01 May 2010

Coverings highlights in a little more detail

Coverings 2010 was a real visual feast and I have a box of press kits on my living room floor. It's sitting next to a box full of press kits from KBIS, so I'll be writing new product posts for months. Oy!

Coverings was the second trade show and conference for me in two weeks and I'm reeling from information overlaod and aching feet. Again, Oy!

Whenever I go to these shows, I go in looking for something new. I guess everybody does that. But I'm looking for a new way of looking at things more than I'm looking for a new product. It takes a bit more digging to find new ideas instead of just new stuff and there were finds aplenty at Coverings I'm happy to report.

Most of these finds are going to get posts of their own as I sort through my piles of information and photos, but here are some real highlights that to me represented some new ways of thinking.

Probably the most interesting one to me was this installation by Levantina y Asociados Minerales in Spain.

That was an installation at a stone exporter's booth, not a product. That's a water-jetted chandelier inset in a field of grey marble wall tile. The LEDs are grouted in as is the chandelier inset. And the whole thing is a flat installation, nothing's raised.

In all honesty, it's the one of the best uses of LED I've ever seen. So many times LEDs are garish or they're thrown into something in an unusual way just because they can be. This chandelier represents a new idea. That new idea being that lighting and walls can be combined. Though the execution here could use some refinement, what a great idea. Why can't walls be lights and lights be walls?

Also from Spain was Mosaic del Sur in Cadiz. Mosaic del Sure manufactures cement tile. Cement tile is not a new product and it's as gorgeous today as it's ever been. Cement tile is usually done in series of traditional, Moorish- and Byzantine-inspired geometric designs.

Mosaic del Sur has a line of modern patterns though and it's a real kick to see someone actually designing original patterns for this inherently cool material.

Mosaic del Sur is going to get a post of its very own as soon as I sort though their press kit, but they deserve a shout out for being so adventurous and for being so willing to indulge me as I mumbled and stammered in Spanish.

All the way from Abu Dhabi came the Terra Viva Group.

Terra Viva does a couple of things but what they do exceptionally well is combine water-jetted natural stone and terra cotta to make flooring, medallions and border tiles that look positively ancient. So often, water-jetted anything can look sterile and machine-made, but Terra Viva's products show off the fact that despite the technology involved, the loving and gifted hand of a genuine craftsman is behind everything.

Finally, from the Spanish manufacturer Peronda came something really unique.

Despite the fit I had about the graffiti china a couple of months ago, I think this is a really interesting way to deal with a field of large-format wall tile.

I can't imagine specifying something like that in a project any time soon, but I like the idea of placing a blast of primitive color in a random way in an otherwise monolithic wall. Granted, there are times when you want to be monolithic, but for the times you don't Peronda has just the solution.

So as I said, there will be plenty more Coverings-inspired posts where this one came from. This is just the first of my Coverings highlights posts. If you notice, there are no Italian manufacturers listed here. The Italian tile manufacturers deserve a week of dedicated posts. Man oh man what the Italians brought to the table knocked my socks off. Stay tuned.


  1. Great post, Paul! So nice to talk with you at the show.

  2. Zoe: It was great to meet and hang out for a while on Thursday. I was thinking about you later that afternoon. I interviewed a rep from Mosaic del Sur and asked him point blank what the difference between encaustic and concrete tile is. According to the Spanish, they are the same thing. I'm still getting tot he bottom of this...

  3. Hey, Paul. It was great to meet you too. I just saw your comment here. You should have that Mosaic del Sur guy read our posts on the subject. If he doesn't like calling them cement tiles, he could stick with "mosaico hydraulico" Hopefully, calling them that won't cause another uproar!


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