May 3rd, 2011
The tile industry may be thousands of years old, but it enthusiastically embraces new technologies with each new collection and introduction. For the last several years, green building and sustainability have been among the most significant technology drivers. As a result, the industry is offering cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges.
Custom® Building Products has adopted one of the most innovative approaches by taking its longstanding Build Green® program to the next level with its new Emerald System™ of products. All Emerald system products comply with the standards of all five emerging green building agencies. Emerald system products have recycled material content and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content. These products are manufactured to reduce their energy footprint and comply with all major green building initiatives, including ANSI (American National Standards Institute), CALGreen (California Green Building Standards Code) and USGBC (United States Green Building Council). Emerald products are also eligible for Custom’s System Warranties, including its Lifetime Warranty. In addition to simplifying compliance standards, Emerald Systems also offers an industry first — Carbon Offset Credits. During the manufacturing of Portland cement, which is used in many construction products including tile installation products, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions are believed to be a major contributor to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When a project using Emerald System Products is registered for a warranty, Custom Building Products will purchase Carbon Credits to offset the amount of CO2 created from the cement used in its products. Custom has partnered with TerraPass®, a leading social enterprise to obtain the carbon offset credits that Custom will then issue to the project owner. TerraPass then uses the funds to support projects that reduce CO2 emissions.
Custom has been using pre- and post-consumer recycled materials in manufacturing its tile and stone installation products, all of which carry Custom’s Build Green® logo, for almost a decade. As a result, more than 100 Custom products help contribute to LEED® certification in at least one of three categories. “Custom Building Products is continually searching for ways to minimize our environmental impact. With the introduction of the Emerald System, we are taking action today to made green compliance easier and move forward on reducing CO2 emissions,” said Steve Taylor, Director of Technical Marketing, Custom Building Products. www.customemeraldsystem.com
New entries to the category EcoSpec Tile LLC was launched in February of this year by a group of experienced, time-tested tile professionals who feel a strong responsibility to their industry and to their planet. The initial product offering includes sustainable tile material composed of 50% pre-consumer waste, 20% post-consumer waste and 30% new material recycled contents, all obtained in the Southern California area. Tile formats range from mosaic tile sized 2” x 2” up to 12” x 12” field tile. “Brick sizes” from 1” x 8” to 4” x 8” are available, as well. The company is also adept at producing custom colors and a choice of matte, gloss or crackle finishes. Ecospec expects to continue to launch additions, all meeting or exceeding its current recycled content, to its product line throughout the year. According to Kathy Stoffer of EcoSpec Tile’s sales and marketing department, “EcoSpec Tile has been strategically developed to make customers’ projects sustainable without sacrificing control or expense. We intend to not only meet, but clearly exceed, clients’ expectations within the green arena. “ Prior to its product launch, the EcoSpec team was determined to develop products which were LEED-certified. www.ecospectile.com.
Crossville®Tile has moved beyond traditional recycled products with Mixology, a new metal line crafted to replicate cast metal sculptural pieces as affordable and earth-friendly tile. Each tile in the collection contains a minimum of 50 percent post-consumer recycled content, making the line not only an attractive choice, but the responsible choice for our environment. Seven field tile designs in two sizes – 4” x 4” and 6” x 6”, plus 10 trim options and two random mosaics are available in four distinctive finishes, providing 98 pieces to “mix” and match for commercial or residential installations. All tile and trim in the Mixology line are given a protective, clear coating to ensure a durable, virtually maintenance-free finish. Mixology is just a fraction of the weight of solid metal and considerably more affordable; the series also cuts and installs as easily as porcelain or ceramic tile. “Mixology was designed for interior, vertical applications,” states Frank Douglas, Crossville’s vice president of business development; “the tile and trim are especially suitable for accent walls and molding, ceiling trim, chair rails, window and door borders, countertop edging, backsplashes, showers and other wet interior wall areas, fireplace surrounds… and the list goes on. www.crossvile.com
Marazzi’s Essentials’ sophisticated colors like taupe, smoke, coffee and gray are not just skin-deep. This strong glazed porcelain is designed to out-perform expectations. Indoors and out, commercial and residential, the broad palette of eight neutral-to-bold choices become either subtle backdrops or dramatic accents, solely based on individual preference. The duo of large sizes plus cove base and single bullnose trim only add to the versatility of the line. Create a stunning hotel lobby that is accessed from an outdoor valet area; or a family living area that transitions to a beautifully landscaped outdoor pool/spa/ dining space; or a formal restaurant that fosters a more casual feel for customers who want just a drink and appetizers on the outdoor terrace. Essentials meets current green qualifications with recycled content, no VOCs and domestic production that can contribute to LEED credits, making “eco-friendly” not only achievable, but also very exciting from a project design perspective. www.marazzitile.com
Slimmer is greener
Ultra-thin tiles, like Nanotech from Apavisa, offer a host of green benefits. A product with the technical and static advantages of porcelain tiles but with just 4,8 mm. nominal thickness, Nanotech is easier to ship and install, especially the bigger sizes. It’s easier to cut and drill which also makes installation easier. Nanotech has the technical characteristics of porcelain tiles, having an excellent resistance to abrasion, an almost zero water absorption value (+/- 0,1 %), frost proof, chemical and stain resistance properties.
Lea Ceramiche offers an even thinner product in Slimtech, the ultra-thin 3mm laminated porcelain that comes in extremely large formats. The collection has a total of 23 colors presented in 7 product series: Lines and Waves designed by Patrick Norguet; Mauk and Gouache.10 designed by Diego Grandi; Slimtech Basaltina, Slimtech Arenaria and Slimtech Shade. Thanks to the innovative porcelain compaction technology that revolutionized the traditional production process, Slimtech is produced in full slabs of 3×1 meter without using any mold. Starting with an accurate selection of raw materials wetgrinded and made into an atomized powder, manufacturing proceeds with compaction and pressing with a strength of 15,000 tons. The slabs are then sintered at 1200 Celsius through firing in kilns, reducing the CO2 emissions and the dispersion of think powders. It is available in a number of options: Slimtech 3 mm for wall covering only; Slimtech Plus 3.5 mm reinforced with fiberglass backing for both floors and walls; Slimtech Twin 7 mm with a double layer of material and fiberglass in the middle for extremely heavy traffic areas. email@example.com
Slimtech and Nanotech both offer the option of installation on top of an old surface, avoiding demolition and resulting waste. This drastically reduces installation time and the existing doors don’t need to be cut or filed. They are easy to cut, shape, perforate and install, thanks to reduced thickness. Large sheets mean fewer joints less joints, reducing the problems linked to maintenance and sanitation, particularly in public areas.
