Last year, Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, returned to the East Coast after celebrating a successful 25th anniversary in Las Vegas, NV. Held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, the 26th edition of the show drew in its largest crowd since 2009, with approximately 23,000 attendees from more than 40 countries.

Although the show will again grace the East Coast, this year, the show is moving all the way up north to the Windy City, where it is scheduled to take place from April 18 to 21, 2016, at McCormick Place.

With a new venue spanning 420,000 square feet, show organizers only expect attendance to flourish, with an estimated 1,100 exhibitors and more than 75 specialized training and educations session offered. “We’re thrilled to bring Coverings to Chicago in 2016,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings Show Director. “We’re looking forward to sharing the tile and stone resources that Coverings provides designers, architects, contractors, installers, fabricators, retailers and distributors alike. The Chicago market has a vibrant architecture and design community, and we are excited to play an active role there in the year ahead.”

Sponsored annually by the Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Ceramics of Italy/Confidustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Coverings will incorporate some new features, as well as a handful of staple features, all of which have an ultimate goal of showcasing the latest products, trends and resources for the tile and stone industry.

Show highlights

Since Coverings strives to improve with each year, show organizers are always looking to develop new programs and show features to align with the current industry. This year, there are three brand new features, which were created to add more transparency and education to the show floor.

The First Timer Orientation meetings, scheduled for every morning at 10:30 a.m., are quick, hour-long sessions which will give attendees all of the information necessary to make the most of their time at the show, including answers to the most frequently asked questions, tips and tricks for tackling the massive show floor, and information about special events and show features.

The Chicago Mosaic School Workshops, offering specialized demonstrations and workshops from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, is a new interactive and educational feature that’s been added to this year’s show floor. The Chicago Mosaic School offers classes and workshops by rigorously trained art professionals who teach process, materials and the techniques and skills in contemporary and classical mosaic arts. The Chicago Mosaic School events are sponsored by Crossville, Inc.; Mapei; Oceanside Glasstile; Ceramica Vogue; and Wedi.

Last but certainly not least is the newly-developed Software Showcase, featuring “how-to” demonstrations from software companies that will provide attendees with an up-close look at how their solutions are the best fit for certain needs. These demonstrations, which will take place in the Social Media Lounge during each day, will aid attendees in finding the perfect software solution for all business needs, according to organizers.

Staple features

Aside from the new features, Coverings will also present its annual Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards, honoring the most superior designs and installation of tile and stone. Open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers and installers, the CID Awards celebrate creativity and technical prowess in the use of tile and stone in residential, commercial, international and sustainable projects.

Sponsored by TileLetter and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, TILE’s sister publication, winning projects will be announced during the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration, which will take place on the first night of the show, April 18. The free event, which was developed last year, will include a presentation of the winners — who must be present to accept their awards, otherwise the projects will be disqualified and new winners will be awarded, with the exception of international projects — along with a live showcase of the projects and a cocktail reception, which will embrace a special “Taste of Chicago” theme.

To see a complete list of all educational programs being offered at this year’s Coverings, go to coverings.com