Leading the industry in a changing world

Normally I like to call this article a year in review, and then share with our readers what the National Tile Contractors Association is planning for the following year. I can safely tell you that thanks to the new world we live in, it is very difficult to plan ahead. A better way to describe it would be to say that we are ready to react to whatever situation comes our way. 

The COVID pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. In the association world, it was particularly devastating. All of our educational seminars, training programs, and tradeshows were either cancelled or postponed. Certification tests administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) were similarly put on hold. This affects our ability to impact the industry and impacts our revenue and outreach. 

I am proud of the way the staff reacted to this situation. Under their leadership, with volunteer support and interaction from a wide array of active members, NTCA reported ongoing developments on legislation, relief and contractor and industry wide responses to COVID on TileLetter.com and established a Coronavirus Response Hotline on the NTCA website at tile-assn.com. We keep this current today. We partnered with other association leaders to share important information for our members to access. 

The training team at NTCA and CTEF quickly mobilized and created virtual webinars and training programs, including offering NTCA workshops online. They also initiated multiple roundtable talks for contractors to get together to discuss issues ranging from operating in a new world, to best practices and technical installation discussions. These programs have continued to grow in popularity and participation. 

TileLetter gets a digital upgrade; ARTISAN publication launches

The new TileLetter Digital Magazine is easy to navigate via a range of devices.

Moving into 2021, I am excited to make a few major announcements. First and foremost, NTCA has decided to expand our outreach in digital marketing with a new TileLetter Digital Magazine. This monthly feature will include video links and technical and business content that is easy to access and read with smartphones, tablets and computers. 

TileLetter ARTISAN will champion artisan tile setters with spring and fall issues.

In talking with our members for the past few years, it has become very clear that NTCA must continue to be a strong advocate and voice for the craftsmanship and artisanship that our skilled installers possess. This is what sets our trade apart from other industries. In addition to many installation awards we offer for our members, we recently introduced the NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Awards. Based on the incredible submissions we receive, and the artistic impact our installers make in the world, we are introducing two new issues of TileLetter in print in 2021. TileLetter ARTISAN will be featured in both the spring and the fall and will celebrate both residential and commercial artistic and technically-challenging installations and projects, as well as the historical legacy of craftsmanship tile setters share stretching back through time.

Using technology to strengthen training

NTCA training staff has invested in mobile equipment to offer more programs on social media in both live and recorded formats.

We are planning for a return to physical training programs, certification testing and educational seminars in 2021. Currently, we are slating most of our programs to begin in late spring and they will continue throughout the year. In order to supplement these programs and reach a broader audience, the NTCA training staff has invested in mobile equipment to offer more programs on social media in both live and recorded formats. We will film training tips and videos for these platforms, and if and when we can travel again, we will use this technology to feature distributor and manufacturer sponsors, visit contractor members at our events and on their jobsites, and of course showcase NTCA events live and in video channels. We are really excited about what the virtual mobile program will offer. In a worst case scenario, if we are unable to travel in 2021 due to the continued restraints we currently have with the pandemic, we will be able to communicate to our members and the industry utilizing all of these platforms and tools. Let’s hope that is not the case. 

NTCA is in sound financial position and is committed to continuing to expand our outreach to the installation community and the entire tile industry. We are proud of the service we have continued to provide for our members, and we will continue to look to new and innovative ways we can communicate and interact with them no matter what happens in the world. We are proud of the continued commitment our members have made to our staff and to each other. 

Members helping members – Owen, Kemna and Welch gather in Grand Rapids for a strategy session. 

I would like to close with a great example of what getting involved in NTCA means to some people, and can mean for you. Thanks to years of attending NTCA programs and events, Rod Owen of C.C. Owen Tile Company in Atlanta, and Barry Kemna of Kemna Tile in Dallas, flew to Michigan to meet with Dan Welch of Welch Tile and Marble in Grand Rapids. They spent several days and into the weekend together, examining new strategies they were considering based on regional and national changes they are anticipating. This is the type of collaboration that occurs when members helping members takes place; and it happens every day. NTCA is proud to be an organization that encourages and facilitates this type of interaction. 

Giving Tuesday: ALMA raffle and fundraiser

A raffle and fundraiser that begins today and extends through December 18 will support ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts)  Summer Institute in Albuquerque, N.M.

