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Interviews, news, projects & much more...

A New evolution with the goal of flexibility, innovation and energy efficiency.

PATENTED UA2016A002209 EP3225763 A1 CN 107268933 A US 9,726,383 B1 US 10,006,644 US 10,107,505 Patents Pending


PRODESO® HEAT GRIP SYSTEM The system is composed of three elements: PRODESO HEAT GRIP MEMBRANE, PRODESO HEAT GRIP CABLE e PRODESO HEAT GRIP THERMOSTAT KIT. The polyethylene membrane with uncoupling, waterproofing and vapour management features has a 8,5 mm thickness and a thermowelded non-woven fabric on the back side, which guarantees the adhesion to the substrate. The new membrane structure allows a perfect fixing of the heating cable and a crackbridging ability 5 times more than the PRODESO HEAT. The cables of last generation are composed of many resistances, each one 60 cm long, in a parallel circuit. If the cable is damaged, only the broken resistance stops working but not the whole cable. The thermostat of last generation interfaces with Android and Apple devices, that is why it is possible to adjust all settings and time schedule using an application with internet connection as remote control.






Erhältlich bei

Progress Profiles SpA

Certificated company UNI EN ISO 9001:2015

Maximum flexibility, protection, safety, indoors and outdoors.

PATENTED 003368984

PRODESO® MEMBRANE SYSTEM PRODESO® MEMBRANE SYSTEM is an uncoupling and waterproofing system for problematic substrates, balconies, terraces and horizontal surfaces of any dimension. Thanks PRODESO® MEMBRANE SYSTEM is possible not to make fractional/expansion joints in the screed before the laying of tiles and natural stones, if the screed has already been cut it is possible to lay the tiles on the existing joints. There are many advantages to use the system of Progress Profiles, which gives the utmost laying flexibility, floor protection and long-time guarantee indoors and outdoors. Time saving: installation time are drastically reduced. Membrane, tile installation and grouting can be completed in the same day. Versatile: it can be used on any supports, both indoor and outdoor. Waterproofing: it guarantees the laying of any floor and the waterproofing of the substrate in overlapping too, or for cracked and not perfectly cured supports with possible vapour pressure.







inspired by NATURE

addicted to GEOMETRY

obsessed with SQUARES


Arqui Collection


Schlüter®-TROBA-LEVEL Verlegen Sie Platten. SCHNELL. SOLIDE. MIT SYSTEM. Lay the tile or paver. QUICK. SOLID. SYSTEMATIC. Schnelle und sichere lose Verlegung selbsttragender Plattenelemente 33 auf Balkonen und Terrassen Quick and reliable loose installation of self-supporting tiles and pavers on balconies and terraces Übersichtliches, flexibel miteinander kombinierbares Produktsortiment 33 Simple, flexibly combinable product range Zuverlässige Ausnivellierung nahezu jeder Gefälle- und Baustellensituation 33 Reliable levelling of nearly any slope or construction situation Flexible Aufbauhöhen schon ab 3 mm 33 Flexible assembly heights starting from as low as 3 mm Optimaler Ausgleich verschiedener Plattendicken 33 Optimum levelling for different paver and tile thicknesses Dauerhafte Unterlüftung des Belags vermeidet Frostschäden 33 Permanent subaeration of the covering prevents frost damage

Schlüter ®-LIPROTEC EASY Einfach einleuchtend. LED-Licht in Plug & Play Technologie Simply obvious. LED lighting with plug & play technology Lichtkonzepte mit Keramik oder Naturstein so einfach wie nie zuvor 33 Light concepts with ceramic or natural stone surfaces have never been easier Plug & Play für einfache Installation ohne Fachkenntnisse, sofort einsatzbereit 33 Plug & play for easy installation without expert knowledge, immediately ready for use Hochwertige und vielseitige LED-Module 33 High-quality, versatile LED modules Große Auswahl und Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten 33 Large selection and variety of design options Komfortable Steuerung per App oder Fernbedienung 33 Convenient control via app or remote control










Schlüter-Systems KG · Schmölestraße 7 · D-58640 Iserlohn · Tel.: +49 2371 971-0 · Fax: +49 2371 971-111 ·












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Publisher: Tile Edizioni S.r.l. Via Fossa Buracchione 84 • 41126 Baggiovara (Modena) • Italy Tel. +39 059 512 103 • Fax +39 059 512 157 • Codice Fiscale / P. IVA: IT02778050365 - Capitale Sociale: 51.400,00 € R.E.A. 329775 - Iscr. al Registro delle Imprese di Modena Periodico registrato presso il Tribunale di Modena al n. 1828 in data 21/02/2007 - Iscrizione ROC n. 9673 Editor and Publishing coordination: Chiara Bruzzichelli •


Contributing editors: - Federica Andreini - Paola Giacomini - Sara Falsetti - Sabino Menduni - Sabrina Tassini

• Secretariat: • Translation: Geoff Day / John Freeman

• TILE EDIZIONI ms. Paola Giacomini ms. Elisa Verzelloni

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ENTIRE CONTENTS COPYRIGHT TILE EDIZIONI SRL All right reserved. Opinions expressed by writers are not necessarily those held by the publisher who is not held responsible. TILE EDIZIONI ALSO PUBLISHES: http://www. magazine


Contents 9 - Editorial

Coverings 2019: trade show celebrates 30th anniversary in Orlando by Chiara Bruzzichelli

10 - PhotoNews

Selfridges Manchester Trafford picks Italgraniti Group

24 28 32 36 40 46 58 12 - Tilenews

In the spotlight 24 - The italian tile industry faces a stall in growth 28 - Products, services and competitive strategies 32 - Laminam, a successful business model 36 - Raimondi worldwide 40 - Progress Profiles still growing

46 - 50 - 58 - 62 -

by Ilaria Vesentini

by Paola Giacomini

COVERINGS 2019, Orlando (Florida - USA) The challenge of the American tile market, version 20.19

by Federica Andreini

USA, the leading players give their views 2018 U.S. Ceramic Tile Market Update

by Andrew Whitmire, Tile Council of North America

The Gallery

Projects 104 - Ceramiche Piemme chosen for Plaza Singapura, Singapore 108 - Per Barclay and the Cavallerizza Palazzo Mazzarino, Palermo (Italy) 112 - Casa Balint, Valencia (Spain) 116 - Marble protection at the AthensWas Hotel, Athens, (Greece) 118 - Lamborghini Canteen, Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) 122 - Salerno Maritime Terminal (Italy)

Cover picture: FAP Ceramiche - Cover picture by: Giancarlo Pradelli @ Cersaie 2018 Translations: Geoff Day / John Freeman


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Advertiser’s list: page 56

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http://www. .com





Editorial by Chiara Bruzzichelli

Coverings, continental America’s leading trade show for ceramic and natural stone tiles, celebrates its 30th edition this year. Taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the event is promoted by Confindustria Ceramica, ASCER (the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers’ association) and three American organisations: the CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) and TCNA (Tile Council of North America). With over 1,100 exhibitors from more than 40 countries, the event offers free training seminars and conference sessions, not to mention countless opportunities to network with trade professionals. A substantial slice of this is-

Coverings 2019: trade show celebrates 30th anniversary in Orlando sue is dedicated to Coverings, and we bring you a gallery of the products on display in Orlando, an in-depth look at how the construction industry and ceramic tile market are performing in the USA, and a selection of commentary and opinion from some of the industry’s key players. The United States closed 2018, its ninth consecutive year of growth, with GDP growth at 2.9%, its highest level for 13 years (having reached 2.2% in 2017). In the fourth quarter, however, GDP growth in the US stopped at +2.6%, down from +3.4% for the previous three months. The Congressional Budget Office, a bipartisan congressional body, has thus forecast slower growth in 2019, of around +2.3%, as the tax cuts that characterised 2017 and

2018 come to an end. The slowdown is not expected to affect the construction industry, however, which is forecast to see further, albeit moderate growth, in both the private and public sector, although that growth is not expected to filter through to the ceramic floor coverings market. As early as last year, in fact, there was a slowdown in demand for tiles in the USA which, according to the data published in October 2018 by the US Department of Commerce and the TCNA, is estimated to have reached 288 million square meters, representing a rise of 1.2% on 2017, which in turn saw growth of 5.1% on the previous year. This difficult patch that the product is going through was also visible in sales of American products, whose share of the domestic market fell, in the face of a rise in imports |

from 68.6% in 2017 to 70.3% in 2018. China was again the largest exporter to the United States in volume terms (with 30.9% of total imports), and its positioning is unlikely to be disturbed by the 10% increase in import duties imposed by the Trump administration. Mexico was the second largest exporter to the United States (with 17.6% of the total), despite a significant drop: in October 2018, Mexican exports were down 5.8% on the previous year. Italy was the third largest exporter to the US market (accounting for 16.6% of the total), despite seeing a worrying downturn (-4.4% on 2017), unlike Spain (14.4% of the total), which boosted its performance further in the first ten months of 2018 to reach +34.5% compared with the same period of the previous year. 5


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SELFRIDGES MANCHESTER TRAFFORD PICKS ITALGRANITI GROUP Italgraniti Group supplied and installed the floor coverings for the new Hair & Beauty Hall in the prestigious Selfridges store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre. The famous British department store chain is renowned worldwide for its wide range of top-quality goods by major designers. The first store, which opened in Oxford Street in 1901 and has 50,000 sq.m of floorspace, is one of London’s largest and most innovative department stores, second only to Harrods in standing. The Manchester Trafford store stands out for its imposing


façade and for the fact that each storey was designed by a different architect, with the result that each has a totally unique look. Italgraniti Group was commissioned to supply and install the flooring for the entire Hair & Beauty Hall, which was recently opened and offers 170 beauty brands, over 25,000 products, a range of custom services and a busy schedule of daily events. The architects opted for Italgraniti’s White Experience collection of marble-effect porcelain tile, in the colour Apuano with a natural finish.

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Companies, News & Markets JACUZZI BACK IN ITALY, AFTER ACQUISITION BY INVESTINDUSTRIAL Investindustrial, an investment company founded by Andrea Bonomi, has signed the final agreement for the acquisition of a majority stake in Jupiter Holding from the international funds Apollo, Ares and Clearlake, the owners of various wellness brands, including Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi Brands, founded by an Italian family in 1956, leads the European market for top-end spa baths and is jointleader in the American market. The company reported revenues of approximately 500 million dollars in 2018 and operates through 8 facilities spread across North America, South America and Europe, where its main production site is in the Italian city of Pordenone. Jacuzzi Brands also operates under the trade names Sundance, Dimension One Spas, Hydropool, ThermoSpas and BathWraps. Investindustrial, headed by Andrea Bonomi - the grandson of Anna Bonomi Bolchini, a major figure on the Milan stock exchange in the 1960s and Italy’s best-known female entrepreneur, who contributed to the formation of Pirellone and invested in Mira Lanza - has capital of 6.9 billion euros and a portfolio of businesses that includes Aston Martin, B&B Italia, Chicco Artsana, Flos and Sergio Rossi. The terms of this latest operation have not yet been disclosed, but it should be completed within the first quarter of this year, and Bonomi’s minority partner will definitely be Nottingham Spirk, a product design company that has developed hundreds of patented products, which have generated over 50 billion dollars in sales for industry-leading businesses and fast-growth entrepreneurial

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firms. “We’re delighted to welcome Jacuzzi to our stable of top-end brands. Investindustrial has successfully backed a number of iconic interior design brands. Jacuzzi Brands is a company with Italian traditions, a trademark that’s recognised all over the world and a strong management team,” announced Andrea Bonomi, Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board of Investindustrial. “So we’re looking forward to contributing to the next stage of Jacuzzi Brands’ development. We see considerable growth potential and we’ll be working in close collaboration with the company’s management to expand its business on international markets and through product innovation.”

THE OPENING MATICAD USA Maticad srl, leading global software solution provider for the tile, flooring, and bathroom fixture industries, is proud to announce the opening of Maticad USA, with its first US office located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For the last 28 years, Maticad srl has been providing innovative interior design software to manufacturers, retailers, architects, and interior designers all over the world. Maticad USA will be bringing this global experience to clients in the United States, working to develop customized products and services that respond to the needs of this ever-growing market. Whether it’s through our industry leading professional design software DomuS3D, our newly updated online design tool TilePlanner, or our innovative augmented reality


technology supported by Artificial Intelligence, Maticad has the tools to help you communicate clearly and effectively with your customers, growing your business by increasing productivity and boosting sales. Check out our new US branch on the web at

ITALCER GROUP WINS 2018 “LE FONTI AWARDS” The “Le Fonti Awards®”, one of the most important events dedicated to Italian excellence in business, finance, insurance and the law, has singled out Italcer Group, represented by Graziano Verdi, the Group’s CEO and Co-Founder, for the prestigious Innovation & Leadership award. The awards event, organised by the national specialist channel Le Fonti TV with the patronage of the European Commission, is now in its eighth edition, and was held at Palazzo Mezzanotte in Milan at the end of last year. The jury picked Italcer Group on the grounds of its: “Ability to innovate in design; professionalism and far-sightedness in creating an Italian hub for highend ceramic, within a short timeframe, that is now an international benchmark for the industry. An Italian beacon of excellence which, thanks to a series of acquisitions overseen by Mandarin Capital Partners and Graziano Verdi, has fostered a network of top-class suppliers.” The Le Fonti Awards® event, which is re-


peated across the world’s major cities, including New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and London, provides an opportunity for debate between Top Executive Managers and CEOs of multinationals, other substantial companies, banks and major international law firms. The discussions cover a range of topics, including innovation, technology, finance, politics and sustainability. “We’re very proud to win this coveted and prestigious award,” announced Graziano Verdi. “Just 18 months after launching our ambitious project, we’re already achieving the objectives we set ourselves. This confirms that our industrial project is built on solid foundations and gives us an increasingly distinctive position in the world of top-end ceramic.”

T TOWER BY ANTRAX IT WINS GERMAN DESIGN AWARD 2019 T Tower, a radiator designed by Antrax IT in partnership with Matteo Thun & Antonio Rodriguez, has been picked as the winner of the ‘Energy’ category in the German Design Award, a prestigious international awards programme run by the German Design Council. Antrax IT won first prize in the Energy category thanks to its ability to combine aesthetic distinction and high performance in a single product. Known as T Tower, the rigorously elegant and streamlined radiator was presented at the 2018 International Bathroom Exhibition as the first free-standing decorative radiator developed by Antrax IT, and represents the evolution of the T series, whose clean, refined design it retains. T Tower is designed to diffuse heat both electrically and by means of hot water circulation, and measures 170x14x22 cm. Designed as a uniquely sculptural interior design complement for living areas, T Tower also makes an ideal decorative radiator for bathrooms, thanks to the special towel rail that surrounds its heating elements. Antrax IT has a range of over 200 colours to choose from.


NEOLITH® EXTENDS SHOWROOM NETWORK Neolith®, which is owned by TheSize (Castellon, Spain) and is one of the best-known brands of large-format ceramic, has announced the forthcoming opening of four new showrooms in Milan, Rome, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. These new showrooms will complement the 10 already operating in numerous major cities worldwide, including Madrid, Barcelona, Tokyo, Ramallah, Singapore, Manhattan, Phoenix, Dallas, Salt Lake City and the recently opened showroom in London. Mar Esteve Cortes, Neolith’s Marketing Manager, is convinced that providing the opportunity for direct interaction in a physical showroom “enables architects and designers to explore the full range of possibilities, applications and finishes offered by Neolith coverings, and that this multi-sensory experience fires the imagination and helps make visitors aware of the full creative scope of Sintered Stone.” 2018 marked a year of growth for TheSize, which brought a fourth production line on-stream and launched its Neolith Infinity edge-grinding system. “All over the world we’re experiencing increasing demand for sustainable solutions that offer high performance and long life, and we’re in a position to meet these needs, thanks to our investments in production capacity, R&D and services” says Mar Esteve. Neolith recently also launched its Food and Roll project, which is a peripatetic bar, restaurant and cookery school, scheduled to visit destinations all over Europe, with a view to involving not only designers, but a much wider public of potential customers too.

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ZUCCHETTI. KOS REMODELS MILAN SHOWROOM AND UNVEILS NEW WATERWORDS.19 CATALOGUE The Zucchetti. Kos Group, an international leader in the bathroom design segment, is continuing its drive to raise brand awareness, with two major new initiatives: the launch of the new WaterWords.19 catalogue and the remodelling of its Milan showroom, in the Porta Romana district. These developments are a dual milestone for the Gozzano-based company, which is marking 90 successful years in business in 2019, founded on quality and innovation, all strictly Made in Italy. The new edition of the WaterWords catalogue represents the latest update to an editorial vehicle that has been expressing the company’s vision for many years. Under the artistic direction of Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, the publication also sets trends and interprets the tastes and needs of a heterogeneous international audience, without ever neglecting comfort. Meanwhile, the company’s Milan showroom has been completely remodelled to a design by Ludovica+Roberto Pal-

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omba, featuring an unprecedented spatial layout aimed at providing architects and interior designers with the ideal environment for developing fresh ideas. More than ever before, the showroom has become a place for professionals and their clients to meet and exchange views. Products are displayed clearly and simply, starting from the five display windows that share the same scenic backdrop in shades of powder-pink. Every element forms part of an incisive and sophisticated visual communication strategy that shines the spotlight on the latest new products - such as the WaterCandy hand-held shower-head together with a selection of evergreen icons - such as the Lab03 washbasins and the Morphing bath-tub - that have won prestigious awards on the international stage.