May 3rd, 2011
Ceramic tile has always been green. It comes from the earth, is combined using age-old techniques, lasts indefinitely, and can be recycled into more tile. Long before it was stylish to do so, tile manufacturers had learned to recycle water and other byproducts. In fact, some industry leaders might say other construction materials have been playing catch-up to compete with tile’s green qualities.
As green building and sustainability became more important, tile reached farther to better meet green demands. Many tiles meet a number of the United States Green Building Council’s LEED point requirements, such as Recycled Materials Content, Regional Materials, Low-Emitting Materials, and Heat Island Effect. Depending on the project and the materials choice, there is potential for even more valuable LEED points to help achieve the desired LEED rating.
This issue features a look at some of the most recent green innovations in the tile industry, including new materials and Carbon Offsets. Stylistically, some of the most popular green innovations, like super slim tiles and those made from recycled materials, continue to morph with newer, more appealing colors, textures and finishes.
Environmental awareness goes well beyond the choice of an environmentally preferable tile. It increasingly means making conscious choices to reduce our carbon footprint and save energy, including in your business. Operating a greener showroom and/or warehouse is a money-saving proposition in the long-run (though it may require some initial investment). More importantly, however, it delivers a green message to the consumer choosing to do business with green companies.
According to the U.S. EPA, a green business holds a marketing edge over its non-green competition, is recognized as an environmental leader, and improves its bottom line with operating efficiencies that result from energy and waste savings. Employees benefit from improved health and morale. All of that sounds great in today’s marketplace where you need every advantage to distinguish yourself from the competition. But, greening your business is not a simple task. It’s a process, and we give you some tips to get started in our feature on Eye on the environment: Distinguish your business by going green.”
Greening your bottom line.
Finally, we have all had experience with the “tire kickers” who stop by our showrooms, drink our coffee and generally take up valuable time comparing and pricing products, only to leave and order from an Internet e-tailer who offers a seemingly lower price per foot (if you don’t count their delivery, handling and stocking charges) and no customer service. This issue’s Sales & Marketing feature, “Converting Bait and Switch Customers,” offers some practical insight on meeting – and beating — this competition.
Wishing you a very green season!
May 1st, 2011
In her comparatively short time as marketing manager for Tulsa based Orchid Ceramics, Tena Wooldridge has hit the ground running to restyle Orchid’s image to an affordable luxury brand, one consumers ask for by name. She’s also repositioned Orchid to market to lifestyles pinpointed through research into a half dozen megatrends, including green building. Finally Wooldridge also helped the company establish itself as an industry leader in sustainability.
TileDealer: What is Orchid Ceramics?
Orchid Ceramics is an import and distribution company of porcelain and ceramic floor, wall and countertop tiles as well as trims and decorative accents. It is based in Tulsa, Okla. and is supported by a complete U.S.-based sales and service team built around a core of group sales, marketing, operations and financial professionals. The Corona Organization –the largest, multinational business in Colombia, South America, founded Orchid Ceramics in August 2002. Orchid Ceramics is defined by superior customer service. In just eight years the company has established a loyal group of distribution partners that continues to grow, and has created a reputation for stellar follow up, on-time delivery and an attention to detail that represents some of the highest standards in the industry.
TileDealer: What prompted the rebranding and the repositioning of Orchid Ceramics?
The pillar of Orchid`s strategy is customer intimacy. We are really dedicated to enriching the lives of our customers whom we refer to as partners, through one-on-one relationships with our U.S. sales, service and operations team with the added support from our Colombian team. This is our family. So the change that Orchid Ceramics is making is more of a repositioning. In a response to the changing economy and devaluation of the U.S. dollar, Orchid Ceramics worked with our partners to create a richer product portfolio. This has allowed Orchid Ceramics via Corona to invest heavily in porcelain products, polishing, and rectification and ink jet technologies, and to have a more balanced portfolio than that of a value-oriented ceramic supplier. We are committed to offering our partners outstanding quality with viable long-term designs that are affordable to the marketplace. Orchid Ceramics is committed to offering affordable luxury from the ground up.
TileDealer: Where does Orchid Ceramics see its marketplace going in the next two or three years?
Orchid Ceramics is committed to being an innovator of products, rather than a fast follower. We constantly review available research on the marketplace with respect to trends in various channels, residential remodeling, new construction and the commercial channel. We have also worked extensively with trend, color and design experts to determine “megatrends” that will support viable product development that fits broad consumer segments. These megatrends offer 5-to-10-year trend concepts, and enable us to focus our product development and positioning to meet current consumer preferences. It also provides us with a platform for solutions selling that our partners can use in their sales cycle as well. I have never been a big believer of selling a product. I like to sell lifestyles and this approach to trendcasting in our innovation cycle puts us closer to offering consumers a lifestyle choice. Choosing products for your home is a personal decision, even in commodity markets.
TileDealer: Does Orchid Ceramics have green products, and a green story?
Orchid’s position on sustainability is a three-fold holistic approach that encompasses environmental, social and economic responsibility both from our parent company, Corona, and Orchid Ceramics. As part of Corona, Orchid Ceramics is proud to be involved in some of the most advanced environmental practices in the tile industry. This is achieved through the research and execution of environmental manufacturing techniques including:
- Reuse of 68 percent of all waste generated by the manufacturing process
- Recycle and reuse of 100 percent of all water used in the production process
- Plans to reduce energy consumption by more than 1,462 kilowatts and thermal energy by 1,077 NM3
- Continued investment and proven results in sustainable mine-land recovery programs
Orchid Ceramics previously used its Tulsa corporate office as the primary source of distribution. In 2010 and 2011, Orchid has consolidated distribution centers in Florida, Houston, and Indiana that allow us to function as a domestic supplier. The consolidation drastically reduces wasted transportation and freight while reducing our carbon footprint. It really doesn’t get much greener than that!
TileDealer: The company was part of CTDA’s Management Conference, now called Total Solutions Plus. Will it hold to this commitment, and if so what value does Orchid Ceramics find in being part of that initiative?
