One of the most attractive elements of writing about the tile market is that it is truly global. Indeed, there is barely a country across the globe that doesn’t have an indigenous tile manufacturer or two.
But, even knowing this, encounters at the world’s tiling exhibitions still have the capacity to surprise. One such meeting took place recently at Coverings in Orlando, while I was being given the grand tour of leading North American exhibitors by TCNA (Tile Council of North America). This tour took me to a stand festooned with eminently saleable porcelain tiles. Having taken my notes about the most commercial ranges, I was introduced to David Krakoff, CEO of Vitromex. Although this company’s corporate HQ is in San Antonio, Texas, as the name suggest, production is centred in Mexico.
After the normal exchange of pleasantries, I asked him about Vitromex’s annual production capacity. His answer was the first time I have ever had the word “trillion” used in a reply to this question. OK, he was talking about square feet not square metres – we were in the USA, after all – but when I got back to the office to find out more I discovered that, in 2015, Vitromex had installed production capacity in excess of 56,000,000 sq. metres. And they have clearly kicked on since then!
David Krakoff then talked me through Vitromex’s extensive investment in the latest manufacturing kit and I was left in no doubt that this is a very, very ambitious company with great plans for the future.
The 2017 product launches confirmed that Vitromex also has the tile designs to back up its ambition. City Soul is a digital inkjet decorated porcelain range in grey, black taupe and brown, plus two classy decors. It comes in 200 by 200, 600 by 600 and 300 by 600mm. Ancient Oak is a digital wood-effect porcelain in red, brown, natural and gold colourways; all in a 150 by 900mm plank format. Couvet is a multi-coloured rustic wood-effect range in a selection of brown and grey, highly figured, designs. It comes in a 90 by 600mm medium plank format. Diversity is a heavily-grained structured wood-effect in dove, graphite, grey and ivory colours. It also comes in a 90 by 600mm medium plank format.
Grand Canyon is a digital stone-effect in four Native American-themed designs: apache, navajo, hopi and tewa. The format options are 450 by 450 and 330 by 330mm floor tiles, plus 200 by 300mm wall tiles, as well as deco mosaics, bullnoses and two other tile options: 75 by 200 and 300 by 600mm.
Loreto is a restrained decorative wall tile range in 200 by 200mm. The design options are a grey mix and a coloured mix. Portella is a three-format wall tile collection offered in plain white, black, aqua, grey, pistachio and blue. The formats are 330 by 450, 330 by 300 and 175 by 330mm. There were at least another six new 2017 designs on the stand at Coverings.
If I was a buyer at the UK multiple retailer or regional distributor, Vitromex is just the kind of manufacturing partner I would hope to discover at Coverings or one of the other big international tile shows.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2017.