop surfaces, including granite and quartz surfacing; the wipes have a streak-free formula with no rinsing required, and they are safe for food-handling surfaces

Circle No. 179

Tenax -- a countertop cleaning solution made in the U.S., available in spray bottles; also announced that other products such as Sealux, Petrolux, Hydrex and Ager are also available in spray bottles; also announced that Domo and Riva epoxy systems are available in a format that can be applied with a caulking gun

Circle No. 178

Photo captions

Coverings 2004 took place in March in the new expansion wing of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Attendance at Coverings 2004 reached 29,453 registered attendees, an increase of 10% over last year's reported totals.

As always, national pavilions were a key component at the exposition.

The Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters' Association (IMMIB) made a major impact with the creation of a “stone village” inhabited by producers of Turkish marble, granite and travertine. The exhibit was cited for its outstanding design by a panel of judges.

Once again, Antolini Luigi & C. made a major splash with its award-winning exhibit booth, as the company set up an upscale “Stone Club,” complete with a velvet rope to make visitors feel they were part of an exclusive crowd.

The exhibit area showcasing stoneworking machinery was particularly active, as fabricators continue to represent a growing number of attendees

Among the special interest forums was a Stone Fabricators Forum hosted by Stone World Editor Michael Reis. This lively session was attended by nearly 100 fabricators from around the country.

Steve Forbes, president and chief executive officer of Forbes, Inc., and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, had the general session area filled to capacity for his keynote speech, in which he touched upon the economy, the presidential election and other current events of interest to the tile and stone industry.

Famed architect William McDonough gave a talk on “Redesigning Real Estate: Building for Sustainable Prosperity.”

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) hosted a well-attended cocktail hour where members of firms from around the country and abroad gathered.

At the MIA event, door prizes were awarded by (from left): Stone World Publisher Alex Bachrach, Marc Rosenkrantz of Schechner Lifson Corp., and MIA Executive Vice President Gary Distelhorst.

Tamara Christian, Coverings' show director and president of National Trade Productions (NTP), addressed attendees at the MIA gathering.

Coverings also offered companies the opportunity to hold various press gatherings and information sessions. Principals from Georgia Marble and Polycor of Canada hosted an event to bring people up to date on Polycor's acquisition of Georgia Marble.