It’s been a busy spring, and our team has been racking up the frequent flyer miles and wearing out shoes visiting trade shows and conferences across the country. From Coverings and AIA to the NWFA Expo and HD Expo, it has been a whirlwind of groundbreaking design in every category of the flooring industry.

In this issue, Managing Editor Danielle Clair checked in with leading commercial manufacturers and the design community to find out what’s at the forefront of commercial design. Now more than ever, manufacturers are saying they must take cues from those in the architecture and design community to engineer flooring products that work as the foundational elements of an entire space. We repeatedly hear from designers that flooring is one of the first products they choose for a project, and suppliers and retailers who get in early on the planning can help to direct the design direction and solidify sales.

Contributing Editor Heather Fiore reported from Coverings where visitors saw more than nine miles of tiles. Top trends include three-dimensional tiles, hues in black and white, metallic and mirrored tiles, and more wood and stone look-alikes that demonstrate just how far technology has come in manufacturing. Installation products manufacturers are continually raising the bar as well, creating setting materials that help these installations go in faster and last longer.

Senior Editor Mike Chmielecki related a play-by-play from the NWFA Expo in Phoenix where there were more than 20 hours of education. The session took on a new format this year, allowing attendees to have a more impactful experience through peer-to-peer interaction and discussions. Jon Namba, Floor Covering Installer editorial director and NWFA board member, was on hand during both days of Tech Zone seminars to offer technical advice. One of his presentations was on repair techniques for hardwood flooring.

This month, we are on to Chicago for NeoCon where another round of commercial interiors introductions will make their debuts. In anticipation of our treks between the stairwells and showrooms in the Merchandise Mart, we rounded up a sneak peek of a few of the flooring introductions that will be unveiled at the show. If these products are any indication of the story 2017 is telling, it’s a bold, tactile and nature-inspired view. Textiles saturated with color, flooring with bold texture and stylish new ways to improve an interior’s lifespan are all signs of an industry that has found its rhythm.