Award-Winning Office Atrium Stone Fountain Built to Last with LATICRETE

LATICRETE, a global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry, played a major role in providing its state-of-the-art tile and stone installation materials for a recently completed stone and glass mosaic fountain in Miami, FL.

Located in the front lobby area of the 6100 Office Building in Miami’s Blue Lagoon Business District, the fountain won the award for Best Commercial Stone Design in the 2012 Coverings Installation and Design (CID) Awards, a program honoring achievement in the outstanding use of materials and the synergy between installation and design. The CID Awards were given out last month during the Coverings 2012 trade show in Orlando.

This natural stone and glass mosaic tile project was designed by Inaki Muguruza of Miami-based Insight Design. Overall construction and tile & stone work were handled by Gemini Stoneworks, a family owned-and-operated, custom stone fabrication and tile installation firm. “The fountain we built fits right in with the world-class surroundings of the Blue Lagoon District,” said Tony Blanco, President of Gemini Stoneworks. “We used LATICRETE® Hydro Ban™, LATICRETE® 254 Platinum, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK® PRO Premium Grout and LATICRETE Latasilto help us get the job done correctly. We have always had success with LATICRETE products, and it’s nice partnering with a company that is able to back up its high-performance products with customer service that is just as strong.”

“We were impressed with the fountain,” added Pat Blackburn, LATICRETE Regional Representative. “I don’t think it came as a surprise to any of us that Tony Blanco’s firm received award-winning recognition for their work on this project. We’re proud to have provided the most appropriate installation materials for it.”

LATICRETE International, Inc. is a US-based, family-owned global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry.  LATICRETE® products are produced and distributed worldwide in the commercial and consumer channels.  The company’s philosophy of innovation and technical expertise has led to an unparalleled reputation and commitment to superior quality, performance and customer service. Manufactured in state-of-the-art ISO 9001:2008 certified facilities, LATICRETE offers a broad product portfolio including an extensive line of low VOC sustainable products independently certified by GREENGUARD. LATICRETE®, LATAPOXY®, SpectraLOCK®, Hydro Ban® and DRYTEK® are registered brands of LATICRETE International, Inc. Corporate Website:


The Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety (MICCS) recognized the leaders in construction safety tonight at its 19th Anniversary and Awards Celebration at the Indiana Convention Center Sagamore Ballroom. Among the companies that were recognized for having no injuries on construction and facilities maintenance jobsites in 2011 was McCammack Tile, Inc.

The MICCS Zero Injury Award recognizes member companies who experienced a year without a recordable injury. McCammack Tile was one of 16 companies honored with the award this year. They had over 50,000 man-hours in 2011 without a recordable injury.

“We like to recognize companies like McCammack Tile for keeping their workers safe on jobsites,” said Scott Grimes, Executive Director of MICCS. “They have, in their own way, carried out the mission of MICCS within their own organization.”

McCammack Tile, based in Indianapolis, is a ceramic, stone and porcelain tile installation contractor with over 40 in-house employees.

About MICCS: The Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the elimination of construction and facilities maintenance jobsite injuries and illnesses with the ultimate objective of returning construction and maintenance workers home to their families, friends and communities free from harm. For more information, visit

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.”

Crossville Brings Large Format Tile Panels to the U.S. Market

Crossville Inc. is launching “Laminam by Crossville,”a full line of lean profile, large format porcelain products. This important new offering comes through an exclusive distribution

Collection collection in Crusca

agreement with Italian manufacturer Laminam, a division of Systems Group. Under the agreement, Crossville is the sole source for Laminam’s innovative large unit porcelain panel products throughout the U.S. The distribution agreement is effective immediately, with product availability anticipated in early June.

“This is a landmark agreement and another example of Crossville’s commitment to meeting the needs of the U.S. market,” states Crossville President John Smith. “We recognized the growing demand for very large format, thinner, so we searched the globe to source the best products that would appeal to the American aesthetic and match the Crossville quality standard.”

