Motawi Tileworks: hit us with your best shot

Motawi Tileworks is holding a contest for the best  Motawi installation of the last 20 years. The winner will receive a $250 gift certificate for Motawi products and services. To enter, send the following items to [email protected]:

  • At least one 8×10 color digital photo of the installation with a minimum resolution of 300dpi in TIFF or JPEG format
  • Your full name and contact information, the name of your company (if applicable), the name of the photographer, and the month/year of the installation
  • The category under which you’re entering (professional for showroom reps, architects, builders, or designers; hobbyist for do-it-yourselfers)
  • A signed photo release form, obtainable at this site: http://minus.com/m63wd8CYJ/

Entries must be received by midnight on 9/7/12. Visit http://minus.com/mhNXrWwm0/ for the full rules.

Editor’s Letter – August 2012

Here’s a common scenario: you are traveling, and want to reference a story in your recent copy of TileLetter. The only problem is that you left the magazine at the office. Never fear – now your TileLetter is only as far as your laptop, tablet or mobile device. Back by popular demand is the TileLetter digital page turner at www.tileletter.com/current.

The TileLetter website originally featured a digital page turner, which is basically an online representation of the actual magazine, page by page. Then we decided to update the website to the WordPress format so we could more easily and quickly bring you immediate news online. In the process we did away with our original digital page turner, which was a bit cumbersome and slow.

But amidst public outcry for the feature, a new easy-access format is back for your reading pleasure. Just visit the website above to read the most current issue of TileLetter. For timely news posted as it is available, you can always visit www.tileletter.com.

TileLetter isn’t NTCA’s only digital page turner – you can also view the current issue of TADA: Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates at the TADA website: www.ntca-tada.com. Launched at Coverings, the first two issues of this quarterly publication have been enthusiastically snapped up at trade shows. Visit the website to view stories from those first two issues or to read the magazine via digital page turner. You can also subscribe to TADA there too.

I don’t want to be remiss in pointing to several of our features in THIS issue of TileLetter, however – starting with the awe-inspiring cover story about NTCA member Port Morris Tile & Marble’s role in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. I read this story with reverence and awe for the monumental task it is and the significance it holds for giving new life to this very sacred ground, remembrance for lives lost there that day, and a symbol of renewal, recovery and strength to the entire nation.

The overall theme of our August issue is green and sustainability, and you will find stories and articles throughout that reflect developments in this sector of our industry. Notable is the case study of The First State Bank & Trust of Skokie, Ill., that features a ventilated facade and the green benefits therein, as well as numerous other sustainable aspects of the building. DTI of Illinois – who installed the tile for Chicago’s Monroe Building restoration and was a special recognition winner in the Coverings Installation Design Awards – installed this project: their first ventilated facade job. As a result, they are pursuing several other ventilated facade projects.

Enjoy this issue – whether you are reading it in paper, hard-copy format or online.

Lesley

Editor’s Letter – July 2012

If you read last month’s Business Tip, you’ll remember that it was written by Steve Rausch who represents the Substrates and Specialty Products Division of USG Corporation out of Alpharetta, Ga. You’ll also remember that he’s  the author of the Rausch Ravings blog (http://rauschravings.blogspot.com/).

On Monday, June 25, I read his blog on “How to Handle Stress.” It contains some balancing wisdom I thought was essential.

We all work hard. There never seems to be a lack of opportunities to do a little more or work a little harder at your business. And doing so is often part of the formula that distinguishes a successful business from a floundering one.

But there’s insight in the saying about “all work and no play.” And since it’s summertime, and vacations are on people’s minds and calendars, I wanted to pass on this story from Steve’s blog for your reading pleasure:

I did not write this story, just received it from a friend and thought it worthy to pass along to everyone reading my blog. I had intended on writing about vacations; seems like many are interested in that subject right now, but my take was going to be on those who avoid vacations and seem to wear that like a badge of honor – that they don’t take a vacation. Well, it just isn’t healthy and it is really not good for your company! They provide vacation time for a reason. I believe this below story very well points out that exact reason!

A young lady confidently walked around the room while explaining stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone was sure she was going to ask the ultimate question: “Half empty or half full?” However, she fooled them all. 