ALMA was initially established in 1999 as part of the Mayor’s Art Institute, under Mayor Jim Baca. It affords young people aged 16-25 from high schools, college and the community the opportunity to conceptualize, design, plan, hand make and glaze tiles, and install them in various sites around town as part of a paid summer apprenticeship.

ALMA (which means “soul” in Spanish) is operated by a handful of lead artists and three co-directors: Cassandra Reid (lotustileworks.com), Executive Director; Vanessa Alvarado (blubirdtileart.com), Outreach Director; and Margarita Paz-Pedro(paz-pedro.com), Operations Director. It has evolved into a 501 (c)3 non-profit , with the majority of its funding coming from grants.

Due to COVID, funding is even more precarious.  ALMA is having an online Raffle and Fundraiser to help it to continue to provide programming for youth in the arts, and to raise $4,000.00 for its own kiln.

ALMA apprentices and Outreach Director Vanessa Alvarado (far left) working on the butterfly mosaic on the wall of the Albuquerque Convention Center in August 2020.

ALMA will announce the winner on Monday, Dec. 21st.  There are four amazingly creative items to raffle off.  Check it out and please share with everyone you know! Find out more here: ALMA Raffle 

Win this butterfly in the raffle. This beauty is about 2ft wide by 1.5ft in height.  If you are the winner, ALMA will come and install and grout it in the place of your choosing in NM or ship it to you with installation and grouting instructions out of state.

 
These native New Mexican flowers beautify any space they are located. This sunflower is about 2.25ft in height by 16 inches wide and in bloom all year long. The winner may choose a location and it will be installed and grouted in NM or it will be shipped to out-of-state winners with installation and grouting instructions.
Local metal sculpture artist Mike Mulvey created the form and apprentice Jacquelyn Yepa tiled a lovely color combination and fade using butterflies from this summer’s mural. It measures at 8.5”h x 6”w x 5”d — and the box opens!
This ALMA tote was screen printed in-house, using ALMA’s 20th-year logo design, “Mosaics for the Soul.” There is also an 8.5”x 11” high-quality art print of the spring 2011 project “Winds of Change” and a tile magnet with one of ALMA’s signature glazes.

Interested in simply making a donation? Follow this link to see ways you can support ALMA. Donations of $50 or more will receive a tax-deduction letter.

crowd of people at unveiling of a mosaic mural
One of the murals created by ALMA on the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Nonresidential construction spending remains flat in October while residential construction expands; many commercial projects languish

logo for AGC

Demand for most types of nonresidential projects remains flat amid COVID-10 uncertainty, dwindling state and local budgets and the lack of new federal coronavirus relief measures which put jobs at risk.

The construction industry’s fortunes continued to diverge in October, as residential construction expanded again while nonresidential construction remained largely unchanged from a month ago and is down compared to last year, according to an analysis of new federal construction spending data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that demand for nonresidential construction is being hit by private sector worries about the coronavirus, tighter state and local budgets and the lack of new federal pandemic relief measures.

“The October spending report shows private nonresidential construction is continuing to slide,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Public construction spending has fluctuated in recent months but both types of nonresidential spending have fallen significantly from recent peaks this year and appear to be heading even lower.”

Construction spending in October totaled $1.44 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, an increase of 1.3 percent from the pace in September and 3.7 percent higher than in October 2019. But the gains were limited to residential construction, which increased 2.9 percent for the month and 14.6 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, private and public nonresidential spending was virtually unchanged from September and declined 3.7 percent from a year earlier.

Private nonresidential construction spending declined for the fourth month in a row, slipping 0.7 percent from September to October, with decreases in nine out of 11 categories. The October total was 8.2 percent lower than in October 2019. The largest private nonresidential segment, power construction, declined 0.8 percent for the month. Among the other large private nonresidential project types, commercial construction—comprising retail, warehouse and farm structures—slid 1.0 percent, manufacturing construction declined 0.8 percent, and office construction dipped 0.2 percent.

Public construction spending increased 1.0 percent in October and 3.7 percent year-over-year. The largest public category, highway and street construction, gained 1.6 percent for the month. Among other large public segments, educational construction increased 1.1 percent for the month and transportation construction rose 1.0 percent.

Private residential construction spending increased for the fifth consecutive month, rising 2.9 percent in October. Single-family homebuilding jumped 5.6 percent for the month, while multifamily construction spending rose 1.2 percent and residential improvements spending was flat.

