For more than 20 years, Coverings has been the predominant event for the ceramic tile and natural stone industry in the Western Hemisphere. Jennifer Pinto, Editorial Correspondent for The Trend Curve, was in Chicago for the 2009 event, and has written extensively about it for the June issue. She also contributed these observations for Connecting The Dots:
Innovation had a starring role at Coverings 2009. Especially noteworthy was the introduction of 3 and 4 mm pressed porcelain tiles that were durable yet thin enough to install atop existing flooring. Among the standouts, Inalco, Florim and Levantina released these products, which claimed to reduce installation times and costs and decrease the amount of weight on supporting structures.
At least one of these ultra low-profile products, Inalco’s SlimmKer, also featured a special digital printing technology for decorating ceramic tiles. Though Inalco’s innovation is a few years old, it has helped spur a heightened demand for porcelain tiles that look and act like wallpaper. Ragno USA is among the latest companies to cash in on the trend. The company’s new line of color body porcelain stoneware — aptly named Textile — featured soft, decorative patterns meticulously applied with ink-jet technology. Water-jet cut outs, spotted most notably at Graniti Fiandre, are poised as the customizable wave of the future. After all, as our pocketbooks urge us to make wise decisions when it comes to furnishing our homes, it helps to stay a few steps ahead.