Mar 23: UK 70 jobs lost as Norcros Adhesives shuts

Stoke-on-Trent tile adhesive manufacturer Norcros Adhesives is to shut after increased costs left it no longer profitable, reports the Stoke Sentinel (

Norcros Adhesives shares its Harewood Street site with sister company Johnson Tiles. Jobs at Johnson Tiles are not affected by the planned closure.

In 2019 Norcros Adhesives increased the capacity of its Tunstall plant by more than 150% following ‘significant investment’ in systems, infrastructure, and new jobs.  But the company has been hit by increased costs in its supply chain forcing bosses to make the ‘regrettable decision’ to close.

CEO Nick Kelsall said: “We deeply regret that we are having to take this action, and it’s not something that we have come to lightly. Unfortunately, despite implementing a number of profit-improvement programmes, the business remains loss-making, and we have been left with no other option than to close the business. It was with a heavy heart and deep regret that we announced the decision to our employees on Wednesday.”

“Unfortunately due to the global situation with the cost inflation of our raw materials, which have increased significantly over the last few years as our suppliers face increased costs, we can’t get the business into profit, stated Kelsall.  “It is a regrettable situation and we are trying to manage the closure as sympathetically as we can.”

Norcros Adhesives’s products were sold across a number of markets, from DIY superstores, tile retailers, and builders’ merchants to housebuilders and architects. Its clients included Screwfix, Barratt Homes, and Fired Earth.

Mar 23: UK Construction activity rises at fastest rate for nine months in February

February data highlighted a robust increase in overall business activity across the UK construction sector, thereby ending a two-month period of decline. The rate of growth was the strongest since May 2022, supported by a marked rebound in commercial work and a positive contribution from civil engineering activity. In contrast, housing activity decreased for the third month running.

At the same time, the latest survey pointed to the least widespread supplier delays since January 2020 and a slowdown in input cost inflation. The overall rate of purchase price inflation was the lowest for 27 months in February.

The headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index) – which measures month-on-month changes in total industry activity – registered 54.6 in February, up from 48.4 in January and above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the first time in three months. The latest reading was the highest since May 2022.

Commercial construction was the best-performing area in February (index at 55.3), with the rate of expansion the steepest for nine months. Civil engineering activity also returned to growth in February (index at 52.3), although the rate of expansion was only modest.

Construction companies noted a fall in residential building work for the third consecutive month in February (index at 47.4). The speed of the downturn eased since January, however. Total new work picked up in February, as signalled by an improvement in order books for the first time since November 2022.

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Feb 23: Spain Alfa de Oro awards for Neolith, Natucer and Gresmanc Group

This year’s Alfa de Oro awards – given by the Spanish Ceramic and Glass Society with the aim of encouraging scientific, technological, and artistic creativity – singled out three innovative products on show at Cevisama.

The expert jury awarded an Alfa de Oro to Neolith for Neolith Iconic Design: a large format, precision-design vitreous ceramic that synchronises the digital deposition of atomised composites with the surface design.

Spanish manufacturer Natucer won an award, for its Natur-LED product, as did Gresmanc Group for its solutions for façades. “They have developed the extrusion process technologically so they cn create larger formats and finishes in extruded ceramic,”, noted the jury.

Natucer stated: “We are delighted to have received the Alpha de Oro award for our Natur-LED Collection. In our quest to innovate we have decided to take a step forward and mix two concepts very trending on contract channel such as ceramics and lighting.”

Feb 23: Spain Cevisama showcases architecture in some style

The second day of Cevisama – Tuesday 28th Feb – saw more than 700 people fill the auditorium at Feria Valencia’s Events Centre for the Architecture Forum that featured three of the world’s leading architects: Francis Kére, winner of the Prizker prize in 2022, Anne Lacaton, 2021 Prizker winner, and David Chipperfield.

First to step onto the stage was British architect David Chipperfield. The designer of the Veles e Vents building spoke about the renovation of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, an icon of 20th century architecture and the only building that architect Mies van der Rohe created in Europe after he emigrated to the USA. Chipperfield talked about the challenges involved in the restoration of the 50-year-old building that had to be approached cautiously and, more importantly, sustainably as well as taking into account that the building is catalogued as a monument. “It needed ot be preserved without compromising its appearance visually,” he explained.

Renowned French architect, Anne Lacaton, gave an excellent presentation on the transformation of housing in the Grand Parc in Bordeaux, France, a project she undertook in the 60s that was a response to the growing demand for housing following the 2nd World War. Lacaton had to tackle an ambitious plan to refurbish 530 of the 4000 homes in the area. The aim was to deal with the opposite problem: the depopulation of that district. Lacaton explained how they approached the project, which was to create social housing.  Firstly, they retained the original structure of the two buildings. “We wanted to preserve everything that we might be able to use for the transformation to be as sustainable as possible”, she explained in her presentation, delivered via video link. One of the cornerstones of the project was to provide each home with a private, south-facing outside space. “The way these outside gardens are arranged also affects the thermal performance of the buildings’ cladding”, she remarked.

Last to take to the stage was Francis Kéré, winner of the Pritzker prize in 2022 and the first African to win global architecture’s most significant accolade. Kéré talked about the the Léo Surgical and Health Centre in Burkina Faso his native country, a fully functional building that he used local material, specifically clay, to build and that receives thousands of patients every day. “You can do a lot with very little”, he said, adding that the project involved entire families from the area. “It is a small miracle.” It is Kéré’s signature style to work largely in areas where there are many limitations, using local materials and to do so as sustainably as possible.

Feb 23: Spain Marazzi opens a flagship showroom in Madrid

Marazzi has opened a new flagship showroom in the heart of Madrid. The project, in Calle Serrano right in the city centre, is the work of international firm ACPV Architects: Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel.

The 300 sq. metres on two floors house The Welcoming Room project. The showroom greets visitors in this hospitable interior, designed in accordance with the Live-In Kitchen concept, in which the compositional versatility of large stoneware slabs and the vibrant gleam of the Crogiolo small-size collections dialogue to connect areas and functions around the kitchen.

A succession of themed rooms emphasises the exquisite beauty of the materials: from the large slabs hung like rich Persian carpets to the museum-like shelves which exhibit smaller size tiles that exemplify an endless collection of finishes, structures, surfaces and colours, each presented as a unique, unrepeatable object of great value.

Photo Credit: Photo Studio Bonus

Feb 23: UK Floor specialist collapses into administration

Malin Industrial Concrete Floors Ltd, a floor specialist that has worked with major contractors including Buckingham Group and Sir Robert McAlpine, has collapsed into administration, reports Construction News ( The £25.6 million turnover company appointed Mazars as administrators.

The Manchester-based firm had a strong profile of work producing specialised flooring, particularly for warehouses. It mainly worked with laser screed flooring, which involves machines trimming concrete slabs into exact floor slabs before lowering them into the ground. In its most recent accounts, for the year to 31 March 2021, Malin’s turnover fell to £25.6m compared with £38.4m the year before. But its pre-tax profit soared from £109,900 to around £1.3m – nearly a 13-fold increase.

The company also expanded its average workforce from 31 to 50 full-time staff. Demand for warehouses soared over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to the boost in online shopping.

Feb 23: UK CTD Tiles acquires 13 UK branches from Tile Giant

CTD Tiles Ltd, part of the Aurelius Group, has acquired 13 UK branches from Tile Giant. The purchase will expand CTD’s nationwide network of branches and bolster its commitment to being one of the UK’s leading omni-channel specialist tile distributors.

Katie Clapham, CTD’s HR & Marketing Director, stated: “We want all of our CTD colleagues, to feel part of our growth story and provide them the possibility to actively engage in delivering success. We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members”.

Shaun Mason – CTD’s Head of Commercial & Supply Chain, commented: “We want to drive forward our vision of CTD and we will continue to look for further opportunities to grow both organically and through acquisitions. CTD’s core philosophy of placing exceptional customer service at the centre of its business will be extended to these new branches and will serve to provide a vital service to the local tiling, bathroom and construction industry in the respective areas. We plan to manage the transition in ownership and rebranding with minimal disruption to customers.”

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Feb 23: USA Fiandre surfaces star in US Building of the Year

The St. Sarkis Armenian church in Carrollton, Texas, designed by New York architect David Hotson, has been named US Building of the Year 2022 in a survey promoted by World-Architects.

The defining element of the whole project is the façade of the church; a powerful commemorative monument to the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide. The tiles of the façade were made by Fiandre Architectural Surfaces using an exact number of pixels, and customised using the innovative ultra-high resolution Design your Slabs decoration technology. The façade was installed by Graniti Vicentia Façades, using the ventilated façade system patented by Granitech.

In addition to the façade, Fiandre supplied the ceramic surfaces for the internal and external walls and floors throughout the St Sarkis complex, exploiting the wide range of thicknesses and textures available in the Fjord collection.

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Feb 23: UK 300 jobs lost as Tolent collapses

Tolent, the Gateshead-based construction company, has entered administration, resulting in more than 300 jobs being lost. Administrators said the business was impacted by “severe headwinds”. Tolent’s companies operated across building, civil engineering, and property development, with additional offices in Leeds, and Stockton-on-Tees.

One of Tolent’s major contracts – the £85.5 million Milburngate development in Durham – made significant losses, affecting cashflow. Following the appointment of administrators, 313 employees were immediately made redundant, while 91 members of staff have been retained by joint administrators to assist in any possible sale of the business and its assets.

Feb 23: UK Tories appoint 15th Housing Minister

Lucy Frazer has been replaced as UK Housing Minister job having served just 102 days in the role.  Frazer was named minister of state at Michael Gove’s Levelling Up, Housing and Communities department on 28th October 2023.

Frazer’s brief tenure in office has seen her successfully pilot the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill through its controversial final stages in the House of Commons, and extend the deadline for homes bought under the Help to Buy scheme to achieve practical completion.

Her replacement is Rachel Maclean: the 15th Housing Minister since the Conservatives came to power, and the sixth to hold the post in the past 12 months. Ms Maclean has had junior ministerial jobs in the justice department and Home Office since becoming an MP in 2017.

Labour’s shadow levelling-up secretary, Lisa Nandy said the high turnover “would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.  How can we have any hope of solving a housing crisis? This is no way to run a serious government,” said Nandy.

Samuel Hughes, head of housing at the Centre for Policy Studies, observed: “Choosing one excellent housing minister and then sticking with them would help a lot in delivering the sustained and systematic reform we need.  Without those reforms, the housing shortage will continue to worsen, destroying the dream of homeownership for a generation of young people.” 

A government spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to making sure the housing market works for everyone.  Increasing the number of genuinely affordable homes is central to our levelling up mission and since 2010 we have delivered over 620,000 affordable homes in England, including over 160,000 for social rent.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will give communities power to bring forward the right homes in the right places and we’re taking tough action against social housing landlords providing a poor service and have set our proposed rental reforms that will ensure a fair deal for renters.”

Feb 23: UAE RAK Ceramics announces 2022 results

RAK Ceramics has announced its financial results for the year ended 31st December 2022, reporting record full year performance with a total revenue increase of 22.9% to AED 3.52 billion and reported net profit increase of 19.8% to AED340.1 million.

Abdallah Massaad, Group CEO, commented: “I am delighted to share our company’s performance for the year 2022. Notwithstanding the current macro-economic conditions marked by high inflation and persistent energy crisis, we have managed to achieve remarkable results. Our total revenue increased by 22.9% YoY, reaching the highest level since 2009, driven by robust core business growth in Tiles, Sanitaryware, and Tableware in addition to growth in faucets on the back of KLUDI consolidation. This is a testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering value to our stakeholders.”

“Despite the challenging economic environment, we have managed to maintain our gross profit margin level, mainly due to our improved production efficiencies and optimized utilization in 2022. Growth was hindered by further costs associated with Saudi Custom Duty, higher input costs and energy challenges; nonetheless, we are working hard to overcome these challenges and are already seeing hints of correction in some instances.”

“In the UAE, the tiles enhancement project is in progress and production is set to begin in Q1 2023 for 5 million square meters of GP tiles.”

RAK Ceramics demonstrated a remarkable performance despite the tough macroeconomic conditions. Total revenue increased by 22.9% YoY to AED 3.52 billion in 2022, compared to AED 2.86 billion in 2021. The growth was driven by an increase in Tiles (11.0%), Sanitaryware (4.1%), Tableware (38.9%) and the consolidation of faucets (+AED 276.5 million).

The reported net profit increased to AED 340.1 million in 2022, an all-time high, compared to AED 283.9 million in 2021. The net profit margin stood at 9.7%, compared to 9.9% in the previous year. Despite the full-year impact of the KSA customs duty and the rise in input prices, RAK Ceramics maintained a stable total gross profit margin of 36.1% YoY.

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Feb 23: USA Women in the Floorcovering Industry celebrates first meet-up

Women in the Floorcovering Industry (WIFI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers women in the flooring industry (, celebrated its first in-person meet-up at The International Surfaces Event in Las Vegas on February 1.

Hosted by Mohawk, the WIFI Breakfast Club event invited attendees to learn more about the organization and a new mentorship program. The goal of the program, which matches mentors to mentees, is to accelerate the professional development of mentees. All members of WIFI are eligible to participate in the mentoring program, and participants can join from any segment of the industry. 

At the event, Mohawk presented a donation of $50,000 to the organization to help fund its networking and professional development programs.

To learn more, visit:

Above: Mohawk presented $50,000 to Women in the Floorcovering Industry to help fund its networking and professional development. Shown here is Kelli Widdifield, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Mohawk, with the WIFI board of directors.

Feb 23: Spain Cevisama boosts number of foreign buyers

Scheduled to take place from 27th February to 3rd March at Feria Valencia, Cevisama is confident it will equal the 21,000 foreign visitors last year.   Some of the companies attending include Merola Tile/Somertile, Richmond Ceramic Tile Distribution, Cancos Tile, Secret Bath, and Virginia Tile, all from the USA. 