Working with an industry trade association is critical to any business. In a former life I was a marketing director for a trade association, brought on to reposition it — go figure — a recurring theme in my career. There, we published an article touting the merits of being a member of a trade association. One tidbit from that article has always stuck with me. It was that business consultants say 85% of all business failures occur in firms that are not members of their industry’s trade association. If any other business opportunity presented itself and said, “You can use this tool to become much more successful, find new partners and suppliers and, oh by the way, 85% of the businesses that fail won’t have used this tool,“ any self-respecting business person would be silly not to find out more. While I was there, I also created a membership ROI calculator — my best claim to fame — where members could select the products, services and events that they participated in and compare that to their annual dues. Every member, even with minimal participation, had more than 100% return on their membership. If any other investment opportunity were presented to me with those types of guaranteed returns, I would say, “Yes, yes, yes!” (Right after I made sure it was legal, of course!) The point is that CTDA is critical to our success and other companies in this industry. Total Solutions Plus is a more appropriate name, and Orchid is fully committed to being a part of this initiative.
TileDealer: Where does Orchid Ceramics manufacture its products?
Our products are sourced and manufactured globally. We have company-owned manufacturing plants near Medellin and Bogota, Colombia. However, we do also look at other opportunities to source products with talented designers and manufacturers, when those fulfill a need in our portfolio or satisfy a need for our customer partners. We are always interested in looking for manufacturing partners who want to be part of the Orchid Ceramics brand.
TileDealer: Is the company sticking with a South American style, or moving toward American sensibilities?
Orchid Ceramics has always designed products exclusively for the American market. While it is the case that some products are shared between the Colombian and American markets, this is due to the overarching appeal of the design for both markets rather than an attempt to extend the production of a series. Orchid Ceramics’ portfolio is exclusively designed for the tastes and preferences of the American market. In 2006, we created the Orchid Ceramics Design Council as an integral part of our product design and innovation cycle. The council brings together key decision makers from the largest independent distributors in the U.S. to work with our R&D team, glaze manufacturers and Italian design houses. To help this team understand market trends, we provide in-depth research on interior design trends for both the residential and commercial markets. In the end, the team selects the product concepts they would like us to develop over the next cycle.
TileDealer: Do you see the American marketplace as essentially beige?
I think it would be a mistake to classify the marketplace as simply a “beige” market, although it is primarily made up of neutral colors. It is a conservative mix of warm and cool tones that change regionally across the U.S. depending on where you stand. This neutral pallet is always changing and we work closely with design firms to understand these subtleties. Designers like to build off of these neutral tones and add a splash of color to emphasize other parts of their design. We find that more and more are using vibrant features such as glass mosaics or colorful accent tiles to get that element of color into their concepts. So let me bore you for a minute. Or, if you are like me, you may be fascinated by the research. (I am a self-professed nerd and lover of this “stuff.”) Research we have commissioned with third-party experts also indicates that color is critical in the youth market, as the first generation to be born into what is known as the “creative class.” Forty percent of returning young adults have their own full bathroom in their parents’ home, while greater than 20% have their own mini-refrigerator. They are establishing their own living spaces. With that comes a desire to customize those spaces for their own personalities, where color is often used as the indicator. In addition, the median age of firsttime buyers is increasing, with firsttime buyers in 2009 having a median age of 30 and income of $61,000. The shift is away from five to seven years in the first home, and first-time homeowners are now projected to stay in their first home for 10 years (NAR). This has caused a shift to more personalized spaces that are filled with more color, since creating a neutral palette for the next buyer is not as critical. I’d say along with quite a bit of other research that I have is a pretty convincing argument for the popularity of design shows. And these create fabulously rich palettes of color used in home improvement, furnishings and accents. I personally fell in love recently with a great chocolate rug that had huge splash of orange, red and lime green flowers. So I bought the rug and furnished the whole room around it! It’s a great era of personal style!
TileDealer: Does Orchid Ceramics have another company division that sells just to South America, and not to North America?
Orchid Ceramics is a separate but wholly-owned subsidiary of the Corona Organization. We have a full staff of administrative, sales, marketing, service, and product development here in the U.S. The team in Colombia, in the Pisos y Paredes (Floors and Walls) division, sells products in Colombia and other South American countries.
TileDealer: What is it about South American materials and manufacturing processes that make them different and desirable, vis-à-vis European imports or North American manufactured tile products?
Amazingly few industries can say that production processes have remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years, although technology has made this process more durable, stable and efficient on a mass scale. Also, technology is able to improve the tile’s design quality and aesthetics to create products that are life-like copies of real stones, or create new looks altogether that do not exist in nature. Because all factories use similar technologies to produce their tiles, what becomes important are manufacturing costs, lead times and logistics. Our lead times, on average, are two weeks faster than most ceramic tile imports. Add this to our U.S. distribution and we are able to offer our customers a competitive alternative to U.S. manufacturers.
TileDealer: You’re new to the company, very young and finishing up a Master’s degree. How did you get where you are so quickly?
[LAUGHS] I appreciate the compliment and I will remind my husband of this when he lets me know that I am “not getting any younger.” I have simply had the fortune of meeting individuals and having mentors that have offered professional — and sometimes personal — advice that I have tried to take objectively and incorporate into the way I conduct myself. I recall a few — ok, few sets of few — years ago when I was brought into a room with about twenty other individuals and we were all simultaneously laid off from a dot.com. I thought at the time it was professionally devastating, but when that door closed I moved on to a company where I meant my long-time mentor, Ralph Gauer. He is one of the top five most intelligent and influential people in my career. I was perhaps 23 at the time, and I remember him telling me in an interview, “I like you and you have spunk. Now are you ready to forget everything you thought you knew about marketing, and learn how to get to the next level?” My younger, more absorbed and less witty self thought, “Who is this goofy man? I went to a top 25 business school and he wants me to forget everything? Oh well, I need a job!” His guidance was indispensable. I am obviously a big believer in education, but having a mentor along with experience bridges the gap between education and application. It’s not where you go to school or how much you paid for it, but how willing you are to open yourself to new ideas and experiences that creates success or causes failure.
TileDealer: Is there a family background, or some other background in tile, that makes you an especially appropriate leader for this company?
I have been fortunate to work with two companies prior to joining Orchid Ceramics that function in very similar ways to Orchid. They were both international manufacturers, importers, that sold through distribution channels in the U.S. market. As such, I think and hope I have been able to look at our company with a unique perspective that has a degree of applicability.
TileDealer: What’s ahead for Orchid Ceramics?