Laminam by Crossville products, each selected expressly for the U.S. market, are suited for interior wall installations and may be used on an array of surfaces. The initial offering of 3mm thick fiberglass reinforced porcelain panels will be available in over 50 items. As Smith explains, the extremely lean profile of these reinforced panels result in durability, versatility and “unparalleled technical performance.”

Oxide Collection in Grigio

“These products are game changers,” Smith continues. “The colors and styles of Laminam by Crossvile are right for the American market. These thin but extremely durable large panels are very simple to work with and install and will invite innovative field applications. Architects and interior designers should really have fun exercising their creativity in new and unique ways.”

Crossville’s logistics and Laminam’s leadership in production and technology will ensure ready availability for American specifiers. As Smith states, the partnership with Laminam reflects “true synergy and smart international procurement” to “not just meet but lead” domestic demand for the most cutting edge products available globally.

Laminam’s CEO, Alberto Selmi, concurs.

“Crossville’s commitment to quality, excellent logistics team and established relationship with the A&D community make this

partnership truly ideal. We are excited for Laminam by Crossville to launch in the U.S. market,” shares Selmi.

For details on the Laminam by Crossville products, visit

About Crossville, Inc.
Crossville, Inc. manufactures award-winning Porcelain Stone® and Design Solutions™ tile, as well as Natural Stone Collections for both residential and contract applications. The company offers Laminam By Crossville large format, thin slab tile through an exclusive U.S. distribution agreement with Systems Group’s Laminam division. Known for leading innovation, Crossville is a company of “firsts” for the U.S. tile industry:  first to produce large format (24″x24″) tile on site, first to manufacture tile with certified recycled content, first to develop the Tile Take-Back™ Program for recycling fired porcelain tile and first to achieve certification of its waste recycling programs and become a net consumer of waste. For more information on Crossville, visit

About Laminam S.p.A.
Laminam S.p.A. is the world leader in the manufacturing of large format, lean profile ceramic surfacing products. A consolidated division of Systems Group, the company utilizes an advanced, fully automated production process to create a large and thin ceramic and porcelain slab products available worldwide. Through an exclusive agreement with Crossville, Inc., Laminam’s products are sold in the United States as “Laminam by Crossville.”

Tile Heritage Foundation celebrates 25th anniversary

Tile Heritage Foundation (THF) has been collecting and disseminating information about American tile history, both past and present, for the past twenty-five years. The dynamic, affirming evolution of THF’s  preservation and conservation effort allows the tile industry to honor its own history: a key aspect of THF’s mission. Providing a living, accessible archive into the future is its long-term goal. The Foundation honors and records the U.S. tile industry for posterity – its artistry, its craft and its significant installations.

In the mid-1990s, the Foundation established a presence on the web (, offering a wealth of tile-related information and useful resources for its growing audience, including a Member Tile Gallery and an E-News link that complements the Foundation’s printed materials .

The Foundation’s mission of preserving the past history of tiles and tile making continues to be imperative, as well as integrating and documenting the ways of the present to keep the craft alive.

Generous member support makes the efforts of the Foundation possible, providing the impetus for it to continue its efforts and for other colleagues in the field to join in and become partners as well. This partnership enhances the industry by promoting the craft and disseminating information about tile work in the United States to a worldwide audience.

Of special note is the generous support that Coverings gives to Tile Heritage as a co-sponsor for its annual exposition, which provides a platform for the industry to connect with its historic roots. This venue, where Tile Heritage is hosted by TCNA, reinforces the strong partnership that has evolved with its members and tile industry sponsors, who together assist in nurturing the THF mission.

