Coverings 2014will mark the stone and tile exhibition’s 25th anniversary. At a time when the tile and stone industry in the U.S. was gaining momentum and needed a single cohesive venue for distributors, retailers, contractors, installers and specifiers to see the finest examples of new tile production available in North America, Coverings was established as the first U.S. tile and stone exposition and conference. It was founded not only to showcase new products, tools and machinery, but also to provide networking opportunities, training and education on a diverse range of topics — from design trends to installation techniques and certification programs. This year the event will be held from April 29 to May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

The show will host an official Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on Wednesday, April 30 from 9 to 11 p.m. at a Las Vegas nightclub to celebrate this important milestone. The special event will feature an open bar, music, networking and reminiscing. Additionally, Coverings attendees will receive a 25th Anniversary commemorative collectible at the exhibition.

The first iteration of Coverings took place in 1990 in Anaheim, CA, when Tile Expo and The World Exposition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings merged — creating The International Tile Exposition, which later became the International Tile and Stone Exhibition, and eventually Coverings. The inaugural show also accomplished something no one in the industry had been able to do — unite five industry associations under one umbrella: The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

“It seems nearly impossible that it has been 25 years since my first show,” said Inma Roca, Coverings Board Member and representative from Tile of Spain. “The show unquestionably hit the mark — finally there was a trade show, and not just an industry conference format event, in North America.”

“When I look back and see how Coverings has progressed over the years, these words by Peter Drucker come to mind: ‘Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision,’” said Luciano Galassini, Coverings Board Member and Deputy Director General of Confindustria Ceramica. “By joining forces with other tile associations and creating a tradeshow run by the industry, we’ve been able to transform the tile market in the U.S. Many things have changed over 25 years, but the show continues to be the best tool for promoting tile in America among distributors, contractors, specifiers and consumers.”

Since that first show, Coverings has become the largest international platform for the tile and stone industry in the U.S. — with more than 900 exhibitors, more than 70 conference sessions and a myriad of networking events annually — all for free.

And in honor of its 25th anniversary, Coverings has extended its conference program to include a fifth day. Beginning on Monday, April 28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attendees can access the tips, trends and experts who can help them maximize their time and sharpen their skills.

The conference program will feature 80 free conference sessions presented by 100 of the industry’s most original thinkers and experts, according to show management. New this year, attendees can add sessions directly to their Outlook calendar so they won’t miss a minute of any important session.

"  As we prepare for the show’s 25th Anniversary, we’re looking forward to highlighting how tile and stone impacts our lives everyday  "

-- Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director

“Each year, we seek to produce a show that is more outstanding, impactful and memorable than the last,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Coverings exhibitors continually showcase outstanding products and inventive booths with international flair, like no other trade show in the U.S. Paired with the most comprehensive educational track and numerous networking opportunities, Coverings continues to provide the platform that the industry relies on to thrive and continue its success all year long.”

Show highlights

Once again, Coverings will present the Coverings Installation and Design (CID) Awards, honoring the best achievements in outstanding design and installation of tile and stone.  Open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers and installers, the CID Awards celebrate creativity and technical know-how in the use of tile and stone in residential, commercial, international and sustainable projects. Sponsored by TileLetter and TADA magazines, winning projects will be honored during the exhibition.

New to the 2014 CID Awards is the addition of a Sustainability category for recognition of tile and stone projects that place a premium on innovative sustainable design. This new category replaces the PROJECT: Green program that recognized these projects in years prior. Additionally, a new online portal simplifies the process of entering projects for consideration in the 2014 CID Awards.

“One of the highlights of Coverings is celebrating and honoring unique projects that exhibit the highest levels of creativity, craftsmanship and outstanding use of materials,” said Fendrich. “We anticipate even more outstanding projects than ever before, especially with the new program updates we’ve implemented.”

This year, Coverings also has launched an online photography contest to honor inspiring tile and stone installations, artwork, buildings and structures found around us everyday. The social media-driven sweepstakes also serves to commemorate the show’s 25th year, with two Grand Prize Winners earning a trip to Las Vegas during the show.

“As we prepare for the show’s 25th Anniversary, we’re looking forward to highlighting how tile and stone impacts our lives everyday,” said Fendrich. “Tile and stone continues to have the unique ability to transform the look of interiors and exteriors with rich textures, color, warmth and fluidity that few other products can replicate. We’re excited to see what inspires our exhibitors, attendees and fans as we all prepare for this year’s show.”

Coverings has also partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Architecture, to develop a course that will investigate the use of tile as a medium for furniture design. Through a 13-week series of lectures and workshops, students enrolled in “Mediations on Making – Exploring Furniture Design” will learn about the factors involved in designing furniture, opportunities and constraints of tile, design visualization and presentation, construction and installation drawings, and fabrication processes. The course also will include a competition where each student will design a conceptual drawing of a bench using tile and stone as its source material. A jury will select six concepts for students to fabricate and display at the exhibition.

“Mediations on Making – Exploring Furniture Design” is supported by a number of leading manufacturers, which will be providing students with high-quality materials and real-world training. Arizona Tile will be providing tile for the program, Bonsal/Prospec and Wedi will supply installation and structural materials, and Alpha Tools and Rubi Tools will provide the necessary tools. The NTCA, as well as Bonsal/Prospec, will provide certified trainers to educate students on the fabrication and application processes.

“The partnership between Coverings and UNLV to develop this unique opportunity for students to partner with leading manufacturers, fabricators and installers in the tile and stone industry, will greatly enhance their knowledge and skillset for their future design careers,” said Fendrich. “This program also highlights Coverings’ commitment to industry education and expanding the knowledge to emerging talent that tile and stone are surfaces with unbridled design potential.”

The six finalist benches will be displayed on the Coverings show floor for the duration of the exposition and conference for all attendees to enjoy. During the Coverings 25th Anniversary celebration on Wednesday, April 30, attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the benches in a silent auction that will benefit the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) and a charity of UNLV’s choice.

For a complete schedule of the Coverings 2014 conference program, visit: