Highlights from Coverings 2016

Coverings Conference 2016, Creative FuelCoverings is an international trade fair and expo dedicated to showcasing 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 40 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers.

I had the privilege of attending this year’s conference in Chicago. With more than five football fields worth of surfacing, it was a lot to see in a short amount of time, but here were my top highlights:

1. As digital printing continues to get better, the ability to mimic stone and edit out the veining becomes more common.  They are also adding more shapes beyond squares and rectangles. Why not edit out the imperfections? With graphic prints even simple lines are more crisp.

2. Quartz is going further that just a solid color. As they continue to advance, it’s getting closer to a consistent, stone slab look, but still with the quartz benefits.

3. Technology is offering a lot more textures that can take on the effect of natural elements – wood and brick look more real,  hand-cut effects are more common, and patterning is more detailed. It can allow you the ability to mimic individual bricks or a group of tile, giving you the option to have an actual brick-laid style in other materials like marble or stone.  In addition, elongated tiles seem to be everywhere this year, although I didn’t see a solution for outside corners using this effect.

4. This year I saw a lot more beautiful, intricate tiling including 3-dimensional florals and prints.

5. The color theme seemed to be palettes that were more muted, soft and neutral, with some punches of blues and aqua.

6. Last but not least, I saw a few really great marble slabs.

I also recommend checking out two great Pinterest boards with plenty of inspiration from the show:

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