European attendees include leading French distributors Point P. Saint Gobain, Richardson, the Leclerc group, part of Leroy Merlin France, French group Gedimat, and German distributors BDB (Bundesverband Dutscher Baustoff-fachhandel), Köbig, Nerlich & Lesser, Taxis, Stark Group, Schmidt Rudersdorf, Trauco, Hermann Bach and Bayerischer Fliesenhandel.  The Belgian Federation of construction materials will also be visiting Cevisama, as will the UK’s Construction Products Association, UK distributors Al-Murad Tiles, The Tile Company, Tapis Tiles, and Craven Dunnill & Co.  Canadian distributors Olimpia Tile, Tiles Inspired, and Sarana Tiles will also be attending.

“Thanks to Feria Valencia’s hard work and the support of the Ministry for a Sustainable Economy, we have invited more than 3,000 companies to the fair”, says the event’s Director, Carmen Álvarez. “We have already received confirmations from more than 600 international buyers, four times as many as we had for the last edition of the fair.”

More than 500 brands will be showing their latest products at Cevisama 2023: including major brands such as Peronda, Roca, Baldocer, Keraben, Grupo STN, Aparici, Apavisa, Schluter System, Raimondi, Fila, and Cevica.

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Jan 23: UK BMBI reports steady sales by merchants

Total Builders Merchants value sales were up +1.4% in November 2022 compared with the same month last year. Volume sales were -13.6% lower with price up +17.3%. There was no difference in trading days. Nine of the twelve categories sold more. Renewables & Water Saving (+37.9%). Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+17.5%), Workwear & Safetywear (+16.6%) and Decorating (+15.3%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+14.8%) grew most. Timber & Joinery Products (-12.0%) was weakest.

Total value sales in November 2022 were +29.8% higher than the same month three years ago (a more normal pre-Covid year). Volume sales fell by -4.1%, while prices were up +35.3%. Like-for-like sales (which take trading day differences into account) were +23.9% higher. All categories sold more.

Total Merchants sales were -2.6% lower in November 2022 than in October 2022. Volume sales were -7.2% lower with price up +4.9%, with one more trading day this month, like-for-like sales were -7.0% lower. Workwear & Safetywear (+11.2%) was up the most, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (+10.0%).

November’s overall BMBI index was 147.1, helped by Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (168.4). With one more trading day, the like-for-like index was 138.7. All categories exceeded 100, including Kitchens & Bathrooms (161.4), Timber & Joinery Products (160.4), Ironmongery (144.7), Heavy Building Materials (144.0) and Landscaping (132.7). Tools (111.3) increased the least.

Total sales in September to November 2022 were +3.9% higher than in September to November 2021, with price inflation of +15.1%, and volume down -9.7%. With one less trading day in this recent period, like-for-like sales were +5.6% higher. Ten of the twelve categories sold more. Renewables & Water Saving (+54.8%), Workwear & Safetywear (+22.2%), and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+16.7%) did best. Timber & Joinery Products (-11.1%) was weakest.

Compared with the same months three years ago, sales in September to November 2022 were +25.7% higher than in September to November 2019, driven by price inflation (+33.7%) not volume (-6.0%). With one less trading day this period, like-for-like sales were +27.7% higher. All categories sold more.

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Jan 23: UK Surface Design Show is just days away

On 7th February, Surface Design Show (7th to 9th February 2023) will open its doors at London’s Business Design Centre, showcasing an exciting and inspirational array of new material trends, plus the latest innovations within the industry. 

The theme for the 2023 Show is ‘Shaping Communities’; with an ambition to improve the surroundings for all, through collaboration and meaningful design solutions.

Located right in the centre of the Show, Surface Spotlight Live features ground-breaking materials for visitors to touch and feel, giving a truly ‘hands-on’ experience for architects and designers to enjoy and learn from. Curated by trend expert Sally Angharad, and sponsored by CDUK, SSL will present a selection of surfaces, finishes and materials that celebrate the power of creative thinking, demonstrating how ethical innovation is providing positive design solutions.


Jan 23: Italy Del Conca installs Italy’s largest kiln

Del Conca has expanded and renovated its production site in Savignano sul Panaro, Italy; the historic HQ of the Pastorelli brand. Part of a €55 million plan, the investment has transformed the plant into one of the Italy’s largest and most innovative production facilities with a total floor space of 120,000 sq. metres, including 60,000 sq. metres under cover.

The facility houses a complete production line from raw material preparation through to packaging, equipped with highly automated equipment entirely developed and built in Italy. Pressing takes place on a revolutionary PCR3000 line capable of producing ceramic slabs in sizes up to 1,800 by 3,600mm (a format not previously available on the market) and thicknesses up to 30mm. With a length of more than 200 metres, the kiln is the largest ever installed in Italy.

The most important components of the line all are the thermal machines (the spray dryer, dryer and kiln) and the cogenerator, all of which were designed to ensure greater energy efficiency. And because they are hydrogen ready, they will be able to switch to a natural gas/hydrogen blend as soon as hydrogen becomes available, further improving the environmental sustainability of the process.

For many years now, Del Conca has been adopting green policies aimed at reducing its levels of consumption, with measures that include the use of photovoltaics, the recycling of all processing waste (unfired, fired and defective materials), 100% reuse of process water and separately recyclable packaging. Thanks to these constant efforts, the company is now able to achieve overall savings of approximately 3,400 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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Jan 23: USA New Global Decorative Tile Market Report

According to The Global Decorative Tile Market Report just published by, through 2026, global demand for decorative tile will increase 4.4% per year to 22.6 billion square metres, valued at $280 billion.

The company says that market growth will be driven by:

• Strong gains in building construction activity in the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions

• Increases in the average size of houses around the world, including larger kitchens

• Increasing personal incomes allowing for greater investment on housing products

• Advances in digital printing, which have improved the ability of ceramic tile flooring to mimic the look of high end materials such as hardwood and marble

• Porcelain slab’s rapid inroads in interior building applications

China and India will account for 47% of absolute gains globally. India, the world’s second largest decorative tile market, is projected to see the fastest growth, with gains of 13% per year. Large format porcelain slab will be the fastest growing decorative tile product in the world, with demand rising at a rate of 25% annually.


Jan 23: UK Tile Giant acquired by former Topps Tiles CEO Matt Williams

According to a recent story in Retail Gazette, Tile Giant has been snapped up by former Topps Tiles chief executive, Matt Williams (below).

Stiled, a company owned by Williams, bought the retailer, which operates more than 80 stores nationwide, for an undisclosed sum earlier this month.

Tile Giant’s chief executive Mike Ashley has stepped down from his role following the acquisition. He is replaced by Nathan Burkey.

Tile Giant was owned by builder’s merchant Travis Perkins until 2020, when it was sold to Leeds-based investment group Coverings. In 2021, its most recent financial update, Tile Giant’s sales edged up to £46.2m as it returned to profit. It posted a pre-tax profit of £878,000, up from a loss of £4m.

Few know more about the world of tiling than Matt Williams. He spent 12 years at the helm of market leader Topps Tiles, the business his father Stuart founded. Williams stepped down from Topps Tiles in November 2019 to pursue “a new challenge.” He has since founded Stiled with a group of friends and family. The firm focuses on selling tiles and paving for outdoor spaces.


Jan 23: UK Craven Dunnill opens Cheshire Showroom

Craven Dunnill has opened a new showroom and design hub between Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK.  The cutting-edge showroom will offer its customers the opportunity to surround themselves in style, presenting a premium selection of wall and floor tiles, bathroom furniture, kitchen worktops, swimming pool mosaics, and handcrafted three-dimensional ceramics. The tiles are sourced from the world’s leading manufacturers, including the finest Italian ceramics and handcrafted British artworks. Raising the bar for the industry, its state-of-the-art Infinito Collection of large porcelain slabs will also be presented for the very first time.

Simon Howells, Managing Director at Craven Dunnill, comments: “Strategically placed in the heart of Cheshire’s ‘Golden Triangle,’ our new Showroom and Design Hub is an aspirational space which fills a gap in the market, bringing unparalleled services and products to the area.”

“We are renowned for exceptional service and premium ceramic tiles, but also bring wider, entire design solutions – ranging from affordable to luxury interiors, supported with installation materials, coordinating grouts, ancillaries and wet-room accessories. The Showroom and Design Hub is a catalyst for pushing  boundaries and perceptions of how and where ceramic and porcelain tiles, mosaics, and large format slabs can be used both around the home and in commercial spaces,”says Howells.  “At Craven Dunnill, we are committed to offering solutions for all  design styles, requirements, and audiences, with each collection as beautifully crafted as the next. The Cheshire showroom is a one-stop destination for inspirational design touchpoints that matter,” concludes Howells.

Encompassing 150 years of design, prowess, and style, the aspirational showroom environment will also be a design hub for its clientele, offering a contemporary space for design consultations, CPDs, technological presentation, and client meetings. Craven Dunnill is delighted to welcome customers and design professionals into the new cutting-edge showroom. 

Partnering with Italian manufacturer, Iris Ceramica Group, Craven Dunnill’s new Infinito Collection is a central feature of the design scheme and offers innovative solutions for the use of large format porcelain slabs. The revolutionary Infinito Collection also features Iris’ award-winning design technologies, Hypertouch and 4D Ceramics, which further distinguish the collection. Hypertouch offers integrated home-automation sensors which can be concealed behind the ceramic surface, and activated simply by touch to control lighting, doors, or AV equipment. 4D Ceramics represents a revolution in large-format porcelain, presenting a technologically advanced surface which strikes the perfect balance between aesthetics and technical performance, while also introducing green hydrogen production processes developed exclusively by Iris Ceramica Group.

The showroom will also showcase Craven Dunnill’s hand manufactured products through its 150-year-old specialist division, Craven Dunnill Jackfield. With factories located in Staffordshire and Shropshire, its iconic tiles can be found in historic locations such as the Westminster Central Lobby, London Underground, and Harrods Food Hall.

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Jan 23: UK Topps Tiles’ Board triumphs at controversial AGM

Topps Tiles Plc has announced the successful outcome of the recent AGM.  Following the voting on a set of resolutions, each of which was held on a poll, the Board notes:

●  The total number of votes cast was a record 161 million, equivalent to 81.9% of the Company’s issued share capital, demonstrating the strength of shareholder engagement and support received.

● Resolutions 1 to 14 (inclusive) were duly passed by the requisite majority, in line with the Board’s recommendation.

●  Resolution 15, a special resolution, did not pass.

●  The Requisitioned Resolutions, proposed on behalf of MS Galleon GmbH, were not passed, with an average of 99.3% of shareholders who voted, other than MSG, supporting the Board’s recommendation and voting against these resolutions.

Darren Shapland, Non-Executive Chairman of Topps, said: “The Board would like to thank shareholders for the support received at today’s meeting.  We were pleased that shareholders supported the Board’s recommendations, with an average of 99.3% of shareholders who voted, other than MSG, opposing the Requisitioned Resolutions.”

“While we have always sought to maintain constructive engagement with MSG, the Board has   also been clear that its responsibility is to act in the best interests of Topps shareholders as a whole. We believe strongly that MSG’s proposals exposed Topps shareholders to a number of serious conflicts of interest between MSG’s role as a significant shareholder, supplier and potential competitor to Topps.”

“We welcome the strong support for the Board’s position received today from other shareholders and the Board will continue to engage with, and seek constructive dialogue with, all shareholders.”

Keith Down, Senior Independent Director of Topps, said:  “The Board has been unanimous in its rejection of the Requisitioned Resolutions. We are pleased to have secured strong backing from other investors at today’s meeting and, in particular, we note the significant vote of support received for the Chairman. We thank shareholders for their engagement and support around the AGM and over the year.”

The full text of each resolution is contained in the notice of AGM which is available on the Company’s website:

Jan 23: Austria Wienerberger to acquire part of Terreal’s business

The Austrian building materials giant Wienerberger has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the Terreal businesses located in Italy, France, Spain, and the USA. Terreal is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of innovative roofing and solar solutions. The €600 million deal also includes the German and Benelux businesses of Creaton, a company acquired by Terreal in 2020. The production facilities in Austria, Poland, and Hungary will continue to be owned by the current shareholders.

The Terreal businesses to be acquired by Wienerberger employ almost 3,000 people and operate 29 manufacturing sites, including the research and development centre in Castelnaudary, France. Together they generated revenue of approximately €740 million in 2022. The businesses also have a very positive EBITDA of approximately €100 million, which the Austrian group expects to increase to €150 million within three years. The investment is especially strategic in anticipation of the new European environmental projects on the energy efficiency of buildings. Terreal operates in Italy under the San Marco and Pica brands. It has three production facilities and offers a wide range of innovative roofing and façade solutions throughout the country

“According to our projections, the acquisition of Terreal will double our roofing sales to 75 million sq. metres annually, establishing us as Europe’s largest pitched roof expert integrating solar and rainwater solutions,” commented Heimo Scheuch, Chairman and CEO of Wienerberger. “At the same time, our shared focus on sustainability, innovative solutions and digital business models will lead to the reduction of 225,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, while allowing us to reach our ESG goals more rapidly.”

Jan 23: Italy Italian tile output remains stable in 2022

According to the preliminary figures unveiled at Confindustria Ceramica’s press conference, the industry sold around 458 million sq. metres of tiles in 2022: +0.7% up on 2021 and +13% up on 2019. Exports stood at 364 million sq. metres of exports, up 0.2%, while domestic sales were 93 million sq. metres, up 2.6%. The preliminary figure for total production is around 448 million sq. metres, a 3% increase.

Exports performed well in the Gulf region and the Far East, remained stable in Western Europe, the Balkans and Latin America, but contracted in markets in Eastern Europe and NAFTA. The domestic Italian market accounted for 20% of total sales, while 48% of volumes were sold elsewhere in the EU and the remaining 32% shipped to markets further afield.

“Strong levels of demand, especially in the first part of the year, will allow us to post an increase in end-of-year sales. However, there’s nothing to be cheerful about as the staggering increases in the costs of all production factors are placing a severe strain on our companies’ competitiveness,” said Confindustria Ceramica Chairman, Giovanni Savorani. “And because the cost of gas elsewhere in the world has not risen as sharply as in Europe, the competitive gap between our companies and those located outside Europe has also widened.”

According to Savorani, the energy crisis in Italy must be tackled first and foremost through structural measures, such as allocating a greater share of domestically produced natural gas to gas-intensive industries. This would have the additional benefit of an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions associated with gas imports and would allow companies in non-electrifiable sectors to maximise their investments in production process decarbonisation, he explained.

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Jan 23: Spain Over 500 brands set for Cevisama

Over 500 brands will be showcasing their latest ceramic tiles, floor and wall tiles, bathroom equipment, natural stone, industrialised construction, and machinery at Cevisama 2023, from 27th February to 3rd March 2023. They include renowned names such as Peronda, Roca, Baldocer, Keraben, Grupo STN, Aparici, Apavisa, Schluter System, Raimondi, Arttros, Fila, and Cevica. Cevisama, which is celebrating its 39th anniversary, continues to be a leading showcase for ceramics, helping to take Made in Spain to every corner of the world.

“Thanks to the support of the Valencian Regional Ministry of Sustainable Economy, we will be investing €1 million in Cevisama through the most powerful promotional campaign in our history, inviting thousands of VIP buyers from target countries in the sector to come to the event. This initiative will more than meet the expectations of buyers from all the firms in the ceramics and bathroom industry taking part in the fair,” says Carmen Álvarez, Cevisama’s Director.

In addition to activities such as the Interior Designers Forum and the best stand and distribution awards, Cevisama will be hosting the best Architecture Forum it has put together in recent years, featuring three top architects, including the last two Pritzker Architecture Prize winners: Francis Kéré, who won in 2022, and Anne Lacaton, the winner in 2021, as well as David Chipperfield, one of the creators of the iconic ‘Veles e Vents’ building in Valencia’s Marina.

“This gives us an excellent line-up at the Architecture Forum, turning it into a world-class event thanks to their participation,” says Alvarez. “The fair is definitely going to be a hit with all the clients, exhibitors and visitors participating in the event.

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Jan 23: UK  Topps Tiles issues Q1 Trading Update

Topps Tiles Plc has issued a trading update for the 13-week period ended 31 December 2022.  Group sales in the 13 weeks to 31 December 2022 were 10.2% higher year-on-year, with approximately half of this growth due to the comparative period in 2021 being prior to the acquisition of Pro Tiler Tools.

Topps Tiles continues to perform well and has delivered a strong first quarter.  Like-for-like sales were 5.1% higher than last year, with total sales growth in Topps Tiles approximately 2% below this due to a lower average number of stores trading this year. 

Pro Tiler Tools, acquired in March 2022, has continued to grow at an exceptional rate, with sales in the most recent quarter up significantly year-on-year.  The introduction of new, trade-focused brands, further investment in stock, and a continued focus on outstanding customer service have contributed to this performance.  Tile Warehouse, launched in May 2022, is now largely through the start-up phase and the focus is now on driving more traffic to the website and higher levels of conversion.

In the Commercial sector, Parkside’s financial performance improved at pace in FY22 and, following a strong second half, the business was trading at break-even by the final quarter.

Rob Parker, CEO, said: “We are pleased with what has been a strong first quarter of the new financial year, with strong like-for-like sales growth in Topps Tiles of 5.1%, excellent performance from our recent acquisition, Pro Tiler Tools, and overall Group sales up 10.2% compared with the same period last year.”

“We remain mindful of the macroeconomic headwinds which may impact UK consumers and businesses in the forthcoming year, but the Group’s strong balance sheet, world class customer service, specialist expertise and ambitious growth strategy gives us confidence that we will continue to deliver value over the medium term.”

Jan 23: Spain New kiln installed by Neolith

Neolith, a leading producer of sintered stone surfaces, has doubled the production capacity of its most popular large size product – 1,600 by 3,200mm – by installing a new FMA Maestro kiln from Sacmi; a longstanding technology partner which has previously supplied modular mills and spray dryers for the body preparation department. The new kiln features superior control solutions that allow for precise management of all phases, especially the critical cooling phase.

José Luis Ramón, CEO, Neolith Group, comm ents: “It is essential to have the best available technology, as this ensures we are able to satisfy the needs of architects, designers and end consumers. For this reason, adopting state-of-the-art technologies has been one of our top priorities and also enables us to optimise energy use, sustainability and corporate solidity. The Sacmi kiln is the best solution to our current needs.”

The new kiln, a 228.9 metre FMA 235, is specially designed for efficient control of large size slab firing and to ensure optimal management of the mechanical tensions that typically occur at the end of the firing process. To distribute heat evenly over the entire surface and cross-section of the slab and ensure perfect flatness, Maestro features dual rapid-slow cooling with burners positioned underneath the roller planes and dedicated ceramic blowers for the centre and walls of the kiln. Dedicated controls allow users to set recipe-specific parameters to maximise flexibility and repeatability, and ensure a rapid response to changes in operating conditions.

The FMA also features a modulated air-gas system that enables users to adjust the air-gas ratio in the various zones independently. Temperature control is performed by simultaneously adjusting air and gas flow rates, while the ratio between the two is adjusted mechanically.

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Jan 23: UK Topps Tiles sets out AGM battleground

The following is the press release, in full, issued by Topps Tiles, concerning the forthcoming AGM and the company’s dispute with MSG that threatens to make this AGM a most lively and divisive event.

Topps Tiles Plc (LSE: TPT) (“Topps”, the “Company” and together with its subsidiary undertakings, the “Group”), the UK’s leading tile specialist, provides an update in connection with the requisition notices received by the Company on 6 December 2022 (the “Requisition Notices”), served on behalf of MS Galleon GmbH (“MSG”) which required the Board to include resolutions (the “Requisitioned Resolutions”)  in the notice of the Company’s annual general meeting to be held on 18 January 2023 (the “AGM”).

In advance of the AGM, the Company would like to provide the following additional key information to its shareholders:

·     The Topps board of directors (the “Board”) has now become aware that MSG has been contacting certain Topps shareholders individually, with information which contradicts previous statements made directly to Topps around the link between sourcing and MSG’s equity interest in the Company;

·     In addition to the potential conflict of interest around sourcing, the Board believes MSG may also be preparing to launch its Nexterio tile retail brand in the UK , potentially establishing a direct competitor to Topps, which would create a further material conflict of interest;

·     The Company has secured further support from key shareholders. Over 41 per cent. of Topps’ shareholders have now committed to vote against the Requisitioned Resolutions.

Further information is provided below.

The Requisition Notices

As previously announced, the Requisitioned Resolutions served by MSG are as follows:

·     that Darren Shapland be removed from office as a director of the Company, and from the position of Non-Executive Chairman of the Company, with immediate effect;

·     that Lidia Wolfinger, having consented to act, be appointed as a non-executive director of the Company with immediate effect; and

·     that Michal Bartusiak, having consented to act, be appointed as a non-executive director of the Company with immediate effect.

MSG currently beneficially owns approximately 29.8 per cent. of the Company’s voting share capital.  Lidia Wolfinger and Michal Bartusiak are both employees of companies owned by MSG.

The Board does not consider the Requisitioned Resolutions to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole and has therefore recommended that shareholders vote AGAINST the Requisitioned Resolutions at the AGM.

The Board outlined its position in detail in its announcement of 7 December 2022.  In summary, the Board believes that the proposed appointment of MSG’s non-executive directors has the primary objective of aligning Topps’ business and strategy to MSG’s commercial objectives as owner of Cersanit, a manufacturer of tiles, and is therefore not in the best interests of the Company and Topps’ shareholders as a whole.

Since its announcement of 7 December 2022, the Topps Board understands that MSG has been contacting certain Topps shareholders individually in an attempt to garner support for the Requisitioned Resolutions.  Information provided to shareholders by MSG included a statement that it had recently discussed increasing its share of Topps’ product purchases to 5 per cent.

However, this statement is not an accurate representation of the entirety of those discussions and directly contradicts statements made by MSG to Topps.  MSG has, on a number of occasions, directly linked the level of its equity holding in the Company with the level of supply that it wishes Topps to source from Cersanit.  To this end, one of the proposed directors, Lidia Wolfinger, requested as recently as 25 November 2022 that Topps should source 29.9 per cent. of its tile purchases from Cersanit in line with MSG’s shareholding in Topps, with interim stage gates for achieving a 5 per cent. and then 10 per cent. share over the short term.

Moreover, when Topps has reviewed opportunities to source products from Cersanit, the frequent conclusion has been that as a supplier it is uncompetitive when compared with other manufacturers of similar products.

The Board continues to believe that all sourcing should be conducted on an arms-length commercial basis.  In addition, a diverse global supply chain is a key source of competitive advantage for Topps and the Board believes strongly that becoming overly reliant on a single supplier is not in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole.  Topps’ sourcing policy does not allow for more than 10 per cent. of tile purchases to come from any one supplier in order to avoid concentration risk.

The Board believes it is incompatible for the proposed non-executive directors to have the target of increasing tile purchases from Cersanit to 29.9 per cent., whilst at the same time acting in the best interests of all shareholders of Topps.

The Board has tried to engage constructively with MSG but in its interactions with Topps, MSG has made it clear on a number of occasions that it believes that the size of its shareholding entitles it to expect the Company’s management and the Board to comply with its requests.  Previous requests have extended to sourcing, the composition of the Board, and also supporting MSG’s strategic plans for UK growth.  The Board sees no linkage between a minority equity stake and control of the Company and believes lack of compliance with MSG’s requests led to MSG voting against Darren Shapland’s re-election at the 2022 annual general meeting and that this is also driving the proposal to remove Darren from the Board as well as the proposed appointment of two new directors representing MSG in 2023.

The Board is currently compliant with the UK Corporate Governance Code’s requirements in relation to board composition.  It is well qualified and experienced and has helped the executive team steer the business through the COVID-19 pandemic to a position which is stronger than before the pandemic.  This is evidenced by Topps’ recent FY22 results, which announced a second consecutive record year of revenue and significant market share gains.

MSG owns Nexterio, a retailer of tiles and associated products with over 40 outlets in Poland , which the Board understands is being prepared for a launch into the UK.  A new company, Nexterio.UK Limited was incorporated on 22 November 2022, the website has been registered and the Board understands a search for suitable trading locations around the UK is underway.  Nexterio would be a direct competitor to Topps, and the Board believes that the appointment of non-executive directors onto the Board who represent a direct competitor would be a further conflict of interest and would not be in the interests of all shareholders of Topps.

Following its announcement on 7 December 2022, the Board has been contacted by a number of other large institutions to confirm their support for the Board’s position. Together with the major shareholders listed in the original announcement, shareholders representing 41.3 per cent. of the Company’s voting share capital have now confirmed their intention to vote against the Requisitioned Resolutions.

Darren Shapland, Non-Executive Chairman of Topps, (above) said: “The Board continues to believe that these proposals would expose shareholders to a number of serious conflicts of interest and are not therefore in the interests of all shareholders of the Company.  The Board welcomes the strong support received from other large shareholders who support the Board’s position in voting against the Requisitioned Resolutions at the AGM.”

Keith Down, Senior Independent Director of Topps, said: “The Board has unanimously rejected these resolutions which it does not believe are in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole.  MSG is attempting to remove the Chairman, who has been leading communications with MSG on behalf of the Board, to allow it to increase its control over the business.”

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Jan 23: UK Construction declines for first time since August 2022

The latest Markit report shows that the UK’s construction sector recorded a fall in business activity during December 2022, ending a three-month sequence of growth, with the rate of decline the fastest since May 2020.  A similar trend was observed for new orders, which saw a renewed fall that was the strongest for over two-and-a-half-years.

Concurrently, sentiment among firms concerning the outlook for the year ahead dipped into negative territory for only the sixth time on record, reflecting fears around the near-term economic prospects.  Pessimistic expectations were reflected in the first round of job shedding in the construction sector since January 2021.

At 48.8 in December, down from 50.4 in November, the headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index registered below the 50.0 mark to signal the first contraction in construction sector output since last August.

Although commercial construction activity continued to rise in the final month of the year, the rate of contraction eased to the slowest in the current four-month sequence.  The uplift in the commercial sector was outweighed by contractions across the residential and civil engineering sectors in December.  Housing activity declined for the first time since last July and only marginally (48.0), while civil engineering recorded a sixth consecutive monthly contraction in output (46.8) and the rate of decline remained sharp overall.  December data also highlighted a reduction in new orders placed with UK constructors, following a modest uplift in November. 

Challenging business conditions were reflected in confidence amongst constructors towards the year-ahead outlook for activity, which dropped into negative territory for the first time since the initial COVID-19 wave and for only the sixth time on record. Downbeat sentiment was attributed to expectations of a recession and poor demand conditions, as well as inflationary pressures. That said, the degree of pessimism was marginal.

December data pointed to the first fall in employment since January 2021. Weak sales meant vacancies were often not being filled, according to panellists.  Elsewhere, firms pared back on their purchasing for first time in three months in December, reportedly due to lower workloads. Notably, the rate of reduction was the steepest for over two-and-a-half years.

Average lead times for inputs lengthened to a greater degree nonetheless, with delays the most severe since last June. Shortages and shipping issues were cited as the cause.

Turning to prices, costs faced by construction companies continued to increase during the final month of the year, linked by panellists to energy, material, fuel and import costs. Although still marked, the rate of inflation was the weakest for two years. Rates charged by subcontractors also rose in December, but at a slightly reduced pace.

Lewis Cooper, Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said:  “The UK’s construction sector registered a relatively poor finish to 2022, with business activity falling into decline following a three-month growth sequence amid the fastest contraction in new work since the initial pandemic period in May 2020.  Companies cited weak client demand, driven partly by higher prices amid ongoing inflationary pressures.”

“Commercial construction activity remained the only bright spot, though here the rate of growth came close to stalling, with the overall contraction led by a further sharp decline in civil engineering and the first fall in residential construction activity since last July.”