Association officials said demand for nonresidential construction was unlikely to rebound in the near-term without new federal relief measures, putting additional construction careers at risk. These should include new investments in infrastructure, to improve aging roads and bridges, public buildings and water utility networks. Federal officials should refrain from taxing Paycheck Protection Program loans as it would undermine the benefits of that program. And Congress and the administration should work together to enact liability reforms to protect honest firms from frivolous coronavirus lawsuits.

“As long as the coronavirus undermines private sector confidence and public sector budgets, the only way to save good-paying construction careers is through new federal relief measures,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Fixing the nation’s infrastructure, preserving the benefits of the PPP program and protecting honest employers will give the economy a much-needed short-term boost.”

Kitchen & Bath Market Index at highest point this year, suggests strong 2021 for remodeling

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — (December 1, 2020) — Today, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC) released their Q3 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI). For the first time this year, the KBMI is above 50 — at 61.9 — up from 44.2 in Q2 and 41 in Q1. Scores of 50 indicate expansion and scores below indicate contraction.

NKBA members rank the overall health of the industry at 6.9 (on a scale of one to 10), just below the 7.2 reported in pre-COVID Q4 2019. While confident about current business conditions at 56.5, industry members are even more optimistic about future conditions, which they set at 66.9 as 2020 draws to a close.

“As we approach the end of an unprecedented year, the industry outlook is promising,” said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy. “While COVID-19 will continue to present challenges to the supply chain, labor and spending, we’re grateful to be one of a few industries that has actually seen growth in response to consumers spending more time at home and looking to make their spaces more functional in this new normal. Kitchen and bath professionals are well-positioned for continued success into the coming year.”

“Consumers have undertaken a lot of remodeling in 2020, but significant opportunity remains, especially for the kitchen and bath market, going into 2021,” notes Todd Tomalak, Principal at  JBREC. “Much of the already completed renovation work has focused outside the home — redoing decks, gardens and outdoor entertaining spaces — in response to COVID-19 restrictions. For many families working and schooling from home, 2020 wasn’t the ideal time to redo a space as essential as the kitchen or bathroom. As such, we anticipate continued activity for kitchen and bath remodeling next year.”

In the first half of 2020, NKBA members predicted negative sales for the year, but Q3 brought better news for the industry, which now expects a 1.1% increase in YOY sales compared to 2019. In fact, Q3 sales in 2020 were up 2.1% from 2019, and sales grew 5.9% since last quarter overall — ranging from designers, who saw a smaller 3.2% increase, to manufacturers, who experienced a significant 9.6% rise.

More than half (62%) of all companies surveyed report COVID-19 drove higher demand to their business in Q3. While the crisis continues to have some adverse effect on the industry, with 29% reporting the pandemic has led to lower demand, its negative impact has lessened each quarter and, at 5.9 (on a scale of one to 10), is nearly 30% lower than the Q1 rating of 8.1. Among those industry professionals who haven’t seen demand return to normal levels, 29% expect it to do so in 2021.

KBMI executive summary chart

The following trends are expected to impact homeowners and the industry into 2021:

  • For the first time, supply chain disruption is reported as the industry’s greatest challenge, beating out economic uncertainty and recession and further hinting at an optimistic outlook for 2021 as manufacturers ramp up production in response to demand. Appliances and cabinets are most impacted, while other luxury products, particularly from Europe, are facing delays in lead times and backorders as well.
  • Increased pipeline demand is another promising indicator for 2021, with 53% seeing larger pipelines of projects or project orders in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Still, uncertainty remains. When asked if they think COVID-19 will “shut down” the economy again in Q4, 39% of NKBA members are unsure. Almost the same percentage (37%) do not expect another shutdown, but 24% do anticipate shutdowns as infection rates climb.
  • Despite strong remodeling interest, consumers are still more price-conscious than they were pre-COVID, with designers especially noting smaller budgets. Customers are leaning toward smaller-scale remodels and temporary solutions that are low-cost and largely DIY.

