Revestir - April 2013

Revestir From April 2013

By Darius Helm

 

Brazil’s eleventh annual tile show, held in Sao Paulo’s Transamerica Expo Center at the beginning of March, is a lesson in the significance of Brazil, and South America in general, on the world stage—as a consumer, a producer and a global influence. Every aspect of the event seems to emphasize the relevance of the region. Though the show itself is smaller in total area than the Surfaces–StonExpo/Marmomacc show held in Las Vegas, this year over 48,000 attendees roamed its halls. It was the biggest Revestir yet, in both area and attendance. 

The 240 exhibitors included 80 from foreign countries, counting among them some of the most prominent tile manufacturers in the world. Foreign exhibitors included Marazzi, Atlas Concorde, Pamesa, Fiandre, Apavisa, Emil Ceramica, Roca and Refin. And though it’s traditionally a tile show, there were also manufacturers of other types of flooring on hand. Formica was there, along with Duratex, a Brazilian manufacturer of sanitary ware and laminate flooring. There was also a bamboo flooring manufacturer, as well as two firms prominent in the U.S. market—Tarkett and Mannington’s Amtico International.

In addition to flooring and ceramic tile for walls and cladding, the expo showcased equipment manufacturers, including Italy’s Sacmi, and a hall for sanitary ware producers.

The show is hosted by ANFACER, the Brazilian Association of Manufacturers of Ceramic Tiles, Sanitary Ware and Related Products. The association had some high profile speakers at the show, among them renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma; Birgit Lohmann, the publisher of Italy’s DesignBoom, an online magazine with over four million readers; and Yukio Hashimoto, a Japanese designer whose products include the highly acclaimed Moonbird lamp.

Run concurrently with the expo is the International Forum of Architecture and Design, a series of seminars, lectures and debates that gather over 3,000 professionals, including architects, interior designers, manufacturers, builders and retailers.

The Revestir show is held in Sao Paulo, a city known as much for its thriving economy as it is for its poverty-stricken favelas (hillside slums built of scrap material). Measured by metro-area, the city has a population of about 19 million, making it bigger than every American city with the exception of New York. It’s bigger than Shanghai, Paris, London, Beijing and Moscow.

A WORLD UNTO ITSELF
It’s significant that very little English is spoken at the Revestir show (and in Brazil in general). It’s all Portuguese—and after that it’s Spanish—a testament to the strength of the regional market. With a population of over 200 million, Brazil alone accounts for half of the people in South America. It’s the fifth largest country in the world, with nearly two-thirds the population of the U.S., and the sixth largest economy, behind the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and France. And, despite a sluggish pace the last couple of years, it’s growing faster than most other industrialized nations. 

South America itself is a force to be reckoned with, a region coming into its own—fitfully at times—a point underscored by the recent appointment of an Argentinean cardinal, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the new pope. 

According to Marcio Holland, secretary for economic policy at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance, the construction industry represents 45% of the investments in the country. There’s so much new construction that close to 90% of domestic tile production is consumed internally, and most of what remains supplies the other 200 million people living in South America. Brazil’s not only the second biggest global producer, after China, of ceramic tile (by volume), but it’s also the second biggest consumer of ceramic tile.

That’s not to say that the U.S. is irrelevant to Brazil. Looking at all consumption, the U.S. is by far the world’s largest consumer, accounting for nearly 30% of global expenditures, equivalent to ten South Americas—and that’s hard to ignore. But the U.S. wasn’t as relevant when its economy was floundering. With the weakness of the dollar as a deterrent, the recession led several Brazilian ceramic tile producers to pull out of the market. Now those same manufacturers say they are restarting their U.S. operations, though their level of commitment will be more evident once they start building their U.S. based staffs and warehouse operations.

Nevertheless, the fact that tile consumption per capita in the U.S. is less than seven square feet, compared to more then 35 square feet for Brazil and around 25 square feet for China is a compelling reason to keep the U.S. in the crosshairs.

There were certainly plenty of Brazilian-made products on display at Revestir that will do well in the U.S. market, mostly among the wood designs. Some were too bold for the U.S. market, like timeworn looks with glossy reliefs and matte on the lower contours, but there were also plenty of reclaimed and barnwood looks that were well executed. While some product was too glossy for most U.S. markets, at the same time there was a wide variety of matte and low gloss looks in both wood and stone in muted earth tones. And tile producers not just from Brazil but also from Spain and Italy all featured tile in various trendy grey colorations.

The only Brazilian tile producer that has maintained a permanent presence in the U.S. is Eliane, which has had offices in Carrollton, Texas for over 20 years. While the firm offers a lot of 24”x24” tiles, and even 24”x48” tiles, to the Brazilian market, that’s still too big for most U.S. consumers, so the firm targets the U.S. market with 18”x18”, 12”x12” and 12”x24” formats. 

One particularly striking product at Eliane was its new ArqGeo, a striated stone look with three finishes—slip resistant, satin and polished—that comes in both 24”x48” and 12”x24”, and is offered in earth tones and neutrals ranging from ivory to warm grey to a medium brown with a subtle grey hue.

Eliane also had on view several wood looks, including Arbor from its DecorTiles program. The low matte rustic narrow plank design features dynamic jumps of texture and color between the plank visuals. Also on display were some fashion-forward textile looks.