“The challenging environment in December was subsequently reflected in pessimism amongst firms towards activity levels over the coming year, with business confidence downbeat for only the sixth time since the survey began in April 1997.”

“With the outlook turning negative, staffing levels declined for the first time since the start of 2021 in December. Though panellists primarily attributed the fall to the non- replacement of leavers, the data show that companies are preparing to face significant challenges in the months ahead.”

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Jan 23: UK Project starts and contract awards both down

Project starts and main contract awards both experienced significant declines during the three months to November 2022, with the value falling 49% and 59% against 2021 respectively. While detailed planning approvals advanced 3% compared with the preceding three-month period the value slipped back 13% on a year ago. 

Health: Totalling £539 million, underlying health work starting on-site fell 37% against both the preceding three months and the previous year. While main contract awards suffered a steep decline, detailed planning approvals experienced sharp growth of 64% against the preceding three months and 85% against the previous year. Growth was purely due to major project approvals which totalled £978 million during the period.

Education: Education was one of the few sectors that experienced growth in project-starts, with the value rising by a fifth against the preceding three months and previous year. Growth was purely due to major project-starts which, at £600 million, were 287% up on a year ago and up on the preceding three months when no major projects commenced on-site. In contrast, main contract awards and detailed planning approvals both weakened during the three-month period. 

Community & Amenity: While community & amenity project-starts fell 45% during the three months to November, the value increased 83% against the previous year. Growth against the previous year was purely due to major projects. In contrast, main contract awards experienced a very weak period having fallen 83% against the preceding three months and 44% compared with a year ago. Encouragingly, underlying detailed planning approvals were strong to boost the development pipeline.

Civil Engineering: Civil engineering work starting on-site during the three months to November increased 72% against the preceding three months to stand 106% higher than a year ago. Growth was purely due to major projects which, at £5,480 million, experienced triple-digit growth compared with both periods. Main contract awards and detailed planning approvals both weakened during the three-month period.


Jan 23: UK BMBI report shows volumes down but prices up

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) shows that merchants’ value sales were up +7.5% in October 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.  Volume sales dropped again (-5.6%) while prices climbed +13.9%, so price inflation was the driving factor of growth.

Eleven of the twelve categories sold more in October compared to the previous year, with eight performing better than the Merchants overall. Renewables & Water Saving (+66.1%) was the standout category, while Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+19.5%), Workwear & Safetywear (+19.0%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+17.5%) also had a good month. Timber & Joinery Products (-8.4%) was the only category to sell less.

Compared to pre-pandemic October 2019, total merchant value sales were +19.6% higher in 2022. Volume sales fell -8.9% while prices were +31.2% higher. With two less trading days this year, like-for-like sales were up +31.0%. Four of the twelve categories grew more than total Merchants with Renewables & Water Saving (+59.5%) leading the pack. Landscaping (+31.2%), Timber & Joinery Products (+23.4%) and Heavy Building Materials (+21.5%) also fared well.

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Jan 23: Italy Record year for Italian ceramic machinery sector

According to Acimac-MECS preliminary figures, the Italian ceramic machinery and technology sector achieved record a turnover of € 2.16 billion in 2022 (up 5.2% on 2021) and has already received orders amounting to four months of production in 2023.

Exports and domestic sales have both increased year-on-year. Exports, which have always been the industry’s main source of revenue accounting for 75% of total turnover, rose to €1,618 million (+5%), while Italian domestic sales grew by 6% to €546 million. The industry is approaching the end of the year with a sufficient level of orders to guarantee production for the first four months of 2023.

“While we reported positive results overall, this would have been a far more successful year if our industry’s performance had not been hampered by the twofold challenge of high energy prices and delays in component supplies,” said Acimac’s Chairman, Paolo Lamberti. “We had already seen the warning signs a year ago. We are currently in a state of overall good health, but in a supply chain environment where everyone is running a fever. We hope that in 2023 the raw materials supply chain will be back to normal, and that energy prices will have stabilised. In general, however, our outlook for 2023 is not very positive.”

2022’s energy emergency, further aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, has made it more urgent than ever for client companies to adopt energy-efficient technologies. The industry now offers a wide range of solutions for more sustainable production, as was clearly seen at the Tecna exhibition.


Dec 22: Spain Cosentino announces new Dekton variants

Cosentino has launched Dekton SilverKoast; a new range inspired by the serene and endless white of the Pacific.  SilverKoast is a two-colour collection available with both velvet and polished finishes: Malibu & Laguna and Marina & Salina.  Thanks to Dekton’s wide range of appliances, these four elegant and harmonious finishes have been designed to fill a wide variety of spaces with light.

Malibu conveys simplicity and is perfect for many different applications in a variety of spaces.  A warm design with a white background, crossed by short veins that run across the entire surface, result in a simple texture full of character. 

Laguna’s mattified finish is inspired by the white sand, sun reflections and waves of the California coastline, which are rendered in subtle and delicate veins on an ivory-white background.

Marina conveys elegance and serenity, calm and well-being.  It is the perfect colour to match any space, with its white background and cool veins ideal for giving centre stage to other materials in a room. 

With its polished finish, Salina recreates the whimsical salt patterns left by the low tide on the sand and rocks.  These delicate white crests materialise as an asymmetrical pattern of grey veins on a white background which reinterpret the classic elegance of Carrara marble.

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Dec 22: UK Sustainability Meets Design at Hard Surfaces 2023

MaterialDistrict will be returning to Hard Surfaces – the surfaces show that will take place from 6th to 8th June 2023 at ExCel London – with a carefully curated experience featuring over 100 innovative and sustainable materials sourced from around the globe.

Sustainability Meets Design will explore the latest advances in hard surfaces through the lens of sustainability. It will also examine the techniques for adding the wow-factor to construction projects in a smarter way.

Unexpected performance and innovative aesthetics will be found in materials featured for their lightweight recycled content, their durability, and other distinct properties, as well as visual appeal. It will address questions such as: Which materials can we make from waste? What are the latest ‘plant-based’ materials? Which products are made from 100% recycled material?

The exhibition brings together material manufacturers from all sectors of spatial design with products for both exterior and interior use created to satisfy form as well as function.

In addition to those materials already familiar to the sector – such as natural stone, sintered, solid surfaces and quartz – MaterialDistrict will showcase hygroscopic paving from recycled ceramics; organically grown mycelium insulation materials; thermally bonded crystal glass acoustic panels; cellulose-based construction materials made from leftover paper sludge and cardboard waste; moisture-absorbing kelp algae tiles; bio laminates made from starch and recycled fibers; terrazzo made from recycled training shoe soles; and much more.

You’ve got to see it… touch it… experience it… to believe it. Come and be inspired!

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Dec 22: UK SkillBuild winners announced

SkillBuild have announced the winners of the National Finals 2022, which took place at Edinburgh College on 15th to 17th November.

The winners of the Wall and Floor Tiling Category were:

Gold: Conor Nugent from Southern Regional College

Silver: Morgan Nutt from North West Regional College

Bronze: Aaron Brady from Leeds College of Building

TTA Training Committee Chair, David Rowley, was a SkillBuild judge. He said: “This was a really great event, which was also attended by about 1,000 visitors from local schools, so it highlighted the excellent training and skills opportunities which are available to young people in the construction sector. I would particularly like to take the opportunity to congratulate all three winners in the Wall & Floor Tiling Category. They did really well and they will no doubt be a great asset to our industry going forward.”

SkillBuild, often dubbed the ‘Skills Olympics’, is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in partnership with WorldSkills UK and offers a chance for trainees to compete to be crowned winner in their trade. SkillBuild is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices, and as competitors progress through each stage, they are tested on their technical abilities, time management, character, and commitment. The competition is viewed by many as an opportunity to develop confidence, self-esteem, and life skills, along with the potential for the highest-scoring eligible competitors to join ‘Squad UK’ and compete internationally.

The Wall and Floor Tiling competition is sponsored by ARDEX, BAL, Nicholls & Clarke, Schlüter-Systems, and The Tile Association. The Edinburgh National Finals followed the Regional Qualifiers, which were held at various colleges across the UK earlier this year.

Story source: Tilezine.

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Dec 22: UK Tile Mountain’s annual sales reach £70 million+

The Tile Mountain Group – which now comprises the Tile Mountain, Bathroom Mountain, and Walls & Floors brands – had another strong year of trading in 2021, with sales of £71.9 million (up from £48.5 million in the previous year) and pre-tax profits of £3.94 million (up from £2.58 million in the previous year).

Boasting nine showrooms alongside its e-commerce platforms, the company has an extensive product offering comprising bathrooms, tiles, and flooring and employs over three hundred people.

Commenting on the results, Jeremy Harris, MD says: “We are extremely proud of what has been achieved since our inception in 2013 and delighted to have seen another year of exceptional growth for the Group. In the past twelve months, we have added four further showrooms to our bricks and mortar offering to help drive the ease of choice for consumer purchasing.”

“The Group faces the same global economic factors that challenge our competitors. However, given our strong trading history and significant online presence, we are well placed to handle any economic turbulence and will be continuing to invest in our infrastructure and capacity, with additional warehousing and showrooms coming online in 2023.”

Fulfilling thousands of orders per week in a competitive marketplace, the Tile Mountain Group has established a reputation for excellent customer service. This, combined with an extensive product offering at competitive prices and large stocks that enable quick delivery, has ensured that 2022 has seen a further increase in sales.

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Dec 22: USA Recognition for Louisville Tile

Louisville Business Journal has ranked Louisville Tile Distributors #39 on its exclusive 2022 Fast 50 list of the 50 fastest-growing private companies in Kentucky.  Now in its 23rd year, the list celebrates the 50 fastest-growing private companies in Greater Louisville based on revenue.

This achievement follows Louisville Tile being named one of Kentucky’s Top Places to Work in 2022 and marks the second consecutive year – and third time overall – that the company has received this award.

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Dec 22: UK Government extends UKCA Marking deadline

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has confirmed that the UK Government will extend recognition of CE Marking for construction products until 30th June 2025.

The Government has changed its guidance providing practical information for placing construction products on the GB market. The new guidance can be found here:

This decision allows more time for businesses to prepare and avoids the 1st January deadline, after which businesses could not have legally sold certain goods because they have not achieved UKCA status.

Following lobbying by the Construction Products Association, of which The Tile Association is a member, and others, the Government now intends to use the next 2.5 years to engage widely and scope out meaningful, sensible reform and transition plans.

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Dec 22: UK 21st Natural Stone Awards’ winners saluted

On Friday 2nd December, Stone Federation hosted the 21st Natural Stone Awards Ceremony at London’s Leonardo Royal Tower Bridge Hotel.

Taking place every two years, the Natural Stone Awards celebrates the best examples of the use of natural stone in construction projects from across all sectors of the industry, from cladding and external masonry to interiors, and from landscapes through to restoration work.

Stone Federation Chief Executive, Jane Buxey stated: “The 2022 Natural Stone Awards has been a fantastic celebration of the very best that this industry has to offer.  This year, despite the challenges faced by the industry, the quality and quantity of entries was as high as it has ever been and is testimony to the agility, excellence and professionalism of the companies within the natural stone sector.”

The standard of the winning, highly commended and commended projects was very high throughout the eight categories.  The category winners were all exceptional examples of the successful use of natural stone across a wide range of applications, from the crisp façades of the new Chelsea Barracks and the traditional stonemasonry construction on Lancing Chapel’s new West Porch to the expert restoration of Loch Lomond’s Cameron House and the breath-taking, hard-carved cantilevered staircase at Lenaboy, County Dublin.

The Awards Ceremony was compered by sports presenter Jim Rosenthal who was assisted Radio 2’s Steve Madden; guest presenter, TV presenter, architectural designer, and sustainability champion, Charlie Luxton.

Guests at the Awards received a copy of the 2022 Natural Stone Awards Souvenir Brochure which can be ordered free of charge at

Dec 22: USA Viva Magenta is Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year

Pantone has revealed its Color of the Year for 2023: a bold shade of pink christened Viva Magenta, The selected colour is all about optimistic celebration, experimentation, and unrestrained self-expression, according to Pantone’s experts.

“As virtual worlds become a more prominent part of our daily lives, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real,” says Leatrice Eiseman, the Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director. “PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known.”

“Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter,” she added. “Invoking the forces of nature, it galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”

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Dec 22: UK Construction growth slips

UK construction companies signalled a renewed slowdown in business activity growth during November, reflecting subdued demand and reduced risk appetite among clients. A number of survey respondents noted that higher borrowing costs and worries about the economic outlook had curtailed construction activity.

Moreover, expectations for business activity growth during the year ahead continued to slide in November, with optimism the lowest for two-and-a-half years. Aside from the levels seen at the start of the pandemic, the degree of positive sentiment was the joint-weakest since December 2008.

At 50.4 in November, the headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) – which measures month-on-month changes in total industry activity – registered above the 50.0 no-change mark for the third month running. However, the index was down from 53.2 in October and pointed to the weakest performance since August.

Commercial work was the only segment to register an overall rise in business activity in November (index at 51.1). House building activity meanwhile stalled (index at 50.0), which ended at three-month period of marginal expansion. Construction companies often noted higher mortgage rates and falling consumer confidence as factors that had held back residential activity.

Civil engineering activity (46.7) declined for the fifth consecutive month. The latest reduction was the sharpest since August. Lower volumes of output were mainly linked to a lack of new work to replace completed projects.

November data pointed to modest increase in total new orders across the construction sector, which contrasted with a slight decline in October. However, the rise in new business intakes was much weaker than seen on average in the first half of 2022. 

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Dec 22: Italy Marea wins Archiproducts Design Award

Quintessenza Ceramiche’s Marea has won an Archiproducts Design Awards for the Finishes category. The ADA connects the finest creative minds in Architecture and Design every year and honors innovation and the right balance between functionality, technology, and beauty. Marea was selected from hundreds of products for the quality of the design, the 3D graphics, and the concept.

Marea is a minimalist collection with meticulous, sculptural three-dimensionality. It is a design that is full of vibrant energy and inspired by the cyclical, moon-driven motion of the sea. Marea is a wall tile in 6 different colours. Three formats and two finishes that are easy to combine help to make the collection rich and versatile; with contrasting gloss/matt surfaces alternating in an undulating choreography of ceramics.