HASHIM SARKIS TO DIRECT 2020 ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE The Venice Biennale has appointed Hashim Sarkis as Director of the Architecture Section of its2020 edition, scheduled to take place from 23 May to 29 November 2020. “The world is throwing down new challenges for architecture,” remarked Sarkis. “I’m eager to set to work with architects from all over the world to work out how to tackle these challenges together. I would like to thank Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice Biennale, and his team, for providing architecture with this important meeting place. I’m moved and honoured by this appointment.” The owner of Hashim Sarkis Studios (HSS), which was founded in 1998 and


has offices in Boston and Beirut, Sarkis has been Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2015. Sarkis was previously Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University. He has also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University, the American University of Beirut and on the Metropolis Program in Barcelona. HSS has earned wide acclaim for its work in social and residential building, parks, institutional buildings and urban planning and design, and has won various awards for its projects in Lebanon, including Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre, Byblos Town Hall and the Courtower Houses on the coast of Aamchit. The firm’s works have been exhibited all over the world, appearing in the United States Pavilion at the 2014 Architecture Biennale, the Albania Pavilion at the 2010 Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rotterdam International Architecture Biennale, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen and Hong Kong and the Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo Valparaíso.

From ultra-stylish ceramic tiles to extra-large slabs for architecture. Elegance, innovation, quality - we have the answer for every design need.

La Fabbrica S.p.A. - Via Emilia Ponente, 925 - 48014 Castel Bolognese (RA) Italy - Tel. +39 0546 - 659911 - Fax +39 0546 - 656223 - -


APRIL 9-12, 2019 / BOOTH 1747

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CERAMICHE PIEMME OFFICIALISES ITS COLLABORATION WITH BENOY During Clerkenwell Design Week 2019 in London, Ceramiche Piemme will be officially announcing its collaboration with international design firm Benoy to design its next series of products. To celebrate the partnership, the Fiorano Modenese-based company has invited two leaders in the design field, Alice Rawsthorn and Cristina Morozzi, to discuss the upcoming trends in the ceramic industry. Benoy’s Design Director, Andy Piepenstock, and Ceramiche Piemme’s Operations Director, Davide Colli, will introduce the two design experts and open a debate on the “importance of tile in architecture.” “We know Ceramiche Piemme for its tradition and today also for its desire to express innovation, design and sustainability,” explains Andy Piepenstock, “all values that we share and which spur us to talk with people who - like Alice Rawsthorn and Cristina Morozzi - have dedicated their lives to the analysis and elaboration of projects, trends and the evolution of home living”. After previous design collections created in association with Gordon Guillaumier and Pierre Charpin, Ceramiche Piemme is now making its international relaunch with Benoy, an internationally respected firm that is behind some of the most famous buildings in the world, from Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and Westfield London, to Parc Central in Guangzhou. With the opening of the Piemme 40 London branch, Davide Colli - COO of Ce-

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ramiche Piemme since 2018 - highlights the international character of the Fiorano Modenese brand, which is renowned for quality and innovation in the ceramic industry. “After essential technological updating, and the renewal of our range, a cultural upgrade of our design has now become essential. Hence the importance of our collaboration with a major international player in the form of Benoy, which has worksites the world over. We chose Clerkenwell Design Week to announce our collaboration and we are very happy to be able to do so by hosting two great experts in the field.”


 Bauwerk Parkett kicked off 2019 by officially introducing its new General Manager, in the shape of Tanja Lockwood, a German citizen living in in Switzerland, who has considerable experience deriving from her work at Villeroy & Boch. With a degree in Communication and Digital Media and a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing, Tanja Lockwood has experience in both sales and operational and strategic marketing. From 2013 to 2018, in fact, she was Customer Marketing Director at Villeroy & Boch. On 15 January 2019 Tanja Lockwood was officially appointed as General Manager of Bauwerk and Vice-President of Bauwerk Boen Group.



MATICAD USA OPENS IN PHILADELPHIA Maticad srl, a leading global software solution provider for the tile, flooring, and bathroom fixture industries, is proud to announce the opening of Maticad USA, with its first US office located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For the last 28 years, Maticad srl has been providing innovative interior design software to manufacturers, retailers, architects, and interior designers all over the world. Maticad USA will be bringing this global experience to clients in the United States, and working to develop customized products and services that respond to the needs of this ever-growing market. Whether it’s through our industry-leading professional design software DomuS3D, our newly updated online design tool TilePlanner, or our innovative augmented reality technology supported by Artificial Intelligence, Maticad has the tools to help you communicate clearly and effectively with your custom-

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ers, and grow your business by increasing productivity and boosting sales. Check out our new US branch on the web at

AMAZON MILAN CHOOSES LEA CERAMICHE A short distance from the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova in Milan, Amazon has opened its new Italian headquarters. The multi-national’s 400 or so employees have been working here since November 2018 in two completely renovated blocks of almost 18,000 sq.m. The remodelling works have transformed the architectural shell and interior space in a way that maximises comfort and sustainability: transparent walls flood the offices with natural light and afford extensive views of the surrounding urban landscape; the open-space layout is flexible, and features relaxation and recreation areas, panoramic terraces, energy-efficient LED lighting, a winter


and summer climate control system incorporating multi-purpose heat pumps, a roof-top photovoltaic installation and geothermal wells. The construction and finishing materials were also chosen on the basis of ecological considerations, with particular attention to their life-cycle and efficient use of resources. This prestigious remodelling project was designed by GBPA Architects, which opted to use three collections by Lea Ceramiche: District, Slimtech Type 32 and Trame.


LEA CERAMICHE WINS GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2018 Singled out from over 500 companies by an international jury, Lea Ceramiche has received an award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum for design excellence and innovation for its Concreto Slimtech collection. Designed by the architect Fabio Novembre, the series won the 2018 Good Design Award - one of the world’s most important design awards - in the Building Materials category.The award-winning collection, Concreto Slimtech by Fabio Novembre, explores the spirit of concrete and offers a hyper-realistic representation of its surface appearance. Slimtech large-format panels - which are 6mm thick and produced in sizes up to 120x260cm - are available in 5 different colours and 4 variants that showcase the texture of the material. The award confirms how successful Lea Ceramiche has been over the past 15 years or so, in its drive to transform ceramic from a traditional building material into a decorative element for interior design and architecture. The high technology of Slimtech large-format panels and its manufactur-

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er’s profound knowledge of the material, combined with the creativity of Fabio Novembre, have given rise to a contemporary collection that adapts to all types of living space and is suitable for large-scale contract work. By combining outstanding lightness, strength and sustainability with a production process that minimises environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions and use of raw materials, Concreto Slimtech is also the top-performing material in the construction of low-energy buildings.

DEVON&DEVON PROCERAM: A 3.3 MILLION EURO CONTRACT The rapid development of Italcer Group, which has already generated several major commercial partnerships, has led to the company’s latest agreement signed by Pavel Basl, a member of the Board of Directors of ProCeram, a highend Czech distribution company, and Graziano Verdi, CEO of Italcer Group, in relation to the prestigious Devon&Devon brand for the Czech and Slovak market. Under the agreement, five top-class boutiques will be set up in Prague, Brno, Karlovy Vary, Bratislava and Pilsen, in addition to various other franchise agreements with ProCeram Group’s distribution partners. The agreement will help Devon&Devon consolidate its position on the Czech market, and commits ProCeram to order a minimum of 3.3 million euros’ worth of goods over the next four years. “Within the framework of this project, we’ve been impressed by ProCeram’s professionalism and developed the mutual trust and respect needed to implement a programme that will be ex-


tremely demanding but will undoubtedly yield gratifying results,” explained Graziano Verdi, CEO of Italcer Group and Devon&Devon. ProCeram is a recognized market leader in floor and wall coverings and sanitaryware for hotels, projects by developers, private sector construction and other works. ProCeram’s decision to make this investment was driven by two main factors: firstly, the unique character of Devon&Devon products, and secondly, the long-standing acquaintance between Graziano Verdi and Pavel Basl and the mutual trust this has engendered. “After conducting a thorough analysis of European suppliers, we came to the conclusion that Devon&Devon has the most interesting design, the highest quality and the most comprehensive range in this segment. So we’re delighted that Devon&Devon has put its trust in us, and we’ve signed a long-term agreement for the distribution of its products in the Czech Republic and Slovakia”, explained Pavel Basl, a member of the Board of Directors of ProCeram (pictured). As a result of this agreement, ProCeram will invest 400,000 euros in 5 new showrooms and set up a team of professional salespeople to support the Devon&Devon brand.


PORCELANOSAGROUP: 3.4% INCREASE IN REVENUES IN 2018 Porcelanosa Group closed 2018 with a 3.4% increase in revenues, to 806 million euros. The news was announced by María José Soriano, Managing Director of the Group based in Vila-Real, at the inauguration of the traditional annual International Exhibition of Global Architecture and Interior Design, which received over 12,000 professional visitors from all over the world between 21 and 25 January. Now in its 25th edition, the event required an investment of around one million euros and involved all the Group’s brands - Porcelanosa, Venis, L’Antic Colonial, Gamadecor, Krion, Butech, Noken and Urbatek - which unveiled their new products for 2019 in an exhibition area of about 13,000 sq.m. Commenting on the Group’s 2018 results, María José Soriano confirmed that the best-performing markets were Spain, Portugal, Russia, Mexico and the Netherlands. Soriano also explained the Group’s plan to expand its portfolio of stores worldwide, which already number over a thousand. New showrooms are due to open in Virginia (USA), Guinea, Uzbekistan and Siberia in 2019, in addition to new offices in Cologne, Buenos Aires and Johannesburg. Investment in production is proceeding according to the 2018-2020 development plan: the 100 million euros invested in 2018 will be followed by a further 150 million for the two-year period 20192020, dedicated to energy efficiency, waste management and product innovation. The main work is the new wall tile production plant, which will become fully

operational in 2021 (the work is being carried out without interrupting production) and has floorspace of 100,000 sq.m with heights of up to 16 metres. The plant will accommodate 13 pressing and glazing lines, 4 new kilns measuring 101 metres in length and, once ramped up to full output, will increase the production of wall tiles by 25% compared with the previous site.

worlds thus merge together and communication becomes “conversation”. Social media in particular play a vital role in this communication strategy that brings together exhibitors, visitors, influencers and the city of Bologna itself. Because during the week of Cersaie, the friendly and inclusive city of Bologna hosts Bologna Design Week, giving visitors and exhibitors the chance to take a stroll around the city centre’s courtyards and porticoes, while savouring a glass of local wine or a regional speciality dish.

WELCOME TO THE AGE OF OPEN CERSAIE Cersaie is adopting a new image, to reflect the changing face of architecture and trade shows, thus becoming OPEN CERSAIE: a new exhibition concept based on openness and cross-fertilisation, represented by a new logo that “opens” Cersaie to the challenges of a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive world. This new image echoes the concerted approach of Cersaie’s various initiatives for different target audiences: the Building Dwelling Thinking programme of architectural meetings; the Cersaie Business missions for international architects; the design and lifestyle meetings hosted in the Press Cafés; the practical and theory demonstrations in Tiling Town; the Italian Style thematic shows; and the home renovation meetings for end consumers in Cersaie Designs Your Home. The Cersaie website - has also been restyled, starting with the homepage slider and greater space devoted to videos and the site’s social media profiles. The offline and online


Bologna 23

27 - 09 - 2019

Promos srl

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The wooden floor with the installation in chevron pattern has very ancient origins. It dates back to ancient Rome with the establishment of the use of wood for the floors of the houses and the palaces of the nobles. Today, the wooden floor is re-evaluated in a more modern form, with modern and design pattern, but which still maintain the soul and the taste of noble times. The “Jumbo Spina� collection is an extremely modern and trendy product with its French-style cut formed by very wide and not too much long planks: the result of the installed floor is of great effect and makes the chevron installation unusually current and of great aesthetic impact.

via Dell’Artigianato 18 48011 Alfonsine (RA) - Italy infoline. +39.0544.80696

In the spotlight Ilaria Vesentini

The Italian tile industry faces a stall in growth

Giovanni Savorani

Tile International: Exports suffered bigger losses than the domestic market in 2018. What was the trend in the various markets? Giovanni Savorani: The biggest contraction in exports was in the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia. This was due to the antidumping measures introduced to defend the domestic market from Chinese, Indian and Spanish products, although in the end it was the Italian producers who have been hit the most. Exports also saw a worsethan-expected performance in Europe and North America with a sharp contraction in the first quarter of the year, although the situation improved over the following months.

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After five years of uninterrupted growth, the Italian ceramic tile industry experienced a downturn in 2018. The preliminary figures produced by Confindustria Ceramica and Prometeia and presented at the customary end-of-year conference point to a 2.8% decline in production and total sales to 410 million sq.m (compared to 422 million sq.m in 2017), a 3.0% fall in exports from 338 million to 328 million sq.m and a 1.8% contraction in domestic sales to 82 million sq.m. Nonetheless, the industry continued to invest in new technol-

But perhaps the biggest disappointment was the domestic market, where the signs of a recovery in the building sector failed to bring concrete results. Generally speacking, the world construction market and its constituent sectors are being impacted by the mounting geopolitical tensions relating to Brexit, the trade conflict between the United States and China and the slump in all the economic indicators in Europe. The worst-hit countries are naturally those with a strong export activity and a high public debt, both of which are conditions that apply to Italy. The ceramic industry is no exception: the climate of uncertainty and general slowdown

ogy throughout 2018, driven in particular by the Industry 4.0 programme of tax incentives. Expenditure is estimated at more than 400 million euros, which although lower than the record 2017 figure (more than half a billion euros) nonetheless represents one of the highest percentages of turnover of any Italian manufacturing sector. We spoke to Confindustria Ceramica Chairman Giovanni Savorani to discuss the various factors that have contributed to the slowdown in the Italian ceramic tile industry and are still impacting the sector’s performance.

in consumption is having a negative impact on all the major producer countries. Our sector’s 1.8% decline in sales in Italy is extremely disappointing. Tile International: If the United States raises tariffs on tile imports from China, will this benefit Italian exporters? G. Savorani: It might have an effect, provided the applied tariffs are similar to those imposed by the European Union (up to 70%, Ed.) where Chinese tile imports have fallen by 77%. An increase in US duties on Chinese ceramic tile imports, estimated at 20% when fully enacted, would push up the average price of Chinese tiles on the US market from 7.5 to 9 $/sq.m, still well below the cur-


rent price of imported Italian tiles. We’re monitoring the situation closely and working together with the American associations of producers, installers and distributors on actions aimed at raising awareness of the quality and sustainability of ceramic tile compared to other floor and wall covering materials. To grow in the American market we need to win market shares from competitor products such as carpet and vinyl. Tile International: At your end-of-year members’ meeting you focused on the growing competition from non-ceramic floor covering materials. Is this another cause for concern for the sector? G. Savorani: Yes, it is. The slowdown is affecting all surface

In the spotlight

covering materials and is fuelling an increase in competition between rival products. It’s both a risk and an opportunity. The biggest threat comes from LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles), which are aesthetically very similar to ceramic but cheaper and easier to install, although they are not comparable in terms of quality. It’s also worth bearing in mind that ceramic tile is far from being the most widely used flooring material at a world level. Whereas tile accounts for 77% of floor coverings in Italy, it has a share of just 34% in France, 24% in Germany and 14% in the USA. The rest consists of carpet, laminate and other materials. Given the expected contraction in contestable markets, the only way out of the impasse is to increase our slice of the cake. Tile International: With this in mind, in January you launched your new web and

social media campaign entitled “The values of ceramic” with the aim of promoting the advantages of this material. Could you tell us about it? G. Savorani: It’s an unprecedented communication campaign for the Italian ceramic industry in terms of the scale of the investment (more than 2 million euros) and the fact that it involves the participation of our Spanish, German and American competitors and partners, who will share the cost. We kicked off the campaign in January with the Italian web and social media debut of a series of short videoclips (total length 120 seconds) aimed at end consumers, architects and designers in search of flooring solutions that explain the benefits of ceramic tile in terms of health, durability, resistance to acids, ease of cleaning and very low environmental impact. In February the digital campaign was also launched in Europe

(Germany, France, UK) and from March onwards will kick off in the US market and will see strong exposure during Coverings 2019 (9-12 April in Orlando). The communication campaign is just the first step in a project that will continue over the next few months with two comparative studies – one in Europe and the other in America – aimed at further raising awareness of the benefits of ceramic with respect to other competitor materials. Tile International: One of the advantages of non-ceramic competitor materials is their greater ease of installation. How is your association responding to this issue? G. Savorani: In January this year we set up an internal commission to design and organise initiatives catering specially for foreign tile layers, including training events. We are coordinating with Assoposa to avoid any inefficiency or overlap.

The real lack of adequately trained professionals in certain markets further aggravates the problem of installation costs, which are already higher than the cost of the product itself. The issue is further complicated by the growing use of large slabs and panels, where installation becomes an even more critical factor. Tile International: How robust do you think the Italian tile industry is compared to that of other producer countries? G. Savorani: Despite the lacklustre year, we are maintaining our positions in terms of both market share and average selling prices (currently around 13.8 euros/sq.m). We remain the third largest exporter country by volume after China and Spain with 12% of the global market but are still the world leader in terms of value. One factor that has contributed to our shrinking sales in some markets is competition

The Italian ceramic tile industry 2008










2018 est.