Each sector of the kitchen and bath market faces unique challenges and opportunities:

  • Perhaps unexpectedly given COVID-19 restrictions, retail sales foot traffic rose 8% in 2020 over 2019. With much of the foot traffic driven by DIY’ers, the increase in foot traffic has not necessarily led to increased revenue.
  • In response to a heightened demand for products, especially appliances, manufacturing sales increased 5.8% YOY in Q3, despite some COVID-19-related disruptions and difficulties finding qualified labor to meet ramped-up production needs. Manufacturers also rated the KBMI highest of any sector, at 67.7. The majority (55%) of manufacturers are back to operating at 100% or more of their normal workforce, with 14% employing more workers than pre-COVID.
  • Lower price points and cutbacks in discretionary design services have propelled homeowners to DIY projects – but designers are seeing marked improvement in Q3, with more than half (57%) reporting higher bids in the last quarter than Q1 and Q2. Additionally, 39% reported no canceled or postponed projects in Q3.
  • Building and construction companies also continue to see fewer postponements and cancellations, with 49% reporting zero of either in Q3. More than half (54%) of companies with postponed jobs expect those to resume in 2021.

Infinity Drain is a Product Innovation Award (PIA) winner for its revolutionary Stainless Steel Shower Base

Amityville, NY, November 2020 – Infinity Drain, leading the industry in decorative shower and wet area drain solutions, won a PIA award from Architectural Products magazine for its Stainless Steel Shower Base. The new shower base dramatically reduces the amount of time required to install a new bathroom shower and decreases the need for trade coordination because it is ready to tile, pre-sloped and does not require additional waterproofing on the walls. The game-changing Infinity Drain Stainless Steel Shower Base is guaranteed for life against waterproofing failure.   

SS shower base and installed image
Infinity Drain won a Product Innovation Award for its Stainless Steel Shower Base

“Our dedication to innovation continues to keep Infinity Drain top of mind among designers, builders and discerning consumers around the world,” noted Jonathan Brill, President of Infinity Drain. “We’re thrilled to have won this prestigious honor for our patent-pending Stainless Steel Shower Base.”  

“Building on the success of past programs, the tenth edition of the PIA awards proves commercial building manufacturers are committed to, and are working arduously toward, delivering products that deliver better performance, life and affordability, that keep pace with ever-shifting market requirements,” stated Jim Crockett, Editorial Director for Architectural Products magazine. With judging and evaluation of products and systems from a distinguished panel of 22 designers and product specialists skilled in product evaluation, the PIA program awards manufacturers based on attributes, qualities, functionality and/or performance beyond industry standards.

About the Infinity Drain Stainless Steel Shower Base

Patent-pending waterproof design saves time as it’s ready to tile and pre-sloped. Available sizes include a 60″ x 30″ option as well as custom sizing for quantities of 10 or more. Additional features of the Shower Base include a curb or curbless option and the ability to use any grate style or tile insert. If the product should develop a leak, Infinity Drain will bear the cost of labor, removal, replacement, and will restore the installation with the same ‘like and kind” materials originally used.      

Infinity Drain® Custom Stainless Steel Shower Base Features  

  • Available sizes:  60″ x 30″ or custom sizes (minimum quantity 10)
  • Stainless steel shower base is completely waterproof
  • Additional waterproofing on wall is optional
  • Ready to tile 
  • Available with any grate style or tile insert
  • Curb or curbless option
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Plumbing code compliant for use as prefabricated shower receptor
  • IAPMO tested to IAPMO PS-106-2015 standard 
  • Integrated linear drain or center drain options
  • With a 6″ sleeve on foundation, the 2″ no hub connection through slab allows for 2″ variance in any direction
  • Shower base sets shower framing for exact wall to wall installation
  • Factory flood tested as per UPC and IPC standards  

CTEF joins Global GivingTuesday generosity movement on December 1st to support tile installation certification and education

CTEF will celebrate generosity on GivingTuesday 2020 by highlighting the opportunities available to provide education and installer certification programs for ceramic tile and stone industry professionals. GivingTuesday takes place December 1st, 2020.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world. GivingTuesday will kick off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on December 1, 2020, and throughout the year.

Why GivingTuesday for CTEF?

For CTEF, GivingTuesday is about raising awareness and financial support for the ceramic tile and stone industry professional education and certification programs it offers. COVID-19 has severely threatened CTEF programs which have been rescheduled until 2021. During normal times, CTEF generates income through in-person training and hands-on certification event fees.

At the same time, if it weren’t for the strong community of passionately dedicated ceramic tile artisans, installers, suppliers and specifiers committed to elevating the standards and expectations for tile installations and the importance of Qualified Labor, CTEF would not exist. More specifically, this community sponsors, volunteers for, promotes, educates, hosts hands-on certification testing events, encourages participation, celebrates successes, and generally supports ongoing tile industry learning and excellence.