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Dec 22: UK Tile Mountain to sponsor TTA Awards 2023

The Tile Association has announcedthat Tile Mountain Group have pledged their support to TTA Awards by signing up as Gold sponsors for 2023. Tile Mountain is a one stop online shop for floor and wall tile supplies, offering customers exciting and innovative products from top manufacturers.

“TTA Awards are well recognised within the industry as the gold standard and so it is fitting that as Tile Mountain Group celebrates its tenth anniversary we lend our support in celebrating the achievements of others. We have been members of TTA since our inception in 2013 and are delighted to have the opportunity to further cement our relationship,”  stated MD, Jeremy Harris.

TTA Awards will take place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 12th May 2023. E: or T: 0300 365 8453.

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Dec 22: UK Topps Tiles seeks to reject Cersanit’s demands

Topps Tiles Plc has announced that on 6th December 2022 it received requisition notices pursuant to section 338 of the Companies Act 2006 requiring that the board of directors of the Company include resolutions in the notice of the Company’s annual general meeting proposed to be held on 18th January 2023 as follows:

·      that Darren Shapland be removed from office as a director of the Company, and from the position of Non-Executive Chairman of the Company, with immediate effect;

·      that Lidia Wolfinger, having consented to act, be appointed as a non-executive director of the Company with immediate effect; and

·      that Michael Bartusiak, having consented to act, be appointed as a non-executive director of the Company with immediate effect.

The Requisition Notices have been served by Lynchwood Nominees Limited on behalf of MS Galleon GmbH which currently holds approximately 29.9 per cent. of the Company’s voting share capital.

The Topps Tilews Board does not consider the Requisitioned Resolutions to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole and, therefore, intends to recommend that shareholders vote against the Requisitioned Resolutions at the AGM.

MSG owns Cersanit, a major European producer of tiles, in addition to having a range of home improvement and tile retailing interests, primarily in the Polish market.

Topps first received a notification of shareholding from MSG in May 2020, stating that MSG had a 4.1 per cent. beneficial interest in the voting share capital of Topps.  By November 2020, MSG had built its shareholding to 20 per cent.  During this period, the Company engaged in regular dialogue with MSG, in line with its stewardship practice with its other major shareholders.  In this initial phase, Cersanit was a minor supplier to Topps.

During 2021, MSG approached Topps regarding (i) the potential appointment of an MSG representative to the Board, and (ii) a proposal that Topps should purchase a greater proportion of its tiles from Cersanit.  MSG has consistently set out its belief that the proportion of Topps’ tile supply purchased from Cersanit and its representation on the Topps Board should directly reflect its shareholding in Topps, which at that point was approximately 20 per cent.

Topps did not consider this to be in the interests of shareholders as a whole and sought to engage with MSG to explain that the Company’s expertise in ranging, sourcing and procurement of tiles from a wide range of suppliers on a global basis is a core part of its competitive advantage and its iterative programme to develop and produce differentiated products that are innovative, of high quality and exclusive to Topps Group is a key strength of the Group.

In addition, Topps’ sourcing policy does not allow for greater than 10 per cent. of tile purchases to come from any one supplier in order to avoid concentration risk.  Any purchases from Cersanit would also need to comply with Chapter 11 of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Listing Rules on related party transactions.  In the financial year ending 2 October 2021, Topps sourced 0.5 per cent. of its cost of goods sold (by value) from Cersanit on commercial arm’s length terms.

In order to consider the merits of appointing a representative of MSG to the Board, the Board requested that MSG should set out in writing its rationale for a Board seat, including why an MSG appointed non-executive director would be additive to the already well-qualified Board, why the appointment would be in the interests of all Topps shareholders, and how conflicts of interest would be managed.  No proposal was received.

Subsequently, MSG, through its nominee, voted against the re-appointment of Darren Shapland as Chairman of Topps, as well as a number of other customary resolutions, at the 2022 annual general meeting.  Since July 2022, MSG has increased its beneficial shareholding in Topps to 29.9 per cent. of the Company’s voting share capital.

More recently on 25 November 2022, MSG requested, via Lidia Wolfinger (who is one of the proposed MSG non-executive directors as set out above), that Topps should source 29.9 per cent. of its tile purchases from Cersanit in line with MSG’s shareholding in Topps, with interim stage gates for achieving a 5 per cent. and then 10 per cent. share over the short term.

The Board unanimously rejects these proposals, which it believes present a clear conflict of interest between MSG’s objective for Cersanit to be a major supplier of Topps and the interests of all Topps shareholders.  In particular, the Board believes it is incompatible for the proposed non-executive directors to have the target of increasing tile purchases from Cersanit to 29.9 per cent., whilst at the same time acting in the best interests of all shareholders of Topps.

The Board is currently compliant with the UK Corporate Governance Code’s requirements in relation to board composition, is well qualified and experienced, and has helped the executive team steer the business through the COVID-19 pandemic to a position which is stronger than pre-pandemic, as evidenced by the Topps’ recent FY22 results, which announced a second consecutive record year of revenue and significant market share gains1.

The Board believes that the proposed appointment of MSG’s non-executive directors has the primary objective of aligning Topps’ business and its strategy to MSG’s commercial objectives as owner of Cersanit and is therefore not in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole.

In the light of the Requisition Notices, the Board has consulted certain other major shareholders of Topps representing 39.1 per cent. of the Company’s voting share capital, and has received confirmation of their intention to vote against the Requisitioned Resolutions.  These confirmations have been received from the Company’s three largest shareholders other than MSG – Aberforth Partners LLP (acting in its capacity as discretionary fund manager for clients), Mr Stuart Williams and Invesco Asset Management Limited – as well as Axa Investment Managers UK Limited and others.

Accordingly, the Board does not consider the Requisitioned Resolutions to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole and, therefore, intends to recommend that shareholders vote AGAINST the Requisitioned Resolutions at the AGM.

Darren Shapland, Non-Executive Chairman of Topps, said: “The Board strongly rejects these proposals, which it believes expose a clear conflict of interest between MSG’s objectives for Cersanit and the interests of all Topps shareholders.  The Board welcomes the support received from our other largest shareholders, who have confirmed their intention to vote against the Requisitioned Resolutions at the AGM.”

Keith Down, Senior Independent Director of Topps, said: “The Board unanimously rejects these resolutions which it does not consider to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole.  In proposing a resolution to remove the Chairman, who has led communications with MSG on behalf of the Board, MSG is seeking simply to strengthen its own position.” 

Nov 22: UK  Victoria PLC achieves 7.7% organic revenue growth

Interim results for the six months ended 1st October 2022 from Victoria PLC  – the international floorcoverings group – show 7.7% like-for-like organic revenue growth.  This, plus acquisitions, led to Victoria achieving a record operating performance.

Geoff Wilding, Executive Chairman, says: “Integration of recent acquisitions is proceeding apace and on schedule.  Consequently, the Board believes cash flow, after exceptional costs relating to the integration projects, will be in excess of £100 million in H2.”

“In the near term it is likely that disposable incomes in some markets will come under further pressure, from higher interest rates and inflation and the resulting weakening consumer demand may make additional price increases to offset higher input costs more difficult for the Company to implement.  Nevertheless, whilst acknowledging these challenges, I am pleased to say that the Board continues to be confident that synergy gains and proactive management actions will enable Victoria’s financial performance for FY2023 to be in line with market consensus expectations and the outlook for the business remains positive.”

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Nov 22: Italy Award for Nature Mood by Florim

Nature Mood by Florim was honoured in the finishes category at the Archiproducts Design Awards 2022. Nature Mood also received the Sustainability Award “due to the production technique that reduce pollution emissions to a minimum.”

The collection proposes a creative juxtaposition of two materials to generate a marble and wood effect. Nature Mood is the upshot of a sustainable design that reinterprets the warmer hues inspired by the world of marble with the clean, minimal veining of wood, thereby conceiving spaces that are interwoven in a harmonious dialogue. The range has many applications including surfacing floors, walls, furniture, and ventilated façades.

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Nov 22: UK  Topps Tiles announces second consecutive record year of revenue

Topps Tiles’  unaudited annual financial results for the 52 weeks ended 1 October 2022 show a second consecutive record year of revenue for the Group, with market share increased to 19.0% from 17.6% last year.

62% of Group sales are  now to professional trade customers, up 12 percentage points since 2015.  Significantly, the average sales per store is up 25.3% compared to 2019 levels.

Rob Parker, Chief Executive, comments:  “We are pleased to have delivered a year of strong strategic progress, with record sales for a second year running and excellent delivery against our ‘1 in 5 by 2025’ market share goal.  We are continuing to develop and diversify the Group and further strengthening our position as the UK’s leading tile specialist.”

“Within our Topps Tiles brand, where the majority of sales are being made to professional tradespeople, our focus on fewer more profitable stores and category extensions has driven sales per store up 25% since 2019.  Parkside, our commercial brand, (Cotswold showroom is shown above) has delivered a record year of sales and now moved into profit.  Pro Tiler Tools and Tile Warehouse have added a new, high growth, online-only sales channel to the Group, leveraging our core strengths in product, service and scale.”

“Looking forwards, we are mindful of the macroeconomic headwinds which will impact both UK consumers and businesses in the year ahead.  Against this backdrop, our trading performance in the early weeks of the new financial year has been robust, with like-for-like sales growth in Topps Tiles over the first eight weeks of 3.4%.”

“Our market share growth during 2022, combined with our clear strategy and strong balance sheet, give us confidence that we will continue to deliver growth and create value over the medium term.”

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Nov 22: Italy Florim opens Rome showroom

Florim has opened a showroom in Rome, very near the famous Spanish Steps. The store, of about 350 m2, is located within the historic Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, one of the capital’s finest examples of Baroque architecture. The entrance and three display windows are on Via dei Due Macelli 50 at the junction with Via di Capo le Case, on which the showroom continues with another four windows.

The opening is a further step forward in the project to promote the company’s image and establish ties with top engineering and architecture firms which began thirteen years ago. The company now has 9 flagship stores worldwide and is planning to open more in the coming months.

Nov 22: UK Dezeen Awards 2022 selects world’s best buildings

Dezeen has announced the winners of the architecture categories in this year’s Dezeen Awards, which celebrates the best architecture, interiors and design around the globe.

Above: The Richard Rogers’ Drawing Gallery, Le Puy-Sainte- Réparade, France, by RSHP. Image courtesy of RSHP

The 11 architecture winners include the Drawing Gallery in Le Puy- Sainte-Reparade, France, designed by the late Richard Rogers at RSHP, which wins Small building of the year. Judges called it “magical in its simplicity of thought and the complexity of its execution.”

Above: Argo Contemporary Art Museum & Cultural Centre, Tehran, Iran, by Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture North. Image courtesy of Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture North

Argo Contemporary Art Museum and Cultural Centre in Tehran, Iran, by Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture North wins Cultural building of the year for its transformation of a 1920s brewery in downtown Tehran into a contemporary art museum. “It is a bold adaptive reuse of an historic structure in the centre of Tehran and proposes a purposeful future use, which is inclusive, which respects the past while being forward-looking,” the judges said.

Above: Pingtan Book House, Pingtan, China, by Condition_Lab. Image courtesy of Condition_Lab

Pingtan Book House by Condition_Lab in China’s Hunan province, which features a double-helix staircase designed to provide space for children to read and play, was awarded highly commended in the Cultural building of the year category.

Above: Little Island, New York City, USA, by Heatherwick Studio. Image courtesy of Heatherwick Studio

Little Island by Heatherwick Studio, Arup and MNLA, a 2.4-acre public park and outdoor performance space standing on 132 concrete columns on Manhattan’s southwest riverside, wins Landscape project of the year. The judges described it as “a striking and imaginative addition to New York, which adds to the social value of the city by creating a new gathering space for families to enjoy.”

Above: Jubilee Pool, Penzance, United Kingdom, by Scott Whitby Studio. Image courtesy of Scott Whitby Studio

Scott Whitby Studio wins Rebirth project of the year for its renovation of the 1930s Jubilee Pool in Penzance, Cornwall, one of only five remaining seawater lidos in the UK. “This project represents a holistic idea of rebirth and sustainability,” said the jury. “It sensitively reflects the guardianship of the community of this civic asset and the desire to preserve and elevate its use so that it continues to be used and well-loved for future generations.”

Above: Hlöduberg Artist Studio, Dalabyggð, Iceland, by Studio Bua. Image courtesy of Studio Bua

Studio Bua wins Residential rebirth project of the year for its renewal of a run-down concrete barn overlooking the Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve in western Iceland. “The engineering feat to enable this project is quite remarkable but the finished building is subtle and appropriate for its context,” the judges said.

Above: 8 Yard House, Melbourne, Australia, by Studio Bright. Image courtesy of Studio Bright

Studio Bright’s 8 Yard House in Melbourne wins Urban house of the year. “It is a beautiful and striking home but what particularly stood out is the way that it sits in its existing context in Melbourne,” said the judges.

Above: Marfa Ranch, Lake Flato Architects, Live Oak, United States. Image courtesy of Lake Flato Architects

Marfa Ranch in the Chihuahuan Desert, USA, by Lake Flato Architects wins Rural house of the year. “This house is such a respectful addition to the landscape,” said the judges. “It’s simple, considered and very well-executed in terms of the materials, with the use of rammed earth a particular highlight that roots the house in its landscape. At the end of its life, much of this house will disappear – dust to dust.”

Above: Stories, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by Olaf Gipser Architects. Image courtesy of Olaf Gisper Architects

Olaf Gipser Architects, working with the BSH20A housing cooperative, wins Housing project of the year for its 47-metre-high residential complex in the Netherlands, mostly built from cross-laminated timber that addresses the challenge of communal, high-density, sustainable and healthy urban living. “The project achieves these aims admirably,” said the judges. “These are principles that are desperately needed to address sustainable urban development in the future.”