We are very excited about the future of Orchid Ceramics. And we are positioning our factories and suppliers to take full advantage. In Colombia, we have added a new high-definition digital printer to our manufacturing line that will give us the ability to produce large-format digitally-printed tiles. With digital printing, we are able to greatly improve the amount of variation that occurs in our tile and allows us to print complicated designs on heavy structural reliefs. This will also give us greater flexibility in our factories and greatly reduce development time in our design cycle. We are able to bring better products to the marketplace, faster than ever before.
TileDealer: Anything else before we close?
Thanks so much for the opportunity.
SOURCE: Tena Wooldridge, marketing manager Orchid Ceramics, Tulsa, Ok. Phone: 918.645.5721 firstname.lastname@example.org
March 3rd, 2011
by Jeffrey Steele
Artisan tile is such a one-of-akind, hand-crafted product that it can very effectively differentiate a tile wholesaler. And one of the best in the business at providing unique artisan tile is Medley, Fla.-based Wholesale Tile by Aguayo. Showcasing artisan tile from across Mexico, Guatemala, Columbia, the Dominican Republic and numerous other countries, Wholesale Tile by Aguayo sells to approximately 200 tile dealers across the United States, and represents artists who are exceptionally skilled at making artisan tile. Heading the company is a man who is exceptionally good at marketing artisan tile, Jorge Aguayo. One might say artisan tile is in Aguayo’s blood. His grandfather founded Industrias Aguayo, a cement tile company in the Dominican Republic, in 1948. Despite the fact the company has always been a manufacturing enterprise, all its tile was and is hand made. Jorge Aguayo, 36, was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where he was the oldest of four children of the son of Industrias Aguayo’s founder. He majored in industrial engineering in college in the Dominican Republic and after graduation went to work in logistics for a Dominican Republic brewery. He then joined the family business for a year, before relocating to the U.S. to earn an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School in Evanston, Ill.
After 18 months in sales and marketing for ZS Associates in Evanston, he returned to the Dominican Republic and the family business. Earlier this year, he and his brother Raul assumed the helm of Industrias Aguayo, a company with about 115 employees and a 700,000-square foot facility, upon the retirement of their father. Industrias Aguayo had long sold its art tile to Nina Long, whose Tampa-based company was acquired by the Aguayos when Long retired, and was rechristened Wholesale Tile by Aguayo. The company’s headquarters are now located in Medley, Fla. In this One-on-One, Mr. Aguayo discusses artisan tile, how it is used and the distinctive creativity of art tile makers. He also voices his thoughts on how tile dealers can best showcase art tile to reap the greatest sales potential from this unique art form.
TileDealer: What is artisan tile?
Art tile is any tile that’s handmade and not mass produced. It is handmade, hand-crafted, handpressed and hand-glazed.
TD: What is its position in the marketplace?
Art tile has always been a niche product, a very specialized product, favored by people who are looking for unique or unusual design elements. There are people who use tile because it’s a necessity to cover a wall. But those who understand the use of tile as part of the design element of a space are those who use art tile.
TD: Is it growing?
In general, art tile has been following the overall market trends in terms of growth. The past two years, the general market for tile has been on a downward slope. We see it now bouncing back in the last three or four. It is tied to the new home market and to the renovation market. Because people cannot move, many have now decided to remodel. So you see the use of tile and art tile in renovation as opposed to new construction, which should be coming back this year. That is what we’re expecting.
TD: How has artisan tile fared in the recession?
It was hit as hard as every other aspect of tile.
TD: Who uses artisan tile and where do they use it?
Again, it’s people who are looking for unique and unusual elements in their designs. It’s generally used as a focal point of designs, because it is not an inexpensive tile. It usually will not be used, for instance, to cover an entire wall. You do see people go all the way out and create spectacular spaces with art tile. It will tend to be used, however, as a focal point. In a fireplace, because it’s a small space, the fireplace surround will be covered in art tile. A backsplash in a kitchen might use art tile. Or it could be used as accents in a larger installation like a bathroom.
TD: How can dealers include artisan tiles in showrooms?
The first thing a tile dealer needs to understand is this is not a volume product. You will not sell tens of thousands of square feet of art tile. So if you want to include art tile in your showroom offering, you’ll find so many options in terms of art tile, and you should look for one or more that complement your existing line. And you should look for one you feel will appeal to your existing customer base, because not all tile dealers are catering to every kind of taste.
TD: How should dealers merchandise artisan tile?
The thing about art tile is usually when you decide to carry a specific line of art tile, the artisan will sell you a full sample and board program. The artisan will have you buy a full package that includes samples and concept boards. As a dealer, you can’t simply display the boards you get from the artisan and art tile company, because that will not be as appealing to your customers as a board that you create from both the art tile and the materials you know are selling in your market. You want to complement the artisan tile boards with tile material you know will appeal to your customers. You should create your own boards or vignettes in which you mix and match your existing materials with the art tile. Or you should mix and match your hottest selling lines with the art tile. In addition, I always think you should put art tile on your windows when you do have windows. That’s because even though it’s not the tile that you will sell in tens of thousands of square feet, it’s so special and so spectacular that it will definitely capture customers’ attention and drive people into your showroom.
TD: Tell us why the artisan tile designer can “go out on a design limb” to differentiate him or herself from the competition.
They go out on a design limb because they can. Art tile is a form of self expression for not only the artist, but the interior designer and the homeowner. There are no rights or wrongs here. It’s what the creator wants to do. We all want to have higher sales. But the art tile creator is following his or her own inspiration. There will be customers who are as inspired as the artist, and will want to purchase the artisan tile for their fireplaces or backsplashes or bathrooms.
TD: Please discuss how artisan tile catapulted independent tile makers/artists into prominence in the industry.
Here in the Dominican Republic, baseball is really big. Kids follow not only the local baseball leagues made up of amateur players, but they’re also following Major League Baseball. They all want to be Albert Pujols or Pedro Martinez. But very few make it. The same thing is true of art tile. Many want to make it big in art tile. But very few do, and even the ones who do become design trend setters rather than becoming big players. Oceanside Glass Tile comes to mind. What they did with glass tile was to completely change the way of working with glass tile, and the way glass tile is used as a design element. But now all their stuff has been copied by the Chinese, and all the local producers in the world. So even though they don’t have this huge market, they are doing very well, and are looked to as the trend setters in this particular niche. As a tile artisan, you’re not going to be Bill Gates, but you can do very well for yourself. Sometimes you see people who become very successful, and their tile is selling in such substantial volume that they farm the production out to Mexico, and they return to simply working on the creative side of their business.