“How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. 

Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces. 

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” 

She continued, “That’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.” 

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.

“Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax; pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now ‘supposed’ stress that you’ve conquered!” 

Relax today – stop and smell the roses and other flowers you pass so often without notice. — Steve

Thanks, Steve for the reminder. Happy flower smelling, everyone!

Lesley

2012 Coverings Review

Though the economy may have a ways to go, if Coverings was any indication, a sense of optimism and substantial recovery is starting to creep back into the tile industry.

Attendance at Coverings was up by 19 percent over last year’s show, with registration totaling over 22,000, signaling a halt to a decline in attendance over the last three years. Architects and designers attended the Orlando-based event in droves – attendance among that sector jumped 84 percent over 2011 figures. Strong A&D attendance is expected to continue next year, when Coverings debuts in Atlanta amidst a robust regional community of architects and designers.

Other market segments saw a rise at Coverings 2012, as well, with fabricator attendance up 69 percent from last year, distributor attendance up 16 percent and the installer/contractor presence up 26 percent.

“These numbers are valid indicators that the tile and stone industry is in a recovery mode,” said Karen Fendrich, show director of Coverings. “No way has the dust fully settled from the economic turmoil, but there are decided improvements in business, with building projects re-booted and remodeling on the upswing – all good signs for anyone involved in this product category.”

An aggressive marketing campaign, fueled by embrace of social media, helped boost attendance figures. On the show floor, the Coverings Central area allowed attendees to digitally interact, network with one another, and get digital-networking tips in 15-minute seminars throughout the show.

Contractor tours: a hit

More than 160 contractors took advantage of a specially-guided tour of top setting material and tool resources on the show floor as part of the new Contractor Days. This program, in collaboration with the NTCA, helped contractors and installers maximize their time at Coverings without second-guessing which of the 800-plus exhibitors to see. Contractors also got to personally meet and hear from company executives during booth visits, direct access they might not ordinarily have experienced on their own. Tours included lunch, and a happy hour on the show floor in the Contractor Lounge, which afforded additional networking opportunities.

Designers + contractors = stunning projects

Another growing attraction for attendees was the Installation Design Showcase. The 2012 project was a tour-de-force of three room settings starring tile. Three renowned designers partnered with three NTCA Five Star Contractors, who brought the vignettes to life in full view of attendees over the course of the show.

Nationally-known Florida-based kitchen designer Joan DesCombes created a pampering patio setting with magnificent materials sponsored by Tile Council of North America and provided by Florida Tile and Metropolitan Ceramics. She was teamed with Cox Tile of San Antonio, Texas, which faithfully translated her vision, including construction of a working tiled fountain.

Orlando native Grant Gribble, ASID, IIDA, partnered with Collins Tile and Stone of Aldie, Va., in a 70s-inspired bath that emphasized wall art formed from colorful Crossville porcelain.

Foreman Rogers, ASID, a senior designer with tvsdesign, Atlanta, created a boutique hotel guest room. Practiced in hospitality design — having recently completed the Gaylord Palms in Orlando — Rogers was paired with David Allen Company, Raleigh, N.C. This team met the design challenges, creating a visual treat of unorthodox cuts and skilled applications with materials sponsored by Ceramics of Italy, promoted by Confindustria Ceramica, tile provided by Ceramiche Coem, Emil Ceramica, LEA Ceramiche, Architectural Tile Solutions /Marazzi, Naxos Ceramiche and Sicis, and a special thanks to Ceramic Technics. Other sponsors included MAPEI, H.B. Fuller, TOTO, USG Corporation, RUBI Tools, European Tile Masters and QEP.

Green Squared products debut at Coverings

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announced the inaugural class of Green SquaredSM Certified products (www.tilethenaturalchoice.com). Green Squared (ANSI A138.1) is the multi-attribute industry standard for sustainable tile and tile installation products that establishes criteria for environmental and social issues alike, and subjects products to third-party certification through NSF International, Scientific Certification Systems, and UL Environment.