Above: Yong’an Village Community Hub, Liuyang City, China, by Tongji University and Archi-union Architects. Image courtesy
of Tongji University and Archi-union Architects

Yong’an Village Community Hub in Yunlong County, China, by Tongji University and Archi-Union Architects wins Civic building of the year. The rammed-earth building forms part of an ongoing social welfare programme. “This is a generous piece of civic architecture that celebrates and elevates both people and place. It is a fantastic example of how to use traditional materials in a modern way,” commended the judges.

Above: Jakob Factory Saigon, Vietnam, by G8A Architects and Rollimarchini Architekten. Image courtesy of G8A Architects and Rollimarchini Architekten

Jakob Factory Saigon by G8A Architects and Rollimarchini Architekten wins Business building of the year for its factory designed for a specialist stainless-steel-rope producer in Vietnam. The building is wrapped in a suspended structure of geotextile planters, which act as a second skin by filtering the rain and sun. “It’s rare to see a factory building created with such care,” said the judges. “This feels like a space that is designed to support the wellbeing of the workers by bringing nature to the factory floor. This is all-too rare and should be celebrated.”

Above: Valle San Nicolás Clubhouse, Valle de Bravo, Mexico, by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos

Valle San Nicolás Clubhouse by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos is a cross-laminated timber and volcanic stone-clad building situated on the outskirts of Valle de Bravo in Mexico that wins Hospitality building of the year. “This project has a beautiful play of architecture and line of sight and is very well balanced within the landscape,” said the architecture master jury.

Winners were judged by an international panel of judges that included some of the best-known names in the global design community, including Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, Sharjah Architecture Triennial curator Tosin Oshinowo, British-Nigerian architect Annette Fisher, multi-disciplinary studio Assemble co-founder Paloma Strelitz, green architecture pioneer Stefano Boeri and Pakistan’s first female architect Yasmeen Lari.

Nov 22: Italy Cedit’s Hotel Chimera in the ADI Design Index 2022

The Hotel Chimera capsule collection, designed by Elena Salmistraro for Florim’s CEDIT brand, has been included in the ADI Design Index 2022. Created by artist and designer Elena Salmistraro, the capsule collection is a composition of 80 different fragments, each of which is a ceramic artwork in its own right. Each piece, numbered and individually signed by the artist, was sold at auction and the proceeds were donated to support the Doppio senso. Percorsi tattili alla Collezione Peggy Guggenheim project, launched by the Venetian museum to encourage access to the world of art and addressed mainly to blind and visually impaired visitors, although open to all under an inclusive approach.

“We have created and built up a wonderful synergy with Elena Salmistraro, reflected in a project that reaches beyond design to support art and culture. This selection recognises the expressive vivacity of a talented designer, and Florim’s innovative drive and its focus on social responsibility,” says Claudio Lucchese, Chairman, Florim.

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Nov 22: UK CPA statement on UKCA Marking issue

The Construction Products Association (CPA), of which The Tile Association is a member, has stated that it is still awaiting clarification from Government on UKCA Marking. This follows an announcement on 14th November from the Government that the deadline for when businesses across the wider economy need to use the UKCA mark has been extended to 31st December 2024.

The CPA warns however that construction products fall under different regulations that have not yet been amended. The Government’s announcement stated: “There will be different rules for medical devices, construction products, cableways, transportable pressure equipment, unmanned aircraft systems, rail products, and marine equipment. Government departments responsible for these sectors are making sector-specific arrangements….”

Therefore, the general announcement does not apply to our sector. The CPA has raised this with Government and are pushing for further clarity, particularly from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which is the Government department responsible for our sector. It has also asked the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to make this distinction with the general announcement on its website.

Peter Caplehorn, CPA Chief Executive, said: “We are not out of the woods yet. The status quo is not certain, and for construction product manufacturers and the wider construction industry to prepare for any impending policy changes, the Government must expedite its decision on this critical issue for our sector. The year-end is fast approaching, and Parliament will recess on 21 December, leaving very little time for Government to enact the necessary legislation to make the policy and its deadline a reality. It also leaves the industry to face the increasingly difficult process through next year to re-test and re-certify new products where few or no UK facilities exist to achieve this.”

“With the longer term in mind, we must also ask Government ministers to re-consider the usefulness of the CA Mark policy, and whether a more reasonable, practical solution exists to help achieve the right aims but avoid further and unnecessary loss of time, money and resources. This continues to have a significant impact on investment, innovation, and growth of the sector.”


Nov 22: UK ONS issues construction stats update

The Office for National Statistics published estimates of construction output for September 2022 this morning.

  • Monthly construction output increased 0.4% in volume terms in September 2022, which is the third consecutive monthly growth following small upward revisions, to 0.6% in August 2022 and 0.2% in July; September 2022 shows the highest level of construction output (£15,125 million) since records began in January 2010.
  • The increase in monthly construction output in September 2022 came from increases seen in both new work (0.6%) and repair and maintenance (0.2%) on the month.
  • At the sector level, 5 out of the 9 sectors saw a rise in September 2022, with the main contributors to the monthly increase seen in public housing repair and maintenance and infrastructure new work, which increased 11.3% and 2.8%, respectively.
  • The level of construction output in September 2022 was 4.0% (£575 million) above the February 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level. New work was 0.3% (£29 million) below its February 2020 level, while repair and maintenance work was 12.0% (£604 million) above the February 2020 level
  • Alongside the monthly increase, construction output saw an increase of 0.6% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022, although this is the weakest quarterly growth since Quarter 3 2021 (1.1% fall); the increase came solely from growth in new work (2.4%) as repair and maintenance saw a decrease (2.2% fall).
  • Total construction new orders increased 6.4% (£774 million) in Quarter 3 2022 compared with Quarter 2 (Apr to Jun) 2022; this quarterly growth came mainly from private commercial new orders, which rose 27.7% (£832 million).

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Nov 22: Spain  Top names headline Cevisama 2023 Architecture Forum

David Chipperfield, creator of the iconic Veles e Vents at Valencia’s Marina, and 2021 Pritzker Prize winner Anne Lacaton, are set to headline the Architecture Forum at Cevisama from 27th February to 3rd March 2023 at Feria Valencia, Spain.

The confirmation of Chipperfield and Lacaton’s participation has been welcomed by the event’s director, Carmen Álvarez: “We are aiming to bring more of the foremost figures from the word of architecture on board,” she said, explaining that she is waiting for a few more confirmations from speakers of similar standing.

David Chipperfield’s many accolades include the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2010), the RIBA Gold Medal (2011), and the Praemium Imperiale, awarded by the Japan Art Association (2013). 

The French architect Anne Lacaton, was joint founder of the Lacaton Vassal studio and won the Pritzker Prize in 2021.  She has been a teacher at the Federal Polytechnic in Zürich since 2017, and a visiting professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. 

Alvarez says that more than 350 exhibitors have already confirmed their presence at the event. These include brands such as Neolith, Ceramica Mayor, Gres de Aragón, APE, Cerámicas Halcón, Ceracasa, Peronda, Baldocer, Keraben, Grupo STN, Aparici, Apavisa, Esmaltes, and Smalticeram.  It is expected that Cevisama 2023 will bring together over 500 brands across eight of halls.

Alvarez also noted that the guest buyer programme … ‘is being exceptionally well received”.  “We hope that the presence of foreign buyers from the target markets will be the biggest and best that Cevisama has ever seen,” Alvarez concluded.

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Nov 22: UK  TTA announces new award sponsors

The Tile Association has announced that W.B. Simpson & Sons, and Banks & Lloyd have signed up as Gold Sponsors for TTA Awards 2023.

W.B. Simpson & Sons are one of the leading tiling contractors in London and the South East.  They specialise in the supply and installation of hard wall and floor tiling across commercial, retail and residential sectors.

MD Billy Valler, says, “We’re delighted to be Gold Sponsors of the Awards in the year of our 190th anniversary.  As a company, we will be celebrating 190 years of quality craftsmanship, a value which is celebrated and recognised by the Awards. You can view the projects we work on across our social media channels.”

Banks & Lloyd are global shippers of ceramic tiles; a market leader in the specialised world of ceramic tile imports from Spain, Brazil, Turkey, China, Argentina, Portugal, and Italy.

Ed Banks, Marketing and Human Resources Manager, says: “We are delighted to sponsor TTA Awards once again and welcome another opportunity to show our devotion towards such a fantastic industry.  We continue to find our involvement a great opportunity to let members and the wider industry know that we’re here to help in these trying times.”

TTA Awards will take place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, UK on 12th May 2023. E: or T: 0300 365 8453 for more information.

Nov 22: UK TTA offers clarity on EU anti-dumping rules

TTA has obtained clarification for the benefit of its members on the latest EU rules regarding anti-dumping measures taken against tile imports from Turkey and India.

There had been concern expressed by some members that ‘AD684 – Anti-dumping proceeding concerning imports of ceramic tiles originating in India and Türkiye’, issued by the European Commission on 28th October, might also be applicable to the UK market.

Following an investigation, which was initiated by a complaint received by the European Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Federation (CET), the Commission decided to take action. This was due to a reported 48% increase in penetration of Turkish tiles into the European market between 2017 and 2020, and a tripling of the Indian presence during the same period – accompanied by significant price decreases, which resulted in the imported tiles being sold at prices lower than those produced within the EU.

The European Commission established that this was having a negative effect on the profitability of the entire EU tile manufacturing sector, which has been unable to raise its prices to a level at which it can be profitable.

In order to restore fair trade conditions, duties are therefore being implemented at differing rates, depending on which country and which company is involved, but amounting to 48% in some cases.

Following a query from TTA, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) has now responded as follows: “As of 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer a member of the EU Customs Union and any EU trade defence measures put in place after this date are not applicable to the UK. As the EU measure you’ve raised concluded after January 2021, it does not apply to the UK. If the relevant UK industry felt an equivalent measure should be in place, they would need to apply to the TRA for a new investigation. I can confirm that, currently, we have not initiated any equivalent investigation but that does not preclude an application being brought in the future.”

This means that despite the EU ruling, UK importers will remain able to bring tiles from Turkey or India into the UK market without any restriction or requirement to pay tariffs.

In September the TRA also instigated a review (TD0027) into the current measures taken against dumping of ceramic tiles from China on the UK market. The current tariffs, ranging from 14% to 70% have been in place for more than a decade, and TRA is reviewing whether they are still appropriate to the needs of the UK market post-Brexit.  A comprehensive member survey established that TTA members are split in their views on this topic. TTA Board therefore felt it would be inappropriate for TTA, which represents the whole industry, to come down on one side or the other. The directors resolved to await the result of the review and to provide support and relevant information for members, once the TRA’s determination is made.


Nov 22: Spain Passport to Creativity update

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing more than 100 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), is now accepting entries for the 2023 edition of the Passport to Creativity tour. 

Now in its eleventh year, Passport to Creativity celebrates the history of Spanish ceramics by inviting a select group of US-based architects and interior designers on a journey through Spain. Attendees will gain a thorough understanding of the origins of ceramics, how they are made, and the technical and aesthetic benefits of the different genres of tile.

This year’s tour will take place in late February 2023. Attendees will begin by attending Cevisama. Following the show, participants will tour ceramic manufacturing facilities, explore historical sites, and experience a taste of Spanish culture; all while earning CEU credits.

“Passport to Creativity offers architects and designers the opportunity to master the nuances of Spanish ceramic tile from manufacturers and tile specialists first-hand,” states Rocamador Rubio, at Tile of Spain in the United States. “Our guests will embark on an educational journey that begins with the history of ceramics and concludes with a deeper understanding of the aesthetic, technical and functional benefits of Spanish tile. This knowledge can then be used to enhance and evolve their designs to meet the ever-changing needs of exterior and interior projects.”


Nov 22: Spain  Grespania builds new slab plant

The ongoing growth of Grespania continues with the expansion of a new production line at its’ plant for large format slabs in Moncofar, Castellón, with an investment of around €20,000,000.

The increase in capacity will be mainly for 1,620 by 3,240mm slabs with thicknesses ranging from 5.6mm to 20mm. The reception area will be expanded. As well as the storage space for spray-dried powder, there will be a completely new line including a press, dryer, glazing machinery, a new fibre glass mesh line, a new selection line and, of course, a state-of-the-art kiln, and slab packaging station.

This new production line has been designed to minimise the impact on the environment. In addition to the latest energy saving measure, a waste recovery plant will be installed on site, so that the waste generated can be reused in the plant itself without having to go through external waste management.

The project, scheduled for completion in early 2023, will mean a yearly increase in large-format production of 850,000sq. metres for the group. The aim is to accelerate the process of bringing products to market and further improve the service provided to customers, helping meet the requirements of the current plant in line with Industry 4.0 and to continue working on circular economy initiatives.

Nov 22: Italy ACIMAC’s latest global tile stats

Ceramic World Review has published ACIMAC research dapartment’s 10th edition of the annual report World production and consumption of ceramic tiles. This releals that, in 2021 world tile production and consumption grew by 7.2% and 6.8% respectively; while world tile import-export flows saw a significant increase, up 8.7% on 2020.

Consisting of almost 300 pages of charts, tables and commentary, the study provides detailed analysis of the trends occurring over the ten-year period to 2021 in terms of industry, markets, per capita consumption and export flows in geographical macro-regions and in the 81 largest tile producer, consumer, exporter and importer countries. The major new feature of this year’s study is the in-depth review of the 10-year historical series for tile production and consumption in India based on extensive market analysis conducted by MECS and involving more than 800 companies operating solely in the Morbi district in Gujarat, whose contribution to national production had until now been underestimated.

In 2021, world tile production reached 18,339 million sq. metres, up 7.2% from the 17,101 million sq. metres recorded in 2020. The result reflects the strong increase of tile demand in all geographical areas, which brought world tile consumption growing to 18,209 million sq. metres (+6.8%).

Production in Asia grew by 4.9% to 13.6 billion sq. metres, equivalent to 74% of global production. This positive result was mainly due to the increase in volumes produced in China, India and Indonesia, which offset the sharp contraction experienced in Vietnam.