% var 18/17














Total sales













Domestic market


























Source: Confindustria Ceramica 25

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In the spotlight

from producer countries that benefit from much lower labour and energy costs and a far superior infrastructure system, especially roads and ports. This applies in particular to Spain, which is currently our biggest rival and enjoys much lower labour costs, generally less stringent environmental regulations and more efficient connections to the ports of Valencia and Castellón. Tile International: Let’s talk about the Italian market. What factors have contributed to the slight fall in sales despite the growth in housing construction? G. Savorani: The expected recovery of the renovation market failed to materialise or at least didn’t live up to expectations. Although anti-seismic and energy-saving incentives are available, they are not being used and construction work has ground to a halt. But the biggest factor of all is the general climate of uncertainty fuelled by the government’s policies. The infrastructure gridlock is also having a severe impact. Although the Marzaglia freight yard is now operational, the connection to Sassuolo has still not been built and even in the best-case scenario it will not be ready for another four years. The Cispadana Regional Highway has almost com-

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pletely disappeared from view and with the Bologna bypass we’re almost back at square one. Our sector is the one that makes the biggest use of rail transport with more than 23% of our products carried by rail. There’s room for improvement but we need investments and reliable timeframes. Tile International: The fall in sales last year led to a corresponding drop in production, while investments remained high. Why was this? G. Savorani: To avoid overfilling warehouses, manufacturers reduced their output by around 3% to a total of 410 million sq.m. Several companies chose to extend their customary Christmas break by a couple of weeks. By contrast, investments in technology remained at above 400 million euros, encouraged by the national Industry 4.0 programme and covered by company cashflow. Although below the exceptional levels of investment of 2017 when we invested 515 million euros in a year (more than 9% of turnover), these investments enable us to maintain truly first-class plant and machinery. This is especially critical in the case of large ceramic slabs, a segment where Italy is the world leader. Tile International: Emissions trading is one of the causes of

concern for the Italian ceramic industry. What’s your view of this? G. Savorani: The obligation of cutting emissions by a further 20% risks punishing a sector that in the past has amply demonstrated its commitment to the environment and to lowering emissions. Although in theory we observe the same parameters as our European competitors, in practice there’s such a big difference between the regulatory systems adopted in Italy and those of other countries that our emissions levels are in fact ten times lower than elsewhere. Filters consume energy and energy is much more expensive in Italy than in other European countries, further reducing our competitiveness within Europe. Not to mention the fact that our contributions help to finance Eastern European countries which in turn practice tax dumping and eco dumping policies with the aim of attracting investments by our companies. Tile International: What’s the outlook for 2019? G. Savorani: Our turnover is now level with pre-crisis results but production volumes 17% lower than in 2008, a difference that is attributable to the improvement in product mix and quality and the presence of large-size slabs on the market.


Prometeia, which has been collaborating with Confindustria Ceramica for years, is predicting growth of around 1%. This value depends on many external uncertainty factors such as the state of the domestic market, widespread protectionist policies, the USAChina tariffs war, Brexit, the slowdown in growth in Germany and European elections. With all these different situations, it’s very difficult to make medium-term forecasts. Moreover, the value of Italian production worldwide is much higher than the statistics suggest. Imitations and “Italiansounding” products divert sales volumes to other countries. If Europe were to approve the “Made in” rule it would help us a lot because it would give consumers the information they need to make a fully-informed decision. It is a fair rule that has been approved by the European Parliament with a wide majority three times but which continues to encounter considerable resistance. However, the Italian ceramic industry can boast excellent fundamentals: the Italian ceramic companies are equipped with the most advanced technology, they have fine-tuned their sales networks and organised worldwide distribution systems, so we expect to be the first to exploit opportunities as and when they arise. 5

STAGE ( Old planks performing memories )


Via Giardini, 58 41042 Fiorano Modenese (Modena) Italy

APRIL 9–12, 2019 / BOOTH 2237

In the spotlight

Products, services and competitive strategies

Mauro Vandini

Tile International: Mr Vandini, the Italian ceramic industry has just completed a threeyear period of extraordinary investments in products and factory efficiency. Is this the formula that will allow the industry to maintain its leadership? Mauro Vandini: Italy has no alternative but to continue to raise the bar. It is only by continuing to innovate and seek new development paths that

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During Cersaie last September, Marazzi Group opened the doors to its latest factory, Marlit, created by combining two existing units on the historical industrial site in Sassuolo. Equipped with cutting-edge technologies to guarantee high product quality, operator safety and care for the environment (including heat, water and production waste recovery systems), the factory will produce high-end full-body porcelain tiles and will have a production capacity of around 9 million sq.m/year. The production lines extending from the raw materials department through to the packaging zone have a total length of more than a kilometre and a half and occupy an area of more than 50,000 square metres. The Sassuolo investment follows those made at the facilities in Finale Emilia and Fiorano and includes refurbishment of the Marazzi Laboratories. With a 3,000 sq.m covered area devotwe will be able to maintain the technical and stylistic leadership for which we are still renowned worldwide. This is exactly what we have done in recent years by continuing to innovate our products, expand our range of sizes and create beauty. But at the same time our foreign competitors have also not stood still. With the growing diffusion of digital decoration technologies, a number of producers

ed to research into raw materials, bodies, colouring and surface designs, the laboratories develop prototypes and perform stringent tests to ensure the highest levels of technical performance. “With this latest investment, all our Italian factories are now equipped with state-of-the-art plants, an essential factor for remaining competitive in the high-quality product segment,” said Marazzi Group’s CEO Mauro Vandini. “The factories can and must be transformed if they are to truly fulfil their potential - and in the case of Marlit that means producing our high-end range of sophisticated, natural and beautiful products,” he added. These words marked the beginning of our interview with Mauro Vandini, who has always believed that the Sassuolo cluster remains one of the best places to invest.“It is here that the finest ceramic-making abilities flourish,” he explains.

have succeeded in elevating their product quality almost to Italian levels, at least in terms of aesthetics. This inevitably presents us with new challenges. Tile International: Amidst a crowded market and a slowdown in demand, what’s your assessment of 2018? M. Vandini: The economic situation in general is far from easy. Particularly in the second half of the year, our sector


has been facing overcapacity issues caused by a slowdown in some markets, price pressure and competition on two different fronts. The first concerns the high-end ceramic and porcelain tile segment, where Spain is without doubt our most formidable rival. The second consists of growing competition from other floor and wall covering materials that are lighter and easier to install than tiles.

In the spotlight

Ceramic tiles are certainly more attractive and more natural, so we need to play to our strengths by continuing to improve our products and service, amongst other things. Tile International: On the subject of Spain, how is the country’s ceramic industry evolving, particularly in terms of competitiveness? M. Vandini: The Spanish tile in-

dustry is likewise facing overcapacity problems caused by the slowdown in demand in certain markets, a problem that it has generally addressed by adopting aggressive trade policies. Compared to ten years ago, the Spanish tile industry is much more of a threat today because improvements in product quality deriving from

digital technologies mean it can enter the most affluent markets (France, Germany and the USA) with similar products to our own but at lower prices. Italy remains the market leader in terms of design and to be honest I think tile producers the world over should pay royalties to the Italian companies. However, Spain benefits from lower in-


dustrial costs to ours in terms of raw materials (including imported materials), energy and labour, as well as the fact that it has outsourced many of the research activities relating to glazes (delegated to the glaze and colour producers) and raw materials preparation (assigned to spraydried body suppliers). Moreover, with the exception

Tile International 1/2019

In the spotlight

of a few large groups with a fairly similar cost structure to our own, expenses for commercial, marketing and distribution activities are generally also very low. Added to this, Spain enjoys other system advantages, particularly more efficient infrastructures for logistics and transport. Tile International: How do you expect competition between Italy and Spain to evolve in the future? M. Vandini: I’m confident that the Italian ceramic industry will be able to overcome the challenge, although it will certainly be costly. Besides maintaining our advantage in terms of product quality, which in the highest end of the market remains unrivalled, a lot will depend on our ability to identify the levers that will enable us to maintain our long-term competitiveness. These levers are not necessarily limited to the product itself but include our ability to rethink and innovate our business models as part of a broader vision. Tile International: What do you mean by this in practice? M. Vandini: With our total focus on products, the Italian ceramic industry has been directly involved in a number of groundbreaking developments over the years, such as single firing, porcelain tiles and large-size slabs. This, together with the credibility we have earned amongst distributors, has enabled us to establish the leadership position that we continue to enjoy with respect to our competitors. But to deal with today’s much more complex challenges, I no longer think it’s sufficient to act solely at an industrial level. In the next step we need to focus more on the “software” than “hardware” aspects of our companies, exploiting new resources and developing organisational and strategic skills, so as to rethink for

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example everything that is associated with a product. What new services can we offer to improve our value proposition? How can we transform the sale of a product into the sale of a solution? These processes are all feasible, although as I said they may also be costly. Tile International: Where would you start? M. Vandini: From the ceramic sector’s more strategic aspects of system competitiveness. Logistics is certainly one of these, along with the speed with which we reach distributors and production flexibility (in terms of the ability to reach new end users with different targeted products). Offering the market new solutions in terms of installation which as we all know is often a bigger cost to the end consumer than the material itself - would enable us to fill the spaces left open to alternative materials such as LVT, particularly as ceramic tile is in reality not just the most attractive material but also the most sustainable. We must try to raise awareness of easier and cheaper installation techniques amongst professionals. As regards speed to market, the logistic organisation of the district plays a key role. I wonder, for example, whether our sector - one of the few that still operates on an exworks basis - has fully exploited the potential of the Sassuolo cluster. In connection with this, I remain firmly convinced that we need to maintain an

active presence abroad. A strong local presence is the best way of maintaining market shares that we cannot afford to lose. Tile International: On the subject of services and solutions to complement the product ranges, the leading Italian brands - Marazzi included - have already made significant industrial and marketing investments to strengthen their presence in the architecture and engineering segment, particularly with the diffusion of large and very large sizes. How do you expect this product segment to evolve? M.Vandini: The technology investments in the large-size slab segment in recent years have resulted in a level of output that simply cannot be absorbed by traditional ceramic tile distribution channels. I think a lot will depend on our ability to establish specialist sales networks in the new distribution channels opened up by this product. Personally I believe there are two successful models. One, which has already been tried and tested with excellent results, concentrates mainly on the production and supply of semi-finished slabs to the slab machining segment. The other involves almost total product customization with factories for final machining operations, warehouses and dedicated resources. All of this requires investments that are within the reach of just a few large groups. 5

In the spotlight Paola Giacomini

Laminam, a successful business model

Alberto Selmi The four production lines at Laminam’s plant in Fiorano Modenese – along with those in the facility in Borgotaro in the hills near Parma and in the factory opened in Russia two years ago – are all working at full capacity, turning out largesize ceramic panels and slabs (1000x3000 mm in 3 mm and 5.6 mm thicknesses and 1620x3240 mm in 5.6 mm, 12 mm and 20 mm thicknesses). But despite this intense activity, the company is strug-

gling to keep up with demand from a global market that is experiencing exponential growth. In the last three years the company has posted results that are simply unparalleled amongst building materials manufacturers, registering growth rates of 36% in 2016, 25% in 2017 and 30% in 2018 and reaching revenues of 110 million euros last year. Growth in sales is strongest in international markets, which account for 80% of

turnover, although the Italian market is also expanding rapidly and registered 20% growth in 2018. “We’re delighted because we have succeeded in meeting our targets, even in a year when nothing could be taken for granted,” CEO Alberto Selmi told us. “An important contribution to the group’s results also came from Laminam Russia, a facility set up in March 2017 which already last year returned a positive EBITDA and operating profit,” he added.

So what’s the secret to the company’s success? One of the factors behind the triumph of the Laminam brand – a brand that for many people is synonymous with “large-size ceramic tiles” – is the business model adopted right from the start by Franco Stefani and pursued over the years with great resolve and determination. We discussed the group’s strategic choices and future prospects with Alberto Selmi.

Tile International: As well as a new kind of product, Laminam also invented a distinctive and highly successful business model. What are its main characteristics? Alberto Selmi: The product

and business model are closely related. When the technological research conducted by Franco Stefani led to the development of a pioneering large-size ceramic surface in the late 1990s, the

next logical step was to conduct market research to determine which segments would be most suitable for exploiting the material’s unique value. Two sectors were identified: the furniture industry,

where the product could be supplied as a semi-finished product; and large-scale architectural projects (facades, horizontal worktops and large interior surfaces), where the product could be supplied in

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In the spotlight


its original dimensions. For this reason, rather than following the tried-and-tested formula of the ceramic tile industry, the company based its business model on that of surface covering materials. Despite the initial difficulties, this strategic decision has proved highly successful over the years. Tile International: You had to make very large initial investments. A. Selmi: Certainly. From 2001 to 2009 Laminam operated as a kind of “technological laboratory� focused on the development of an entirely new production process. And when the brand was effectively launched in 2009, the market had to be built from scratch, tapping into demand that had previously been met by other materials

Gong Yong office plaza. Seoul - Korea 33

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Takaosanguchi Station. Tokyo, Japan (aluminium laminates, wallpaper, natural stone and quartz worktops, etc.) and educating partners (installers, marble fabricators, façade installers, etc.) in the use of this unknown material. This required a lot of hard work, and as in the case of all self-respecting pioneers, it was something we did almost entirely on our own. The good results we are seeing today testify to the determination with which Franco Stefani believed and invested in the project over the years. Tile International: Today the market exists and is growing. What aspects of ceramic are appreciated the most? A. Selmi: For applications where ceramic slabs substitute marble, such as furniture, the most significant factors are speed of delivery and repeatability. In general, whether for finished slabs for architecture or semi-finished products supplied to fabricators, we are credited with having brought innovation and value to large surfaces while

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maintaining the technical and performance characteristics typical of ceramic. Tile International: Demand for large ceramic slabs has grown enormously amongst marble fabricators. How much does this segment contribute to Laminam’s business? A. Selmi: Given the strong demand for these products, marble fabricators and distributors now have no choice but to offer large ceramic surfaces if they want to maintain their market shares. In general, the two macro-areas in which Laminam operates – furniture and architecture – are now very similar in terms of revenues, investments, dedicated resources and brand recognition. The demand for our kitchen and bathroom countertops originating from the furniture industry, fuelled largely by the reputation of the Laminam brand, shows just how far we have come. We also have a presence in niche segments such as shipbuilding and pre-

fab bathroom pods. Tile International: These are complex segments where both product and service are differentiating factors. How does Laminam organise customer service? A. Selmi: While the product is obviously the key factor, the service structure we have organised has also proved crucial to our recent growth in the world of architecture. On the one hand, we have an internal team of multilingual engineers who work on design and provide support to architects on both technical aspects and aesthetic research into materials. On the other, we have a presence at construction sites the world over through trusted partners who provide support and technical solutions for engineering and slab fixing. As a further guarantee of quality and reliability, our slabs are certified worldwide for use as exterior façade claddings and, after five years of hard work, now meet the standards in force in every country.


Tile International: Let’s talk about markets. Besides Europe and North America, Laminam is also expanding in Russia and China. How are you doing this what is the outlook for the future? A. Selmi: Our factory in Russia, where we produce 1x3 metre panels of thickness 3 mm and 5.6 mm is almost saturated and is ready for the installation of a second line. Large ceramic surfaces are also very popular in the Chinese market, both in the furniture industry and in architecture. Last year our sales in China doubled thanks to a number of prestigious contracts such as the China Zun Tower (CITIC Tower), the highest tower in Beijing (109 floors and a total height of 528 metres) opened recently in the financial district, where we supplied 38,000 square metres of Laminam slabs for 70 interior floors. We have also supplied materials for façade cladding for the Beijing Olympic Village and for 200 Hi Restau-

In the spotlight

rants throughout China. To ensure greater market penetration through control over distribution, promotion and sales, last year we set up a commercial joint venture with our Chinese distributor James Wang. If the growth trend remains at these high levels over the next few years, we may consider making an investment in production directly in China. Tile International: Installation, logistics, transport and the weight of ceramic products are all mentioned as obstacles to the material’s further diffusion. What can be done to ensure it remains competitive? A. Selmi: In the slab segment, we are obliged to focus on extremely high value markets where large, high-quality surfaces are in strong demand and where all other aspects are secondary. This in itself is challenging because it means that a great deal of effort and resources must be devoted to promotion in order to continue to generate demand. For example, 25% of Laminam’s employees are engaged in marketing and sales and this year the company is taking part in 14 international trade fairs. Improving logistics is another competitive factor that should not be underestimated. Tile International: In the last 3 years in particular, the pro-

duction of large ceramic slabs has grown exponentially not just in Europe but also in countries with low production costs. Are you worried about these new competitors? A. Selmi: What we are seeing is that while demand grows linearly, supply progresses in a stepwise fashion, creating situations of overcapacity that may lead to fiercer price competition. Nonetheless, we’re not worried about competition from the newly emerging producers because the market segments we operate in place a premium on the brand as a synonym for know-how, reliability and service, an added value that simply cannot be improvised. In these segments a strategy based exclusively on price would be unsustainable. Tile International: What are your goals now? A. Selmi: We are aiming to further increase our market share, which means that we must grow more rapidly than demand.To do this, we will leverage and capitalise on the competitiveness factors that we have worked hard to build over the years. International expansion is certainly at the top of our agenda in terms of sales, production and logistics with the ultimate aim of bringing the product closer to the market. 5

Laminam facade. Cagliari, Italy 35

Tile International 1/2019

In the spotlight

Raimondi worldwide

Marco Raimondi “ It needs to be understood that the importance of installation increases in proportion to the performance of the ceramic product; and the partnership between producers of ceramic manufacturing machinery, ceramic tile manufacturers and manufacturers of equipment for installing ceramic coverings is a clear and positive example of the “Italy system” at work”. Our conversation with Marco Raimondi opens with this assertion, which is a lot less obvious than it might seem. Tile International: - : Is it possible to identify the motor of the virtuous circle that has spawned Italy’s “Ceramic Valley”? Marco Raimondi: “I don’t think it would be fair to single out any one sector as being more important than the others. The fact is, the ceramic cluster as a whole is a motor, and it’s

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pretty well oiled. Each component performs its function to best effect: clearly the outstanding plant engineering capacity that exists would never have reached its current levels of excellence if it hadn’t been well received by ceramic manufacturers – and if they, in turn, didn’t have their undisputed ability to set up highly efficient sales and dis-

tribution chains all round the world. In the same way, the development of tiles, up to their current incarnation as large-format panels, has inevitably prompted the design and manufacture of equipment for handling, storing, cutting, drilling and installing them.” Tile International: So does the real strength of the Italian


ceramic industry lie in its geographical roots? M. Raimondi: Yes, I think the real “motor” of what has happened is our shared geographical roots, and the ceramic cluster as a whole: living side-by-side, solving shared problems, planning the development of a product and extending its market to a global scale, is the real driving force

