The 20th edition of Coverings, which is dedicated to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone, returned to the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL, from April 21 to 24. And despite a drop in attendance, the exhibition received a high level of sales interest and activity on the show floor, reports National Trade Productions (NTP), the manager and producer of the event.

“We theorize that the economic shift this year helped to filter out the serious shoppers from the uncommitteds,” said Glenn Feder, president of client events for NTP.

Now in its 20th year, Coverings is exclusively dedicated to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone, fabrication machinery, tools and accessories, and installation and maintenance products. The exhibition is sponsored by a number of organizations, including ASCER (Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain), Confindustria Ceramica (Italian Association of Ceramics), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

The show floor featured exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracted distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers from all over the U.S. Throughout the exhibition, various foreign manufacturers, hailing from countries such as Brazil, India, Italy, Spain and Turkey, presented themselves as a united front in pavilions representing each of their nations.

Coverings 2009 provided a platform for numerous stone and tile manufacturers to exhibit their latest innovations to a worldwide market. Below is just a sampling of what was on display at Coverings 2009:

A. Voguebay Iceberg glass mosaic is a combination of many different circles resulting in a fresh three dimensional surface with real depth and feeling. Together with the series WaterCube, this product is taking to a new age the definition of glass mosaic tiles, according to Voguebay. Suitable for most uses and areas, Iceberg glass mosaic gives a modern and noticeable look to any wall. The series is available in 12- x 12-inch sheets and 4- x 12-inch borders, and in a range of many new colors. The all-new Iceberg mosaic tile is part of Voguebay’s 2009 new range of


B. Pokarna Ltd., one of India’s leading stone producers, has launched a new line of high-quality engineered stone called Quantra. The material is being produced using some of the most modern technology and equipment in the world, and it utilizes quartz from its home state of Andhra in India, which is noted for its value and strong physical characteristics. Pokarna manufactures Quantra in slabs with thicknesses ranging from 8 to 30 mm. The product can be made into products such as kitchen countertops and bar tops, steps, windowsills, baseboards, vanity tops, customized cladding and more, reports Pokarna. Quantra engineered stone is acid proof as well as stain and scratch resistant. It also has anti-slip properties and exceptional durability, according to the manufacturer. It can be augmented with elements such as glass, mirrors, brass, mother-of-pearl and other accents. It is also available in a broad range of surface finishes, such as polished, honed, sandblasted, antique, brushed, velvet and leather, to name a


C. Italian manufacturer GranitiFiandre launched its GeoDesign Project 16, Light Shape Collection. Light Shape, a wall-covering product, is created through a patented process and features fluorescent botanical designs cut into porcelain slabs. Waterjet technology creates the designs into which a transparent, epoxy resin insert is placed. A thin sheet, white light bulb attached to the slab’s backside emits a soft, glowing light through the design.

The environmentally sound light bulbs utilized in Light Shape do not disperse infrared or ultraviolet energy, and they disperse only a negligible amount of heat using only three to six watts of power per bulb. Two coordinating designs in a variety of earthy hues from the company’s and Belgian Blue collections are available in a 24- x 12-inch


D. Vermont Quarries Corp. promoted its Montclair Danby Marble, which the company is now offering direct wholesale pricing for. Montclair Danby makes for an excellent kitchen countertop material given its low absorption rate, reports Vermont Quarries. At a more affordable pricing, the stone is a less expensive alternative, but still offers a high-end


E. Deco represents the most avant-garde collection by Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer TAU, according to the tile manufacturer. The model has been inspired by Zebrano wood - a material with very well-defined tones, which TAU Advanced, the trademark’s creativity and design forum, has enhanced by contrasting them in multiple directions on the piece’s surface, with a captivating and original aesthetic result. Deco is also available in white, brown or black, which can be easily combined with each other, to strengthen its aesthetic


F. The 28 colors and five tonalities of nuances and mixes found in the Perle collection from Italian tile manufacturer Mosaico+ are further multiplied due to the effects of the iridescent surfaces which tend to emphasize and play with the chromatic values. The small tiles sized at 15 x 15 mm create surfaces that look as soft as expensive fabric, according to the manufacturer. At 4 mm thick, the 15 x 15 mm tiles are mounted on glass fiber mesh to form a sheet of 295 x 295 mm in which the tiles are about 1 mm


G. Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Adex displayed it diamond series, which includes beveled, diamond and flat finishes. Sizes include 4 x 8 inches and the series utilizes stainless steel dots - approximately 45 different options - to add design accents to a finished