The European continent produced a total of 2,124 million sq. metres (11.6% of world production). Production saw double-digit growth both in the European Union (+18% to 1,393 million sq. metres) and in non-EU Europe (+14.6% to 731 million sq. metres) driven by the sharp increase in Turkey.

Production in the American continent grew strongly to 1,737 million sq. metres. The growth rate in North America was 17.4% (377 million sq. metres), while Central and South America saw the biggest increase, +24.5% to 1,360 million sq. metres. The only area to experience a contraction in 2021 was Africa, where production dropped to 888 million sq. metres (-3.3%) due to steep declines in Algeria and to a lesser extent Nigeria which outweighed the increases in all other countries on the continent.

In 2021, global exports rose by 8.7% to 3 billion sq. metres, approximately 244 million sq. metres more than in 2020. Here too, the recovery involved all geographical areas. Asia’s exports grew to 1,414 million sq. metres (+2%), equivalent to 47% of the world total. The European Union’s exports rose sharply (1,055 million sq. metres; +14.3%) and amounted to 35% of the global total. Non-EU European countries also performed well (231 million sq. metres; +12.3%), largely due to growth in Turkish exports.

Exports also grew in Central and South America (183 million sq. metres; +36.3%), North America (45 million sq. metres; +10.7%) and Africa (85 million sq. metres; +4.6%). As for the export propensity of the various continents or macro-regions, the European Union remained the area with the highest export share in 2021 at 75.7% of its production. All the other areas lagged well behind.

In 2021, Spain regained second place in the ranking of the world’s largest exporting countries, while India dropped to third place.

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Nov 22: Italy Twin awards for Caesar

Alchemy Lux – Caesar’s new high-gloss metallic collection – has won the Popular Choice Winner of the Architizer A+Awards 2022 community, in the Finishes – Hard Surfacing, Tiles & Stones section, while the new Prima collection (below), in the Avio shade, is on the Archiproducts Design Awards 2022 Longlist. The winners will be announced later in November 2022.

Caesar has always wanted to enhance the value of ceramic material and, over time, has invested resources and energy to develop increasingly high-performance solutions, both technically and aesthetically. It looks at porcelain stoneware as a true furnishing element, capable of adding value to spaces and customising them to the utmost with a high aesthetic value, while also guaranteeing a strong focus on the sustainability factor.

Alchemy Lux (above) has a bright LUX finish to further highlight the prestige and personality of a collection that explores metal in an original way.

Prima, on the other hand, has clay as its dominant theme, a natural material of very ancient origins that has now been re-proposed in a contemporary ceramic key, offering great design freedom.

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Nov 22: UK Merchant sales up, but volume down

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveals that builders’ merchants’ value sales were +10.0% up in August 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. But volume sales were down -4.2%, with +14.8% price inflation driving growth.

All bar one category sold more in August 2022 compared to the previous year. Nine categories outperformed Merchants overall with Renewables & Water Saving (+27.3%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+26.9%) leading the field. Timber & Joinery Products (-5.7%) sold less. With an extra trading day in August 2022, like-for-like sales were +5.0% higher.

Compared to August 2019, a more normal pre-pandemic year, total merchant value sales were +29.9% higher. Volume sales were down -1.2% while prices were up +31.5%. With one extra trading day this year, like-for-like sales were up +24.0%. Three of the twelve categories grew more than total Merchants with Timber & Joinery Products (+39.9%) the strongest. Landscaping (+35.8%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+30.5%) also did better. Heavy Building Materials (+29.6%) grew marginally more slowly, ahead of Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+18.2%) and other categories.

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Source: GfK Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data July 2014 – August 2022.

Nov 22: UK Building celebrates award winners

Some of the biggest names in the industry including Core Five, ISG, Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace have all secured titles at the 2022 Building Awards.  HLM earned two titles: the Architectural Practice of the Year and the People Strategy Award.  Hosted by comedian Jimmy Carr, the ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel in London’s Mayfair on 1st November, was attended by more than 1,100 people.

Building Awards 2022 winners

The People Strategy Award – HLM Architects 

Construction Consultant/Surveyor of the Year (small) – Plan A Consultants

Construction Consultant/Surveyor of the Year (large) – Core Five

Architectural Practice of the Year – HLM Architects

Engineering Consultant of the Year – Cundall 

Contractor of the Year – REDS10

Major Contractor of the Year – ISG

Housing Project of the Year – Bream Street by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 

Net Zero Project/Initiative of the Year – UCL Pearl by Penoyre & Prasad

Delivering Social Value Award – Schools programme by ISG

Housebuilder of the Year – Berkeley Group

Specialist Contractor of the Year – Imtech Engineering Services

Small Project of the Year – Radley College Extension by Beard Construction

International Project of the Year – Sustainability Pavillion Dubai 2020 by Grimshaw

Digital Excellence Award – Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace

Refurbishment Project of the Year – Bodmin Jail Hotel by CField Construction

Offsite Project of the Year – Seismic by the Seismic Consortium

Building Magazine Project of the Year – Houlton School by van Heyningen and Haward, Morgan Sindall Construction, Urban&Civic, and the Department for Education

Construction Client of the Year – Muse

CEO of the Year – Alex Vaughan of Costain

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Nov 22: USA Mohawk announces third quarter loss

Mohawk Industries has announced a 2022 third quarter net loss of $534 million and a diluted loss per share of $8.40, including the impact of non-cash impairment charges of $696 million. The Company’s current market capitalization along with challenging economic conditions and higher discount rates prompted a review of its goodwill and intangible asset balances, which resulted in the impairment charges. Adjusted net earnings were $212 million, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) were $3.34, excluding impairment and other non-recurring charges. Net sales for the third quarter of 2022 were $2.9 billion, an increase of 3.6% as reported and 8.3% on a constant basis. For the third quarter of 2021, net sales were $2.8 billion, net earnings were $271 million and EPS was $3.93.

Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO (above), stated, “Mohawk’s third quarter sales increased primarily from price increases and strength in the commercial sector. Our sales were weaker than we anticipated, as the retail channel softened across all regions and product categories. The strengthening U.S. dollar also negatively impacted our translated sales by $117 million or 4.1%. Our operating income declined as lower volume resulted in higher unabsorbed cost and material, energy and transportation inflation impacted our results. Our global organization responded to the economic challenges, with additional actions to optimize cost, productivity and inventory levels.”

“In the third quarter, our Global Ceramic Segment’s net sales were $1.1 billion, an increase of 9.8% as reported and 12.4% on a constant basis. The Segment’s operating margin was negative 51.0%, including the impact of a non-cash goodwill impairment charge and higher inflation, partially offset by pricing and mix improvements and productivity. The Segment delivered the strongest operating performance during the quarter, even with substantial inflation headwinds in Europe.”

“Sales in our U.S. ceramic business expanded during the quarter, and we are gaining support with our new higher-margin introductions that are an alternative to European imports. Our countertop sales grew during the quarter, led by our high-end quartz collections. Our European ceramic results exceeded our expectations due to our sales and pricing actions, positive mix and Italian energy subsidies. Sales of our premium collections remained strong, while increased gas prices impacted sales of our outdoor and lower-end products. In our other ceramic markets, sales grew primarily through pricing, mix and strength in the commercial channels. All businesses are reducing production in the fourth quarter, which will increase our costs,” concluded Lorberbaum.

Source: Mohawk Industries Inc

Oct 22: Spain 300 companies sign up for Cevisama 2023

Despite rumours to the contrary, the organisers are insisting the Cevisama 2023 will go ahead as planned. More than 300 companies are said to have confirmed they will be exhibiting at Cevisama 2023 in five months time.

View of previous Cevisama exhibition in Valencia.

Spain’s leading ceramic tile exhibition is thus set to open its doors from 27th February to 3rd March 2023. Spanning eight halls, it is billed to offer a comprehensive range of ceramic tiles, bathroom equipment, and natural stone; alongside the latest trends in design, technology, and sustainable construction.

Major brands to have booked include Peronda, Baldocer, Keraben, Grupo STN, Aparici, Apavisa, Poalgi, Acquabella, Visobath, Vidres, Esmaltes, Smalticeram, Sigmadiamant, Chumillas Technology and Macer.

“For this next edition, and thanks to support from the Ministry for Sustainable Economy, we will be investing a million euros in the most powerful promotional initiative we have ever rolled out,” says Cevisama’s Director, Carmen Álvarez.

“We will be inviting thousands of VIP buyers from the industry’s target countries, delivering above and beyond the number of buyers the ceramic and bathroom exhibitors at the fair will be expecting”, concludes Álvarez.

Oct 22: UK Positive results from Victoria PLC

Victoria plc – the international designers, manufacturers and distributors of innovative flooring – has issued a trading update ahead of its half year results for the six months ended 1st October 2022.

Victoria PLC’s logo.

This update says that the Group has continued to trade well in the period, with half year revenues and EBITDA in excess of £700 million and £100 million respectively.  This is in line with consensus market expectations for FY 23.

Progress continues to be made on the integration of acquisitions completed earlier in the year and the Board consequently expects meaningful positive cash flow in H2 along with operational synergy gains mitigating some of the macroeconomic headwinds seen across the globe.

The Company will announce its interim results on 29th November 2022.

Oct 22: Italy Italcer wins Sustainability Award 

Italcer has won first place out of a shortlist of 100 Italian companies at the Sustainability Award 2022.  This is the second year for this award scheme devoted to Italian-based companies that have excelled in tackling challenges such as climate change, changing employee needs, and the demands of multiple stakeholders.

Italcer’s Graziano Verdi receiving the award.

This year, Italcer came out on top in the ranking of sustainable businesses, all with ESG ratings provided by ALTIS Università Cattolica and RepRisk, produced by Team Credit Suisse, Kon Group and Forbes.

The award is also a recognition of the company’s path of continuous improvement in terms of sustainability and efficiency of production processes, which constantly seek out using materials efficiently, saving more and more energy, reducing polluting emissions and managing water and waste increasingly more consciously.

Graziano Verdi, CEO, Italcer.

The Italcer Group’s brands include Fondovalle, La Fabbrica, AVA, Elios Ceramica, Devon&Devon, Ceramica Rondine, Cedir, Bottega, and Equipe Cerámicas.

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Oct 22: USA Victoria makes strategic stateside acquisition

Victoria PLC has expanded its North American division with the acquisition of Florida-based flooring distributor, International Wholesale Tile (IWT).

Fascia showing IWT’s branding.

For the 12 months ended 31st March 2022, IWT generated unaudited revenues of $63.2 million and normalised EBITDA of approximately $7.0 million. The total consideration paid on completion was $28.5 million (£24.9 m1). A further, capped, contingent payment is payable over the next four years, conditional upon the business achieving certain growth and earnings targets.

Established in 1994, IWT is a distributor of ceramic and porcelain tiles, natural stone, luxury vinyl tiles, and decorative glass tiles; as well as an array of tile and stone installation systems.

IWT sources product from suppliers in Europe, Asia, and South America and distributes from a company operated, 220,000 sq. foot distribution facility located in Palm City, north of Fort Lauderdale, to more than 1,700 dealers in Florida and across the USA.

The acquisition of IWT continues Victoria’s winning strategy of growing its business in North America via the acquisition of successful distributors selling the same categories of product as the Group manufactures and sells in Europe. Including IWT, Victoria’s North American-derived revenues will exceed $400 million, around 27% of the Group’s income.

Oct 22: Italy ADI Award for Cotto d’Este’s Pura

Cotto d’Este and the Panariagroup claim that ultra-thin Kerlite slabs are the most sustainable ceramic product in the world.  Not only do they require less raw materials, less energy and less water consumption, but today they are also 100% Carbon neutral, says the group.

Pura by Cotto d’Este, a Panaria Group brand.

Inspired by limestone, the new Pura collection by Cotto D’Este is a celebration of naturalness, and balance. The background texture is characterised by a grain structure, typical of limestone, and by a graphic movement and changes in tone.  This is an extensive range spanning 14mm thick stoneware, 20mm outdoor stoneware, and large ultra-thin Kerlite slabs.

It was the depth of the range, obtained through a perfect co-ordination of the different production technologies, that led to Pura receiving a Special Mention in the ADI Ceramics and Bathroom Design Awards. 

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Oct 22: UK Swimming Pools Masterclass set for 27th Oct

The Tile Association’s next Technical Masterclass will be Design & Construction Process for Swimming Pools which will take place on 27th October.  The Masterclass will be held at TTA HQ, The Mount, 43 Stafford Road, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0HG.

Infographic about TTA Masterclasses.

These Technical Masterclasses are aimed at every level of tiler to enhance their understanding and competence regarding the topic. Masterclasses will run from 10am – 3pm, and will be delivered by expert instructors.

Upon completion of a TTA Technical Masterclass, attendees will receive a free copy of the relevant technical publication and a certificate. All participants should bring their own PPE.

Numbers are limited, so places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Prices for TTA Technical Masterclasses are as follows:

TTA Member – £70 + VAT Non-Member – £150 + VAT

Included in this price are refreshments, lunch, and free parking on site.


T: 0300 365 8453 

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Oct 22: UK UK construction fell by 7.3% last year

Turnover in the UK construction sector fell by 7.3% last year, ONS data published last week revealed.  The sector boasted a turnover of £359 billion at the beginning of 2021, but this fell to £333 billion 12 months on, analysis of the latest figures by innovation funding specialist Catax shows.

Despite this, the number of construction businesses held steady, growing by 0.1% to 914,475. In comparison, business numbers in the UK overall fell by 1.5% over the same period.  The number of people employed in the construction sector also grew by 1.2% to 2.1 million.

Mark Tighe, CEO of Catax, comments: “The supply of essential materials was massively disrupted last year and may have contributed to the construction sector’s fall in turnover.  The industry still faces challenges, not least rising inflation which has sent the price of those materials soaring.  At the same time, the construction industry is critical to the UK’s drive to net zero and so it is vital that it keeps innovating and growing.”