TD: What’s ahead for artisan tile?
Artisan tile is going to follow the general trend of the market. We’re all very hopeful for the next few years, and art tile is going to follow the general trend and things will get better for everyone. It’s never going to become a mainstream product. There are very few exceptions. One of the exceptions is cement tile, which is an individual class within art tile. It’s one of the few lines that we sell that has grown considerably over the last year. This was a product that designers didn’t know about and didn’t understand. And as people grow more comfortable with the product they’re inclined to use it more frequently. And they see the design possibilities in this very customizable product.
March 3rd, 2011
The glass and metallic elements once reserved for accents are now taking center stage
One of the fastest growing segments of the business at Ashland, Ore.-based Hakatai Enterprises Inc. is the company’s glass mosaic mural business. Customers provide Hakatai with favorite photographs, whether of a canal scene in Venice, a tranquil beach along the ocean, perhaps even themselves. The company then renders that photograph as a unique glass mosaic mural. “It’s a good business to be in,” says Hakatai marketing associate Adam Shigemoto. “People want something different from ceramic tile. They want the space they’re putting the mural in to be more refl ective, more open. Glass really opens up an area, and it’s very eye-catching as well. You can do a lot of custom work like murals with glass, which makes that space your own.”
Another day, another application for reflective tile, which is turning out to be a tile industry success story in a less than- robust era. More and more, glass tile and metallic tile — and often some combination of the two — are being introduced in new and head-turning colors, sizes, shapes and designs. The interest in reflective tile likely has its roots in a larger trend toward cleaner lines, says Ryan Calkins, president of Seattle’s Statements Tile & Stone, a 14-year-old, family-owned wholesale importer and distributor.
The Tuscan look that dominated new home construction during the last “up cycle” has given way to more contemporary looks in everything from tile to fixtures and furnishing. “Instead of tumbled travertine for entryways and halls, people are selecting honed limestones or large-format, rectified porcelains. Reflective tile like glass, metal and glossy ceramics complement those clean lines,” he says. Bold colors characterized the first wave of glass tile 15 or 20 years ago, representing hues popular in that era, Calkins says. Regrettably, he adds, those timely colors became dated very quickly.
Today’s consumer seems to be more drawn to timeless colors that won’t soon fade from style. “Over the past several years, our best-selling glass lines have included more muted colors: light browns, subtle greens, offwhite colors and even some charcoal,” he reports. As for applications, Calkins says because reflective tile surfaces tend to be more susceptible to marring and scratching than porcelain tiles, his company is finding that glass and metallic tile is used more in settings like backsplashes and shower surrounds, where they aren’t as vulnerable to damage.
The ascendency of reflective tile has caught the eye of Mid-America Tile, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based tile distributor that sells glass and metal tile, as well as ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tile and other covering materials. “We’re finding a lot more offerings of glass tile,” says Mid-America’s marketing coordinator Dan Skowron, who says glass-and-stone mosaics are big. “It seems like all the glass tile manufacturers have really come out with a lot of new styles, possibly because of the availability of new products from China, along with improved quality compared with what China formerly produced.”
Mid-America Tile is the exclusive Midwest distributor of the Modono Glass Tile Collection manufactured in Rochester, NY. Introduced in 2008, the Modono Glass Tile Collection is known for textile patterns and shifting, vibrant colors. The result can be bold and extreme, soft and comforting or rich and elegant. Metal, too, is on the upswing, in part because of its variety. “They can do almost any kind of finish, from pewter to bronze,” Skowron says.
Barbara Vasquez is another industry figure who has witnessed the surge in interest in metal and particularly glass tile, which she says appeals to today‘s more value-oriented consumer and homeowner. “Customers walk in here and say, ‘I need value for my money,’” Vasquez relates, adding she urges them to “choose glass for the wide range of colors, textures and styles.” There are endless patterns and color combinations possible in glass and/or glass-and-stone mosaics, she added. “You can cut glass into various sizes and lengths, to achieve any look you‘re after,” she says. “They’re laying glass tile on the horizontal, vertical or all-wall applications. I feel glass or glass-and-stone mosaics can complement just about any tile or stone selection.”
Another factor in the uptick of glass is its increasing use in floors, where it accents or complements other materials and enhances designs, she says. As for metallic tile, Vasquez says “they have any kind of metal right now that you would want to see,” including stainless steel, bronze, pewter and hand-brushed nickel. Part of the appeal is that metal can be used in clean, contemporary applications or in rustic surroundings. The latter is particularly possible with brushed nickel and pewter, she reports. Reflective metal tiles are adding appeal and uniqueness to kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, barbecues and outdoor entertainment centers, where their purpose is generally as accents around counters, Vasquez says.
Across the country, Catherine O’Connor has been creating intriguing glass pieces for more than a dozen years at her Lockport, NY-based company called Art Effects Glass. Glass continues to be popular for her, but in evolving sizes and styles. She is now creating larger glass tiles, some 14 by 14 inches, with “large patterns and a very graphic in nature,” she says. She is also producing increasing numbers of glass pieces with metallic leaf infused into the glass, she says. “Even with the increased price, [customers] still like the precious metals as part of the glass tile design.” And with growing regularity, glass is moving into other design elements that complement the tile.
For instance, she says, her business has expanded from accent tile to cabinet door inserts, lighting shades, coordinating glass knobs for door handles, and dinnerware and silverware that coordinates as well. “I’ll get a request from a customer saying, ‘I’m doing a backsplash that involves glass accent tile or full glass tile, and can I get a glass cabinet door insert to coordinate, as well as knobs that coordinate?’” she says. “People know I do glass plates and bowls, and will ask for a piece to complement that.” Another recent project was even more unusual and artsy, involving a solid surface composite of Corian used as a wall, into which inserts of oddlyshaped glass tile were cut. “That’s the art ability,” O’Connor says. “With a small studio like the one I have, I can bring the avantgarde art to different applications.” More common applications call for the use of full glass or glass accents, the latter for glass block installations. “A lot of people have existing glass block, and want it to look artier,” she says.
Advice for dealers
O’Connor’s advice to dealers is to recognize the potential in custom work. “Dealers have not embraced the idea of custom,” she says. “They basically want ‘what you see is what you get.’ They’re eliminating an entire revenue stream by avoiding custom. The designers know this, and they are coming directly to us. But there are some forward-thinking dealers who get it.” Custom design is not expensive, O’Connor adds. “Custom design is affordable. The thing about custom is every piece is new and different, and that’s what drives the market — new and different,” she concludes.
