NEW YORK, NY -- Ceramic Tiles of Italy and The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) have a long-standing partnership and a shared mission to educate architects, designers, contractors, developers and tile specifiers about new products and cutting-edge installation techniques. Now, the two industry leaders are working together to present a series of seminars across the country. In this ever-changing world, it is important to keep up with the latest advances in technology and design. In terms of Italian tile, this translates to modern motifs, ultra-slim thicknesses and extra-large formats. The traveling program, called "Beyond the Surface: The Skinny on Italian Tile," will feature CEU accredited sessions from industry experts and an opportunity for attendees to see what's new in the local marketplace.

Fittingly, the first stop on the tour is a world-renowned educational facility, the campus of Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ. The event, scheduled for February 16, 2010 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m., begins with a tour of the award-winning Mod.Fab project, which was designed and constructed by students of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture to accommodate visiting faculty, lecturers and architects. The project, which was recognized in the Residential Category as the winner of the 2009 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition, will be used to showcase the versatile, functional and sustainable attributes of Italian tile. In addition to the project, this is also a chance for nearby Arizona-based tile dealers to show their products. They will be setting up tabletop displays with a selection of trendsetting collections from leading Italian manufacturers. This portion of the program will be followed by two CEU accredited sessions including:

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Transformed by Tile: Design Trends that are Reshaping the Surface
Presented by Jen Renzi, design journalist and author
New technological breakthroughs and formats, from oversized to ultra-thin, are changing the way architects/designers specify tile. Jen Renzi, author of The Art of Tile and freelance design writer for Interior Design, Surface, and the New York Times Style Magazine will talk about these products and why they are reshaping residential and commercial interiors. Several Arizona projects, six of which have received the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition Award in the past ten years, will be included to highlight the products' region-specific and technical advantages. She will also address decorative design trends as well as the sustainable attributes of tile and how they can contribute to LEED certification and eco-conscious goals.

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Proper Installation and Specification of Large Format Tile
Presented by Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler, NTCA
Leading tile manufacturers continue to produce beautiful and innovative ceramic and porcelain tile, with a consistent trend towards larger format tiles in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. Sloan and Whistler will demonstrate proper application techniques to help the audience understand the challenges the installation professional faces on most projects and be equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how to properly specify the materials, creating an installation that will last.

Other stops on the tour include New York and Los Angeles. Follow Ceramic Tiles of Italy on Facebook and TilesofItaly on Twitter for upcoming date announcements and more program details.