The eight manufacturers with Green Squared Certified products at Coverings included: Crossville, Ironrock, and Porcelanite Lamosa. Daltile, Interceramic, Laticrete International, Mapei, and Marazzi are awaiting certification, and Bonsal American, Florida Tile, Quarry Tile Company, StonePeak, TEC, and Vitromex expect to have Green Squared Certified products by year end.

New developments from TCNA

In addition to Green Squared, TCNA announced a new testing method and standard for dynamic co-efficient of friction (DCOF) to replace the familiar static co-efficient of friction (SCOF) tests and measurements. The new version of ANSI A137.1 Specifications for Ceramic Tile will include the new DCOF AcuTest method, which uses the more accurate BOT 3000 portable testing device. Additionally, for the first time there will be a minimum COF requirement of 0.42 for level interior tile surfaces expected to be walked upon when wet, compared to the old .60 SCOF (static coefficient of friction) wet measurement. For information, see the May issue of TileLetter, page 70, visit www.tileusa.com/test_main.htm or contact TCNA at 864-646-8453.

TCNA announced the availability of the world’s first standard for glass tile, ANSI A137.2 American National Standard Specifications for Glass Tile, which categorizes and defines types of glass tiles and establishes aesthetic and performance standards within each category. This standard criteria establishes a consensus baseline for manufacturing quality and a valuable tool which can aid in the development of new installation standards and in the general specification of glass tile. Contact TCNA at 864-646-8453 for more information.

The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA), launched in 2008 by TCNA and the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), establishes a 0.5% water absorption criteria for porcelain tile. The following companies have PTCA certified products with a total of 367 product lines qualifying for certification since the start of the program: American Marazzi, Bedrosians Tile & Stone, Ceramica del Conca, Crossville, Inc., Daltile, Emser Tile, Exceptional Surfaces, Florida Tile, Inc., Florim USA, GranitiFiandre USA, Interceramic, Mannington, Ragno USA, Royal Mosa, StonePeak Ceramics, The Tile Company, Tile Optima, and Vitromex.

A new program now allows tile retailers and distributors to use the PTCA logo if they first register with PTCA and sell PTCA certified tile.  Lowe’s is the first retailer to take advantage of this program.

Since its establishment with five founding members in 2005 to today, TCNA – Mexico’s membership has grown to 36 companies supporting Tile Council projects in Mexico. This total includes 11 tile manufacturers (representing 98% of the tile manufactured in Mexico), 11 associate installation materials members, and 14 associate raw material supplier members. For complete information on TCNA-Mexico activities, visit www.tcna.com.mx.

New developments from CTEF

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) announced the total number of CTEF Certified Tile Installers (CTIs) has grown to 752, with certified installers now in 27 states. The goal is to have a total of 1000 installers certified by the end of 2012. The new one-day test format and online written test have contributed significantly to the growth of the program.

The online test has also allowed CTEF (www.tilecareer.com) to launch the Fundamentals of Thin Bed Knowledge (FTBK) exam for non-installers such as sales staff, technical staff, estimators and superintendents who want to boost their knowledge of product and installation standards and best practices. Those who receive an 85% or higher score are recognized by CTEF as FTBK professionals. The FTBK credential is valid for three years; re-testing is required to maintain the credential. A valuable Field Manual is provided as a study guide, “which explains how to use the TCNA Handbook and ANSI standards,” said Scott Carothers, CTEF executive director. “The Field Manual is something you keep and can refer back to over and over again.”

NTCA demos, seminars and awards abound

NTCA training director Gerald Sloan and NTCA Tile & Stone Symposium presenter Michael Whistler had a robust schedule of demonstrations ongoing at the TCNA Installation Stage throughout the show.

In addition, NTCA members and staff participated in a number of seminars and workshops as part of the Coverings Conference Program.

 

NTCA celebrated 65 years as an association. NTCA president Nyle Wadford and NTCA executive director emeritus Joe Tarver recounted NTCA history and accomplishments over the last 65 years and vision for the future.

NTCA’s TileLetter and TADA co-sponsored the Coverings Installation Design Awards, a celebration of synergy between the A&D community and tile/stone installers and contractors, exhibited in stunning projects. See more detailed information on this award ceremony on page 26 in this issue.

