Now that summer has arrived, it is time to exhale a little bit -- especially because TILE Magazine’s new Web site went live on May 30. While it definitely required some dedication and hard work to get it launched on time, we hope our followers are pleased with the end result. The goal was to make it more user-friendly and a viable source of information for industry professionals.

In addition to daily news updates, we post the latest tile collections from manufacturers worldwide as well as the newest tile installation and maintenance products. TILE’s new site also allows us to showcase photo galleries with large images that really allow viewers to see tile products and applications up close. In the coming months, look for Web Exclusive articles and blogs from industry professionals. And of course, the most current issue of TILE will be available to read online.

With all that said, our staff has also been working hard to put together this issue of TILE, which features Installation Case Studies on two high-profile projects. The first is a New York City townhouse in the historic neighborhood of Gramercy Park. Design and construction were done by the homeowner, who used a variety of Italian tile to provide the durability needed for an active family as well as products that respected the traditional elements of the space. The townhouse renovation, which begins on page 18, won top honor in the residential category of the Ceramics of Italy 2012 Tile Competition.

The second Installation Case Study, which starts on page 26, highlights the newly installed porcelain tile floor at the Tampa International Airport in Tampa, FL. For five months, the installation team worked through the night so that the busy airport could remain open and function in full capacity. Porcelain provided the strength and durability needed in such a high-traffic area. 

The July/August issue of TILE also features an article on Tile of Spain-branded manufacturer Decorativa. I was fortunate enough to visit the tile producer’s factory in Valencia, Spain, earlier this year, and what I witnessed in their factory was truly amazing.

Established more than 100 years ago, Decorativa specializes in traditional tile making. After observing the process, I thought it was something worth sharing with our readers because it is not something that is seen every day.

In an era where technology is at an all-time high, it is wonderful to see that Decorativa still values the craftsmanship of a true artisan. Throughout the guided tour, I saw a range of craftsmanship at work -- from hand painting tiles to the glazing process to quality control.

I am certainly not saying that the technical advances made in the tile manufacturing aren’t tremendous. They allow for the fine textures and authentic replications of the look of natural materials such as stone and wood. I just thought it was important to share that there are still some artisan companies out there that truly are proud of honing the craft. Read more about Decorativa beginning on page 38.