NTCA members volunteered to staff the NTCA booth and sign up members. Shown, l. to r. are: State Directors Don Hutcheson (Alaska), Hutcheson Tile & Stone; Karl Parker (New Mexico), All American Design & Construction; Dirk Sullivan (Oregon), Hawthorne Tile; and Justin Kyle (Delaware), Kyle’s Tile.
CHICAGO, Ill. – Coverings 2016 and the return to The Windy City was an upbeat, positive experience for all things tile this past April, when the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America was held at McCormick Center, here. The overall attendance for Coverings 2016 grew from its 2015 show, with a total of 25,352 attendees – and as a reflection of the growth of both the show and the rebound of the economy, attendance increased by 15% since the event was last held in Chicago in 2009.
While the most impressive attendance segment is held by distributors – which surged by 18% since the 2009 Chicago show – NTCA and the contractor segment had a fantastic show with events and opportunities for installers and contractors. Member volunteers helped sign up 25 new members at this Chicago venue, a new record for membership at a show.
The Live Installation Demonstration Stage was buzzing with product demos, many from NTCA members and trainers.
And contractor activities included Contractor Days, where one-hour guided tours introduced contractors to new products and companies on the show floor. Also part of Contractor Days was the lunchtime roundtable discussion about industry hot topics, conducted while contractors enjoyed a free catered lunch in the Contractor Lounge.
NTCA trainers (l. to r.) Mark Heinlein and Michael Whistler on the Live Installation Demonstration Stage, with an assist with NTCA Tennessee State Director Brad Denny, Nichols Tile & Terrazzo.
“2016 was my first year attending Coverings,” said Karl Parker, NM State Director for NTCA, from All American Design and Construction/Creative Kitchen and Bath Solutions, based in Albuquerque. “I was pretty overwhelmed the first day with the amount of people and company representatives in attendance. I quickly found myself networking with people and companies I have not had the opportunity to. I also took time to visit representatives of companies I have been doing business with for years. I look forward to attending next year.”
“Networking is the most important part of attending a conference like Coverings,” said Dirk Sullivan of NTCA member Hawthorne Tile in Portland, Ore. “Social media has brought us all closer together. Attending coverings solidifies these relationships and helps us to form bonds that strengthen our association in ways not before possible.
NTCA assistant director Jim Olson (r.) and Five Star Contractor Martin Brookes of Heritage Tile & Marble preside during a NTCA lunchtime roundtable. Each day of the show, contractors were treated to a catered lunch in the Contractors Lounge and participated in a lively discussion of issues and hot topics in the industry. TEC sponsored the pictured lunch; LATICRETE sponsored the lunchtime discussion the next day.
“This year, Coverings was more of a celebration than ever before,” Sullivan added. “A celebration of our trade, our bonds and partnerships with manufacturers, vendors, and each other. The friendships I have formed from my involvement in NTCA are some of the most important in my lifetime. It has become a family reunion. The importance of this can not be ignored or denied. I love my NTCA family.
This was the first Coverings for Justin Kyle, Kyle’s Tile, NTCA Delaware State Director. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” he said. Though he plotted his course in advance, he admitted, “Everything was a bit overwhelming at times. With one under my belt, I feel I can better plan and organize for my next one.”
Kyle is also a member of the Tile Geeks Facebook group, and he was asked about the group frequently. “It worked as a conversation starter that led to an easy transition into talking about the NTCA. “
Kyle also benefited from the networking opportunities. “In all, I personally attended social events hosted by Schluter, LATICRETE, Nuheat, Noble, and MAPEI,” he said. “I know there were others but a guy can only be so many places at once.”
Tile Geeks is a Facebook group with 4,272 members where industry professionals can exchange ideas and information online.
Tile Geeks – the Facebook group that has grown to 4,272 members, had a strong showing at the show, and in fact had their own boulevard designation, at the crossroads with John Bridge Way, amongst the setting materials and tools suppliers.
Following are reports about the Coverings Installation Design Awards (CID), the Installation Design Showcase (IDS), and NTCA Awards night.
