Coverings 2012 in Orlando

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The Italian Day held at Coverings, the pre-eminent American exhibition for the ceramic tile sector, featured a packed programme of events.

The Ceramics of Italy Press Conference, organised this year in the form of a talk show, hosted the Italian Consul in Miami Adolfo Barattolo, the Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica Franco Manfredini, the Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica’s Promotional Activities and Trade Fairs Commission Vittorio Borelli and the Director of the Italian Trade Commission’s North American network Aniello Musella. The event was moderated by Armando Cafiero, Director General of Confindustria Ceramica.

According to statistics on the US ceramic tile market unveiled during the conference, 2011 exports of Italian tiles amounted to 27 million sq.m with a value of 345 million euro. In the first quarter of the year, Italian exports enjoyed two-figure growth in terms of both volumes and (a few percentage points higher) value.

The four US companies controlled by Italian groups, which operate six factories and have more than 1,200 employees, reported a 2% growth in volumes and a 4% rise in turnover, in line with the figures for US producers.

The new Ceramics of Italy advertising campaign, which associates ceramic products with Italy’s other world-class sectors of fashion, design and sports cars, was presented for the first time to the US market.

At the end of the talk show, the designers of the institutional stand “Piazza Ceramica” discussed their work. Designed by New York based architecture and design practice e+i studio, the exhibit extends over a floor space of around 300 square metres and features surfaces clad with Italian ceramic tiles produced by Atlas Concorde, Caesar, Emilceramica, Fioranese, Florim, Lea and Marazzi. Contributions were also made by Mapei, Fila, Profilpas and Stratos.

Next, the awards were presented to the winners of the Ceramics of Italy Design Competition 2012. The Commercial category was won by the Leo A. Daly architecture practice (Washington, DC) for the Union Square 999 project (Washington, DC) using ceramic tiles from Lea Ceramiche, distributed by Lea North America. An honourable mention went to RSP Architects (Minneapolis, Minnesota) for the Software Headquarters Facility project (Medina, Minnesota) featuring tiles by Floor Gres.

The winner of the Institutional category was RSP Architects and Rich Varda (Minneapolis, Minnesota) for the Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ) using ceramic tiles from Ceramiche Caesar and Lea Ceramiche, distributed by RBC Tile and Stone. An honourable mention went to Bogdan Newman Caranci (Toronto, Ontario) for the Bradford West Gwillimbury Library and Cultural Center project (Ontario, Canada), which used tiles from Mirage.

The Residential category award went to the Fractal Construction architecture practice (New York, NY) for the Gramercy Townhouse project (New York, NY) featuring ceramic tiles from Ceramiche Sant’Agostino, distributed by Nemo Tile. An honourable mention went to architect Anna Marie Fanelli (Tenafly, NJ) for the Cooper Residence project (New York, NY), using ceramic tiles from Novabell, La Fabbrica and Lea Ceramiche.

At the end of the day, the winner of the North American Distributor Award – which celebrates the close relationship between Italian tile producers and their important North American partners – was announced at the Ceramics of Italy booth in the Italian pavilion. The 22nd edition of the award went to Ron Silano, vice president of Stone Source of New York, a company set up in 1988 which employs 110 people. 45% of the company’s turnover is generated from ceramic tile sales and the company cooperates with 14 different leading Italian tile companies.

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