One of the nation’s foremost glass tile producers is GlasTile Inc., a 21-year-old producer of glass tile in Greensboro, NC. President and CEO Barbara Cashman says her business is growing because patrons seek the unusual and distinctive, and not necessarily only in refl ective tile. “They’re looking at wood, leather and bamboo tiles, which provide a different feel and look,” she says. “I do believe people are looking at something that’s a little different, and expresses their own individuality in an environmental manner.” GlasTile’s line is geared to high-end residential and glitzier commercial applications, she says. One of the more popular offerings is its very reflective and opaque copper-encased tile, which when used in kitchen and bathroom backsplash applications maintains its brightness and refl ectivity. “The reflective material attracts a lot more attention, interest and vitality in the installation,” she says. “Glass and metal, either in combination or alone, make a statement about the ambience of a room. That’s a reason we just had that tile go into a bathroom installation at Pensacola’s Hotel Indigo.”
Another of GlasTile’s product lines is called Marquisa Satins, which features a fired-on metallic finish on glass and is offered in three colors. Brienne is a bronze, Avallon a stainless steel, and Giselle resembles a 24-carat satin gold. Launched five years ago, Marquisa Satins’ popularity has never been higher, and it is now being used in custom confi gurations like random mosaics. “We just did an HGTV show, and used it in kitchen backsplashes, in a custom configuration of all three colors in mounted 2-by-2s,” Cashman says.
Even more popular than the Marquisa Satins is GlasTile’s trademark mirrorbacked tile, which is offered in two versions. Crystal Visions is a smooth tile, while Tifini is a crushed glass tile that provides a look like diamonds. A top-selling item at GlasTile for nearly the entire history of the company, this tile features a true mirror chemically bonded to the back of transparent colored glass, so the light goes through the tile’s coloring and bounces back. Used in a fireplace, the tile won the 2008 Crystal Achievement Award from Glass magazine, leading to its application in a high-profile Puerto Rico hospital lobby. “The Crystal Visions and Tifini are GlasTile’s signature lines, and what we are best known for,” Cashman says. “No one else does that.”
Hakatai Enterprises, which was founded in 1997, has held a focus on glass tile throughout its history. After moving to Oregon in the first years of the last decade, the company launched its successful website and in 2006 unveiled custom blends and custom gradients that gave customers more opportunities to tailor a look, and more reason to choose Hakatai. Hakatai also distributes a number of metallic tiles, as well as combination glass-and-metal and glass-and-stone tiles. Among its popular metal tiles are special order brushed steel, antique copper, polished copper, brushed titanium, polished titanium and a black metal. All in all, it offers nine metal finishes and 10 sizes. But it’s the glass tile for which the company is best known. Hakatai glass tile finds its way into kitchen and bath backsplashes and showers.
Glass tile also works very effectively in entryways and fireplaces, Hakatai has found. In entryways, for instance, where tight space behind a closed door often translates to a darker area, glass tile can bring a welcome brightness, he says. That’s particularly true if reds and yellows are represented in the tile. In addition, fireplaces benefit strongly from glass tile that features some form of iridescence, he adds. “If there’s iridescence in the tile, it can draw attention to the fireplace by refl ecting the light of the fire, and brightening the room,” he reports. “In a home bar area, glass tile is a popular means of making the setting brighter and more attractive. And many times [customers] will want a custom mural that makes the area distinctively their own.”
Ryan Calkins, president Statements Tile & Stone, Seattle 206-762-8181
Barbara Cashman, president and CEO GlasTile Inc., Greensboro 336-292-3756
Catherine O’Connor, artist Art Effects Glass, Lockport, NY 716-433-4247 or (cell) 716-510-4247
Adam Shigemoto, marketing associate Hakatai Enterprises, Inc., Ashland, OR 888-667-2429
Barbara Vasquez, owner Vasquez Tile, Tempe, AZ 480-893-9293
Dan Skowron, marketing coordinator Mid-America Tile, Elk Grove Village 224-366-2859
March 1st, 2011
As we converge on Vegas for a week of hurried conversations, sore feet, and maybe a few moments to play the tables, it’s worthwhile to remember what it takes to win.
First, pick the right game. There’s a reason mathematicians don’t play the slots: the house always wins. Poker, on the other hand, is a game of skill. In your business, are you trying to be the lowest price in town? Because if you are, you are sitting at the slots, watching your stack slowly melt away. Or do you offer a range of added value so that your customer is willing to pay a higher price? That puts you at the poker table where your skill, intuition and strategy mean you’ll win more often than not.
Second, gather information. Count cards and learn your opponents’ tells. Where are the aces and who’s holding a pocketful of nothing? In business this means knowing what sectors of your market are growing and which competitors represent a real threat and which are just bluffing. Are you reading the regional and national economic news to anticipate shifts in consumer spending? Do you have a regular source of good information about the housing market? How are you educating yourself on the latest innovations in our industry, from high-definition porcelains to new installation techniques to inventory and logistics management systems?
Third, know thyself. A good poker player knows how to read his opponents, but the best poker player knows how to read himself. A few years ago we were at a critical juncture in our business, when cash flow demands and growth presented us with some difficult choices. We came to the painful realization that we lacked good financial management. It was humbling to acknowledge that we needed help, but doing so meant that we could act to improve our business. In hindsight, the decision may have saved us from ourselves. The hiring of a gifted financial manager was essential for us to navigate the stormy waters of the recession. Conversely, knowing your strengths is the only way you can put them to use. Is your star salesperson toiling away at paperwork hours at a time when they should be out in front of your customers?
Finally, play long. The easiest guy to beat at the poker table is the one who tries to win with every hand. If you’re like me, you are constantly bombarded with offers of new products or services, a chance to get in on a sweetheart deal, or some other get-rich-quick scheme. Learning to discern when you are holding a full house and when you’re looking at a pair of deuces is key to being successful in poker and in business. It takes patience to wait for the right hand. After all, there are fewer winning hands than losing hands. The good news is it only takes one.
I’d be remiss to conclude without mentioning the role lady luck can play. Sure, we can all think of stories of some undeserving person somehow pulling off a big win, no thanks to their own skill. That’s the exception. Thomas Jefferson had a great perspective on chance: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
March 1st, 2011
by Janet Arden
This is a crazy time for our industry – Surfaces, Cevisama and Coverings, not to mention the Builder’s Show and the Kitchen & Bath Show. What’s new, what do our customers want and, by the way, how is it that we’re still mired in this economy?