Exhibitors applaud Coverings ROI

Exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the ROI delivered by Coverings 2012, and expect more of the same in the Atlanta edition in 2013.

“We’ve exhibited for eight years now, and are happy to report another very busy and successful show,” said Darren Caraway of Vidrepur, a Spanish producer of glass tile that uses 100% recycled content. “We saw a variety of attendees. Most strongly represented were distributors. It’s great to see distributors you currently work with, and, of course, show product to those who are learning about your company. We look forward to exhibiting next year, for sure.”

Esther Halferty of Lilywork – a handmade tile producer from Quakertown, Pa. – was pleased with this year’s show. “We did have good foot traffic this year, and are looking forward to exhibiting next year in Atlanta, which we know is rich with architecture and design professionals.”

“We will definitely be back next year,” said Enrico Guazzi, area manager of Italian tile producer LEA Ceramiche. “We had a very good show this year, with great response to the very design-oriented products.”

Next year Coverings is scheduled for April 29 to May 2, 2013, in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Ceramica Sant’Agostino suffers losses in recent earthquake

Amidst the destruction in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, where a 6.0 magnitude earthquake on May 20 destroyed ancient buildings and left thousands homeless, were tragic losses suffered by Ceramica Sant’Agostino, a Confindustria Ceramica tile manufacturer.

Two of Sant’Agostino workers, Nicola Cavicchi and Leonardo Ansaloni, died in the Sant’Agostino factory when the building collapsed early Sunday morning. In addition, the company’s automated warehouse and monocottura production facility were damaged.

A statement posted by the company on its website reads, “First and foremost, Ceramica Sant’Agostino would like to express deepest sympathy for the victims of this terrible tragedy, the destructive consequences of which could undoubtedly have in no way been predicted or imagined. The disturbing events of last night leave all of us speechless, powerless to express our immense grief. Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a family business, not only because it is now in the hands of the third generation, but because it has always had a close, sincere bond with the area it operates in and with the people who work there. The loss of Leonardo Ansaloni and Nicola Cavicchi leaves a gap it is impossible to fill, and the Company extends its deepest sympathy to their families.”

Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a third-generation business, which was set up in 1964 in the Province of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region (about 35 km north of Bologna). It’s been 800 years since an earthquake of this magnitude has affected the region. The company website noted that buildings were constructed with “the maximum safety criteria” and it has cooperated with examination of company structures by officials in the wake of the quake.

On May 22, Sant’Agostino received a visit from the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who has promised to help small-scale businesses, especially factories and farms, in the region. The government has approved temporary tax relief to owners of property damaged from the earthquake and $64 million in emergency funds have been made available for use by the national Civil Protection Agency providing quake assistance.

Sant’Agostino is still assessing the damages on the whole plant but hopes that many of their problems can be resolved in the next few weeks, and remains optimistic about the future of the company.

“Despite the tremendous blow suffered, Ceramica Sant’Agostino is determined to get back on our feet and resume production, above all in order to honour the memory of those we have lost,” the statement continues. “The Company intends to continue to be an important resource for the local area and for the numerous families that depend on it. This is what it means to believe in one’s work. Ceramica Sant’Agostino strongly believes in the quality of its products and of the human resources that have made it the business we all know today, and will continue to be the serious, qualified point of reference it has been for many years for the large number of customers who choose our products and appreciate the service we offer.”

Florida Tile, Metropolitan Ceramics announce Green-Squared certification

Florida Tile recently announced that all  Kentucky-produced Florida Tile products have been certified   Green Squared by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). In addition, Metropolitan Ceramics announced that a large selection of unglazed ceramic quarry tile products have been Green Squared Certified by Scientific Certification System (SCS).

Sean Cilona, Florida Tile marketing director, noted a “Certificate of Conformity” was issued to Florida Tile by UL for the following U.S.-made products, which all were all manufactured at the company‘s facility in Lawrenceburg, Ky.: Ankara, Ashton, Berkshire, Cinema, Contessa, Creekside, Fontana, Formations, Grandeur, Hamlet Manor, Highlands, Horizon, Legend, Livingston, Mendocino, Millenia, Montana, Paramount, Phoenix, Pristine, Quartez, Renaissance, Retroclassic, Savannah, Taconic Slate, Terrace, Topeka and Tuscania. Florida Tile was an integral part of the five-year development of the Green SquaredSM standard (ANSI A138.1), and its products were among the first groups of products to achieve that certification.