“I encourage everyone who values the critical importance of tile industry standards and the high expectations derived from them to participate in GivingTuesday,” says Scott Carothers, CTEF director of certification and training. “Share with your communities why you value tile industry education and certification programs such as those CTEF offers; explain what Qualified Labor means to you and encourage others to do the same.”

GivingTuesday History

GivingTuesday was launched in 2012 as a simple idea: to create a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. People demonstrate generosity in many ways on GivingTuesday. Whether it is helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving to causes we care about, every act of generosity counts.

GivingTuesday has raised billions of dollars for critical causes around the world and gets 21 billion impressions on social media from people and organizations speaking up for the causes that matter to them and encouraging others to get involved in their communities. “GivingTuesday inspires people all around the world to embrace their power to drive progress around the causes they care about, not just on one day but throughout the year,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO, and co-founder. “With country and community leaders, millions of organizations, and countless givers of all kinds, GivingTuesday is creating a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

Learn More About GivingTuesday and CTEF

Those who are interested in joining CTEF’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/donate-now. For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/support-ctef-on-givingtuesday.

Tile of Spain factories offer visualization technology and digital design tools

Ceramic tile manufacturers from Spain are making waves in the digital arena by turning to technology to transform the tile selection process.

“We are seeing more and more of our manufacturers turn to digital tools to make the tile selection process both effortless and inspirational for specifiers and end users,” said Francisco Garzón, Trade Commissioner of Spain, in Miami. “The applications we are seeing offer users a uniquely creative opportunity to explore innovative formats, applications and finishes to meet specific design needs.”

Below, are virtual design tools created by Spanish tile manufacturers that will pioneer the way architects, designers, specifiers and homeowners source materials for residential and commercial projects:

Glass Mosaic Mesh Creator by Alttoglass

Create your very own mosaic sheets with the GLASS MOSAIC MESH Creator by Alttoglass. Users can select the number of  pieces in their sheet, color, and finish to design custom mosaic creations: https://www.alttoglass.com/en/generador

3DSuperb by Alcor

3DSUPERB by Alcor is a program that lets users create three-dimensional renderings of their spaces and redesign them with the full range of Alcor products. This easy to use digital platform allows its users to hone in their design skill and delve into the infinite possibilities of tile installation: https://www.azulejosalcor.com/3dsuperb-program-to-create-environments.ref500020en

The Azteca Experience by Azteca Cerámica

The AZTECA EXPERIENCE takes visitors on a virtual tour of a California residence, where they can view Azteca’s collections in high-resolution. With 10 different spaces, each featuring a distinct look, the Azteca Experience is truly a unique way for homeowners, interior designers, installers  and architects to draw inspiration for their next design:  https://www.aztecaexperience.com/en/

Home Design 3D by Azulev Grupo

HOME DESIGN 3D is a program that allows users to create three-dimensional environments with the full range of ceramic materials from Azulev Group. Thanks to its user-friendly interface architects, designers and homeowners can explore hundreds of tile installations from the comfort of their home or office: https://azulevgrupo.com/es/azulev3d

Click & Tile by Azuliber

From indoor and outdoor applications to residential and commercial settings, Azuliber’s CLICK & TILE tool is a new take on virtual design. Simply select the space you wish to design then click on each area of the room to begin the process. Azuliber also allows users to choose different paint and décor options to see how their ceramic collections pair with different design styles: https://clickandtile.azuliber.com/en/editor-lienzo/6

CREATE 3D by Baldocer

Design your very own three-dimensional space with the CREATE 3D program from Baldocer. Available in two different settings, HOME and PRO, visitors can design both residential and commercial spaces with Baldocer’s full line of ceramic products: https://baldocer.com/crea-3d/

Cement Tile Floor Simulator by Cerlat

Design your own collection of Spanish floor tiles with the CEMENT TILE FLOOR SIMULATOR by Cerlat. This brand-new digital tool allows users to choose from a selection of graphics, colors, and effects for a series that showcases their personal style: https://simuladormosaicos.cerlat.com/?lang=en_GB#

Cevica Lab by Cevica

Design and develop your very own ceramic materials with CEVICA LAB. From color and size to format and shape, Cevica provides resources to create and manufacture bespoke products for ceramic tiles as unique as your style: https://www.cevica.es/en/cevica-lab-presentacion/