H. Crossville celebrates the incomparable beauty of natural stone with its new Bella Via collection. Crafted of the finest stone from around the world, the Bella Via collection epitomizes elegance and luxury - yet it is in stock and readily available, reports the company. Bella Via natural stone is recommended for interior walls and floors as well as exterior walls. It features a honed finish and a choice of nine hues: Champagne, Ivory, Golden Beach, Seashell, Gascone Beige, Napolina, Seagrass, Walnut and Nova Blue. The Bella Via collection comprises sheet-mounted 1- x 1-inch mosaics and 2- x 2-inch hexagons, plus 12- x 12- and 18- x 18-inch stone field tile. In addition, the collection’s designer, Barbara Schirmeister, ASID, DC, CAUS, created a Versailles Pattern (available in Ivory and Walnut), which consists of multiples of the following stone field tiles: 8 x 8, 8 x 16, 16 x 16 and 16 x 24 inches. Trim pieces include a 5/8- x 12-inch pencil liner and a 2- x 12-inch chair


I. Pietra Regia by Italian tile manufacturer Del Conca is the summary of the superior technical quality of through-body porcelain tile and of the infinite aesthetical richness due to the revolutionary no-touch coloring technology. Pietra Regia is acid and frost resistant. It is suitable for both interior and exterior wall and floor applications in both private or public


J. Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Inalco has designed a light, versatile product called SlimmKer. At only 4 mm thick, the tile is easy to cut or perforate - eliminating complications - reports the manufacturer. Because it is lighter weight, it is also easy to handle and lay, but easily meets all technical and sustainability requirements. Using IPLUS digital printing technology, it can achieve unlimited decorating potential, including a variety of design, more natural-looking tiles and greater realism, according to Inalco. The first five series in the SlimmKer range are available in an 18- x 35-inch format. They include: Elisia, consisting of subtle embossed patterns, colored with lines in dark shades (shown); Ethnic, which shows randomly distributed scratching; Facet, a series with different surface reliefs for creating avant-garde settings; Foster, inspired by polished cement surfaces, it can be mixed and matched with any of the other series; and Ginza, a series inspired by modern wood. Each series is available in a variety of


K. American Slate highlighted its Wild Hyena, which is part of the Serengeti Sands color collection. For natural stone counters, floors, veneers and more, the company offers a large assortment of products. Mined from premier quarries worldwide, American Slate is selected for its strength and dramatic beauty, the manufacturer reports. It is non-absorbent (with no sealant required), stain-resistant and naturally slip-resistant, low-maintenance and easy to clean and naturally


L. Carmel Stone introduced its Forte De Marmi white marble (pictured), which is imported from Carrara, Italy. It is available in slabs, tile mosaics and moldings, and is now in stock and ready for immediate delivery. The company also showcased its extensive, in stock, Jerusalem Collection of slabs, tiles and mosaics, its hand-rubbed Time Worn Collection and its Argentinean Pampeano


M. Ascot featured its Lollipop collection. It comes in white, crème, lilac, orange and sky (pictured), and is dry pressed, making it ideal for interior floors and


N. Mosa introduced the new Mosa Beige & Brown tile collection. The color palette is divided into three color types: neutral, gray and reddish shades in logical gradations from beige to brown, and from very light to intensely dark shades. The styling of the luxury 24- x 24-inch format remains modern and contemporary, with a simple, neat finish. The ground edges mean that grouting joints can be minimized to 2 mm, according to the


O. Porcellanato Ecostone by Eliane is a porcelain tile made with up to 60% of reused mortar mass and conscientious use of clean energy (90% of water reused in processing and 20% reduction in electrical energy use) brings design and strength to residential and commercial environments, which demand greater resistance to


P. The Timeless tile series from Vitra is mainly made up of polished tiles in neutral shades with an unobtrusive, almost invisible surface texture. The homogeneous look is combined with attractive mosaic tiles in mocha, beige and gold or anthracite, gray and platinum. Particularly eye-catching are the glass inlays, which form a contrast to the unobtrusive colors of the tiles - giving Timeless its unique character. The series comes in 20- x 50-cm ceramic wall tiles in white, cream and gray. In addition, a 1.5- x 50-cm brass border in gold or silver is available. The special mosaic tiles have a format of 2.5- x 2.5-cm (30- x 30-cm pattern repeat)


Q. Metalart Matrix from Florida Tile comes in 1/2- x 5-, 3- x 6- and 4- x 4-inch sizes. Mosaic patterns include square, brick, edger/thin brick, medium square, parquet, basketweave, octagon and dots and small


R. Slimtech by Lea Ceramiche is ideal for satisfying all the latest needs of modern projects, both for interiors and for the larger exterior surfaces of modern buildings. It is easy to install and offers excellent aesthetic results, reports the manufacturer. Slimtech is the result of a rolling and compression technology used for porcelain stoneware, which modifies the traditional production process, obtaining a completely new product that is extremely resistant, easy to install and


S. The Pietra Serena Collection takes innovation one-step further for Land Porcelanico. Its structured finishes make it a great similarity to stone, the company reports, and due to this, the collection is widely usable for exteriors and non-slip floors as well as interior applications. Available colors include ivory, beige (pictured), moss and graphite, and among the finishes are natural with an array of different


T. Rovere, the new collection from Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Apavisa, is an expression of wood for flooring. A completely stable material with a low absorption rate, the product is resistant to changes in the temperature, fireproof, highly durable, easy to clean and virtually maintenance free, the manufacturer