Metropolitan Ceramics® is part of a fifth-generation family-owned company located in Canton, Ohio. The company’s location in the same community for well over 100 years gives it a stake in the community and sense of stewardship. Being one of the first ceramic tile manufacturers to have third-party certification for the Green Squared sustainability standard is a concrete way of showing commitment to continuing efforts in all aspects of environmental management

NTCA Benefits Box – June 2012

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers which includes a 155-question, multiple-choice, open-book exam and hands-on test. Both are based on current industry standards and best practices for producing sound installations that exhibit good workmanship. The tests – considered validation of ability and not a training program – require that both the observable and non-observable characteristics of a finished installation are executed properly.

Installers who pass the written and hands-on exams receive a certificate, an identification card and most importantly, marketing materials developed by CTEF. For example, certified installers may display the CTI logo on business cards, vehicles, and clothing. Additionally, CTEF provides promotional brochures that encourage consumers and general contractors/builders to use certified installers.

“In less than four years, the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has validated 750 members through the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program,” said Scott Carothers, CTEF executive director. “While this is quite an accomplishment, we realized that for the CTI program to achieve critical mass, it must move up to the next level quickly. For 2012, the goal is to confirm 200 more CTIs in one year, effectively totaling 1000 qualified installers. The ultimate goal of the CTI program is to provide the end user with a choice of an installer who has the skill and knowledge to install ceramic tile correctly the first time with high quality at a fair price.”

Another benefit of being a CTI is that the 2012 TCNA Handbook includes language that recommends the use and specification of qualified installers, validated through a number of programs and measures, including the CTI test. In addition, similar language has been added to MasterSpec, published by Arcom, that includes references to the importance of qualified labor in the Installer Qualifications section of the Division 9 specifications for tile work. (www.masterspec.com).  Brandishing one’s CTI qualifications sets installers apart from the crowd and sets the stage for lucrative work.

The cost of the CTI exam is normally $295, but current NTCA members in good standing receive a $100 discount, so CTI testing registration is only $195. What’s more, all installers who pass the CTI exam get to pick $300 worth of manufacturer’s free product coupons.

For more information about the testing protocols, visit www.tilecareer.com/Certification.htm or www.tile-assn.com/Member/CTEFCertification.aspx?mid=92.

Coverings Installation Design Awards

 

At Coverings this past April, the industry saluted designers and contractors of outstanding tile and stone projects in the first-ever Coverings Installation Design Awards. This competition is the evolution of the prestigious Coverings Prism and Spectrum Awards that recognized excellence in design in tile and stone projects and the TileLetter Awards that honored technical excellence in craftsmanship and installation. The Coverings Installation Design (CID) Awards shined a light on both aspects of a project, acknowledging the critical role collaboration plays in successful and stunning projects. The CID Awards were sponsored by Coverings, TileLetter and NTCA’s newest publication, TADA, Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates.

Judges sifted through nearly 75 entries to determine the 12 winners. Judges included Christine Abbate – Ceramics of Italy, Lori Dolnick – Tile of Spain, Jennifer Adams – Contemporary Stone & Tile Design/TILE Magazine/Stone World, Jennifer Renzi – Interior Design, Robin Wilson – Robin Wilson Home, Eric Astrachan  – Tile Council of North America,  and Bart Bettiga – NTCA.

The list of winners are as follows:

Residential ––––––––––

Grand Prize Residential:
Rosenthal Residence
Walled Lake, Mich.
Designer: David Ellison
Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

Residential Stone:
2012 New American Home
Winter Park, Fla.
Designer: Phil Kean Designs, Inc.
Installer: Girem Tile Work, Inc.