One of the more unique offerings at the show came from Gail, a firm originally founded in Germany in 1812. However, since 1970 all manufacturing has been in Brazil. The firm’s extruded tiles, which target the medium to high end commercial market, don’t have porcelain’s high performance characteristics, but they offer a lush, substantial look that is hard to replicate. Because they’re extruded, the 12mm floor tiles generally don’t go much above 10”x10”. 

Over the last year, Gail has started doing business in the U.S.—in Texas and Florida so far. The firm does a lot of customization for clients.

Portinari offered some of the most fashion forward products at this year’s Revestir expo, including thin tiles for floor and wall, super large formats, moody commercial colors and a range of sophisticated wood looks. The firm offers medium to high price points.

Eco Plant is a line of aged pine looks with clear linear graining, knots and good color range in a low gloss finish. The tiles come in three formats: 6”x47”, 8”x47” and 12”x47”. Even trendier is the firm’s Eco Home, which comes in the same formats but offers a reclaimed barnwood look, with hints of sanded-off paint, linear cracks, and well designed color jumps between the planks.

Another major Brazilian producer, Portobello, closed down its U.S. offices three years ago, but it has been retargeting the U.S. Most of Portobello’s tiles are at the higher end of the market, but it does a lot of business in the middle price points and has also been offering entry-level tiles through manufacturing partnerships. The firm, which has ten facilities in Brazil, exports about 10% of its products.

It’s a big firm and it always comes out with a lot of product introductions, and among this year’s notable new looks was Teca, based on an exotic hardwood from Southeast Asia, with gentle linear graining with a timeworn surface. The line comes in two long plank lengths: 8”x72” and 8”x48”. Portobello also offers an outdoor version of the look, called Deck Teca.

In addition, there were a couple of other memorable wood looks, Acacia and Royal Oak, but probably the most arresting look was Oriente, a textured carpet visual of contrasting earth tone designs packaged in three sizes for multi-format installations.

The firm is currently building a new facility in Tijucas for large format products. Like most of the Brazilian tile producers, Portobello is working at full capacity to meet the demands of both the domestic market and its export business.

Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 




Other Archived Articles

Tight Lending Standards Still Hurting Home Builders   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 9, 2014 -- Tight mortgage lending standards continue to affect sales for single-family builders, according to a survey released by the National Association of Home Builders.

Wholesale Inventories Increase in August   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 9, 2014 -- U.S. wholesale inventories rose 0.7% in August, according to the Commerce Department.

Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 9, 2014 -- Initial jobless claims held steady at 287,000 last week, according to the Labor Department.

Quick-Step Starts Promoting Q-Wood Flooring on the Internet   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Oct. 9, 2014 -- Quick-Step developed a new website specifically for its Q-Wood category of flooring.

Mortgage Application Volume Rises Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 8, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume increased 3.8% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Got You Floored on Fast 50 List in Piedmont Region   Full Article
Greensboro, NC, Oct. 8, 2014 -- -Got You Floored, Inc. was named by the Triad Business Journal to the Fast 50 for the Piedmont Triad Region in North Carolina.

Georgia Gov. Deal Visits Mohawk in Calhoun   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Earlier this week, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal toured the Mohawk Flooring Center in Calhoun and spoke to employees about the importance of the flooring industry in the state of Georgia.

Interface Issues Third Quarter Earnings Warning   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 8, 2014 -- Shares of Interface fell 16.5% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company announced lower-than-expected preliminary third-quarter results.

National Retail Federation Expects Holiday Sales Boost   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Retail spending during the holiday season is expected to be the highest in three years, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation.

Job Openings Highest Since 2001   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Job openings increased to 4.84 million in August, up from 4.67 million in July, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Builders Offering Incentives as Sales Soften   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Home builders nationally have begun sweetening offers in light of slowing sales, according to a Bloomberg News story.

Domotex To Feature Installation Technology for First Time   Full Article
Hannover, Germany, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Domotex 2015 set for Jan. 17-20 will feature 1,300 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.

Fincibec Group Seeking Tile Award Entries   Full Article
Sassuolo, Italy, Oct. 6, 2014 -- The Quinquennial Tile Award, now in its fourth edition, seeking entries using the Fincibec Group's three brands, Century, Monocibec and Naxos, between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2015.

Armstrong Raising Some Vinyl Prices   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Oct. 6, 2014 -- Armstrong said it will raise prices in the U.S. and Canada on commercial vinyl composition tile and BioBased Tile by 4%, commercial wallbase by 4%, and select residential tile products.

Stifel Sees Stronger Hard Surface Sales, Weaker Carpet Sales   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 6, 2014 -- Analyst Stifel Nicolaus believes that third quarter flooring sales will show stronger sales of hard surface flooring and weaker sales of carpet.

NeoCon East Offers Education for Designers   Full Article
Baltimore, MD, Oct. 6, 2014 -- NeoCon East has announced its educational program for design professionals seeking continuing education.

Duncan Appointed President of Mannington's Residential Business   Full Article
Salem, NJ, Oct. 3, 2014 -- Mannington Mills announced today that Ed Duncan will replace Kim Holm, who is retiring, as president of Mannington’s Residential Business.

Services Sector Growth Slows in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy grew at a slower pace in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

CRI Annual Meeting Set Nov. 12   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The Carpet and Rug Institute's 2014 Annual Membership Meeting will be held Nov. 12.

Unemployment at Six-Year Low in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in September as the economy created 248,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department.