In the spotlight

behind our success. We’ve built up a synergy around ceramics that has yielded benefits at a global level.” Tile International: That’s true, because we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that ceramic floor and wall tiles aren’t really finished products until they’ve been installed… M. Raimondi: “Exactly, and this involves paying specific

attention to a whole host of questions that require appropriate answers, each time there are technical changes to the way ceramic tiles are made.” Tile International: When did Raimondi start dealing with large-format panels? M. Raimondi: “2011-12. In fact, we presented our first product specifically designed for

large-format panels – a cutting system, to be precise – at Coverings 2012. We were inundated with enquiries immediately. It was clear to us there and then that large-format panels were generating a huge amount of interest, and that supplying the necessary equipment for installing them was our next challenge. Almost 7 years later, I can safely say that the feeling we had that day has definitely become a reality.” Tile International: And that was right in the worst years of the recession... M. Raimondi: “Yes, right in the depth of the recession, the uptake of large-format panels gave a considerable boost to our growth. Since 2012, in fact, Raimondi has seen pretty high average growth rates. We’re still reaping the benefits of years of hard work on our products and our technical and commercial communication, all of which we’re still focusing on of course. So as far as we’re concerned, the advent of large-format panels brought a breath of fresh air with it, and that’s just what you need when times are hard. What’s more, the introduction of these innovative ceramic materials did a lot to boost the synergies between ceramic manufacturers and equipment manufacturers (and producers of other in-


stallation materials, of course). So to go back to the starting point of this conversation, in my opinion, the entire system reaped major benefits from the innovation.” Tile International: Which markets have contributed most to these good results? M. Raimondi: “Most of our growth has come from markets outside Italy, although the Italian market has yielded positive results over the past 4 years. Unfortunately, despite these good figures, our domestic market is still lacklustre and the prospects are plain to see. So it may be obvious, but there’s no question about it: exports are the only way forward.” Tile International: “What steps have you taken to support manufacturers and installers in Italy and around world? M. Raimondi: “The action we take to support manufacturers and installers follows three main channels, which sometimes cross over with each other. First of all, in Italy, Raimondi SpA has a distributor network that provides dense coverage of the whole country, and it also has highly qualified inhouse staff capable of providing the necessary technical and commercial support at all times. If a technical demonstration needs to organised at one of our distributor’s sites (and we do lots of demonstra-

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In the spotlight

tions), we’re always on hand to take care of it. We’re also lucky enough to have numerous rewarding partnerships with manufacturers of large-format panels, with which we organize fre-

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quent meetings to present the necessary equipment for installing their products. We really value this synergy and we’ve always used a significant number of internal technical and sales staff to


help foster it. When this type of work needs to be done outside Italy, we use our long-established network of foreign partners (built up over the course of almost 45 years in business), who

In the spotlight

have all the necessary skills to provide this type of service in almost all our major markets. Last but not least – quite the reverse in fact – is our continuous, assiduous, active support for Assoposa in our capacity as technical partner. Assoposa was founded to provide the market (the Italian market in this case) with all the necessary guidance for correct installation of ceramic tiles, in-

cluding large-format panels, so for us it’s imperative to carry on making every effort we can to help the association successfully pursue its objectives. We’ve also embarked on partnerships with tile-setters’ associations in other countries (Holland and the UK for example), which we believe will bear fruit in their respective markets. Tile International: So you’re

moving towards a “Raimondi system” worldwide? M. Raimondi: “Yes, that’s the spirit behind the work we’re doing and our determination to step up the visibility of the Raimondi brand worldwide. We put a lot of emphasis on quality in its broadest sense, in other words quality of both the product and the service. And by “service”, we don’t just mean commercial respon-


siveness and local availability of product, we mean the ability to provide –all over world – that technical “consulting” that increasingly makes the difference in international competition. We think we’re already making our voice heard in this respect, but as I said, our aim is to improve all the time, and that’s where we intend to focus our investments and efforts.” 5

Tile International 1/2019

In the spotlight

Progress Profiles still growing

Dennis Bordin Dennis Bordin, Chairman of Progress Profiles - a major manufacturer of technical and decorative profiles and coverings installation systems, based in Asolo, in the Italian province of Treviso - has announced that the Group’s financial statements for 2018 show growth of over 15%. This hugely significant result derives from the consolidation of the Group’s Italian revenues and an increase in its exports, which accounted for 40% of total revenues in 2018. One of the many drivers of this increase in exports is the work done by the Group’s three subsidiaries: Progress Profiles America Inc. in Randolph, New Jersey, USA; Progress Profiles Middle East LLC in Dubai, UAE; and Progress Profiles Oceania PTY Ltd in Melbourne, AUS. Tile International: How would you rate your company’s performance in 2018 and how would you describe the outlook in Italy and abroad? Dennis Bordin: “The Italian construction market is definitely still going though an unstable patch, although there are signs of an upturn, but the outlook is brighter on the export market. Despite many years of stagnation in the economy as a whole, Progress Profiles has kept growing without interruption, and the Group

Tile International 1/2019


In the spotlight

closed 2018 with growth of over 15%. Our share of the Italian market remained strong and stable in 2018, accounting for 60% of our total revenues, while exports added the remaining 40%. These figures are the result of substantial investment in specialised training, Research & Development, latest-generation production technology and human resources with outstanding technical, commercial and professional skills. In Italy and abroad, Progress Profiles is synonymous with quality, professionalism and reliability: for 34 years we’ve been working with respect for the distribution chain and creating partnerships with distributors and dealers. What’s more, we’ve managed to earn the loyalty of our many customers thanks to the constant support, advice and ad hoc solutions we offer, from the earliest stages of project design.” Tile International: Which are your most important export markets? D. Bordin: “We’re aiming to increase our market share all round the world, starting of course with Europe. Outside Europe, we’re still growing in Russia, the USA and the Middle East, and we’ve also started working our way into India, China, the Far East and Oceania: these are small steps so far, but they’re very significant because they are set to consolidate our global growth. A key role in our international expansion is played by our three foreign subsidiaries - Progress Profiles America Inc. in Randolph, New Jersey, USA; Progress Profiles Middle East LLC in Dubai, UAE; and Progress


Tile International 1/2019

In the spotlight

Profiles Oceania PTY Ltd in Melbourne, AUS - which provide us with the bases we need to reach more than 70 countries worldwide.” Tile International: How did your subsidiary in Randolph perform in 2018? And what are your expectations for the current year? D. Bordin: “Progress Profiles America Inc., our subsidiary in Randolph, has enjoyed double-digit growth ever since its formation in 2012. The American market is extremely complex and multifaceted: the dynamics and requirements are very different from those in Europe and from the rest of the world, right from the construction techniques used. We firmly believe that we can achieve strong results throughout North America by making major investments - in terms of structure, logistics, sales, production and human resources - geared towards both business and product development.” Tile International: Which products are your best sellers on the US market? D. Bordin: “Our flagship prod-

sent our systems, technical and decorative profiles but we also interact with a lot of new distributors and operators. Of course, there is a lot of work before the event, collecting resources and personnel, but we always hit the target”. Tile International: Which types of product generate most demand on the market? D. Bordin: “At Progress Profiles we’ve now developed over 13,000 products and 13 innovative installation systems to meet every need. This vast range includes lots of innovative systems that are outstandingly successful, such as our patented Prodeso Membrane System, whose highly flexible decoupling membrane absorbs the settling movement of floor screeds, thus reducing cracks in the flooring. There’s also a lot of demand for our Proterrace System, which is designed to protect the edges of tiles on terraces and balconies by ensuring effective run-off of rainwater. Our Prosupport System, soon to become Prosupport Tube System, is very successful. It’s an innovative modular system

ucts, which are covered by various patents, are the electric heating systems Prodeso Heat System and the new Prodeso Heat Grip System, our Proleveling System for installing floor coverings and the Prosupport System for raised flooring and many others.. And we’re getting positive feedback on several other innovative installation systems that we’re launching. North America shows significantly less interest in technical and decorative profiles than most other countries around the world, although the care for aesthetic and details gains always more relevance and year after year are more appreciated and required.” Tile International: Do you find that exhibiting at Coverings is an effective way of making a name for yourself across North America? D. Bordin: “Coverings is one of the most important trade shows in the USA, for the ceramic sector and beyond. We take part at the fair since 2010 and it’s still a great showcase for us to raise awareness about our activities: we pre-

for renewing outdoor raised flooring in ceramic, wood, WPC, marble and composite materials: the adjustability of the system’s supports helps combine functionality with top-class styling, thanks to our Prosupport Profile N and Prosupport Profile T. We’re seeing a lot of interest in Proleveling System, especially in the new transparent, perforated version, and Proshower System with its new kits that combine practicality with appealing design. Our Prodeso Heat System is still also widely acclaimed for the innovation and comfort it offers, and so too is the new Grip version (pictured), which is generating increasing demand from newbuild and remodelling projects alike.” Tile International: What are your forecasts for the next few months? D. Bordin: “Italy has set aside substantial resources for public sector works in recent years… so let’s hope that the bureaucratic hurdles will be cleared in 2019 and we’ll finally see the launch of a few construction projects. We’re expecting further

PRODESO HEAT GRIP SYSTEM: THE LATEST COMFORT EVOLUTION FOR A TECHNOLOGICAL AND FUNCTIONAL BATHROOM Progress Profiles presents the latest version of the electrical heating system that combines flexibility, innovation and energy efficiency A comfortable bathroom has to ensure unique relaxing moments, without compromising on energy saving, innovation and aesthetics, just like for the living room or kitchen. The consistent commitment for technological research by Progress Profiles, Italian leader in Tile International 1/2019

the sector of technical and decorative profiles and floor laying & fixing systems for exterior and interior design and construction, is the main characteristic of the Prodeso Heat Grip System, which has been upgraded with a new membrane and an electric cable.

A revolutionary electrical heating system for floors and coverings that provides warmth only where desired in few minutes, and it is a cost effective, time and energy saving solution. The system is made up of two elements, Prodeso Heat Grip 42

membranes and Prodeso Heat Grip Cable. The polyethylene membrane, with decoupling, waterproofing and vapour management features, has an 8.5 mm thickness and is provided with a thermowelded polypropylene non-woven fabric on the back side. The new membrane’s de-

In the spotlight

growth on foreign markets, which we intend to achieve by keeping up our commitment to the high quality of our Italian manufacturing: that’s why we’re planning to make

major investments in state-ofthe-art technology, new automated warehouses and new technical and sales resources over the course of 2019/2020.� 5

sign suits any floor or existing surface, optimizing its performance; its new structure allows a perfect fixing of the heating cable and a crack-bridging ability five times more than the previous system. Moreover, there are shaped reliefs designed to easily hold the heating cable only where required. Prodeso Heat Grip Cable is improved and enhanced: with its new 6.5

mm diameter, the heating cable is provided with many resistances in parallel circuit, which if damaged does not interrupt the heating transmission of the entire system. Prodeso Heat Grip System can be installed in one single day, over an existing floor and only where necessary: it is the most innovative and extremely flexible

solution that guarantees quick response times and constant warmth. Thanks to Prodeso Heat Grip Thermostat it is possible to adjust all settings and time schedule using as remote control an application on Android or Apple devices. The digital thermostat optimizes well-being and saves money by reducing energy costs. This innovative and unique 43

system is internationally patented, thus certifying its high-level quality, material durability and excellent performance, and it is guaranteed 100% made in Italy. A commitment to testing and creativity is one of the strengths of Progress Profiles, which continues to invest in technological research and quality of materials. Tile International 1/2019


VISOFT PREMIUM new design !

The latest update of ViSoft’s software for room planning and visualization - ViSoft Premium - comes in a new look and with new features. When changing the corporate design with a new logo, new colours and a new font, the planning and visualization software ViSoft Premium was also redesigned. The new user interface, which has been adapted to the company’s new appearance, now allows user-defined accent colour selection and also offers the option of changing the colour scheme to dark.

New consultation mode A new feature is ViSoft Premium’s fast consultation mode, which is designed for the first sales consultation and selection directly in the show room. Only the planning interface and the side browser are displayed. In addition to the quick presentation of variants and alternatives, the consultation mode uses the largest possible area of the monitor or display.

These initial planning results can be seamlessly processed in the full version of ViSoft Premium. Resolution 4K The UHD screen resolution also known as 4K - ensures lifelike images and thus not only offers expressive presentations on large exhibition monitors, but also calculates automatically the menu for each individual device class or resolution.


Future higher resolutions such as 8K are also supported.

innovation in this functional area concerns the possibility of creating electrical plans for the light design.

Side browsers ViSoft Photo Tuning In the 2019 update, the side browsers have also been developed further. New features such as the fast display of different tiling types and additional tile filters have been added. Output plans Several improvements have also been made to the output plans in the new version. Both the tile waste and the material required for silicone joints, filled or painted walls are calculated precisely. The most important

ViSoft Photo Tuning 2019 has also been improved: The new version of the render engine V-Ray allows you to change colour settings for already completed rendering tasks. The rendering process itself is much faster. Test Version It is possible to test ViSoft Premium 2019 with the full range of functions - free of charge and non-binding - for 30 days.

Mercedesstr. 1 71063 Sindelfingen (Germany) Tel.: +49 7031 / 49165-70 Fax: +49 7031 / 49165-79

Coverings 2019 by Federica Andreini

The challenge of the American tile market, version 20.19 Coverings is one of the most important trade shows for the ceramic and natural stone industry, and is set to welcome a big influx of visitors, professionals and manufacturers in 2019. The show will include a busy schedule of events, the stands of 1100 exhibitors and a range of services organised and promoted via the show’s official website and the app developed under the guidance of the facility manage-

ment team to optimize the trade show experience. In promoting and publicising the event, the organisers have paid particular attention to the needs of the different categories of professionals who visit Coverings, and have created a single screen that sums up everything an architect, designer, contractor or manufacturer could need to organise their visit to best effect, including seminars, a business appointments man-



Tile International 1/2019









agement tool and a section for their own personal notes. By way of an example of the system’s mobile capability, the dashboard (photo 1) provides a photographic overview of the services available and is quick, easy and intuitive to consult. It enables users to manage their profile in the message center (photo 2), with which they can communicate with other guests in real time, and

share all news sent from the Coverings account (photo 3) on social media. The features also include a list of participants and speakers, for whom a more uniform section has been designed, which includes an introduction to each speaker, details of the session they will be running and the option of reviewing the event in real time (photos 4,5,6).


5 The system is a pleasure to use, and has clearly been designed around the needs of participants, exhibitors and the show’s organisers, making it a highly professional and socially effective work of IT engineering. The management of the event is enhanced by the Attendee Advisory Committee, sponsors such as The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish


6 Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the management of Taffy Event Strategies, LLC. Coverings will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from 9 to 12 April 2019. Del Conca "Fast" »»

Tile International 1/2019

Coverings 2019

Trends on the web... The organisation and presentation of the event, however, are just a foretaste of what trade professionals can expect to find at Coverings, as they look out for in-depth technical insights on trends for 2019, the market’s likely response to the current economic and political outlook, the obstacles the industry may face and the solutions it will find.

forms: if you enter “tile market & design” as a topic on the new Google Trends platform, and reduce the geographical scope to the United States of America, you’ll see that the focal point of interest is Florida, with alternating peaks over the past twelve months, while no searches on the subject were recorded in the rest of the United States (step 1).

100% interest for that subject area over the same period of time. You need to give some thought to what you ask in the search: the key difference is between ‘topic’ and ‘search term’. In this respect, data-driven platforms require the use of a specific method, perhaps in part because of how the information is received (step 2).

If you want an overview of patterns of market interest in the ceramic sector, you can follow the suggestion of Vogue Business and use data-driven online search plat-

If you now enter a second search term, let’s say the generic term “tile”, you’ll see that interest expands throughout the country, oscillating between 75% and

There are various search combinations that correlate the characteristics of the ceramic product with the interest of users and with the various materials available

Tile International 1/2019


on the market for which information is available on the web: •Tile/colour (step 3) •Tile/VLT (step 4) •Tile/parquet (step 5) •Tile/parquet flooring (step 6) •Tile/marble (step 7) All you have to do now is experiment and draw up your own search maps, by interpreting the graphs and cross-referencing them with each other to get as clear an idea as possible of how digital users interact with the topic we’re interested in. Another fantastic tool is the kaleidoscopic Pinterest, which extends our range of vision immensely. The recently released 2019 report on Pinterest activity includes a league table of the 100 most searched and saved topics. Ceramic takes 24th place in this ranking, with the category ‘ceramic pottery’, which saw a 475% increase in interest in the period from January-September 2017 to January-September 2018, and 58th place in the category ‘painted floor tiles’, which saw growth of 1276%. Here, of course, we’re looking at the whole world, not just America. However, if the main purpose of events like Coverings is to interpret the present with a view to understanding the future, we have no choice but to widen our horizons. According to these results, however, the outlook can only

Coverings 2019

...FOLLOW THE STEPS! be positive in terms of the interest shown in the product by users, i.e. retail customers. It is reasonable to assume that socially networked communication has an important role to play in the dissemination of ceramic culture and can become part of people’s daily routine, not just as a source of entertainment but as a fast, targeted, hi-tech way of finding what we’re looking for. While we need to widen our range of view, we should also take account of the statistics that measure the economic climate in America, and by extension globally, where unemployment is stabilising, interest rates on private savings are falling significantly and property investments are slowly rising. The data emerging from the Architecture Billing Index to November 2018 paints a positive picture, particularly in the North-eastern states. Growth in the construction industry is expected to reach 3.6 billion dollars in 2018, and several speakers will discuss this topic in Orlando, thus helping trade professionals gain clearer insights into their own economic situation.