Colorker 3D by Colorker

Bring your tile vision to life with the new 3D room-planning tool by Colorker. Visitors can start with a new floor plan or recreate an existing space and begin outlining their design by selecting pieces from Colorker’s extensive catalog of tile and grout options: https://www.colorker.com/3d.html

GF 3D by Gayafores

Bring your digital design to life with the GF 3D design tool from Gayafores. This virtual platform invites visitors to draw their own room, insert different decor and design elements and apply Gayafores products to the walls and floors for a virtual space that suites their personal taste: https://gayafores.es/en/3d-viewer/

Virtual Showroom by Grespania 

Grespania offers a refreshing perspective on tile design with their VIRTUAL SHOWROOM. From inspiration to application, this digital tool allows users to explore new collections from their home or office: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=mU8yHDFT6we

Keraben 3D by Keraben Grupo

KERABEN 3D is an easy-to-use digital platform that allows visitors to create a custom rendering of their space designed with Keraben’s expansive line of ceramic tile. Users can create unique settings in a matter of minutes while play with the various textures, colors and graphics featured across Keraben’s catalog: https://www.keraben.com/ver/287/3d.html

Virtual House by Natucer

Natucer explores the benefits of ceramic tile with its brand-new VIRTUAL HOUSE program. Beginning with the entryway and ending with the backyard, users are taken on a tour of the home where they will learn how ceramic tile can visually enhance each room of the home while improving its functionality: https://www.natucer.es/virtual_house_natucer/

Mainzu 3D by Mainzu Ceramica

MAINZU 3D is a downloadable software tool for architects, designers, specifiers and homeowners. This virtual program provides users with the capability of building a one-of-a-kind virtual space in five simple steps. Users can establish their floor plan, place furniture and accessories and complete their space with Mainzu’s ceramic collections: https://www.mainzu.com/en/mainzu-3d

Mosaic Creator by Onix 

How far does your imagination go? Find out with the MOSAIC CREATOR, from Onix. Users are invited to choose from a vast selection of formats, finishes and grout colors to design their very own mosaic designs, perfect for walls, floors, pools and more: https://mosaiccreator.onixmosaico.com/en

Pamesa 3D by Pamesa Cerámica

Design your dream home with the PAMESA 3D creation tool. This new program allows users to build their own three-dimensional custom space with Pamesa’s broad range of ceramic wall and floor tiles:  https://www.pamesa.com/3D.html

Peronda 3D by Peronda

PERONDA 3D is an easy-to-use design program that offers architects, designers, homeowners and installers tools to customize their space with ceramic tile. Users can mix and match different colors, textures patterns and formats in a virtual setting to design a space that fits with their personal style: https://peronda.com/es/3d

Porcelanite 3D by Porcelanite Dos

PORCELANITE 3D is a virtual program that allows  users to create high-resolution spaces using Porcelanite Dos’ full range of ceramic offerings. Users can choose to fill their space with modern graphics, traditional formats, metallic finishes and much more in this easy-to-use style selection tool: https://www.porcelanite.es/en/productos/?cnpf=1&cnep=0&cato_cat=881

Design Your Space by Porcelanosa Grupo

Invest in the future of your space with the DESIGN YOUR SPACE TOOL from Porcelanosa. Users choose from a selection of room styles that best reflects their interior taste. Porcelanosa will then suggest a selection of ceramic options that will recreate this look in their own residential or commercial space: https://sites.porcelanosa.com/spaces/en/

Creahome by Saloni

CREAHOME is a new tool by Ceramica Saloni that takes custom design from virtual to reality. Users begin with a blank floor plan and have to option to build out a custom digital space using Saloni’s full range of ceramic products: https://saloni-creahome.tilelook.com

Digital Platforms by Vives Ceramica

Vives Ceramica offers five digital platforms that allow architects, designers and their clients to create their very own three-dimensional spaces. These new digital tools allow users to experiment and combine different products from Vives and apply them to the specific area or scenario they are creating: https://www.vivesceramica.com/ambientes/crea-tus-ambientes.html

For even more projects, products and news from Tile of Spain be sure to follow us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter & Pinterest.

Ceramics of Italy: 2020 Fall-Winter Tile Trend Report

Despite the cancellation of Cersaie and other design trade shows around the world, Italian manufacturers continue to invent new designs and invest in technologies to keep expanding the versatility and value proposition of ceramics. After all, Italian ceramic tile is prized for its functionality – durability, ease of maintenance, hygiene, water and frost resistance – as much as its aesthetics. In terms of design, this season’s trends can be summed up in three words: natural, colorful, and playful.

