On Monday, I will be boarding a plane to attendSurfaces/StonExpo/Marmomacc Americasin Las Vegas. And the day after I return from that busy tour of the latest stone and tile products, I will be back in the air -- this time on my way to Spain for Cevisama. No rest for the weary is an understatement, but while a few extra days in between traveling would be nice, I am actually very excited about both trips. Trade shows such as these are where I learn about all the new stone and tile introductions -- and they never disappoint.surfaces/stoneexpo 2013

In addition to what seems like an endless display of stone and tile collections, it appears that these trade shows are making great efforts in recent years to attract more architects and designers. Just as it is a great way for trade editors such as myself to learn about the latest product lines, it is also an ideal place for the architect and design community to view these product introductions -- since they are the ones who specify them in their designs.

Surfaces/StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas will offer an extensive educational program.

Select sessions qualify for credit with AIA, AIBD, IDCEC (ASID, IDC, IIDA), IICRC, WFCA and CFI. This presents an opportunity for members of the architecture and design community to earn their credits as well as to tour the exhibition halls. January 29 will also represent "Architect Day" at the event, where design professionals who have participated in the Marmomacc Stone Academy will spend the day examining the role of natural stone in architecture. This will include a visit to The Smith Center, where more than 20 stones were used as part of the design, as well as a tour of the exhibit floor.

As a way to further entice architects and designers to attend the exhibition, Surfaces has formed a partnership with Las Vegas Market to co-locate their events. Las Vegas Market is an international home furnishing showcase. By offering both exhibitions at the same time in one location, show organizers are hoping to increase attendance among the members of the design community.

With the primary slogan of Cevisama's 2013 media campaign being "All Together Cevisama," the international tile exhibition held annually in Valencia, Spain, is also trying to bring tile manufacturers and specifiers together.  Show organizers believe that the motto encourages everybody to participate in the exhibition.

Tile of Spain, the trade association that represents many Spanish tile manufacturers, has been kind enough to invite me along with several other trade journalists to be a part of a press trip. Additionally, it held the "Passport to Creativity" contest, which offered architects and interior designers a chance to win a trip to Spain to participate in an architectural excursion where they will earn four CEU credits and visit Cevisama 2013. Four lucky design professionals were recently selected. They will join me and the other trade journalists who have been invited on the trip. In addition to visiting the exhibition halls, we will be taken to several tile factories to observe the production process. This is a great way for these architects and designers to experience firsthand the dedication given to making quality tile products.

After my visits to Surfaces/StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and Cevisama, I know I will have quite a bit of information to report back on. You can look for my findings on the Web sites of both Contemporary Stone & Tile Design and TILE Magazine as well as in the pages of our print editions.