WEB EXCLUSIVE: With a full range of coverings that display the latest in world trends, textures, sizes and technologies, we knew we couldn’t wait to see what the show’s exhibitors would present. Thanks toTILE Magazine’sSenior Editor, John Moore, the wait is over.

Inti's Gioia series

TILE Magazine was a featured exhibitor at Revestir 2008, in partnership with Brazilian tile magazine Mundo Ceramico. Pictured in the booth is TILE Magazine’s Brazilian representative Lazzaro Menasce.

Revestir, the biggest ceramic tile tradeshow in Latin America, celebrated its sixth anniversary this year, highlighting the strong growth of the Brazilian ceramic tile industry, which continues to flourish despite the challenging economic conditions in the U.S. economy, its largest foreign consumer.

Mirroring the growth of the Brazilian tile industry, attendance this year increased substantially over previous years, with more than 35,000 visitors, the highest number in the show’s six-year history, noted organizers.

This edition of Revestir featured an increased focus on architects and designers, with seminars by some of the world’s leading architects, including Ma Yansong, Patricia Urquiola and Karim Rashid.

While the Brazilian ceramic tile market continues to grow, business in the United States has slowed considerably in the wake of the downturn in the housing market and the devaluation of the dollar against foreign currencies, which has made Brazilian products more expensive compared with previous years. However, most Brazilian companies continue to pursue U.S. business, hoping to gain market share from their European competitors.

“We are expecting a soft market during 2008, but we are gaining market share in a difficult market,” said Carlos Portella, area manager of Eliane. The company, which launched several new collections at the show, will bring its latest introductions to Coverings.

Mosarte’s unique stone mosaics offer a luxurious twist on a classic theme.

“2008 has been a very good year for the construction industry,” said Decio Gyotuko, president of Ceramica Gyotoku. “We’re expecting an increase of 20-30% in the second half of the year. Gyotoku said the company is investing heavily this year, and will be opening two new factories with a total production capacity of 1.7 million square meters per month.

“We’re still investing in the U.S. market, waiting for the market to recover,” said Paulo Benneton, sales director of Portinari. The idea of waiting out the recession and continuing to invest in hopes of gaining market share was a sentiment shared by many Brazilian tile companies.

On the show floor, traffic was brisk, with some booths filled to capacity with eager buyers anxious to see the latest ceramic tile designs. In terms of design, it was clear from the products on display that Brazil has become a force to reckon with and a serious competitor to the Italian and Spanish companies that have long dominated the industry.

One obvious trend in Brazilian ceramic design is the influence of luxury products such as jewels, precious metals and textiles. One of the notable examples of this ultra luxurious style was Portinari’s Dolce Cristallo collection, which uses Swarovski crystals to achieve a new look in ceramic tile design.

Antonio Carlos Kieling, superintendent of Anfacer, discusses the Brazilian ceramic tile industry at the Revestir press conference.

“Our strategy with this series is to sell tile as a decoration, not just as a covering,” explained Paulo Benneton of Portinari. The company also debuted several other series, including the Tessufe Biano line, with accent pieces that incorporate luxury textiles embedded between layers of glass; and the C12 series, which recreates the look of carbon fiber found in luxury sports car interiors.

Other innovative designs on display at Revestir 2008 included Eliane’s LEDs series, which contains a unique LED lighting system; and the company’s Unique series that features a honeycomb design and through-body color that includes tiny pieces of glass and metal.

These are just a few of the many remarkable new ceramic tile designs on display at Revestir 2008. With the success of this show, Anfacer, the Brazilian ceramic tile manufacturers association, is looking forward to another record-breaking show next year. Revestir 2009 will be held March of 2009, again at the Transamerica center in Sao Paulo.