International Tiles

Thursday, 29 April 2010

After a whirlwind of the world's best in Milan this month, I'm currently experiencing another side of design. As an invited member of the press at Coverings, a tradeshow for the tile and stone industry, I have been whisked through the halls of the Orlando Convention Center and shown ceramic tile, porcelain tile, marble tile -- for applications as flooring and walls. While the originality of design from tile to tile is hard to distinguish from booth to booth, the technicality of it all is interesting. The most intriguing aspect of this specialized area of the home and design sector has turned out to be somewhat of a surprise. The business of tile is largely bureaucratic and the show floor is shadowed by the looming banners of regional alliances.

Tiles of Spain, Ceramic Tiles of Italy and The Tile Council of North America. Designers and companies -- large and small alike -- pledge their allegiances to the appropriate organization, often supported by government entities. These organizations then battle it out on the exhibition floor.

Curiously, each country's press conferences sounded almost exactly the same, lamenting the woes of the tile industry. The industry was one of the first, and hardest hit by the global recession, as it relies on the success of new homes and construction. Billions have been lost over the past two years, and the sector has felt any signs of recovery.

It seems that a global organization might do the tile and stone industry some good, as it is not in a place where in-fighting and competition will benefit anyone.

Jean Lin
USA Editor, Interiors

Salone 2010 Fairground Must Sees

Friday, 2 April 2010

The design world as a whole is starting to pack its luggage in preparation to descend on Milan in the second week of April for Milan Design Week. The week long design event that revolves around the Salone Internazionale del Mobile dictates the current state of furniture design and interiors, and more importantly where it is headed. The world's most important designers and manufacturers use the Salone as an international launch pad for its newest products as well as a testing ground for prototypes and ideas.

At the Salone
The fair itself is gigantic -- it has 20 exhibition halls, each around the size of one regular-sized trade show. Here are some of the exhibit halls and exhibitors that should not be missed.

This exhibit hall is where the freshest design talent from around the world congregates. Many exhibitors are independent product designers showcasing prototypes, and unlike the rest of the fairgrounds, SaloneSatellite is a haven away from highly commercial exhibitors.

Every year, the Salone has a focus in product. Last year was Euroluce, a display of the finest lighting in the world and 2010 will bring kitchen furnishings to the forefront.

Moroso -- Hall 8 Stand C25/D24
Italian brand Moroso acts as the belle of the ball with an always expansive spread. This year Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka will introduce Memory a recycled aluminum chair that changes form.

Kartell -- Hall 12 Stand A15/B18
Celebrating its 60th anniversary last year, the Italian company has 14 new products launching, most of which we're sure, will be see through.

Vitra -- Hall 12 Stand C05/D06
Right off the introduction of the spectacular Vitrahaus by Herzog & de Meuron on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the design company is introducing its 2010 Home Collection.

Poliform -- Hall 5 Stand A09/B08
Design legend Paola Navone collaborates with the late textile designer Ken Scott to cover her 2006 Airport sofa with Scott's colorful florals -- a beautifully offbeat pairing.

Jean Lin
USA Editor, Interiors