It’s still about the economy
The numbers may not be great, but there is a lot of optimism out there. For starters, the big-name prognosticators like the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University are predicting “a sustainable recovery for the remodeling industry” in 2011. They made this prediction based on the numbers in their Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released in mid-January. Specifically, LIRA projects annual growth in home improvement spending of 6.5% in the third quarter of 2011. “Favorable interest rates, a pickup in home sales, and the strengthening economy should lead to healthy gains in remodeling spending this year,” says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center.
The National Association of Home Builders is in agreement. NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) edged up from 40.8 to 41.5 in the fourth quarter of last year. In an economy such as the current one, NAHB looks for the RMI to get back up to its “break-even” point of 50 as evidence the market is ready for an upturn. Although 41.5 seems a reach, a couple of key RMI components are much closer: major ($25,000 plus) additions and alterations was up to 48.6, and calls for bids were also close to break-even, at 47.2.
Style and substance
If you’re feeling conservative about trends, you aren’t alone. Most dealers and distributors are playing it cautious, sticking to the tried and true: neutral tones, the best sellers in the most popular sizes. The danger in this course of action is that it makes your showroom look like all the others. How do potential customers know you are the dealer they should be doing business with? How do they know they are investing in something both stylish and classic?
There are a number of answers to that, but the bottom line is that you must add a few twists to that familiar formula. You must set yourself apart and you need to do that in design, with your industry knowledge, and in customer service. Look at the numbers. What are your best sellers? How can you expand on them? Read what Jorge Aguayo says in this issue about using art tile to supplement your best sellers – and putting it in the window as a bit of eye candy to draw in shoppers. (Whether they buy it or not, you now have them in the door!)
Once in your showroom, are you prepared to meet customer needs with a display of industry knowledge? CTDA is experiencing a significant uptick in the number of online education registrations. Pair this with the growing interest in CTDA webinars and you can assume that your competition is studying the materials and the marketplace.
It takes a lot of effort to compete successfully in today’s economy, but with TileDealer and CTDA you have some of the best tools. See you on the show floor at Coverings!
March 1st, 2011
By Norm Spitzig
What exactly makes a workplace “great?” What are the specifi c characteristics common to those very special workplaces that are universally recognized as the indisputable signs of a superior operation? If there is a more basic (or fascinating) question for a workplace and the people who inhabit it, it hasn’t been found. A workplace that successfully attains the following characteristics— whatever size it might be or industry it may be in—can proudly and accurately call itself “great.”
1. A clear mission and purpose for being
The very best workplaces in the world know—really know—who they are and what their core purpose is. They have a straightforward, concise mission statement (i.e., “who they are”) that is readily understandable and enthusiastically embraced by each and every employee. Such great workplaces have carefully identifi ed those factors critical to their long-term success (i.e., “those services and/or facilities they must do, and continue to do, exceptionally well”) as well as their specifi c vision for the future (“what our workplace will likely be in fi ve to ten years”). Great workplaces develop detailed action plans and accompanying areas of responsibility to insure that their vision for the future is more than some pie-in-thesky dream; it is concrete, actionable, measurable and (with perseverance on everyone’s part) achievable.
2. Forward thinking, creative senior management and a caring, well-trained staff
No workplace can remain superior over any meaningful period of time without quality leadership at the top as well as a caring, well-trained support staff. At great workplaces, everyone from the President/Chief Executive Offi cer to yesterday’s hire are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to insure the company’s ongoing success year-in and year-out. Equally as important, great workplaces attract people from myriad backgrounds and with varying arsenals of professional and personal skills—talents that complement and enhance each other to the benefi t of all employees as well as the customer base. At a great workplace, individuality is valued and cherished, but teamwork remains first and foremost.
3. Meaningful work
A great workplace allows—better yet, encourages—its employees to do what they deem meaningful. Of course, the term “meaningful” denotes different things to different people. What is meaningful work for a Chief Executive Officer of a multibillion dollar company may, but not necessarily, differ significantly from that of a solo entrepreneur working at home. Both can—or cannot—be genuinely viewed as meaningful work, depending on the perspectives of the individuals involved. Having said that, Malcolm Gladwell is correct when he notes in Outliers that, for most people, work is meaningful when it is sufficiently autonomous, appropriately complex, and has a perceived direct relationship between the effort invested (i.e., “time on the job”) and the accompanying return (i.e., “compensation”). Great workplaces offer their team members the opportunity for each and every employee, irrespective of their education, talents, and experiences, to consistently do what they themselves perceive as genuinely meaningful.
4. Reasonable, understandable, and uniformly enforced work rules
Great workplaces have rules and policies that are reasonable, understandable, and, perhaps most importantly, fairly and uniformly enforced. (If, for example, smoking is prohibited in the work environment, that means, plainly and simply, no one smokes: not the President, not the Chief Operating Officer, not the new dishwasher.) The rules and policies at great workplaces are neither capricious nor arbitrary. They are not written in language so arcane that anyone but a senior tax attorney can comprehend. Ideally, they are not written to prevent employees from doing something, but rather to set appropriate standards whereby all employees are assured the opportunity to maximize their potential. In short, great workplaces embrace rules and policies that reflect the core values of the workplace as well as the expectations of the employees and customers in a fair and logical manner.
5. An appropriate blending of tradition and innovation.
While great workplaces are environments where employees devote a significant amount of time to improving current products and services as well as creating new ones, they are also places where tradition and continuity are highly valued. Longstanding products and services are not whimsically eliminated to the detriment of loyal customers; rather, they are continually improved as circumstances dictate to the benefit of all concerned. At great workplaces, all are aware and proud of their company’s origins and heritage, its growth and evolution, its positive reputation in the community, its quality products and services, its mission for the present, and its vision for the future.
6. Open communication among all vested parties
Great workplaces have regular, honest communication between everyone involved with, and interested in, the long-term success of the company. Staff and customers are always kept informed of, and are encouraged to appropriately participate in, the company mission, vision, policies, and procedures as well as any significant changes under consideration. In other words, they are given adequate opportunity to convey their ideas and suggestions to company leadership. Managers at great workplaces are unwavering in their commitment to “management by walking around,” because they know that this time-tested practice promotes open communication and minimizes potential problems. Great workplaces typically have company newsletters, both electronic and print, that regularly and effectively communicate the various opportunities available to staff and customers in an accurate and timely manner.