Now in its 25th year, Tile Heritage extends thanks to many people for its continued stability and growing resources. Serving the tile industry and the public with information and counsel regarding historical and preservation issues has been an enriching experience for founders, Sheila Menzies and Joseph Taylor, one that they look forward to continuing into the foreseeable future. For information visit

QEP expands social media presence

QEP Co., Inc. has just launched new social media outlets through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. They provide real-time information about the company, products, and employees to keep customers current with product launches. Other features such as the ability to share how-to pictures and videos are available through these outlets. To LIKE, follow and share QEP Co., Inc.’s brands pages pertinent to the tile and stone industry, visit the following:

Facebook QEP:, Twitter@QEPTools, LinkedIn QEP Co., Inc.:

Ardex adds tile and stone function to iPhone app

ARDEX Americas has added Tile & Stone Installation Products (TSIP) to its popular iPhone App, originally launched in May 2011. In addition to detailed product descriptions, this free app features a user-friendly calculator that can be used  to estimate the amount of ARDEX product required to cover a job area directly from an iPhone.  According to ARDEX Americas President and CEO Stephan M. Liozu, the app “is just one more way we show our customers we are serious about meeting the needs of those who use our products.”

The ARDEX Americas iPhone app is five-star rated. The complete app, or TSIP update, is available via iTunes. More ARDEX tools and updates for mobile devices are planned including TSIP products for its free Android smart phone app. For more information, visit

National Tile Contractors Association Presents Technical Resources at KBIS and NeoCon

NTCA, continuing efforts to provide technical information to specifiers, architects, and designers, will participate in both KBIS and NeoCon in 2012.

KBIS, April 24-26, 2012, at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL., showcases products, trends, and practical solutions for the Kitchen and Bath Industry. This year NTCA will add technical expertise to the program with an interactive two hour course on Monday, April 23, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., titled “Tile and Stone: Appropriate Specification and Installation.” Gerald Sloan, NTCA Technical Director, and Michael Whistler, NTCA Technical Consultant, will spend the first hour discussing designing with tile and stone for baths, and the second hour focusing on designing for kitchens. The experts will provide live demonstrations of proper installation techniques and discussion of various products suitable for appropriate and technically correct uses for a successful and long-lasting installation.

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, slated for June 11-13, 2012 at The Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, is North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors. NTCA will join 700 other exhibitors, sharing its technical expertise and resources for architects, specifiers, and designers in both the pre-construction / design phase and post-construction / problem-resolution phase. NTCA staff and local board members will be present to share information about technical resources, including NTCA’s prestigious Five Star Contractor program and its new publication TADA (Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates). TADA’s mission is to provide important technical content for professionals involved in the design and specification of ceramic tile and natural stone. Visit NTCA at Booth #7-8070 to learn about these resources.

For more information, contact NTCA at 601-939-2071 or visit the website at .

MAPEI Joins the Collaborative for High Performance Schools

MAPEI Corporation has joined the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and has registered a number of its adhesives, mortars, grouts and waterproofing products with the CHPS High Performance Products database. We believe the programs that have evolved from the Collaborative for High Performance Schools provide a standard that sets the bar for manufacturing companies who want to demonstrate their sustainability in the construction market,” said Neil McMurdie, Director of Research & Development for MAPEI Americas.

In 1999, California’s major utilities came together in a collaborative effort to address energy efficiency in the state’s public schools. Since that time the Collaborative for High Performance Schools has expanded to encompass all aspects of school design, construction and operation and has spread to 11 other states –Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas, Colorado and Virginia. A CHPS program for Hawaii is currently under development.

According to the organization, “CHPS provides resources to schools, school districts and professionals about all aspects of high performance school design, construction and operation. CHPS develops tools that help make schools energy-, water- and material-efficient; well-lit; thermally comfortable; acoustically sound; safe; healthy, and easy to operate. These resources include a well-respected six-volume best practices manual, training and conferences, a high performance building rating and recognition program and other tools for creating healthy, green schools.”

The database expands on the success of the CHPS low-emitting materials list to include other attributes, such as recycled content, rapidly renewable material content, organically grown material content, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products, and life cycle and multiple attribute claims. Through CHPS’ alliance with the Carpet and Rug Institute, a list of adhesives that meet low VOC claims is also available to design professionals on the CRI website. “Now, the architectural and design community, as well as other members of the community, can consult two reputable resources to find products that have been tested against industry standards to deliver the most sustainable construction for schools and other buildings,” McMurdie noted.


