A Few More Thoughts About Coverings’19

Kinship had such an incredible time at Coverings'19. Megan Padilla's post last week was spot on, and this week Lionel, Liyya, and Rachel are chiming in with their own thoughts about what they observed at this important tile and stone event.
Lionel Smith-McGeHee

Lionel Smith-McGehee, business development:

I made my first visit to Coverings, the international tile and stone show traditionally held in Orlando, in 2005.  It has been more than ten years since I’ve attended, and I was wowed this year at the huge differences in product from a decade ago.

Ten years ago, I sold stone in the old Tile Market, and there was a predominance of natural materials for flooring and most any other surface.  Travertine, limestones, stones that were polished, stones that were honed, stones with rough, chipped and chiseled edges. All stunningly beautiful and of the earth. The glass craze was just beginning, a gorgeous material if ever could be.

While there were plenty of those same materials at this years Coverings, what amazed me and drew my attention the most was a decades worth of progress in the porcelain sector of the industry. Tiles - even slabs - of various porcelains in every size, shape and color imaginable were the real showstoppers for me. The Island Stone “home” kept pulling me back, and I remember selling their earthy, sophisticated materials back in the day with pride.

While I go to look at product, and totally enjoy indulging my creative side, I can tell you that what I enjoy most are the connections made with folk in the industry whom I’ve known for a long while, and meeting new friends along the way. Coverings is about the tile, I know, but it is also about fostering and forging relationships. It is always a good thing when people enjoy meeting one another and being together, and the parties I attended in the evenings were no different.  Orlando has many people connected to the tile and stone industry and their hospitality is greatly appreciated (the parties were stellar!!).

I was mesmerized by Interstruct’s pocket park and crawled up and down, across and over, as if I were a kid. The design of it, and their deployment of orange – we are in Florida after all – glass tile, made Interstruct’s space a winner for me, and each time I visited there were people propped on pillows, resting a spell and simply taking time out from the unending hum of the days proceedings. Congrats Ryan Young and Interstruct, I salute you!

Lastly, I was off-the-dial-proud of Megan Padilla and Sarah Kinbar, my colleagues at Kinship, who gave a lively talk about content marketing strategies to a sizable group on Thursday afternoon. While I spend my working life with these women, there is never a time I don’t learn something new from their years of experience in the world of writing, content marketing and editorial. They are good teachers, and people attend Coverings expecting to learn a thing or two. Sarah and Megan delivered.

Liyya Hassanali, project manager:

Since becoming a homeowner, I’ve been pretty obsessed with interior design, home decor and renovations. Now, when someone like me, who gets all excited just browsing the aisles filled with marble and travertine at the marble stone warehouse, could you imagine what happens when I’m invited to visit a global title and stone exhibit!? I mean, I couldn’t ask for a better day at work with my fellow Kinshippers! Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Coverings 2019 with our Kinship Design Marketing team. Sarah Kinbar (co-founder of Kinship) and Megan Padilla (content marketing strategist) presented two sessions at Coverings CONNECT titled, “What is Content Marketing (and do I really need it?)” — the answer is YES, by the way, you really do need it! They both did an incredible job explaining the fundamentals of our industry and how it can help businesses. After watching our session, I had the chance to participate in an interactive session with Rachel Kinbar (co-founder of Kinship) where an entire group was led on a tour of the showroom floor. I was in awe at seeing the materials and designs change as we crossed the international carpets (every carpet color symbolized a different country), especially when we stepped into Ceramics of Italy.

Ornamenta Ceramics had me hypnotized and green with envy with their Ornamenta Café, showchased in green, pink, and gold. I could just imagine myself tasting the Lavazza espresso as I strolled through the beautifully designed archways.

Since then, I’ve been day and night dreaming about how I should incorporate all the beautiful designs seen at the show into my home. Did I mention that my husband is thrilled about this? I’m kidding! I think my new Pinterest boards filled with redesign concepts for each room in our home may have tipped him over the edge! I just couldn’t help myself after seeing the exotic stone and title designs. There were so many colors and concepts… creativity and craftsmanship... that you cannot experience a show like Coverings and not leave inspired.

Rachel Kinbar, co-founder:

Over a week later, and I’m still thinking a lot about Coverings. All of us at Kinship are. Coverings impacted us on all levels – commerce, connection, creativity, learning, exploration. Shortly after arriving on Thursday, my colleague Lionel said, “Come on. You have to see this booth.” It was that of Island Stone. The tropical exterior, which featured (if I’m right) Crescent Interlock Mini, was interesting and welcoming. Crescent Interlock Mini, from the Profiles series, is reminiscent of bamboo. As I walked inside, I saw that many of Island Stone’s offerings have dimension, texture, and play with light and shadow in intriguing ways. I was particularly struck by the way these stone tiles dramatically impact the ambiance of a space. While many tiles can be aesthetically pleasing, how often do they evoke feelings?

My colleagues (Lionel above and Megan here) have already spoken about large slab porcelain, which I too found incredibly luxurious, but I want to pay some attention to the many varieties of color tiles I spotted. Concrete Collaborative’s Strands line is colorful and geometric, with some unique patterns that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I loved nanda tiles’ Affiniti line, especially the tropical Amalfi pattern. Liyya already mentioned Ornamenta Café above, and I also want to mention Ornamenta’s many exciting offerings in a broad range of colors and patterns. I loved the Café’s color swatch mood board, and Ornamenta’s Coverings catalog showed even more.

One final note is that I attended the Global Tile Trends: Presentation by Cristina Faedi, Ryan Fasan, Joe Simpson, and Lindsey Waldrep. All of the presenters were spot on in their overview of trends, though I found Ryan’s presentation particularly engaging and informative. He not only spoke about trends in Spanish design, but provided context and historical links to previous design movements and techniques. His presentation took me on a journey and left me feeling really excited about the future of tile. And that’s exactly what good content – whether it’s a presentation, a booth, a catalog, a video, or a blog post – should do.

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