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2 S&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1lp,tile



7. TO THIS! S&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1lp,tile,colors


4 explore?geo=US&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1l p,tile,vinyl%20luxury%20tile search: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA + TILE +LVT

5 S&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1lp,tile,parquet


Tile. Stone. Connections. Coverings 2019 has woven itself into the fabric of the ceramic industry, thanks to its innovative and effective approach to communication and its skill in developing pragmatic solutions. There’s only one drawback... and that’s not being there.


Here is a selection of opinions and comments from some of the main exhibitors at Coverings 2019. »»




49 explore?geo=US&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1l p,tile,%2Fm%2F027xhm0 explore?geo=US&q=%2Fg%2F1vcjn1l p,tile,marble

Coverings 2019

USA, the leading players give their views Ahead of the appointment with Coverings 2019 (Orlando, 9 to 12 April), some of the leading figures in the US ceramic industry comment on the current state and future prospects of the US market.

Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Despite the substantial growth of overall construction spending in the US last year, ceramic tile consumption did not keep pace. This was likely due to the increased market penetration of plastic flooring. We expect that 2019 will bring similar market results as last year: i.e. overall sales will be flat or experience low, single-digit growth. However, ceramic tile, with its great value, low life cycle cost, beauty, versatility, durability, ease of maintenance, and

sustainability, remains an excellent choice for consumers, so we fully expect tile’s share of the flooring market to continue to expand in the coming years. Though 2018 was disappointing, we are hopeful for higher growth in the near future. With the recent domestic plant openings and expansions, and more expected soon, US tile producers are well-positioned to supply the market with the latest designs in high-quality ceramic tile, although unfairly labeled and priced product continues to be a problem in the US marketplace. The 10% duty on Chinese tile exports to the US enacted in September 2018 has not had a noticeable effect. While it is not possible to predict whether the threatened additional 15% duty will come to pass, if it were to do so, that would impact China’s position in the US marketplace, with some importers substituting products from India.

Federica Minozzi, Iris Ceramica Group’s CEO, talks about the US market How did your Group perform on the American market in 2018? Our American Group (StonePeak, Iris US, ed.) reported stable revenues in 2018. We suffered a downturn in sales through major chains of home centres as a result of a slowdown in home renovations and a prevalent rise in the use of vinyl products for this market segment. The commercial con-

Tile International 1/2019

struction segment has generated considerable growth in our turnover, however, and we have signed major supply contracts with a series of substantial American national accounts in the catering and hospitality sector. One of the drivers of this growth was the consolidation of sales of largeformat products, which are in particular demand for commercial projects and the A&D market. What are your forecasts for this year? I forecast growth for our subsidiaries in 2019, partly due to the consolidation of our presence among certain major commercial players, and partly due to the competitive advantage generated by our in-country manufacturing of large-format products. Our new Continua Plus line came on-stream recently, in the wake of an investment of almost $70 million, which makes StonePeak the American market’s leading manufacturer of


Coverings 2019

porcelain tile in size 300x150cm with a thickness of 6mm for wall and floor tiling, and 12mm and 2cm for use as countertops. What signs are your market research department picking with regard to US construction industry performance? 2018 saw slight growth in national expenditure on the renovation and remodelling of occupier-owned residential property, but this has faded in 2019, mainly due to the fall in sales of used housing. A rise in interest rates has put a further dampener on the outlook. The impact of the early signs of shrinkage, in residential newbuild and remodelling alike, will bring about a slowdown in the market. Residential building accounts for approximately 60-65% of the property market. The outlook is brighter in the remainder of the market, in other words the 35-40% accounted for by commercial building, which includes a wide variety of offices, hotels, shops, shopping malls, universities and other buildings used for commercial purposes: according to the Architectural Billings Index (an index of non-residential building ac-

tivity), the forecast for this segment is positive, with completion times of 9 to 12 months. And what trends are you detecting with regard to the uptake of ceramic in comparison with other materials? Porcelain tile consumption is still rising constantly, although we are beginning to see fierce competition, especially in the residential flooring segment, from alternative products such as LVT. What are the main obstacles to business development in the US market, and what are the main growth opportunities? As I just said, one of the main obstacles is the increasing competition from alternative materials to ceramic, first and foremost LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles), but our main growth opportunity lies in the investment we have made in our Crossville plant (TN), which enables us to manufacture large-format products in various thicknesses in-country. This gives us a competitive advantage of several years over our competitors, and enables us to expand into new market segments such as kitchen and bathroom countertops and ventilated faรงades.

StonePeak plant in TN DelCrossville, Conca "Fast" 51

Tile International 1/2019

Coverings 2019

Gianni Mattioli, Executive Vice President Dal-Tile Corporation|Mohawk Industries I think that when all is said and done the consumption of ceramic tile in the US will be flat in volume for 2018. In dollar terms we should be up around 2%. Definitely not a banner year. Housing starts continue to be below expectations, while the commercial market is still positive. We continue to be affected by the growth of LVT which is expected to grow about 1520%. Lack of professional installers is also having an impact on overall consumption.

Our group continues to innovate and expand our product mix, with new technical products developed both in Italy and the US, mosaic, decorative tile, and more higher-end wall tile. We launched our Panoramic Porcelain Slabs, manufactured by our Italian companies, and we started a new plant in Tennessee for the production of Quartz Slabs, a business where we continue to see double digit growth. I think 2019 won’t be very different from 2018. I don’t see anything on the horizon to make me feel much more positive. All the headwinds we had last year will still be around this year. Obviously should duties on Chinese material increase to 25% in March, there should be a positive impact on all domestic producers, and also Italian exporters. As an industry we need a big push on our Why Tile campaign, telling the consumer about the advantages of ceramic tile, but especially all the disadvantages of other products like LVT (environment, sustainability, health issues, etc.).

Dal Tile ceramic tile plant in Dickson, TN

Real Bourdage, Strategic Marketing Director for MAPEI USA How do you rate the progress of the Group on the American market in 2018 and which is your forecasts for the current year? The Progress of MAPEI’s Tile Stone Installation Systems (TSIS) Group in 2018 was very strong, outpacing the growth of the ceramic tile market with a concentrated effort in both the Retail and Wholesale Distribution Channels of the business to achieve success with displacement of competitive market share. The ceramic tile market

Tile International 1/2019


continues to evolve with the advancement of tile design in both size and style, products continue to grow larger in format along with the expansion of Thin Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels acceptance. Tile design replicating the look of natural stone and wood remain popular in both residential and commercial installations, the trend towards rectangular shape is now the desired look. The tile size impacts surface prep, mortar and membrane products resulting in a continual effort to develop products in these categories to support the challenges created by changes with tile and substrates. The mortar product shift to Large-and-Heavy Tile and Stone Mortars in sync with the tile industry trends continues to create an opportunity to displace standard mortar technology with mortars and prep products formulated to address contractor ease, speed and productivity needs. In the space of membranes, the use of waterproofing membranes continues to expand, along with membranes for

Coverings 2019

crack-isolation, uncoupling, heat and sound reduction, leaving room for continual growth in these categories. Looking to 2019, the forecast for growth thru market share competitive displacement along with a slight increase in the market size are planned. From your observatory, which signals are recorded regarding the progress of building activity in the USA and the trends in ceramic consumption compared to other materials? The trend of Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels is building momentum and creating opportunities for using tile in wall applications for design accents or features previously using alternate materials. The market for sound control flooring systems is in the growth stage with multi-family and condo developments addressing the owners or renters desire for noise reduction in their living space. The overall ceramic tile market is projecting slight growth over last year; however, the momentum established in 2018 will pull market share growth forward into the coming year for the TSIS Product Line. The Tile industry will continue to be affected by the growth of luxury vinyl tile and planks. The advancement in

designs and availability with these products will affect in some proportion the ceramic tile industry for at least a few more years. Which elements could represent possible obstacles to the development of the activity on the US market, and which, on the other side, would provide new opportunities for growth? The economy is always a factor for concern, positive growth is anticipated into the coming year; however, one is required to be cognizant of this potential impact. Certainly, the availability of contractors to support the market need is an industry threat, while industry associations continually work to provide training opportunities to develop the level of craftsman, the younger generation is not seeking out the physical labor related job market. The regulations related to silica sand and the impact of OSHA on exposure of contractors to respiratory silica on the jobsite have a huge potential to cause significant changes in products like mortars using silica in formulation. This activity requires constant monitoring to plan for needed contractor support and product alignment.

Emilio Mussini, Chairman of Panariagroup Like all Italian producers based in the USA, our US Business Unit experienced worse results than expected in 2018 due to growth in Chinese and above all Spanish imports, which pushed down our volumes compared to 2017. The outlook for 2019 is moderately optimistic.

The US economy continues to grow and there are no signs of a fall in ceramic tile consumption. We are confident that we will see moderate growth and expect our decision to optimize our industrial facilities to bring good results. Domestic demand is expected to grow by 3%. We have the benefit of being able to serve the US distribution system with dedicated logistics and a product range tailored to the tastes of the domestic market, which we believe will set us apart from foreign competitors. In particular, we expect our Spanish competitors to experience a slowdown as they operate solely as exporters and cannot match the breadth of our range.

Florida Tile plant in Lawrenceburg, KY


Tile International 1/2019

Coverings 2019

Ed Metcalf, Laticrete International, Inc.’s President & COO North America How do you judge the recent evolution of the US building industry and, as a consequence, of the building material sector? We are beginning to see major changes and evolutions within the construction industry in North America. Deeper and more systemic application of new information technologies is creating opportunities for time savings and elimination of waste at all levels along the construction value chain. "Digital transformation" as a theme has already changed the way many General and sub-contractors bid projects and perform back office functions. Improvements to efficiency on job sites is being enabled by increasing adoption of BIM (Building Information Modeling) and IPD (Integrated Project Delivery). Other innovative concepts utilize off-site fabrication, thereby limiting on-site labor requirement to assembly or installation only. Examples range from entire bathroom “pods” built off-site to “cut to size” stone and tile (job-packed by unit) creating savings when applied to projects with many repeatable elements. Another opportunity is to employ concepts such as the LATICRETE Supercap “Next Generation Slab” as a means to enable efficiencies for all trades that follow the placement of concrete slabs. Providing a known and consistent

elevation on every floor has been proven to drastically reduce change orders from many trades and facilitates greater adherence to construction schedules. It is important to realize that progress in realizing on-site benefits is limited by the traditional structure of the specification and construction process. We are encouraged to see that forward thinking developers, owners and design professionals are beginning to challenge outdated conventional practices in meaningful ways. We have a long way to go, but clearly the process of transformation has begun. How did Laticrete perform last year both in the U.S. and on the international markets? Continuing a longstanding trend, LATICRETE grew global revenue at a strong double-digit pace. We’ve enjoyed especially solid growth in our International Division, which is now engaged in manufacturing in 15 key markets with sales activities in over 100 countries around the globe. LATICRETE North America continues on its growth trajectory in our core tile and stone installation business and through geographic expansion, focus on key markets and the addition of new product lines focused on resinous flooring, concrete remediation, and surface care and maintenance. What are your plans and expectations for 2019? 2019 is off to a great start. We plan to continue implementation of several key initiatives targeted at adding new production capacity, streamlining fulfillment and logistics, and providing even deeper levels of support to end-users of our products and services. As always, Innovation is a key theme. We have dramatically expanded our R&D resources and are working to drive innovation in all areas of our business. The actions we take today to proactively deal with changes and megatrends in our industry will help keep us relevant to our clients and their businesses.

Giovanni Savorani, Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica I’m fairly optimistic about the prospects for Italian ceramic tile in the United States if we consider both exports and domestic production at the Italian-owned factories opened in recent years. It’s true that the US building sector is not particularly dynamic at the moment, but we should remember that ceramic tile accounts for just 14% of the consumption of flooring materials in the USA. This means for example that a 1 percentage point gain in market share from rival products would correspond to an increase of around 20 million

Tile International 1/2019

square metres. US international trade policies imposing stricter tariffs on Chinese imports would not affect imported volumes of Italian tiles because of the huge difference in price between Chinese and Italian products (Italian tile stands at around 17 euros per square metre compared to the Chinese figure of 7.5 euros). Even a 25% increase in tariffs on Chinese products would not be sufficient to open up space for our high-end products. But the situation is rather different for products made in the United States and for foreign competitors who sell at lower prices. The real way to increase Italian market share is through more effective communication with American consumers so as to improve awareness of the quality and value of ceramic tile, which offers unrivalled sustainability and performance. With this in mind, following the excellent debut in Europe, Confindustria Ceramica and its partners have chosen Coverings 2019 as the venue for the US market launch of the social media and web campaign entitled “The values of ceramic”.


Coverings 2019

Michael Kephart, President & CEO of American Wonder Porcelain The first year of activity at American Wonder Porcelain (Lebanon, Tennessee) was both dynamic and diligent. Several years of planning coalesced with training, culture development, market penetration, production, leadership opportunities and credibility development in all aspects of the community and market. Our employees, with State and Local officials, worked very hard to create a foundation here in Middle Tennessee from which to grow, learn and innovate. We are investing in US production to serve our value distribution customer and support the future of the ceramic tile industry with Amer-

ican manufacturing. Our products are highly sustainable, ECO and VOC friendly, durable, versatile, practical and highly styled for the American market customer. Our technology is primarily Italian equipment from our starting point in 2017. We have worked closely with key suppliers to assure we optimize our operations while growing our capacity and capabilities with new lines in 2019 to produce high quality porcelain tile. We are investing for beyond 2019 opportunities. As one of the newer suppliers to the market, we must expect and drive for growth. 2019 will be a difficult year to forecast but it should present opportunities. We are fighting lots of headwinds and negativity with inflation, transportation, rising interest rates and geopolitical dynamics outside our own control. So much market supply is still coming to the US from world sourcing. If the US ceramic industry producers can continue to invest and innovate to influence the supply side and market conditions are stable, opportunities for growth and penetration will exist. We expect 2019 US ceramic tile consumption to grow at least marginally over the 2018 actual level.

Paolo Mularoni, President of Del Conca USA We’re very excited because we have chosen Coverings 2019 as the venue for the US launch of the large slabs produced by Del Conca in Italy following a series of major investments. As part of our strategy for the competitive North American market, we will continue to focus on products of high technical and aesthetic quality and partner with internationally acclaimed artists. This year we are celebrating the centenary of the American pop icon Felix the Cat with a ceramic tile collection. At the same time we are continuing to optimize market services and to capitalize on

the advantages deriving from Del Conca USA’s proximity to customers. 2018 was a challenging year for our company, which has been operating in Loudon, Tennessee since 2014. We experienced a moderate contraction in sales in the second half of the year while investing in the expansion of our range with the introduction of technical products and materials aimed at the commercial construction sector. We faced a number of problems such as the rise in service costs due to the very low level of unemployment, which for example pushed up domestic transport and tile installation costs. Both of these factors risk reducing the competitiveness of our products: in the first case with respect to imported materials and in the second relative to materials aimed at the DIY segment, such as the much-discussed vinyl floor tiles. We are also working hard to provide clear and accurate information that will help the market understand the benefits of ceramic compared to other materials in terms of healthy homes, sustainability, durability and technical performance.

Del Conca USA in Loudon, TN 55

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Coverings 2019

Victor D. Almeida, Chairman & CEO of Interceramic As a group, Interceramic posted positive results in 2018 despite failing to live up to expectations in both the Mexican and US markets, which both slowed for different reasons. While the Mexican market will continue to struggle throughout this year, we feel that the US market should

offer good opportunities for growth in 2019 and even more so over the coming years. So we are investing to be able to exploit these opportunities. At the beginning of 2018 we opened a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Guanajuato, Mexico, which will help us supply more porcelain to the US (which is currently switching to this product) and to central and southern Mexico. If the United States approves the further increase in import duties on Chinese tiles, this will open up new opportunities for the Mexican producers and enable them to reclaim first place in the rankings of exporters (in square feet) to the USA.

Cesar Cardenas, CEO of Vitromex We see the US market becoming continuously more competitive. Those manufacturers participating must be very focused on what they do well and drive their advantages as deeply as possible into the market. As trends in the US are constantly changing and evolving, it is important to ultimately remember to stay aligned with the end-user. Vitromex Mexico, as well as Vitromex USA, has recently affirmed its commitment to the end-user by re-asserting our identity, “Best Eco-

nomic Value”. We are very pleased with our progress last year as it was a year of market position and self-analysis with heavy emphasis on our production capabilities and development. This renewed focus comes at a good time for us with respect to international trade. Thankfully, our current distributor base (as well as new prospective distributors) have turned to Vitromex USA for help. I suspect this is evidence of a more competitive position for Mexican manufacturers in general for most ceramic and porcelain categories across the board. No one expects Chinese imports to go away, but if trade tensions on duties levels the playing field enough to allow the US market and Mexico to partner and strengthen the business relationships, we believe this will be the preference of the US markets. 2019 will be an exciting year for Vitromex. With trends already pointing to growth, we expect to be well ahead of the US market’s anticipated 2-3%.