MAPEI Group, with 67 subsidiaries including 58 plants in 27 countries, is today the world leader in the manufacturing of adhesives and complementary products for the installation of all types of floor and wall coverings. The company also specializes in manufacturing other chemical products for building, including waterproofing products, special mortars and admixtures for concrete, products for the restoration of ancient buildings, and special decorative and protective coatings for walls.

Eighteen MAPEI manufacturing facilities are located in the Americas, with headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida. MAPEI is an environmentally conscious manufacturer: The company has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council since 2001 and a member of the Canadian Green Building Council since 2008. MAPEI Americas is a registered provider to the AIA/CES program and also offers training related to ceramic and stone tile, floor coverings and concrete repair through the MAPEI Technical Institute. The majority of the Quality Management Systems MAPEI Americas facilities are ISO 9001certified. Visit for technical data or call 1-800-42-MAPEI (1-800-426-2734) for the nearest location

Porcelain Tile Certification Update

The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) is pleased to announce the growing number of product lines qualifying as porcelain in its certification program.

Launched in 2008 by Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), this program directly benefits manufacturers, distributors, and end-users, which are all impacted by the misrepresentation of non-porcelain tile as porcelain.  With 18 companies participating and 367 product lines qualifying for certification since the start of the program, there is clearly a high-demand for this service.

The following companies have PTCA certified products: 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.

PTCA is also pleased to announce a new program in which tile retailers and distributors are allowed to use the PTCA logo if they first register with PTCA and sell PTCA certified tile.  Lowes is the first retailer to take advantage of this program.

Under the PTCA certification program, manufacturers who want to prove their tile is porcelain (meeting the 0.5% water absorption criteria) can have their product tested to determine compliance with that requirement.  The program helps reduce marketplace confusion over what is and what is not porcelain and creates accountability to help prevent tile from being falsely labeled.  Products that are certified can display a unique PTCA logo on boxes and in corresponding literature.

Carson launches new PR/ marketing company

Eric Carson, well-known marketer and publicist for the tile industry, recently launched Blueprint Global Media, a new public relations and marketing company. The full-service agency is dedicated to supporting manufacturers of architecturally-specified building products and related services for residential and commercial projects. With years of professional experience working to build brand awareness and sales on behalf of a wide-range of U.S. and global clients, Blueprint Global Media has in-depth knowledge across several key categories including hospitality, healthcare, retail and stadium construction, as well as more complex integrated mixed-use destination projects.
The agency has gained worldly exposure representing many different manufacturers of porcelain, ceramic, glass and glass mosaic floor and wall tiles for LEED building projects. It maintains extensive relationships with editors and publishers of thousands of magazines and online vehicles, including those particularly focused on manufacturing, designing, and installing tile, stone, hardwood, resilient and other flooring types.
Based in Lima, Peru, with a satellite office in Portland, Maine, Blueprint Global Media also speaks and writes in Spanish, offering the unique ability of connecting South American manufacturers with U.S. architects, designers, distributors and dealers – and vice versa.
Blueprint Global Media bolsters its proven writing skills with professional, high-resolution digital photography and 1080p HD streaming video capabilities, perfect for trade show support and social media platforms. The company manages social media, provides SEO consultation, brand development, print ad production, website copy, project spotlights, sales literature, eblasts and targeted media buying programs.
Contact Eric Carson: [email protected] and/or visit In Peru call: +51 226.1354, in the U.S. call toll free, 612.524.7888.


What’s new in tile and stone? Answers were found along the aisles of Coverings, the international expo and conference that exclusively focuses on the architectural building materials. The show wrapped up here Friday, April 20, concluding its annual four-day run. What was resoundingly clear about the standouts was that mastery of today’s technology is driving the trends and enabling manufacturers to take unprecedented leaps into production of adventuresome, jaw-dropping, inventive designs. The aesthetic results are more exciting than ever before.