CID Awards & Opening Night Reception
On the first night of the show at McCormick Place, here, the CID Awards program honored not only design and installer winners of stunning projects, but also young emerging leaders and must-see booths at the show. Dave Madonia, group publisher at BNP Media, including Contemporary Stone & Tile Design as well as TileLetter publisher Bart Bettiga and editor Lesley Goddin presented the awards amidst a reception setting.
The standing-room-only evening started with acknowledgement of best and brightest young talent in the tile and stone industry with the Coverings 2016 Rock Star Winners. TileLetter publisher Bart Bettiga announced the awards.
Brad Denny, project manager for Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Company and NTCA State Director for Tennessee – who is also extremely active in social media and in the Tile Geeks Facebook group – was honored along with Bill Griese, Director of Standards Development & Sustainability Initiatives for TCNA.
Other Rock Stars include:
- Sean Cilona, Florida Tile
- Andrea Contri, Confindustria Ceramica
- Cameron DeMille, Easy Stone Care
- Julian Hernandez, JR Design and Contractor
- Jason Holman, The Source Stone
- Joseph Procida, Procida Tile
- Paul Reiss, Artaic
- Kate Sterling, ADKO
Coverings Installation & Design Awards
BNP’s Madonia introduced the stone and sustainable winners. They included:
Special recognition: Scouting shots category – Red Rock Country Club Remodel. This project, by SKG Designs was submitted with amateur photography that the judges felt had great potential.
Commercial Stone Design: Creative Edge Master Shop, St. Wenceslaus Church, Dickinson, N.D.
Commercial Stone Installation: KEPCO+, Indianapolis Temple, Indianapolis, Ind.
Residential Stone Design: S & R Development, Inc., St. John Master Bath and Living Room with Fireplace and Columns, Dallas, Texas.
Residential Stone Installation: Ribaudo, Green Lake Residential Bathroom, West Bloomfield, Mich.
International Stone Design: ifdesign, Wiggly House, Ponte Lambro, Italy
Sustainable Commercial Design: LHK Design, Fairfield Inn & Suites in Waterbury, Vt.
Sustainable Residential Design: Intexture, Heijnen-Kavelaars Garden Residence, Houston, Texas.
TileLetter’s editor Lesley Goddin introduced the tile and grand prize winners. They included:
Commercial Tile Design: Clock-work, The Mixx, Overland Park, Kan.
Commercial Tile Installation: Edward Flores Tile, Miguel’s, Abilene, Tex.
Residential Tile Design: DKOR Interiors, Contemporary Waterfront Elegance Home Luxury Interior, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Residential Tile Installation: Ryan Hughes Design, Ultimate Outdoor Living Space, Tampa, Fla.
International Tile Design: El Equipo Creativo, Blue Wave Restaurant, Barcelona, Spain
Grand Prize Winners
Grand prize awards recognized both the designer and installers of the projects.
Grand Prize Tile: Architect: Aileen Barr; Installer: Snyder Tile & Doty Tile – Lincoln Park Tiled Stairway, San Francisco, Calif.
Grand Prize Stone: Architect: Carson Guest Inc.; Installer: Marmi Natural Stone – Farley Residence, Duluth, Ga.
Fourteen Honorable Mention projects were also recognized during the reception. NTCA Members Trostrud Mosaic and Tile Co., and Lambert Tile & Stone were recognized for the Latham & Watkins project in Chicago; and Greystone Residence in Beaver Creek, Colo., respectively. For more information, visit www.coverings.com.
Best Booth winners captivated attendees with show-stopping displays and inspiring products. Winners were recognized for overall design, integration of product in booth, effective utilization of space, and creating a unique environment.
Madonia returned to the stage to present the Best Booth awards. They included Sicis, with an inspirational and stunning display of elaborate, detailed mosaics; Torrecid, which showcased its glaze, frit and technology products with a lifestyle-driven layout, and Antonlini Luigi that created a jewelry store concept with marble mannequins in a retail-like setting. Spanish producer Inalco created a residential experience with an expansive, welcoming user flow and Italian producer Ornamenta showcased its products through a unique jewel case concept, in which the booth opened and closed to create a fun, urban experience.