CONFETTI

Nothing dazzles like a bag full of confetti, which is the same effect that these tiles have on interior spaces. Whether the designs are a kaleidoscope of colors or floating fragments of shapes, the patterns lend a burst of energy to floors and walls. Even speckled stone and ancient flooring techniques like Venetian terrazzo can add an interesting layer of perceived texture and help develop a cohesive, contemporary design. This trend works especially well on extra-large tiles that minimize grout lines and allow the pattern to shine.

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Confetti Trend

AUTUMNAL

Autumn is historically a season of transition and one where nature is the main protagonist. As temperatures drop, leaves start to change color, apples and pumpkins are harvested, and fires dot the landscape of countless backyards. This year Italian manufacturers were clearly inspired by the effects of Fall with motifs and colors that conjure the feeling of a crisp autumn day or cozy night by the fire. Organic hues like earthy browns, golden yellows, and burgundy reds are a few autumnal examples alongside tiles with natural effects like wood and stone in a warm palette. Collection names like “Matter” and “Husk” and colorways like “Autumn” further solidify this trend.

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Autumnal Trend

CONCRETE

Concrete is a ubiquitous building material that has allowed creative architectural expression since ancient times. The Romans used it to build the dome of the Pantheon nearly 2,000 years ago – an engineering marvel that still stands today. Modernists used it to create load-bearing columns that would make their buildings appear lighter. Long admired for its strength and beauty, concrete continues to serve as a muse for architects as well as manufacturers. From the industrial look of Béton brut to the charm of encaustic cement, these Italian tile collections can be used for all types of surface applications, both indoors and out.

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Concrete Trend

BLUE-GREEN

With blue and green dominating this year – emerald was touted as designers’ go-to color and classic blue was Pantone’s color of the year – it should be no surprise that this tertiary color is king among many new Italian tile collections. Color trends reflect the overall emotions and mood of society and according to color theorists, blue-green combines the tranquil effects of blue with the optimistic feeling of green, which is much needed in these uncertain times. Hues of blue-green also have strong associations with water, from the turquoise of glacial lakes to the aquamarine water of the Mediterranean Sea, that can help people find quieter moments and peace of mind without traveling.

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Blue-Green Trend

HIGH GLOSS

Glossy tiles are making a comeback, allowing floors and walls to pop with perfectly smooth surfaces and beautiful shine. Glossy finishes are also a good option for areas that need to be cleaned often – from backsplashes and showers to lobby floors and exterior walls – offering a way to add both flair and durability to the built environment. In some collections, light and reflection are the main features, allowing designers to accentuate architectural features and construct chic environments full of drama. However, most tile lines offer a variety of finishes, ranging from ultra-matte to high gloss, which can be used concurrently to create a perception of depth and eye-catching texture.

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High Gloss Trend

DECO

Art deco is a classic trend that never really goes out of style. Characterized by bold geometric shapes and decadent details, deco tiles feature chevron patterns, arches of contrasting marble, and scallops full of color. Traditional deco style leans toward striking contrasts, which you can see in many these collections, juxtaposing dark shades against light. Others offer bold geometric shapes in monochrome palettes to create a powerful yet subdued statement.

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Deco Trend

These trend-setting products from Ceramics of Italy members, and hundreds of others from Italian tile manufacturers, are now available in the North American market through an extensive network of tile dealers and retailers. For additional products and inspiration, visit the product gallery on ceramica.info. For information on individual companies across the Italian ceramic sector, visit the new Italian Ceramic Finder.

Ceramics of Italy launches 2021 Tile Competition

The longest-running awards program of its kind includes new categories for single-family and multi-family residential spaces

(November 18, 2020) Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Agency are proud to announce the official call for entries for the 2021 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. Now in its 28th year, the competition recognizes top North American architecture and design firms and design students for their creative use of Italian ceramic and porcelain tile. Winning projects will exemplify innovative design while demonstrating the superior technical and aesthetic qualities of Italian tile.

An international jury of design experts will select winners in four built categories – Residential (Single-Family), Residential (Multi-Family), Commercial, and Institutional – as well as a winner in the Student category. In addition to the juried winners, a People’s Choice Award will be given to a firm elected by the public for the second year in a row.