Residential Mosaic/Glass:
Bella Leoni
Ada, Mich.
Designer: Signature Outdoor Concepts/Inspired Installations
Installer: Inspired Installations

Residential Tile:
Turck Residence
Decatur, Mich.
Designer: Motawi Tileworks
Installer: Harry Underdah

Commercial ––––––––––

Grand Prize Commercial:
El Andaluz
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect
Installer: Dan Upton Construction

Commercial Stone:
Atrium
Miami, Fla.
Designer: Insight Design
Installer: Gemini Tile Service

Commercial Mosaic/Glass:
Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center
Charlottesville, Va.
Designer: BH+A
Installer: The Ceiling and Floor Shop

Commercial Tile:
Palomar Medical Center West
Escondido, Calif.
Designer: Anshen + Allen Architects/CO Architects
Installer: Wirtz Quality Installations

Special Recognition ––––––––––

Historic Renovation:
Monroe Skyscraper
Chicago, Ill.
Designer: Holabird & Root/Rookwood Pottery
Installer: DTI

Art in Public Space:
The Four Stages of Higher Learning Chandelier
GHSU College of Dental Medicine, Augusta, Ga.
Designer/Installer: Paul Pearman

Tile & Stone:
Mohegan Sun, Casino of the
Earth expansionUncasville, Ct.
Designer: Rockwell Group
Installer: Kenneth Castellucci & Associates

Tile & Stone:
Hyatt Olive 8 Condominium
Seattle, Wash.
Designer: Mulvanny Architecture G2, Seattle Branch
Installer: Antony Architectural Stone

Following are the details of the Grand Prize Residential and Commercial winners:

Grand Prize Residential: Rosenthal Residence
Walled Lake, Mich.
Designer: David Ellison
Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

The owner of this 7,500 square-foot lakeside home hadn’t been on hand for much of the construction. So upon his arrival at the nearly-complete residence, horror ensued at the shoddy construction throughout the five bathrooms and stone floors.

Enter contractor RJH Tile and Stone, and designer David Ellison. Since the previous work had to be demolished, the designer-contractor team now had a blank slate from which to work. One man’s nightmare is another man’s blessing, and the vast footage in question offered the team the ability to stretch creatively, using stock showroom stone cut to size on site to keep costs down on this admittedly lavish project. But by reducing material costs, more could be invested in details and ornaments.

Stone floors were chosen for beauty, low maintenance, and wheelchair maneuverability.

Careful layout was key for every element of this project, with installers giving special attention to detail, such as external corners that were mitered, epoxied, and filled to give them the look of quarried full-thickness stone rather than a veneer. This sumptuous project made the most of materials and stayed on budget.

Grand Prize Commercial:
El Andaluz
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect
Installer: Dan Upton Construction

This mixed-use project contains seven residential units nestled around a large tiled courtyard on the upper two floors. At street level on the first floor, two commercial units anchor the project and a tiled roof deck on the fourth floor overlooks the city. Santa Barbara’s architectural guidelines are based on Mediterranean and Spanish motifs and, as such, plentiful tile use is encouraged. Designer Jeff Shelton took full advantage of this, dedicating a tenth of the budget to ceramic, cement and marble tile.

Eight elliptical arches sport 1”x8” custom ceramic tiles that were splattered with glaze, then mixed up and installed to give depth and a sense of Moorish writing flowing throughout the arches. Exterior walls of the commercial units are covered in 12”x12” patterned cement tile: one with a bird pattern reminiscent of Escher, another with a giant swarming ant motif.

Falling Fuscia cement riser tiles bloom on the main stairs leading to the flowering courtyard on the second floor. The courtyard itself is an explosion of tile, from the planters to fountains, benches and the zigzag bricks on the floor. Nasturtium cement riser tiles lead to the third floor; loggia tiles are floral cement on one side and a fish motif on the other.

All units are flowing with vibrant 12”x12” tiles on the floors, and marble-covered bathroom walls and kitchen counters. Exterior decks sport 1/4” ceramic tile. From the commercial-level arches to the residential units, great care in design and excellence in installation imparts a sense of warmth, timelessness and character to the entire project.