Advertiser's list Abk.......................................................8 Cerambath........................................83 Cercom..............................................57 Cersaie.............................................127 Devon&Devon...................................67 Dr Tecnica........................................115 Eco Design.......................................101 Dural.....................................................5 Elios....................................................27 Energieker............................................6 Ferrari&Cigarini..................................89 Fila......................................................31 Flaviker...............................................17

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Floor Italia Ceramiche.................. 19-73 Fustecma...........................................77 Impertek.............................................91 Insca................................................107 Iris.............................Inside Front Cover Italgraniti............................................97 La Fabbrica.......................................15 Laminam.............................Back Cover Marocchi.........................................121 Maticad.............................................79 Mlt System..........................................65 Montolit..............................................71 Original Parquet........................... 22-23


Piemme................................................3 Polcart..............................................128 Progress Profiles............................ Cover Profilpas....................Inside Back Cover Provenza...............................................4 Raimondi.............................................2 Rondine..............................................81 Schluter-Systems..................................1 Tcna.................................................126 Top Cer...............................................95 Vep 87................................................87 Visoft...................................................85

Coverings 2019 by Andrew Whitmire, Tile Council of North America ew Whitmire

2018 U.S. Ceramic Tile Market Update While 2018 saw steady growth in the U.S. economy, U.S. ceramic tile consumption, which has increased for each of the previous eight years, levelled off. In spite of moderate gains in both the construction and housing markets, as well as mostly positive signs from other key economic indicators, the U.S. tile market did not respond similarly. The U.S. economy appears well on its way to a ninth straight year of expansion. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has experienced 18 consecutive quarters of growth and in 3Q 2018 was up 3.4% from the previous quarter. In the residential market, total new home starts increased

for the ninth consecutive year and were at their highest annual level since 2007 (fig. 1). The estimated 1.3 million units started in 2018 represented a 5.1% increase from the previous year. However, even with this consistent growth, there is still a long way to go to achieve pre-recession levels, as 2018 starts were off 39% from 2005, when there were nearly 2.1 million starts. Looking ahead, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new housing starts will be flat in 2019 (1.27 million units) before increasing to 1.31 million units in 2020. New single family home sales were at their highest level in more than a decade

(fig. 2). The estimated 628,000 units sold in 2018 represented a 2.4% increase from 2017. While new home sales have steadily increased each of the last seven years and have more than doubled since 2011, in 2018 they were less than half of what they were in 2005, when a record 1.28 million new single-family units were sold. Existing home sales in 2018 were at 4.74 million units, down 3.1% vs. the previous year and the first year-overyear decline since 2014 (source: National Association of Realtors). Existing home sales impact remodeling, as buyers often look to update their newly purchased home. This is of particular interest to the ce-

fig. 2 - New single family home sales

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

fig. 1 - USA: New Housing Starts

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ramic tile industry, as the two rooms most commonly remodeled are kitchens and bathrooms, which happen to be the two rooms in which tile is most frequently used. U.S. foreclosure filings, a key inverse indicator of the residential market’s health, fell for the eighth straight year. The 625,000 filings (0.47% of all U.S. housing units) in 2018 represented a 7.7% decrease from 2017. This was the lowest annual total of foreclosures since 2005 and was a 78.2% decrease from the all-time high level of 2.9 million filings in 2010. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate for 2018 was 4.54%, up from 3.99% the previous year and the highest level since 2010.


Coverings 2019

Higher mortgage rates, combined with rising home prices, low inventory, and tighter lending conditions are contributing to the slowing of the residential market. After hitting a 27-year peak of

9.6% in 2010, unemployment has fallen steadily each of the last 8 years and was at a 50year low in 2018 of 3.9%. The value of U.S. construction spending (includes both private and public residential

and non-residential construction) rose for the seventh consecutive year and was at an estimated $1.3 trillion, an alltime high (source: U.S. Census Bureau), (fig. 3).

U.S Ceramic Tile Shipments and Consumption

fig. 3 - Total U.S. Construction Spending (in billions of $ U.S.)

Based on available data from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and TCNA (up to October 2018), U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2018 was an estimated 3.1 billion sq. ft. (288 million m2), up 1.2% from the previous year (table 1). Through Oct. 2018 U.S. shipments (less exports) were 780 million sq. ft. (72.5 million m2), down 5.6% from Oct. 2017 YTD. At the current pace shipments for the year would be an estimated 908 million sq. ft. (84.4 million m2). This marks the first year-overyear decline in domestic ship-


ments since 2009. While estimated 2018 U.S. shipments did not match last year’s record high of 962.5 million sq. ft. (89.4 million m2), they were nearly identical to 2016 shipments, which at the time were the highest on record. Through Oct. domestically-produced tile accounted for 29.7% of all U.S. tile consumption in volume. Even though imports comprised a greater share in 2018 of U.S. consumption (70.3%) than in the previous year (68.6% of 2017 U.S. consumption), U.S.-produced tile remained far ahead of all other individual countries exporting tile to the U.S. - the nearest being China (21.7% of all tile consumed in the U.S. by volume), Mexico (12.3%), and Italy (11.7%). In dollar value U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments through Oct. 2018 were $1.19 billion, down"Fast" 4.4% Del Conca vs. Oct. 2017 YTD ($1.25 bil-

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Coverings 2019

and Mexico (4.7%). The value of U.S. exports rose 7.0% from $28.8 million in Oct. 2017 YTD to $30.8 million in Oct. 2018 YTD.

TAB. 1 - U.S. Ceramic tile shipments, sales and consumption (values in million sq.m) Year

US Shipments (incl. Exports)


U.S. Consumption*


% change in consumption y-o-y

2018 (Jan./Oct.)





1.2% (on Oct 2017)










































































Shipments include exports. Consumption = Shipments - Exports + Imports. Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce & Tile Council of North America lion). Domestically-produced tile comprised 38.2% of total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value. The per unit value of domestic shipments increased from

$1.51 sq. ft. (Oct. 2017 YTD) to $1.53 sq. ft. through Oct. 2018.

Exports Through Oct. 2018 U.S. ceram-

ic tile exports were 25.1 million sq. ft. (2.3 million m2), up 7.9% from Oct. 2017 YTD. The lion’s share of these exports was to our North American neighbors, Canada (80.3%)

Through Oct. 2018 the U.S. imported 1.85 billion sq. ft. (171.7 million m2) of ceramic tile, up 4.4% from Oct. 2017 YTD (1.77 billion sq. ft. or 164.6 million m2). Imports made up 70.3% of Oct. 2018 YTD U.S. tile consumption in volume, up from 68.6% in 2017. China remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in sq. ft. (or per m2), a position it has held each year since 2015. Chinese imports made up 30.9% of U.S. imports (in volume) through Oct. 2018, down slightly from 31.3% in 2017 (table 2). The 10% tariff increase on Chinese ceramic tile imports imposed by the Trump administration took effect at the end of Sept., but it is unlikely this will have any meaningful im-

TAB. 2 - Top of U.S. Ceramic Tile imports by country of origin, in volume (million sq.m) Country

Jan-Oct 2017 (m2)

2017/2016 % Change

% on 2017 total imports

Jan-Oct 2018 (m2)

2018/2017 % Change

% on 2018 total imports













































































All countries

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce & TCNA Tile International 1/2019


Coverings 2019

pact on China’s market position. Despite the Peso’s significant decline vs. the U.S. dollar over the last five years, losing nearly half of its value, Mexican ceramic tile exports to the U.S. have fallen each year since 2015. Through Oct. 2018 tile from Mexico comprised 17.6% of U.S. imports (in sq. ft./ m2), their lowest share since 2006. Italy was the third largest exporter of tile to the U.S. through Oct. 2018, making up 16.6% of U.S. imports (in sq. ft./ m2), down from 18.1% in 2017. The next largest exporters to the U.S. were Spain (14.4% import share) and Brazil (7.0%). On a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. through Oct. 2018, comprising 31.3% of U.S. imports. China was second with a 26.3% share, and Spain was third with a 15.8% share (table 3). Table 4 shows the average values of tile (CIF + duty) from the ten countries from which

TAB. 4 - Average $/m2 value of imported tiles in the last 3 years (Jan-Oct 2016-2017-2018)

the most tiles were imported (based on m2) in the last 3 years (considering the period January-October). We have to note that the average value is significantly affected by the mix and types of tiles imported, in addition to differences in pricing for the same types of tile.


Canadian Market Update Coming on the heels of a robust 14.9% increase in sq. ft. (or per m2) consumption from 2016 to 2017, the Canadian ceramic tile market declined in 2018 vs. the previous year. Based on currently available data (November 2018 YTD), we estimate 2018 Canadian ceramic tile consumption was 444.4 million sq. ft. (41.3 million m2), down 4.1% from 2017 (source: Statistics Canada). Even so 2018 was a relatively strong year, as Canada experienced the third highest level of ceramic tile

Jan-Oct. 2016 ($/m2)

Jan-Oct. 2017 ($/ m2)

Jan-Oct. 2018 ($/ m2)

2018/2016 % Change






















































Peru All Countries

Imports values include duty, freight, and insurance Source: US Dept. of commerce / TCNA consumption this decade. As there is no significant ceramic tile production in Canada, imports approximately equal consumption. The five countries from which the most tiles were imported into Canada through Nov. 2018 were China (14.4 million

m2, -4.1%; -6% in value), Italy (8.6 million m2, -14.4%; +2,4% in value), Turkey (5.8 million m2, -24% both in volume and value), Spain (3.8 million m2, +29.7%; +16.6% in value) and the United States (3 million m2, +82.8%; -8.9% in value). 5

TAB. 3 - U.S. Ceramic Tile imports by country of origin, in value (USD) Country

Jan-Oct 2017 (USD)

2017/2016 % Change

% on total 2017 imports in value

Jan-Oct 2018 (USD)

2018/2017 % Change

% on total 2018 imports in value













































































All Countries

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce & TCNA / Imports value includes duty freight and insurance 61

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Coverings 2019

The gallery, products showcase FLAVIKER A material with an authentic character, that brings style and personality to every environment. With Nordik Wood, Flaviker has chosen to continue in the direction of ceramic wood products with lots of character. The design draws inspiration from reclaimed wooden floorboards, whose blemishes and variegated details make them the

Tile International 1/2019

ideal partner for the rigorous, minimalist contexts typical of North European design, by creating a warm, authentic atmosphere. The expressive power of Nordik Wood lies in the details, especially the contrasting cracks with an almost three-dimensional appearance, which interpret the source material with striking realism.

The rustic but contemporary appearance of this wood effect creates opportunities for appealing combinations with Flaviker’s latest ceramic collections inspired by concrete, stone and rusty metal. The range comprises three warm, natural colours (Beige, Gold and Brown), plus a new colour - Smoked - which ac-


tually looks smoked and is designed for modern, refined environments. In addition to the 20x120 and 26x200cm floorboard-type formats, the Nordik Wood collection includes the premium Palace and Mansion field tiles in size 60x60cm, which reproduce the luxurious charm of box-pattern wood flooring.

Coverings 2019






DR Tecnica, a manufacturer of ceramic tile display systems, presents several new lines of display unit, some of which are now made of metal, to complement its traditional wooden systems. • 1. M-LINE is dedicated entirely to the company's new metal products, and in addition to its more traditional display systems, also includes several models for large-format tiles, which are practical and functional, and feature simple, elegant design. • 2. SPACE WALL is a line for the creation of modular, multi-functional walls, with a wide range of accessories, to ensure that products are displayed to best effect by appropriately organising the available space. • 3/4. HI TECH and TILE SHOP are specific showroom lines that include modular technical counters and tile libraries with unlimited scope for customisation and finishing, for a comprehensive display programme designed to meet the most widely varying requirements.

SERENISSIMA Serenissima’s Magistra collection intricately reinterprets the elegance and opulence of antique-effect marble to suit contemporary architecture. From the classical beauty of Greece to the magnificence of Rome and countless examples of contemporary architecture, history has been written in marble. Magistra is a porcelain tile collection that revisits the source material and uses innovative technology to make it the perfect partner for today’s design. The collection consists of an interesting selection of sizes and surface finishes to bring out the best in the time-worn effects of each individual piece. The palette of five colours spans the refinement of Marquinia Black, the feminine elegance of Fior di Bosco, the vintage hue of Cappuccino, the original nuance of Paonazzetto and the distinction of Corinthian Onyx Beige.


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Coverings 2019

PROFILPAS XL Design, the new profiles for large-format panels. The Profilpas Design range now includes XL Design, a new line of profiles dedicated to the world of large-format panels. Thanks to their length of 320 cm, these profiles finish these surfaces perfectly, highlighting their size and giving elegance and refinement to both residential and contract spaces. XL Design includes decorative listels, external corner profiles and skirting boards characterized by special shapes and finishes that create original light and shade effects. Choose between the brilliance and elegance of chromium-plated brass and the modern look of black & white, thanks to Trend Color Stone models in black or white colour-coated aluminium. For a more surprising effect, there are also two models of decorative listels and skirting boards with white LED light, available in white colour-coated aluminium Trend Color Stone or silver anodised aluminium.

Tile International 1/2019








, Florida Orlando 19 prile 20 3635 9–12 A Booth ’s h c la und no J. G

Coverings 2019

EMILGROUP Boosted by the success of its new brand Level on the American market, Emilgroup will be at Coverings 2019 with an even more extensive, varied and captivating collection of large-format panels in size 162x324cm, with a thickness of 12mm. Five new finishes, each inspired by a different type of marble - Crystal Diamond, Zebrino, Paonazzo Calacatta, Granite Patagonia and Statuario Extra further enrich the already wide range of marble surfaces offered by Level. Every surface is available with a high-gloss polished finish. A selection of surfaces are also available in the natural version and with the option of bookmatched vein patterns. For the first time, the company

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is introducing a finish inspired by Ceppo di Grè stone, called Grigio di Grè, which is only available in a natural finish and in a thickness of 6.5mm. Lastly, Level has extended its range of coverings in solid colours, with a matt Black tile available in a thickness of 12mm. The large-format panels from the Level collection, produced in thicknesses of 6.5 and 12mm, are ideal for making seamless countertops and backsplashes for kitchens and bathrooms, worktops, storage unit doors and floor and wall coverings, for both indoor and outdoor environments, with unlimited scope for detail, customisation and use across different environments.
















I S TA N B U L · ·










Coverings 2019

ABK The traces left by the passage of time and everyday life create a bond of authenticity between a place’s architecture and history. Inspired by the aesthetics of delabrè plaster, ABK presents Ghost, a collection of dry-pressed porcelain tiles that reconcile the memories of the past with the stylistic trends of the present. Ghost reprises the visual effect of flaking walls with a pleasantly balanced graphic touch. This new material interpretation features a slightly textured body embellished with contrasting traces of sheen that give the surface a special character. Ghost comes in three neutral colours (Ivory, Rope and Grey) that evoke worn stone and concrete, two pastels (Sage and Clay) and two stronger colours (Jade and Taupe). The stylistic decision to offer this texture in multiple colours extends the compositional scope of this new collection, in conjunction with the material sensations of ABK’s leading products. The Ghost range also stands out for its highly decorative value. The concept of worn, three-dimensional wood panelling appears in both the 120x270cm and the 60x120cm formats. In the same format, the evanescent “Oasis” becomes an original wallpaper with a shabby-green style. To complete the range, there’s a new 11.5x23 format, which reproduces the vintage effect of chipped brick walls.

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Coverings 2019

CIR Decorative and contemporary, the Miami collection by CIR draws inspiration from the historic “cementine” cement-based tiles that first appeared during the industrial revolution, and puts a contemporary slant on their underlying mood. The typical decorative motifs and original formats tell the story and define the uniquely versatile style of a collection that’s in perfect tune with modern habitats. The collection comes in six colours, all featuring the typically variegated look of worn surfaces, from the luminance and delicacy of White Rope to the elegant intensity of Pitch Black. The warm gradation of Light Brown and cool gradation of Dust Gray provide a neutral, intermediate choice, while Green Blue and Red Clay strike a more vivid note. The originality of the typical formats of “cementine” - 10x20, 20x20cm and a 24x27.7cm hexagonal tile - help create truly unique coverings. The in-line decoration of MIAMI MIX suggests unique design solutions with random accents that pair with all the field tiles, both in the traditional format and the distinctive Hexagon.

ECO DESIGN At Eco Design, services and products are conceived and produced for the tile and stone industry; our customers are manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, to whom we guarantee functional and impressive presentation for shops, showrooms and trade fair booths. From single display-units to turn-key services and complete installations, we satisfy any request by making our knowledge and expertise available to them. We are at Coverings with our customers for the construction and installation of their booths, and our team offers a complete support service. In these pictures you can see the new showroom of Cotto Tuscania designed with metal structures for an industrial mood (1), two examples of booths designed and installed for the Coverings and Cersaie trade fairs (2-3), and a new display-unit for large-format panels up to 3.5 metres (4).






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Coverings 2019

ITALGRANITI Icône Bleu is a new collection of porcelain tile that draws inspiration from Belgian Bluestone, whose appearance, colours and vein patterns it reproduces. The antique and scratched effects that can be worked into the surface of Icône Bleu help make it even more similar to the original. Extremely versatile, thanks to the 4 textures it comes in (natural, brushed,“ligne” and anti-slip) and the 4 accents to choose from (decoré, tapis, mosaic and hewn brick), Icône Bleu is the ideal solution for indoor floor and wall coverings in any architectural context. The perfect showcase for the visual and tactile qualities of Icône Bleu is the 120x120cm format, while the two unusual sizes for outdoor applications (20x20 and 20x30cm) with a thickness of 20mm enable designers to offer continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces. With this collection designed for international tastes, Italgraniti reinterprets the appearance of a unique natural material and enriches it with creativity and design.

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THE professional choice

Reinforced frame

Elastic stop

Incision assistance from 0 to 22 mm

Integrated lubrication point

Dual splitting system

Square rotation -45° to +45°

High visibility of incision wheel

Measurement square with reversible nosepad

100% Made in Italy

Coverings 2019

ISLA TILES Gems derives from ISLA’s interpretation of the parallels that exist between precious gems and wood. Drawing inspiration from rustic wood, the aesthetics of Gems are characterised by intriguing chromatic variations, unpredictable vein patterns and the appealing effects of wear that typify both wood and gemstones. Available in four on-trend colours - White, Agate, Quartz and FumÊe - the Gems collection expresses the depth and intensity of two of the materials most highly prized by contemporary design. The textured effect accentuates the vividness of the colours and is perfectly showcased by the wide range of installation patterns that can be created with the floorboard formats in the range. The results stand out most in the Shangai version, which derives from the apparently random juxtaposition of slim listels of varying lengths and widths.

