Style, flair and fashion reigned supreme at Coverings 2001.

Booths and displays took on a style all their own.
When the powers-that-be behind Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, made the decision to host the 2001 event in New Orleans, May 21-23, there were some concerns that needed to be addressed: shipping; lodging; permits; booth space; and travel arrangements, to name a few. The familiar confines of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. were being exchanged for the elongated expanse of the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center. How would it all come together?


The three-day event flowed as smoothly as any of the previous exhibitions, and perhaps more so. The atmosphere and freshness of New Orleans lent a revitalizing energy to the show, helping to create one of the most enjoyable exhibition experiences yet for the floor covering industry in 2001. The enthusiasm for all things local may have been best exemplified by Mapei, which organized a parade through the city streets, complete with Dixieland jazz band and a host of colorful characters.

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center fit the exhibitor's bill.
Amid the laid-back charm of the Big Easy, a remarkable amount of educational material was programmed into the schedule. More than 75 seminars, with titles ranging from Ten Techniques to Keep Clients Happy to Design Center Solutions for Your Builder Business, saw more than their share of standing-room-only crowds. Janet Carter, NFT columnist and principal of the Carter Lynn design firm, introduced Good Showroom Management and Selling – Parts I and II to attentive audiences on the show’s first day, and came back the next morning to present Decorative Tile: Hot Stuff for Interiors and Exteriors.

The local flavor of New Orleans can't be escaped for long.
The well-filled aisles that run the length of the convention center saw new product innovations and designs from a multitude of companies which drew rave reviews from attendees and show officials alike. The Grand Award Winner for Excellence in Exhibiting went toAntolini Luigi & C. SpA. Among the companies presented with Special Recognition Awards wereFlorida Tilefor its user-friendly display area;ICEX(the Trade Commission of Spain/Tile of Spain) for its information and hospitality center;Tau Ceramicafor its high-tech exhibition highlighted by the company’s Metallica line;Saloni, S.A. for its open-plan exhibition; andTechno Art Marmifor its Italian-style villa display.

Other companies unveiling their latest innovations included Alcalagres, American Florim, Halcon, Eliane, Gayafores, Porcelanatto, Zanon, and American Marazzi.

There was no lack of entertainment, as evidenced by this musical trio at the Brazillian pavillion.
No tile or stone floor is complete, however, without the tools and techniques to install it correctly. That need accounted for the presence at Coverings ofSchluter Systems, USG, Dependable Chemical, James Hardie, Laticrete, TEC Specialty Products, and a number of other equipment and installation-related product manufacturers.

Coverings prides itself on its international appeal, and this year was no exception. Representatives from no fewer than 48 countries took part in the exhibition, from as close as Mexico to as far away as Sri Lanka. Trade associations and organizations also made their presence felt; Brazil (Anfacer, the Brazilian Association for Ceramic Tile), Italy (Assopiatrelle, the Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractory Manufacturers); Spain (ASCER, the Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association, and ICEX, the Institute for Foreign Trade); the Portuguese Trade Commission, and others played an important part in Coverings’ success.

Coverings 2001 fulfilled its promise, and then some. The tile and stone industry’s largest platform in North America conjured up a selection of tiles, tools and technologies diverse enough to enthrall the largest retailer and the most highly skilled installer. It will be quite a challenge for future editions of Coverings to surpass this year’s success.

See you in 2002.