Textured Tile

The sense of touch was teased at Coverings with numerous tiles that incorporate texture. Mosaico+ surprised by bringing 3D dimension to its Italian made glass mosaics with the introduction of Nova, a pillow shape, and also Pulsar, a basket weave look.

At Falcan, a Tile of Spain manufacturer, the temptations to touch were too strong to resist on tiles such as Secret, which, owing to its mixed glaze process, has a granular surface that added visual interest as well as the tactile experience to a floral motif. A buttons and bows decoration on Duo mesmerized with bas relief stitches detectable only by drawing a finger across it.

And, then there was a whole crop of wood lookalikes but made from porcelain that also mimic textural details of the real thing. Among some of these no-trees-harmed-in-production styles were those from the U.S. manufacturer Mediterranea, such as Boardwalk and Coney Island that are ideal for residential or even commercial projects. Porcelanite/Lamosa, another North American manufacturer, was showing Cortex Wood, a design resembling a crosscut of authentic lumber.

One of the great beauties of porcelain versus wood is, of course, its durability and suitability to installations in bathrooms, kitchens and pool areas. Unaffected by water or insect infestations, these non-slip surfaces increasingly are winning favor throughout American households.

Wood wasn’t the only texture being imitated. A close facsimile of Corten steel, capturing the contours as well as the patina that occurs with natural aging and weathering, could be found at the Apavisa booth. This Tile of Spain manufacturer has nailed a copycat look with its Bend tiles, a series that can go outside or inside a building.

Stacy Garcia, who addressed Coverings attendees during a trends forecast conference session, noted that another textured effect showing up more and more is what she called “calcification.” A specialist in surface design, Garcia described this look as imitating natural erosion, fossilization, and deconstruction. Exemplifying this tactile experience was Porcelanite/Lamosa’s Piedra Dorsal. Another example was in the Spanish Pavilion, where Colorker was showing its Natura tile simulating the aged, time worn appearance of wood planks. And, at Atlas Concorde, a Ceramic of Italy company, Evolve decidedly featured the erosive qualities of concrete but on a porcelain body.

Garcia also remarked on the growing popularity of medallions, and at Coverings this look also brought dimension to the tiles. A real showstopper was at the Saint-Gaudens booth where the jeweler turned tile maker Valerie Saint-Gaudens was showing inlaid bronze medallions in limestone and marble tiles. Nearby, another American artisan tile maker, CR Studio 4, also had wall tiles encrusted with bronze medallions, creating a decorative look that straddled classic periods with contemporary times.

Minimal Grout Lines

Many tile manufacturers have been able to produce such precision edges and rectified shapes that the grout lines are significantly reduced. Heading this parade were companies like Italy’s Del Conca, which was showing Due, a

20 mm thick tile for outdoor use that can be dry set completely grout-less. Indoor tiles such as Crate, from American manufacturer Stonepeak, require minimal grout, and this plank style even more highly resembles wood flooring with barely a grout line showing.

Artistic Tile showed exquisite glass mosaic designs, Estrella and Fiori, with petal-shaped tiles in such tightly composed floral and leaf formations that, though grout was apparent, the lines of each mesh-backed component were imperceptible.

Star Power

Trends aside, a little star power has its value, and at Coverings, Ceramics of Italy held the trump card. At manufacturer Lea Ceramiche a tile collection by Hunger Games actor and designer Lenny Kravitz was on display. Titled Goccia, the sculpted shape is punctuated by a raised disc and its glossy finish is amplified by the matte sheen of the rest of the tile. Luminary of fashion, Roberto Cavalli was represented with a tile collection for Richetti that was on exhibit. Among the offering was Diva Nero, a leopard spotted look that could impress even diehard fashionistas.

The next Coverings show is scheduled for April 29 to May 2, 2013, at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

About Coverings   

Coverings is the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone. It has grown to be the largest and most important show of its kind in the U.S., featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, plus the press and journalists who cover this vital and dynamic industry. Coverings is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees, with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge. Coverings 2013 is set for April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. For more information visit or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703.683.8500

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