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Coverings 2019

MARAZZI Art & Art20 Art by Marazzi brings traditional Venetian Seminato floor coverings right up to date with the latest trends in interior design. Different-sized chips and flakes of marble create beautifully natural-looking colour variegations against their concrete-effect backgrounds. Art is produced in 5 innovative, concrete-related shades which reach beyond plain grey with overtones of white, green or mud. The collection comes in a variety of sizes starting from 120x120 cm, two surfaces - natural and lux - and a 20mm-thick version in size 80x80 cm for outdoor applications. Art is ideal for contemporary residential and commercial projects, both indoors and out. The 20mm-thick version with its 80x80 cm square format in Beige, Taupe, Grey and Anthracite is ideal for outdoor technical use and can be laid traditionally with adhesive or laid dry on gravel, grass, sand or raised flooring.

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Coverings 2019

RAIMONDI Innovation, built into every product, has always been one of RAIMONDI’s main competitive advantages. And in this respect, several of the company’s recently launched products are of particular interest. The BM180PLUS modular bench, designed to extend the already wide range of equipment for the installation of large-format panels, is a workbench made of aluminium and steel, which constitutes the ideal work station for large formats. BM180Plus enables you to vary the width of the work table from a minimum of 90 cm to a maximum of 150 cm, thus adapting to panels of any size without the need for additional accessories. As for length, the maximum possible length of 360 cm is achieved by combining two benches, but you can obtain intermediate measurements (280 and 240 cm) by using a single bench with special extensions. The system therefore enables users to choose the combination that best suits their needs at any given time, while still ensuring complete expandability to meet differing future needs. Another product of particular interest is the anti-chip and anti-scratch device for the well-known RLS wedge/base levelling system. Although very rare, there are times when you have to work with tiles that have an exceptionally delicate surface finish. To avoid potential accidental damage during the installation of these products, we have introduced this new (patented) anti-chip, anti-scratch device that performs two functions simultaneously: anti-chip because it protects the edge of the tile, and anti-scratch because it prevents the wedge from coming into contact with the surface of the tile. What makes the device even more valuable is that, when it is not being used to fulfil its primary function, it can be used as a removable and reusable multi-spacer (1.5, 2 and 3 mm). Lastly, we are pleased to introduce the MEGATITINA, a machine specifically designed for abrading gres porcelain surfaces (and also marble, resin concrete, etc.) and for smoothing uneven surfaces. The machine’s high power and adjustable weight enable it to perform these operations with the utmost speed and effectiveness. We believe this product will become widely used both in remodelling projects (e.g. for abrading an existing surface before overlaying it with a new covering) and newbuilds (e.g. to smooth an uneven substrate). 75

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Coverings 2019

ARIANA With the new Epoque collection, Ariana takes us on a voyage of discovery through some of the rarest and most precious varieties of marble, to reveal a little-known side of the material through the “heritage” mood of its surfaces. The graphics of Epoque marble, redeveloped in Ariana’s research laboratories with the aid of latest-generation digital technologies, represent an elegant ceramic evolution of the material. Epoque comes in modular, edge-ground formats, from size 60x120cm to a 10x60cm floorboard format. Available in six colours and two surface finishes, the natural finish is a throwback to the feeling of natural stone, while the lapped version re-creates the characteristic effect of historic flooring, on which the initial polish has been opacified by wear. The tones and aesthetics of Ivory, Black, White, Grey, Brown and Statuario White enable designers to create effective pairings with the other collections in the Ariana catalogue. To complete the project, on the decorative front, the Abstract field tiles reproduce an unprecedented collage of marble, while the small 11.5x23 format adds a precious touch, especially in bathroom environments. Epoque combines the technical quality of latest-generation porcelain tile with the timeless beauty of stone, and is ideal an ideal complement for both contemporary-style newbuilds and renovation projects.

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Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

...tailored for you.

Coverings 2019

CERCOM The inspiration behind To Be Marble (photo) is the evocative appeal of marble, interpreted through multiple effects based on the original material. The collection includes a variety of modular formats, from 80x180 cm large-format tiles to 2.2x2.2 cm mosaics, numerous finishes and a range of trim pieces to meet an unlimited variety of architectural requirements. The luxurious luminosity of marble is offered in three surface fi-

Tile International 1/2019

nishes: Natural, for a classic look, Lux, which is polished to a mirror finish, and Satin, for a delicate matt effect. Cercom also offers the “Pannello 5� composition, consisting of five 80x180 cm large-format panels designed with a totally continuous, uninterrupted vein pattern spanning all five pieces. Concrete is the inspiration behind To Be Concrete, a collection produced in five neutral colours, in gradations ran-

ging from the candour of Gesso, elegance of Grigio, versatility of Corda, refinement of Peltro and depth of Anthracite. The wide range of formats and decorative pieces helps bring a custom touch to every habitat. There is also an 80x80 cm format in thicknesses of 19 and 10 mm, with R11 grip finish specifically for outdoor applications. To Be Resin is an industrial interpretation of wood coverings,


available in three formats and five on-trend colours, which coordinate perfectly with the To Be Concrete range to create intriguing hybrids in which the typical structure of wood blends with the softness of concrete. This variant is available in 15x120 and 20x180 cm floorboard formats and an 80x180 cm large-format panel, thus offering new opportunities for use and original installation patterns.

Coverings 2019

FERRARI & CIGARINI The Compactline series of automatic machines are the ideal solution for making the “just in time� special pieces so often needed for the perfect installation of coverings. The Compactline range is made up of machines designed for multi-disc cutting, edge-profiling and grinding of ceramic, marble, natural stone and brick. These machines are extremely compact and so easy to use that even non-expert personnel can achieve high-quality results with

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them. Compactline enables building contractors and ceramic and marble dealers to produce listels, floorboard formats, sub-formats, mitre cuts, skirting boards, mosaics, steps, marble plinths, bevels and cuts for kitchen and bathroom countertops without recourse to third parties. Compactline series machines therefore provide numerous benefits: - short machining times - no delays in installation due

to incorrect measurement of pieces - direct management of quality and possible customization of trim pieces - "just in time" management of production and the ability to take immediate action - lower materials costs, because a tile to be machined costs less than a trim piece. The most widely acclaimed models in the Compactline range include: - TMC1 - an automatic machi-


ne for cutting listels, small formats, non-slip grooves, precuts and special cuts such as mosaics, triangles, lozenges and rhombuses. - MKT/2 FIORINO for making incisions in the edges of materials in gres porcelain, agglomerate, granite, marble and terrazzo, to enable the fitting of fastening clips for ventilated façades - a building cladding system that is increasingly popular among modern designers and developers.


10 mm

10 mm

10 mm

10 mm








60X120 rett. 24”x48” rett.

60X120 rett. 24”x48” rett.

8 mm

20X120 rett. 8”x48” rett.


Rondine s.p.a. - Via Emilia Ovest 53/A 42048 Rubiera (RE) - Italy +39 0522 625111 -

60x60 rett. 24”x24” rect.

6,1X37 2 2/5”x14 1/2” 10 mm

30x60 rett. 12”x24” rect


Coverings 2019

MLT SYSTEM™ MLT System™ is the evolution of the first installation system designated Lippage Mechanical Tuning System, launched at the end of 2009 on the basis of an idea formed by Michele Volponi, an Italian tile-setter living in the United States, which was subsequently modified and developed in conjunction with Mollificio Apuano srl, an Italian company owned by Enrico and Mauro Bondielli. In 2013, the Bondielli brothers set up MLTS Europe srl, based in Massa-Carrara, which takes care of the production and commercialisation of the new installation system. MLT System™ is the only floor

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and wall tile installation system on the market that makes it possible to create joints with a minimum width of 0.5 mm and is based on components that can be reused hundreds of times, thus minimising their environmental impact. Simple, reliable and quick to use, it enables professional tile-setters and non-professional operators to tile floors and walls quickly and with impeccable results. All-Italian excellence, technology and quality. In this respect, the MLT System™ has passed the tests of the TCNA (Tile Council of North America) and CCB (Ceramic Centre of Brazil) with flying colours.

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Coverings 2019

MONTOLIT Ever since the emergence of large formats (gres porcelain panels measuring from 125 to 360 cm in length) in the ceramic market, Brevetti Montolit has been developing specific equipment to facilitate their handling, machining and installation. The result is “Progetto 300”, a range of machines and equipment, under continuous development, which includes the TOPROFILE profiling machine designed for executing perfect mitre cuts simply and professionally: simply rest the slide-plate on the ceramic panel, start the motor and slide the machine along the edge. Once the diamond grinding-wheel has removed the excess material, the job is done - to perfection. TOPROFILE has no size limits: the machine itself runs around the perimeter of the piece to be shaped, so it makes no difference whether it is a small tile or a large-format panel. The machine is ready to use, and its light weight and compact size make it easy to use and to carry. To find out more, visit Key features of TOPROFILE: - the lightweight, rigid, die-cast aluminium frame provides a large, secure contact surface, thus ensuring extreme precision - the positioning and sizing of the handles optimises ergonomics - the debris suction system adapts to all types of vacuum systems and keeps the work environment entirely dust-free - the slide-plate, in scratch-resistant material, is large and easy to replace. The comprehensive range of diamond grinding-wheels includes wheels for making bevels/mitre cuts (up to a thickness of 15 mm), which are available with medium or fine abrasive grain depending on the material to be machined, as well as wheels for making chamfers (3 and 5 mm) and radiused edges (3, 5 and 10 mm). TOPROFILE is a “Plug & Play” system, supplied in a handy carrying bag, fully assembled, adjusted and ready to use. And in the best Montolit tradition, of course, it’s all covered by an international patent.

Tile International 1/2019


Coverings 2019


Impertek’s latest development is Rail System, an innovative solution for the installation of long, narrow ceramics of any size, installations involving multiple formats, and decking. The new integrated Rail System is designed around the need to speed up the installation process and make outdoor raised flooring more stable, by eliminating the existing slope. This is achieved by means of an aluminium joist with a particular cross-section that enables it to be used with every type of pedestal we produce. The Top Rail heads, on which the tiles are laid, are fastened and slide on the joist. The Top Rail heads can be supplied with 2 or 4 mm pre-scored tabs, so as to allow a choice of joint thicknesses. ADVERTISING

VISOFT PREMIUM 2019 easy & digital planning visualizing selling

Coverings 2019

GRANITIFIANDRE Fiandre Architectural Surfaces is focusing on the Magneto collection for the renowned American trade show Coverings 2019. Magneto reinterprets concrete in its most contemporary and metropolitan form, crossing-breeding it with metallic and rust effects that alter its aesthetics in a refined balance of colour and material. Gold, Rust, Corten, Arctic, Silver and Carbon: the charm of time-worn material finds full expression in a palette of fashio-

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nable colours, distinguished by a predominant warm or cool tone. Available in traditional 120x60, 120x30 and 60x30 cm formats with a natural finish and - for the 60x30 format only - with a textured finish. Magneto has equal appeal for both retail furnishing contractors and private residential developers. You’ll find FIANDRE at Stand 3609

Coverings 2019

ENERGIEKER EnergieKer is presenting a selection of new products at Coverings 2019, including a sophisticated new series under the name Agathòs (photo on the left): a realistic and faithful expression of the stone on which it is based, the series is available in four colours and traditional formats, such as 30.8x61.5 cm, up to EKxtreme formats such as 121x270. Agathòs is also available in a bookmatched version with lapped and natural finishes.

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Sahara Noir (photo on the right) blends style with modern design to create an ideal collection for the floor and wall coverings of residential and commercial properties. The photo shows part of the Pescara central railway station, tiled with Sahara Noir Black and White in EKxtreme formats with lapped finish. The series is available in a wide range of sizes up to 160x320, with thicknesses of 6 and 12 mm.

Coverings 2019

ELIOS The Stage collection by Elios draws inspiration from the flooring of a historic theatre stage. Every board evokes feelings and traces of the past, while adding new colours, for public and private environments.

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right support for the

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Coverings 2019

FLOOR ITALIA ceramiche Floor Italia is back at Coverings in Orlando with a host of new products. From its large-format range, the Italian company is presenting the Marble line: Bianco Statuario (pic. 1) harmoniously combines the beauty and elegance of Italian design with light vein patterns in a 120x120 cm and 120x240 cm format. Floor Italia is also presenting a modern take on its timeless Black and White line (pic. 2), in which the quality and purity of Black and White, both as single colours and as high-impact designs, re-assert their status as one of the Italian company’s strengths. Floor Italia is operating on an increasingly international stage and winning new markets and new partners, while remaining faithful to its motto: Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Floor Italia ceramiche. Photo captions: Pic. 1 Marble series: Bianco Statuario, 120x120 | 48”x48” Pic. 2 Puro Naturale series: Super Black Matt & Super White Matt, 60x60 | 24”x24

1 2

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Coverings 2019

FUSTECMA Fustecma (Castellón, Spain), which has been manufacturing custom-made showroom display systems for 18 years, will showcase its latest products at Coverings, in the wake of their successful launch at Cevisama 2019. The Technik series is a fully adaptable display system, suitable for any size of tile, from the smallest mosaic, via skirting boards, accents and listels, up to 1600x3800 mm large-format panels. This facilitates the presentation of different pieces and formats from the same collection, making it easier for customers to make their choices. The Cube series of display systems features a minimalist design that helps showcase the ceramic product to best effect. All the display systems offered by Fustecma are designed and manufactured in the company’s workshop, using the best raw materials, and are totally tailor-made to the specific needs of showrooms, in terms of space optimization and user-friendliness.


Tile International 1/2019

Coverings 2019

ARIOSTEA An elegant marble of Italian origin, Fior di Bosco has a light grey background shot through with thin, whitish vein patterns and irregular colour variations. The blend of neutral earth tones gives the mate-

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rial an understated look with timeless appeal. Thanks to the refined interplay of nuances, the surface brings dynamism to any environment, and creates original habitats with plenty of character. Fior di Bosco is

available in two finishes, Lucidato Shiny (LS) and Levigato Silk (SK), in sizes 300x150, 150x150, 150x75, 75x75 and 75x37.5cm, with a thickness of 6 mm.

ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 CERTIFIED

Coverings 2019

DEVON & DEVON The lightness, aesthetic quality and versatility of gres porcelain tiles meets the classic floral decoration par excellence - Acanthus. The result is Decor Slabs, a collection of large-format panels featuring decorative solutions that meet the highest standards of technology and aesthetics.

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Coverings 2019

LA FABBRICA Inspired by vintage wood, the Redwood series of porcelain tile is produced in four stunning colour options. The strongly accentuated surface graphics combine a natural, aged feel with a creative design approach.

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Coverings 2019

V.E.P.87 Tailored to the needs of the market, V.E.P.87 presents its new display units for largeformat panels up to 160x320 cm, characterised by a uni-

que design and a range of custom options. The ceramic industry is constantly evolving, and is embracing ever larger formats, giving rise to the need for


continuous research into new display solutions. V.E.P. 87 responds to this need with tailored systems featuring minimalist design. Thanks to its

customer-oriented mission and entirely in-house supply chain, the company provides customers with top quality and a product that is 100% Made in Italy.

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Coverings 2019

AVA CERAMICA The Portoro collection draws inspiration from one of the rarest varieties of Italian marble. Its decorative feature and the large size of the panels - 320x160 cm - ensures the best possible aesthetic and technological performance.

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D I S P L A Y - S T A N D - S H O W R O O M








Coverings 2019

RONDINE The wear and tear of the passage of time, the effects of rusting and the resulting blemishes that become distinctive motifs: these are the ingredients of Oxyd, which create an unmistakable style and a mix that will never pass unnoticed.

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9 /1 4 A P R I L

M AT E R I A L I C A S A F U O R I S A L O N E . C O M

INVITATION by Tile International presents MaterialiCasaAroundShapes: a multisensorial installation curated by Milan-based architects Azzolini Tinuper that explores unconventional uses of materials. A prestigious vintage home serves as the setting for an immersive pathway that experiments with volumes and perceptions and highlights material trends in contemporary architecture. Surfaces and design accessories are interpreted in keeping with a new aesthetic vision and skilfully modelled to become an integral part of the furnishing system.



Via Palermo, 5 Milan - Italy C O M E





Ceramiche Piemme chosen for Plaza Singapura, Singapore

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The Plaza Singapura shopping mall in Orchard Road, in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district, was designed by BEP Akitek Pte Ltd. At the time of its completion in 1974, the development’s 7 overground storeys and 2 basements made it one of the largest shopping malls in the city and indeed in the whole of South-East Asia. In 2012, Plaza Singapura underwent major renovation work, including the construction of a new wing, which

increased the commercial space by 25% to a total of 122,155 sq.m (the retail space alone rose from 46,626 to 58,400 sq.m, with the addition of 80 new shops). The mall was also given a new façade, measuring 170 m in length, whose wave-like shape reflects the flow of water through the nearby Stamford canal. A multi-coloured sculpture by the Italian artist Mauro Peruchetti* has been installed in the square in front of the main entrance. Entitled Jelly

*Mauro Perucchetti - an artist who has pioneered the use of resin

- combines conceptual, minimalist and pop art traditions, and embraces techniques ranging from classical to experimental. His loyalty to a classical aesthetic makes him extremely sensitive to materials, which he uses to create a sensory experience-that appeals pictures: Hufton+Crow Helene Binet to the eye and touch in equal measure. Characterised by irreverently critical social observation, Mauro Perucchetti’s art combines a pop aesthetic with ironic insight into the contemporary world. Some of Mauro Perucchetti’s best-known works include his day-glo plastic truncheons, his reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s David in female form and his depiction of Barack Obama as a PEZ candy dispenser.


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Baby Family, it was conceived in the image of the many average families who pay regular visits to the mall. A further internal upgrade was carried out in 2015, including the installation of new flooring, lighting and lifts, and the remodelling of the

service area. For the flooring, Ceramiche Piemme, based in Fiorano Modenese, Italy, supplied over 10,000 square metres of tile from the Urban** collection, in two sizes (60x120 and 60x60cm) and two colours (white and sand). 5

**Urban is a porcelain tile collection by Ceramiche Piemme,

designed to enable the stylistic coordination of indoor and outdoor tiling, including areas subject to high levels of pedestrian traffic, and wet areas, such as swimming pool surrounds. Available in a wide range of natural colours, including sand, earth, white, grey and black, and in an extra thick 20mm version, Urban is an outstandingly strong tile, making it ideal for high-stress outdoor applications such as floating tiling on terraces and courtyards, or dry installation on grass, sand or gravel, to create attractive walkways and relaxation areas.



