Coverings 2010: Little Italy

Taking a tour through the Ceramic Tiles of Italy pavillion at Coverings 2010 last week reminded me why the Italian are known for both their natural stone and ceramic tile products. Such beautiful selections…or as they say, "Cuanto bella!" Here is a glimpse:

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Poertra Splendente by Ceramiche Coem was an amazingly gorgeous tile. Resembling real marble, the 11-mm thick porcelain tile has a layer of glass that covers the stone to add protection as well as amp up the reflectivity with a gorgeous shine. And a green bonus is that its made with 20 percent recycled content.

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Another green introduction is Caesar's Change Collection, which contains 40 percent recycled materials. The tile emits a metallic sheen in four shades–bronze, chromium, forge, and night–and has a distinctly texturized look and feel (Almost like a window screen).

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Mauk by Lea is a highly versatile product that can be used on walls or floors. Even though the tiles only come in five shades–three blacks and two grays–there are endless design possibilities, thanks to the unique diamond and triangular shapes. The tiles are also extremey durable (won't crack even when a hammer hits them, as the Lea representative demonstrated) and lightweight at only 3 mm thick.

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Refin's Pro-gres Collection (I couldn't get a good image due to lighting so I had to pull one from their Web site) is particularly sustainable. The tile incorporates 20 percent recycled glass from old tube TVs. Pro-gres comes in two beige shades, Crystal and Natural, and mosaics are also available.

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Texture comes alive in this wall arrangment at the Pastorelli exhibit. Using ink jet technology and varied thicknesses, the Vila Imperiale Collection creates a fascinating facade that beckons to be touched.

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The play on texture and layering continued at Emil Ceramica. These two-part, layered tiles–called Alabastro–are part of the company's Greenlite Series. Each piece is super-thin at 4 mm to ensure the weight is not too heavy on the wall. The tiles can be also be used for internal and external applications.

–Stacy Straczynski

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