7. Fiscal responsibility
Last, but certainly not least, great workplaces are fiscally prudent in the manner they operate. They have detailed, multi-year business plans that feature accurate income and expense projections, conservative cash flow estimates, sufficient funding for research, development, infrastructure maintenance, renovation and expansion, and realistic cash flow projections. In addition, great businesses rigorously monitor and adjust their financial plans on a regular basis and as circumstances dictate. They know exactly how much money will be required to provide the quality products and services their customers want and expect as well the specific costs associated with them. The long-term financial well-being of the workplace remains a high priority in the minds of all concerned. A great workplace, in summary, employs happy, productive and talented people who perform meaningful work compatible with the mission, vision, and financial goals of the company. It takes constant effort and vigilance to be a truly great workplace, but the end result is well worth it.
NORM SPITZIG, PRINCIPAL at Master Club Advisors, is internationally recognized as an eloquent, visionary speaker and club industry expert. His talks have been well received on six continents by numerous professional associations, individual businesses, club leaders, and civic groups. His groundbreaking book, “Perspectives on Club Management,” continues to inspire and challenge business leaders worldwide, and his newer books, “Private Clubs in America and around the World” and “Murder and Mayhem at Old Bunbury,” offer insightful and humorous looks into the private club world. Both available at www.CliveEndiveOgiveIV. com.
For more information, please contact Norm at email@example.com, 1-352-735-5693, or visit www.Master- ClubAdvisors.com.
March 1st, 2011
COLOR IS AN INDEX OF CHANGE AND REPRESENTS THE MOVEMENT BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY.
The Color Association of the United States (CAUS) has been identifying these color trends since 1915. The CAUS 2011-2012 forecast for environmental and interior products refl ects constantly changing socio-economic factors, projecting a variable rather than a static palette. Manufacturers and consumers (both well aware of ongoing, rapid cultural changes) are seeking these new color perspectives. There are many intangible factors that contribute to the direction of color trends. These indicators are taken into account in determining not only which colors are trending, but also those that are established or declining.
Intangibles that influenced the 2011-2012 color forecast:
• The Economy. As always, the economy has a profound influence on the palette. Change and transition of hues is generally slower in a struggling economy, as temperance sets in. Color plays an important role during such times, as it allows us affordable pleasures.
• Sustainability. There is an emphasis on green products and a “back to basics” attitude is pervasive. The harvesting of nature’s bounty, as well as the interest surrounding raw materials, exhibit a heightened respect for nature.
• Simplicity. Streamlining has become the order of the day as we strive to simplify our lives. Techno-frustration contributes to this trend. There is increased interest in primitive design elements. Minimalism, although somewhat softened, continues.
• Cultural Hybrids. As the internet expands our worldly contact, there is a growing interest in multicultural crafts and customs. The quest for “one of a kind” has boosted cottage industries and popularized individual artisans. We see an intertwining of design inspirations and a nostalgic reinterpretation of past eras.
• The “New Luxury.” Luxury has taken on new meaning. The “new luxury” stresses the usefulness and purpose of design, honesty, refinement and natural elegance. Opulence is replaced by craft and understatement is preferred over ostentation. Straightforward design has increased appeal. Materialism is frowned upon. Status is no longer defined by the quantity of possessions, but rather by the quality of them. A “fewer but better” mentality prevails. Consumers looking for long-lasting value confirm this as they “invest in the best.”
• Optimism. While today’s values reflect a mix of optimism and skepticism, optimism is on the rebound, following a long period of sobriety
March 1st, 2011
Many of the newest offerings from Cevisama reiterate the trends the industry has been tracking for some time: large formats, glass, metallics, and the increasingly important green products. Here we take just a quick tour around the Cevisama show floor to see what’s new from just a few of the Tile of Spain branded manufacturers. Look for these manufacturers and others on the show fl oor at Coverings. Argenta offers solutions for interior and exteriors applications with the look of classic building materials. With collections such as Mandalay (shown here ) and Country, Argenta offers the design solutions of natural stone, marble and other versatile looks. Ezarri is a new exhibitor at Coverings 2011 and offering a range of recycled glass mosaic in Iris (Iridescent), Metal (Metallic), Degradado (Fading-Out) and Antideslizante (Antiskid) collections.
These collections feature a wide variety of color with possibilities of producing mixes and composition to the client´s specifications. Ezarri also has the capacity to embed photographs into the mosaics through a screenprinting process, allowing for ever more customization. Manufactured from 100% recycled glass, the product provides all the benefits of glass: zero water absorption, nonporous, high resistance to chemical cleaning products, frost-resistance and easy maintenance. Ezarri’s exclusive dot-mounting panelling system ´Joint-Point´ provides easy installation for the mosaic and guarantees correct adhesion to the wall. Products are ISO 14021 certified by Bureau Veritas for recycled content. Available in 1” x 1”, 1.4” x 1.4” and 2” x 2”.
Keros Ceramica will launch two new products at Coverings 2011. Personality offers the look of distressed wood (another popular trend that shows no sign of stopping), while Style emulates striated stone. These models are presented in a new, larger wall format 10” x 28” and are also available in combinations of 13” x 13” fl oor tile, 13” x 13” red body porcelain and a NanoEclectic takes the technical benefits of slim tile and applies it in fashionable flair. larger format 20” x 20” cm. This new wall format creates benefits of modularity in design, especially in large spaces and has possibilities for use in landscaping.
With NeoCountry Apavisa takes the traditional look of stone and adds contemporary flair in a new hexagonal size. Available in grey, beige and white colors in hexagonal size and 60×60 (natural fi nish) and 30×60 in natural and bocciardato finishes, this full body porcelain features high bending resistance (61 N/mm2), frost resistance, low water absorption, stain and chemical resistance, making it a tile of choice for a number of challenging installations. With this new collection Apavisa enlarges its range of products for outdoor use. The bocciardato finish has a high anti-slip capacity with an R11 (DIN 51130) and a Class 3 (UNE-ENV 12 633) ratings. This product is also suitable for use in wet interior spaces such as indoors pools and public baths. NanoEclectic is another new offering from Apavisa’s NanoTech Collection. It is a product with the technical and static advantages of porcelain tiles, but with just 4.8 mm. nominal thickness. NanoEclectic takes the technical benefi ts of slim tile and applies it in fashionable flair. The collection includes four color groups: Copper, Black, White and Mojave and a variety of textures, finishes and formats.