Per Barclay and the Cavallerizza Palazzo Mazzarino, Palermo (Italy) Eight years after his first experience of working in Palermo - which involved the creation of an “oil room*” in the main hall of Palazzo Costantino, followed years later by an installation at the Oratory of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria - the internationally renowned artist Per Barclay has come back to his beloved city with the project “Cavallerizza Palazzo Mazzarino”. This new oil room, curated by Agata Polizzi, was one of the collateral events of Manifesta12**, Europe’s roving Biennial, staged in the capital of Sicily last summer. It was set up in Palazzo Mazzarino, one of Palermo’s most important historic buildings, constructed in the heart of the city, mid-way between the Teatro Massimo and the Quattro Canti, on the foundations of an existing structure dating back to the 1500s. The staging of the event was actively encouraged by the Marquesses Berlingieri, the current owners of the palace, in conjunction with the Galleria Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea and with the support of private collectors, Schlüter Systems, Vincenzo Pecorella Oli sas, Consorzio Obbligatorio degli Oli Usati (Italy’s waste oil collection consortium), Maison Champagne Ruinart

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and Assicurazioni Generali The project involved the construction of a tank covering almost all of the 200 sq.m floor of the historic stables of Palazzo Mazzarino, leaving nothing more than a single, lateral walkway to give visitors a close-up, immersive view into the black, high-gloss surface reflecting the 14 columns that support the imposing cross vaults of the Cavallerizza. The artist’s aim was to show visitors the artistic heritage of the site from a fresh perspective, while providing them with an opportunity to reflect on the present, the dialogue between space and architecture and the scope for contemporary interpretation.

The construction of the tank The floor covering of the stables, made of Grigio Billiemi marble, has a porous surface, like all marble, so is highly susceptible to staining. It therefore required reliable protection against the possible spillage of even a single drop of engine oil. To make matters worse, spent oils have especially high viscosity, which further increases their ability to cause stains that would seriously damage the historic flooring. So it was essential to ensure the utmost safety throughout the set-up and display of the art installation.




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*The Norwegian artist Per Barclay (born in Oslo in 1955) created his first “oil room” in in 1989, by flooding the

floorspace of an art gallery in Brda, in Holland, with engine oil, before capturing the visual effects of the experiment in a collection of still photos. That first “oil room” was followed by others, which explored the reflections generated by different liquids - mainly engine oil, but also water, wine and, more rarely, milk. Although Barclay still doesn’t consider himself a photographer in the strictest sense, his photographs show exquisite composition and focus on detail, and testify to his perfect understanding of the medium, which leaves nothing to chance, from choice of lens to exposure time.

**Manifesta, Europe’s roving biennial, was first held in the early 1990s in Amsterdam, at the initiative of Hedwig

Fijen, an art historian, who remains in charge of the event to this day. It was conceived in response to the process of political, economic and cultural change triggered by the end of the Cold War, as a means of facilitating cultural and social integration in Europe. Each new edition is launched and financed individually, and is managed by a permanent team of international specialists made up of Tatiana Tarragó, Paul Domela, Esther Regueira, Yana Klichuk, Marieke Van Hal and Mikaela Poltz, in addition to Manifesta’s General Manager, Roberto Albergoni, and its Coordinator, Francesca Verga.


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“Barclay was totally love-struck by Palermo” Francesco Pantaleone - Gallery Owner Having provided the necessary materials and technical support for a similar installation in the Church of Santa Caterina two years ago, Schlüter-Systems stepped forward again to assist with the construction of the spent oil containment tank for this project. The company supplied waterproofing membranes to the architect Ignazio Mortellaro, who then oversaw the execution of the work, with the technical advice

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of Enzo Guarino, SchlüterSystems’ local agent. With the aid of Schlüter®KERDI technology, the floor of the stables was covered with a fully waterproof tank, designed to prevent any leakage of oil that might damage the delicate flooring beneath. The tank was made using Schlüter®-KERDI membrane - an EC and ETAG certified system with a proven trackrecord of worldwide use for over 25 years - which is normally used for waterproof-


ing the floors and walls of bathrooms and showers before installing their coverings. On this occasion, in view of the importance of being able to remove the membrane easily at end of the installation’s display period, Schlüter®-KERDI was laid on a floating layer of plastic sheet. To bond the Schlüter®-KERDI membranes in the overlap zones, the sealing strips around the perimeter and the pre-formed special

pieces for the corners at the bases of the many columns, the contractors used Schlüter®-KERDI-COLL-L, a two-component waterproofing adhesive. Schlüter-Systems’ materials enabled the artist to work in safe conditions, while protecting the flooring of the Cavallerizza, putting on a memorable event for the city of Palermo, and returning the historic flooring unblemished to the Marquesses Berlingieri. 5


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Casa Balint, Valencia (Spain)

The unmistakable style of the architect Fran Silvestre is plain to see in Casa Balint, near Valencia. This truly unique and thoroughly modern detached house is designed to blend seamlessly into the peculiar topography of a golf course.

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Hence the elliptical shape of the building, which is given an aerodynamic appearance by the continuous façade made of Krion® Snow White solid surface installed on Butech’s innovative ventilated façade system. The façade has a total sur-

face area of about 1,100 square meters, 650 of which are clad in Krion® Snow White solid surface. White is the undisputed star of the show, both inside and outside the house, and is tempered only by the brilliant tur-


quoise of the swimming pool, tiled in World Blanco Almeria mosaic by L’Antic Colonial. The various shades of green of the garden and its surroundings provide a framework for the house, which lends it a dignified air of sobriety.



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Photo: Diego Opazo

Offering total floorspace of 772 square meters, the villa’s interior is laid out on three levels, arranged around an open, patio-like central area, crowned by a skylight that lets in an abundance of natural light. The top floor accommodates

the bedrooms, while the ground plays host to a kitchen and a large living room, which gives the impression of extending out into the garden, thanks to its immense window. Lastly, there’s a basement floor connected directly to the patio.

All the floor coverings are natural materials by L’Antic Colonial, which give the different spaces of Casa Balint their own distinct identity: • the shared space features Wood Lovers Soft large-format natural wood floorboards (42×450 cm) com-


bined with an underfloor radiant heating system • for the bedrooms, the designers opted for Eden Sand Soft natural wood floorboards, also by L’Antic Colonial, in size 20×240 cm • the outdoor areas - patio, terraces, stairs and pool ar-

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eas - are paved with products from the Silver Touch natural stone collection. The design of the kitchen makes use of the Gamadecor line, to create a flexible environment, capable of rec-

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onciling different elements, such as the television, within a work area designed around the G-475 Matt White Lacquered collection with integrated door handles. The “work area” of the kitchen is separated from the living

room by a partitioning column tiled with Athenas polished white marble by L’Antic Colonial, which is the same natural material used for the flooring of the entire area. Tiled with natural marble floor


tiles by L’Antic Colonial, the bathrooms are also finished with a range of products by Noken, such as taps from the Lounge series, in conjunction with other items from the Lounge and Essence-c collection. 5


Marble protection at the AthensWas Hotel, Athens (Greece) Occupying a prime location on the Dionysiou Areopagitou, the most picturesque pedestrian street in Athens, the AthensWas Hotel stands opposite the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum, a stone’s throw from the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Syntagma Square. AthensWas is a Design Hotel™ designed by the Athensbased firm Stage Design Office, in line with the principles

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of classic Modernism. This architectural style is typical of important buildings in the Greek capital, and is characterized by clean, simple lines and natural materials, particularly marble from different parts of the country, and local walnut.

Protecting the materials To preserve the coverings of the AthensWas Hotel and

keep them in perfect condition, FILA Surface Care was appointed to take care of the post-installation washing and protective treatment of the materials. The most precious types of local marble include black granite, green marble and Pentelikon white, which was used in the construction of the Parthenon and the entire Acropolis. FILA Surface Care also treated the indoor and outdoor


ceramic floor coverings in the reception area, panoramic terrace, lounge bar, public areas, bedrooms and bathrooms.

The chosen solutions The polished marble coverings, which are sensitive to strong detergents, were cleaned with FILACLEANER, a high-performance, concentrated, neutral detergent that’s ideal for initial washing



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of the most delicate types of natural stone. The areas with unpolished stone coverings, such as black granite, were washed with FILAPS87 de-greasing, stain-removing detergent, which is perfect for basic washing of stone coverings with a natural or matt finish. The black granite in the

lounge bar was treated with FILASTONE PLUS solvent-based colour-enhancing stain protector, which protects and revives the original colour of polished natural stone, to enhance the tone of all types of finishes. FILASTONE PLUS penetrates deep into the material, protecting it from watery and oily

stains and dirt, and is longlasting, non-yellowing and UVresistant. The polished ceramic tiles in the bathrooms were cleaned after installation with DETERDEK concentrated acid detergent, and then treated with FILAMP90 solvent-based stain protector. Ideal for protecting tabletops


and bathroom and kitchen countertops, because it is certified food-safe, FILAMP90 provides the best possible stain protection for polished marble, natural stone and ceramic, because it does not form a surface film and does not alter the natural colour of surfaces. 5

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Lamborghini Canteen, Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) The partnership between the renowned supercar manufacturer based in Sant’Agata Bolognese and Archilinea, a firm of architects based in Sassuolo, has yielded breath-taking results in recent years and doubled Lamborghini’s indoor floorspace from 80,000 to 160,000 sq.m. The latest complex development project culminated in the inauguration of Torre 1963 - the company’s new office building - in late December 2017, and the award of LEED Platinum Certification to it, with a score of 92 out of a possible total of 100 points.

This partnership between Archilinea and Lamborghini, focusing on the major task of enlarging the company’s production facilities, was founded on a shared commitment to offering the highest possible quality of life inside the buildings, while using architecture as a medium for expressing the brand’s identity and reinforcing its exclusivity, by constructing an industrial complex that is both carbonneutral and a beacon of advanced technology. Such a major project clearly had to include the “Lamborghini Canteen”, which

now has seating capacity for 480 people. As well as the dining area itself, changes were made to the work areas, by extending the kitchen space available for food preparation, washing-up and storage. Steps were also taken to bring the facilities into line with the latest health requirements, by enhancing the lighting and ventilation of the building. Interior light intensity was increased by installing a transparent polycarbonate wall. The ground floor of the new canteen at Automobili Lamborghini consists of an entrance hall, coffee bar and

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PIANTA PIANO TERRA scala 1:100 GSPublisherEngine

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two imposing dining rooms separated by the columns that support the mezzanine and stairway system. The kitchens occupy an independent position opposite these, and communicate with the outdoor area. The meal distribution area, divided into separate islands, is based on a free-flow design to optimise the flow of people and minimise queuing. The mezzanine level, which is reached either via the stairs from one of the two dining rooms below or by taking the lift, has 4 multimedia dining rooms, which are equipped for presentations and video



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The Sant’Agata Bolognese plant, where Lamborghini makes its Urus SUV, is a concentrated essence of Industry 4.0 technology. A supersmart IT hub takes care of the timing of operations and the interactions between humans and robots. Company Canteen for Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., Sant’Agata Bolognese Year of construction: 2013 - the works were completed in 143 days Project type: Company canteen Architects: Archilinea - Giuseppe Gervasi Construction company: Mario Neri Spa Photography: Matteo Serri


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Project Founded in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant’Agata Bolognese, in northern Italy. With over 130 dealerships worldwide, Automobili Lamborghini has created an uninterrupted series of dream cars over the half century since its formation, including the 350 GT, Miura, Espada, Countach, Diablo and Murciélago, not to

mention limited editions like the Reventón, Sesto Elemento and Aventador J. Lamborghini produced the Veneno Coupé, the Egoista and the Veneno Roadster to mark its 50th anniversary in 2013, while the Centenario commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of the company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, in 2016.

Archilinea is an integrated Architecture and Interior Design firm that combines creative expression with engineering prowess, to deliver outstanding solutions on budget and on time. The team is now made up of over 40 specialist professionals, who work in partnership with clients and often represent a single source capable of taking care of every

conferences and connected to an extensive terrace surrounded by climbing plants. All the floor coverings for the dining areas, kitchen and bathroom facilities - amounting to a total of 2,000 sq.m - were supplied by Casalgrande Padana. The specifiers opted for the Architecture series of porcelain tile from the Granitogres collection, in Cool Gray, size 90x90 cm. 5

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aspect of the works. The firm oversees every stage of the project, from architectural design and consulting to construction and interior outfitting. Archilinea’s primary focus is on adding value to the areas surrounding its works, safeguarding the environment and delivering sustainable buildings that offer high-quality living space.

Orlando - USA

9 -12 April Booth #1507 Italian Pavillion

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DISPLAYS & SHOWROOMS - CONCEPT, DESIGN & MANUFACTURING Marocchi s.r.l. Via G. Di Vittorio, 3 40020 Casalfiumanese (Bologna) Italy

Tel. +39 0542 666136 Fax +39 0542 666762


Salerno Maritime Terminal (Italy) The Salerno Maritime Terminal was Zaha Hadid’s last project. Inaugurated on 25 April 2016, less than a month after the architect’s untimely death, it won the 2017 Excellence in Design Award organised by the American Institute of Architects[1] and was selected as a jury winner in the 2017 Architizer A+ Awards. A quintessential transit point, the Maritime Terminal is located on Salerno’s Manfredi pier, midway between the commercial port and the city’s seafront. It is a sculptural creation made of concrete, glass and ceramic. In the words of Zaha Hadid Architects: “Like an oyster, the terminal’s hard, asymmetric shell protects the softer elements within; sheltering passengers from the intense Mediterranean sun.” With its sinuous lines, the terminal is a visual expression of the meeting of land and sea, and its large shell provides a perfect interpretation of the function of “digestion and reformulation” of the two contrasting elements: solid and liquid. The structure, made of exposed concrete specially treated for protection against weather and pollution, has a base sculpted into the shape of a hill, which supports a system of stairways, designed as an architectural routemarker that guides passengers from the lobby to the three main areas: the ticket office, the ferry terminal and the cruise-ship terminal on the upper floor. Concrete is used alongside materials such as glass, steel, wood and ceramic: • staggered glass panels anchored to the roof slab and mounted in metal frames built into the slab mark out the perimeter of the first floor of the building; • parts of the interior coverings are made of maple wood; • a LED-backlit steel handrail highlights the outline of the stairways by day and by night; • the roof over the 4,500 square metres of total floorspace spread over two levels is

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Like an oyster, the terminal’s hard, asymmetric shell protects the softer elements within, sheltering passengers from the intense Mediterranean sun. Zaha Hadid Architects

pictures: Hufton+Crow - Helene Binet The Salerno Maritime Terminal is designed to attract new cruise ships to the Amalfi Coast and the archaeological sites of Paestum and Pompei. At present, it serves only as a ferry terminal for sailings to Capri, Ischia, the Cilento coast and the Aeolian Islands, but once the dredging work at the Port of Salerno is completed, cruise ships will also be able to dock there.


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made entirely of ceramic. To create a covering for the Salerno Maritime Terminal’s curving roof, the architects chose a mix of SistemA crystallized porcelain panels by Marazzi, in a colour palette comprising various shades of sky blue. The aesthetic reprises the magnificent, majolica-clad domes that are the hallmark of the Amalfi Coast’s churches, and serves as an additional link in this fusion of land and sea. Like the majolica-clad domes of the churches, the purpose

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of the covering is to reflect the Mediterranean light by day and the artificial light by night. The result is an unending play of light that generates optical illusions of movement that blend the structure into the surface of the sea. SistemA by Marazzi - is a hightech product made using exclusive Marazzi technology patented in 2010. It is ideal for use in high-traffic public and commercial areas, both indoors and out, and in ventilated façades. 5



Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), who was born in Baghdad and became a citizen of the United Kingdom, is one of the best-known exponents of contemporary architecture. After graduating in mathematics from the University of Beirut, she studied architecture in London, where she established her own firm in 1980. In 2004 she became the first female Pritzker Prize winner. Hadid stands out for her uncommon creativity, combined with a commitment to undertaking extensive research, transcending spatial constraints and thinking beyond traditional paradigms. Her peculiarly creative approach is complemented by the use of advanced technology, making her one of the highest exponents of modern architectural deconstructivism. With a track-record spanning more than 30 years and almost a thousand projects worldwide to its credit, Zaha Hadid Architects is a benchmark in contemporary architecture, with a portfolio of imposing works that still succeed in transmitting a sense of lightness, fluidity and transparency. The firm’s many works include the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck (2002); the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003); the Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Copenhagen (2005); the MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009); and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku (2012). It has also won numerous international awards, including the Pritzker Prize (2004); Design of the Year 2014 for the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, and the Royal Gold Medal RIBA (2016).

SistemA by Marazzi SistemA by Marazzi


Tile International 1/2019

More Standard Tests. Comprehensive Custom Services. The Customer Care and Responsiveness


At TCNA Lab Services, we're ready to put North America's most experienced independent tile-and-stone-specific product performance testing laboratory to work for you in assessing the characteristics of your ceramic tiles, glass tiles, dimension stone, and installation materials. You'll have access to an incomparable catalog of services: no other lab offers the experience and the comprehensive testing menu we provide. We offer more than 70 ASTM, ANSI and ISO standard tests—including 45 test methods accredited under ISO17025—as well as an extensive range of custom services: targeted research, product development, testing developed for future standards, and testing to explore or show specific attributes. We're always ready to supply the analytics you need along the journey to innovation.

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Tile International 1/2019  

In this issue: Special Coverings 2019

Tile International 1/2019  

In this issue: Special Coverings 2019