Editor’s Letter – May 2012

May is the issue that hangs in the balance between the actual Coverings show in Orlando and the full coverage of the event in our June issue. I don’t want to give everything away, but I do have to say that this Coverings was a fantastic show, with a sense of optimism, good turnout, and great reception to contractor programs sponsored by NTCA. There were demonstrations by Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler, tag-teaming their way through their educational and lively presentations; and a strong NTCA presence in the conference sessions as well. New this year were the Contractor VIP tours – I got to tag along on one and it was informative and populated with a huge crowd of contractors.

Also this year was the evolution of the TileLetter Awards to the Coverings Installation Design Awards, sponsored by TileLetter and TADA. A healthy crowd turned out to recognize the contractor/designer teams that won accolades for their excellence. Next month we’ll start rolling out the winners.

Speaking of TADA – Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates, NTCA’s newest quarterly publication for the architect/design community – it received a rousing response, so much so that by end of day Thursday, there was nary an issue to be found in the magazine bins! It seems that the industry has been hungry for a publication of this type for quite some time. Issue two debuts at NEOCON in June.

The Installation Design Showcase was also a huge hit, with three dynamic contractor/designer teams that planned their vignettes and installed them during the course of the show. Stay tuned for coverage of that as well.

There are a few items from the show in this issue, such as TCNA’s new Dynamic Coefficient of Friction standard and test method you can read about in our News section, and assistant executive director Jim Olson’s letter of thanks in our NTCA News section that celebrates the success of the show and strikes a note of gratitude for the many NTCA member volunteers that helped make the show run smoothly.

Enjoy MAPEI’s fascinating cover story featuring Mike Mandel’s gorgeous murals, and a California labyrinth installation in our case study. David Allen Company’s Chris Walker gives us a tour through new ANSI developments, and C.C. Owen is our contractor spotlight for this issue.

Got some thoughts about what you’d like to see in TileLetter? I’m always happy to hear from you at [email protected]

Best,

Lesley

Ceramica Sant’Agostino suffers tragic losses in recent earthquake

Amidst the destruction in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, where a 6.0 magnitude earthquake on May 20 destroyed ancient buildings and left thousands homeless, were tragic losses suffered by Ceramica Sant’Agostino, a Confindustria Ceramica tile manufacturer.

Two of Sant’Agostino workers, Nicholas Cavicchi and Leonardo Ansaloni, died in the Sant’Agostino factory when the building collapsed early Sunday morning. In addition, the company’s automated warehouse and monocottura production facility were left damaged.

A statement posted by the company on its website reads, “First and foremost, Ceramica Sant’Agostino would like to express deepest sympathy for the victims of this terrible tragedy, the destructive consequences of which could undoubtedly have in no way been predicted or imagined. The disturbing events of last night leave all of us speechless, powerless to express our immense grief. Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a family business, not only because it is now in the hands of the third generation, but because it has always had a close, sincere bond with the area it operates in and with the people who work there. The loss of Leonardo Ansaloni and Nicola Cavicchi leaves a gap it is impossible to fill, and the Company extends its deepest sympathy to their families.”

Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a third-generation business, which was set up in 1964 in the Province of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region (about 35 km north of Bologna). It’s been 800 years since an earthquake of this magnitude has affected the region. The company website noted that buildings were constructed with “the maximum safety criteria” and it has cooperated with examination of company structures by officials in the wake of the quake.

On May 22, Sant’Agostino received a visit from the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who has promised to help small-scale businesses, especially factories and farms, in the region. The government has approved temporary tax relief to owners of property damaged from the earthquake and $64 million in emergency funds have been made available for use by the national Civil Protection Agency providing quake assistance.

Sant’Agostino is still accessing the damages on the whole plant but hopes that many of their problems can be resolved in the next few weeks and remains optimistic about the future of the company.

“Despite the tremendous blow suffered, Ceramica Sant’Agostino is determined to get back on our feet and resume production, above all in order to honour the memory of those we have lost,” the statement continues. “The Company intends to continue to be an important resource for the local area and for the numerous families that depend on it.

“Because this is what it means to believe in one’s work,” the statement concludes. ” Ceramica Sant’Agostino strongly believes in the quality of its products and of the human resources that have made it the business we all know today, and will continue to be the serious, qualified point of reference it has been for many years for the large number of customers who choose our products and appreciate the service we offer.”

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