With the plethora of exciting residential projects submitted each year, Ceramics of Italy decided to divide Residential into two categories: Single-Family and Multi-Family. Projects in the four built categories –  Residential (Single-Family), Residential (Multi-Family), Commercial and Institutional – must be designed by architects and designers based in North America and completed between January 2016 and March 2021. Projects may be domestic or international, and must feature a significant amount of Italian ceramic or porcelain tile produced by Ceramics of Italy member companies. All styles and scales of projects will be considered, from office buildings and spas to kitchen renovations and residential developments. The jury’s official criteria includes: the overall design of the project; the aesthetic and technical quality of the tile installation; the degree to which tile enhances the setting; and the project’s sustainable attributes.

The jury will once again review submissions from North American design and architecture students who create imaginative spaces using Italian tile. Individuals or groups of students are invited to submit their projects in the form of renderings, floor plans and sketches. Students must be enrolled in an accredited North American university to be eligible.

This year, the competition will also uphold its public voting component, which will help determine the second annual People’s Choice Award. Using Submittable, Ceramics of Italy will invite the public to vote on their favorite project submissions. The project that receives the most votes will be recognized as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Winners will be notified in April and officially announced during Coverings – the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America – taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida from July 7-9, 2021. All of the winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the show to present their projects in front of a large audience of media, manufacturers, and tile industry professionals during the Ceramics of Italy Press Conference. Built project winners will also receive a 5-day CEU-accredited trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie – the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings – with a delegation of top design media.

The competition guidelines, submission form, and an archive of beautiful winning projects from the past 27 years can be found on the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition website, www.tilecompetition.com. There is no fee to enter and multiple submissions are accepted. 

The deadline for entries is March 1, 2021.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) accepting entries for 2020 Global Innovation Awards through November 30th 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has received a record number of entries for the organization’s 2020 Global Innovation Awards and has assembled a diverse panel of notable international judges. Award submissions are being accepted through the end of November.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — With less than two weeks remaining to participate in the 2020 Global Innovation Awards (GIA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is proud to recognize receiving a record number of entries to date, as well as assembling a wealth of notable international judges.

The GIA program annually acknowledges the most cutting-edge, advanced and original products, services and homes from around the world. The program is considered one of the leading forums to reach and influence builders, developers, manufacturers, educational instructors, vocational schools and universities, publishers, trade associations, embassies, consulates and other leaders in the construction industry.

Submissions have been received from almost every continent, including locations such as Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States of America. Participants have submitted applications in the Best Product of the Year and Best Technology and Education of the Year categories along with a new category for 2020.

“This year we are excited to announce that we have introduced an additional category, Best International Home of the Year,” said Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of Wellness Within Your Walls and 2020 Global Innovation Awards Chair.

Judges representing countries from across the globe, including Australia, Iraq, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, the U.S. and China, will select the winners.

Past GIA winners and finalists have recognized the benefits of participating in the awards competition. “Winning this award has added more credibility to our company than any marketing campaign in our 25-year history,” said Ken Calligar, CEO of RSG3D, Mexicali, Mexico. “In a world needing resilience and energy efficiency, RSG3D was recognized as a leader in exterior and interior wall, ceiling, floor and roof panel technology.”

Mick Fabar, president of Green Home Builders Australia, an international building franchise company based in Sydney, is a GIA 2019 recipient. “We are so proud to have been recognized by NAHB for our educational and training program,” said Fabar. “Our building science education incorporates innovative energy strategies, water conservation, preservation techniques and universal design.”

Two-time GIA winner Alex Levy, president of Hillside Software London UK, Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that “introducing new technology to the home building industry has always been a challenge. Our NAHB membership and the GIA program have been invaluable in helping us reach U.S. members.”

NAHB’s Global Innovation Awards honor the most innovative products, services, homes and communities in the global residential building industry – from new augmented reality technology to ultra-efficient HVAC units and everything in between.

According to Pritchard Cooke, there are numerous reasons to enter, including the opportunity for companies to set themselves apart and gain exposure as part of the official NAHB Awards Program, along with the ability to leverage the award when marketing to new and current customers. Additionally, winning entries will receive global recognition in NAHB’s blogs, publications and press releases.

The Entry Deadline is November 30, 2020. To apply, please click here. For more information, contact Giuliana Nava-Cord ([email protected] or 202.266.8182).

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