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Oct 22: Italy Acimac publishes new tile stat report

New from the Acimac Research Center, the 10th edition of the World Production and Consumption of Ceramic Tiles report shows a market that is more dynamic than might be expected.  After two years of pandemic, the report analyses the key stats from 81 countries, with detail sheets on volumes and values of ceramic tiles produced, consumed, exported, and imported all over the world

Cover of 10th edition of World Production and Consumption of Ceramic Tiles.

Acimac is offering Tile Addict readers a 20% early bird discounted rate until 28th October 2022.  The price for Acimac Members is € 1.750.

The report has 300 pages of data for quick and intuitive understanding, and is billed as a useful working tool for all players in the ceramics supply chain, with updated statistics covering the entire decade 2012-2021, including new data on the Indian market.

Key findings are that the market has grown by more than 7%, to reach 18.4 billion sq. metres.  World trade has rebounded after falling in pandemic years: up 8.7% year-on-year.  Italy is still the leader exporter nation, commanding the highest average price of €14.3 per sq. metre. 

T. +39 059 510 336 E:

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Oct 22: Spain Tile of Spain mourns Pedro Riaza

With great sadness, Tile of Spain has announced the death of Pedro Riaza, who was Secretary General of the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) for a quarter of a century. 

Pedro Riaza, the former Secretary General of Ascer, has passed away.

A well-respected industry leader, Riaza retired in 2019 after a long professional career in the ceramic tile sector.  Pedro Riaza joined the general secretariat of ASCER in the 1990s, and advised a half a dozen presidents of the association during his 25 year career. 

Riaza was decisive in managing outstanding challenges for companies in the sector. He helped to resolve dumping disputes that the Spanish and European industry faced. He also championed sustainable and energy efficient use processes, such as cogeneration. 

His passion, expertise and guidance over the years has a solid legacy for future generations to build upon.

Oct 22: Spain Porcelanosa explores the metaverse

Porcelanosa has opened a space at Metaverso.  The multinational ceramic tiles and beyond brand has joined the virtual reality experience alongside firms such as Balenciaga, Gucci, Nike, and Samsung.

Porcelanosa in Decentraland.

Porcelanosa is immersing itself in the world of the metaverse with the aim of adapting to new cutting-edge proposals and remaining a leader in the creation of design spaces.

Decentraland is the platform where Porcelanosa has introduced itself and its projects. It represents a global community of users sharing a virtual world, which can be accessed from different devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, or virtual reality headsets.

Porcelanosa moves into the metaverse by recreating the emblematic Commodore Criterion building in Manhattan.  Here, users can find news from the different firms, events with professionals, product information and access to the group’s website. Around the building, there is a yellow corporate vehicle and representative billboard to enhance the company’s iconic image.

Given that the new generations make up the majority of metaverse users, Porcelanosa has made it one of its targets to raise awareness about the importance of committing to sustainable behaviour and commitment to the environment.

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Oct 22: Italy Diamant Boart is now Husqvarna

Diamant Boart has become Husqvarna. The brand change was introduced to customers at the recent Marmomac trade show in Verona, Italy.

Diamant Boart is being rebranded Husqvarna.

For 85 years, Diamant Boart has served the global stone industry with high-quality diamond tools. In 2002, the company became part of Husqvarna Group’s Construction Division.

“We kept the two brands closely side by side in a multi-brand set-up for many years, but now the time has come. We will rebrand our Stone Diamond Tools business to Husqvarna. Our quality, service, expertise and above all our commitment will remain unchanged, as will our staff, sales offices and distributors,” says Pierre Andary, Senior Vice President, Diamond Tools at Husqvarna Construction.

“Many customers already know us as part of the Husqvarna Group, and everything will remain the same expect for the brand. We are convinced this will bring benefits for our customers and the stone industry at large, as we can focus our efforts on one strong brand,” explains Andary.

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Oct 22: Italy Sustainability certification for Co-Em

Coem has been awarded third-party verification by Certyquality according to ISO 17889-1 – Sustainability for ceramic tiles, a new international standard for determining the level of sustainability of ceramic products in the construction trade.

Co-Em has been certified to ISO 17889-1

This standard analyses the entire life cycle of the product, from raw materials to disposal, also assessing health and safety parameters for workers, and much more.

This confirms Coem’s commitment to vigorously pursue policies of environmental and social responsibility throughout its production operations, certifying the excellence of highly sustainable porcelain stoneware.

Coem products have been verified by a third party and compliant with the ISO 17889-1 standard on the sustainability of ceramic tiles. The new standard defines a system for evaluating the product throughout its life cycle, using qualitative and quantitative indicators for environmental performance and social and economic responsibility related to its design, production, installation and use. The standard also provides for the evaluation of the rating achieved so that it can be compared to support certification schemes, allowing designers and end customers to have a clear reference for selecting products that can contribute most to sustainability in buildings.

ISO 17889-1 establishes sustainability criteria for ceramic surfaces with the aim of providing design professionals, contractors and consumers with a verifiable and internationally valid standard for identifying product sustainability according to economic, environmental and social sustainability criteria.

The standard provides thirty-eight parameters, with which compliance is mandatory and which determine a specific score for each product, comparing it with reference values. Only ceramic tiles that achieve a minimum score of 117.5 can obtain ISO 17889-1 certification.

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Oct 22: Italy Ceramics of Italy Tile Comp set for 2023

Confindustria Ceramica has announced that the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition – the longest-running awards program of its kind – is now accepting submissions for the 2023 edition.

Entry from previous Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the competition honours North American architects and designers whose projects highlight the technical and aesthetic benefits of Italian tile, with past winners including prestigious firms like Rockwell Group, Gow Hastings, and Perkins&Will.

This year, a jury will select winners in four built categories – Commercial, Residential (Single-Family), Residential (Multi-Family), and Institutional; and one Student category. Winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Coverings 2023 in Orlando, Florida, and the chance to present their projects in front of architecture and design media at the show. In addition, built-project winners will enjoy a CEU-accredited trip to Cersaie 2023 next September in Bologna, Italy. 

Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition graphic

The deadline to enter is 19th December 2022. 

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Oct 22: Marazzi on the Clerkenwell Design Trail 

Marazzi has featured in this year’s Clerkenwell Design Trail; a visitors’ route through the EC1 district of London organised to coincide with London Design Festival. 

Marazzi featured on the Clerkenwell Design Trail

About thirty locations and showrooms, a short walk apart, hosted workshops, product launches and showroom tours this year. Recurrent themes included the sustainability of materials and processes.

The Marazzi Showroom displays the main technological innovations such as the Puro Marazzi Antibacterial. This innovative technology is now applied to large stoneware slabs, perfect for the most hard-wearing kitchen countertops. It is able to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

3D Ink Technology is the latest evolution of the digital technologies applied to porcelain stoneware perfected in the Marazzi labs. Perfectly matching 3D structures and patterns give surfaces volume and textural realism.

Oct 22: UK Surface Design Show sets 2023 theme

Surface Design Show has set the theme of its 2023 edition as ‘Shaping Communities’; with an ambition to improve the surroundings for all, through collaboration and meaningful design solutions.

Images from this year’s Surface Design Show.

Surface Design Show will take place at London’s Business Design Centre from 7th to 9th February 2023 allowing architects, designers and specifiers to discover the best in material design for the built environment.

“We are seeing rapid change and progress in the design world, with digital platforms showcasing the real power of teamwork,’ says Surface Design Show Director, Christopher Newton. “And so, rather than working in isolation we are fully realising the potential of bridging the gap across industries to create long-lasting values that reflect how we want to work, live and communicate within that space.”

The Main Stage located on the mezzanine level of the show will play host to over 40 speakers during the 2½ days of the Show. Several sessions including Tuesday evening’s Opening Night Debate will focus on the topic of Shaping Communities. The full Programme will be announced in November.

Located at the heart of the show and a recurring highlight of the exhibition Surface Spotlight Live features innovative and tactile material for visitors to touch and feel, providing a hands-on experience for architects and designers. Curated by trend and colour expert Sally Angharad, Surface Spotlight Live explores the narratives underpinning aesthetic choice, material selection and design ethos.

Oct 22: Poland Construction volume in Euroconstruct area

Construction volume in the Euroconstruct area will grow by 2.3% in 2022, with a similar rate forecast for 2023.

Following a decline in output in 2020 (-4.4%), the construction industry in the 19 Euroconstruct countries staged a recovery in 2021 with a 5.6% increase in construction output to €1.856 billion, largely closing the gap with respect to 2019.

Out of the 15 Western countries (EC-15), ten reported a higher total construction volume in 2021 than in the pre-pandemic year 2019. Of the BIG-5 countries, only Italy significantly surpassed its pre-crisis level in 2021 (+13.0%, after a decline of 4.5% in 2020). In Germany, construction output in 2021 was close to the level of 2019 (+0.1%), while production was 5.7% lower in France, 3.2% lower in Spain and 2.9% lower in the UK. All Nordic countries achieved a higher total construction volume in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019, with Denmark showing the highest growth (+17.8%).

Out of the four Central and Eastern European countries (EC-4), only Poland achieved a higher total construction volume in 2021 compared to 2019 (+1.5%), while the construction industry in Slovakia experienced a deep recession with a decline of 16.8%.

According to forecasts, total construction growth in the 19 Euroconstruct countries will slow to 2.3% in 2022, with a similar rate forecast for 2023. This is due to market instability exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the high levels of inflation, which are dampening economies’ propensity to invest in new construction projects.

A cumulative increase in construction output is predicted in the Euroconstruct area over the forecast period 2022-2024. In the EC-15 countries, cumulative growth will amount to 6.1%, which is slightly lower than for the EC-4 countries where a rate of 6.4% is forecast. The strongest cumulative growth is expected in Ireland (+15.1%), followed by Spain (+14.3%) and Slovakia (+13.5%). Stagnant tendencies are forecast in the largest European construction markets. Germany’s output declined in 2021 (-1.2%) after minor expansion in 2020 (+1.3%) and an increase of less than 1.5% is expected for the whole period 2022-2024. The expectations for the Scandinavian countries vary. The outlook for Finland and Sweden is considerably more negative, while Norway and Denmark are expected to see a total increase of 3-4% over the forecasting period.

All three main market segments (building construction, civil engineering and renovation) will see rather moderate growth with expected annual growth rates of between 2% and 3% due to the continued high level of economic uncertainty. The continuation of the war in Ukraine and the possible resurgence of the pandemic in autumn increase the uncertainty about the future and may lead to a recession in the construction industry in some countries. In this scenario, the current projections made by Euroconstruct forecast a significant slowdown in the growth rate of residential construction to 1.3% in 2024. This is the combined result of stagnation trends in both new residential construction and renovation (1.5% and 1.2%, respectively).

Following the sharp decline in total non-residential construction in 2020, production is forecast to recover in 2022-2024. However, non-residential construction is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in several EC-15 countries (France, Germany, the UK, Finland and Ireland) or in two EC-4 countries (Slovakia and the Czech Republic).

Civil engineering, the segment that was least affected by the pandemic (output decreased by just 0.4% in 2020) due to the implementation of numerous large infrastructure projects, is expected to grow by 2.7% per annum on average between 2022 and 2024. After accelerating to 3.9% in 2023, the annual growth rate will drop significantly to 1.7% in 2024.

The data were released during the 93rd Euroconstruct Conference held in Warsaw on 9th and 10th June 2022, which also provided forecasts for the European construction market to 2024.

Oct 22: UK Topps Tiles publishes strong set of results

Topps Tiles Plc’s, the UK’s leading tile specialist, trading update for the 52-week period ended 1st October 2022 shows a second record year for sales; and full year profits towards upper end of market expectations.

Typical product ranges from the Topps Tiles’ website

The Group now operates across three business areas: the omni-channel Topps Tiles brand is the clear market leader in the UK and services both trade and homeowner customers; the Online Pure Play offer consists of Pro Tiler Tools and Tile Warehouse; and, finally, the Parkside brand works directly with architects, designers, and contractors in the commercial market.

Group sales in the 52-week period were approximately £247.3 million, a second consecutive record year of turnover, with year on year sales growth of 10.6% on a comparable 52-week basis.  Group sales in the 13 weeks to 1st October were 4.3% higher year on year, with positive progress from all parts of the Group. Average weekly sales per store in Topps Tiles this year are 25% higher than in the pre-pandemic period of FY19.  

Rob Parker, CEO, said: “The Group has worked hard to achieve a strong balance sheet with positive net cash and this will serve us well as we move into a period of macroeconomic volatility, leading to a more uncertain environment for consumers.  In this context, our 20% market share goal of ‘1 in 5 by 2025’ and our growth strategy to deliver this will remain our primary focus, and we are confident that we will deliver against them both.”

Topps Tiles Plc is the UK’s largest specialist supplier of tiles and associated products, with 304 nationwide Topps Tiles stores, four commercial showrooms and six websites:,,,, and

For further information on the Group, please visit

Oct 22: Italy Atlas Concorde partners with HBA

With Marvel Travertine, Atlas Concorde has inaugurated its partnership with the international interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). The collection was inspired by the sumptuousness of travertine, thus bringing a material that played a key role in classical architecture into the contemporary world. Italian and international styles come together in Marvel Travertine decors designed by HBA, delivering a range of textures and geometric patterns suitable for all kinds of projects.

“We were very impressed by the beauty of Marvel Travertine. So it was easy to discover that we and Atlas Concorde share the same passion for design and excellence,” explains Ian Carr, CEO of HBA.

Oct 22: UK Natural Stone Directory 2022/23 published

Now in it’s 22nd edition, The Natural Stone Directory is the only current and comprehensive listing of UK stone industry contact information on quarries, stone importers and wholesalers, stone processors, masons, machinery suppliers, and organisations.

The Natural Stone Directory is now in its 22nd year.

The UK stone industry’s preferred reference guide, the current, indexed publication provides:

• 20 pages of colour swatches of indigenous stones

• A detailed guide to the active dimensional stone quarries and quarry operators in the British Isles

• Database of UK wholesalers, equipment suppliers, stonemasons, consultants, training institutions, and professional organisations

Order your copy – £55 UK – by calling Sue on 0115 945 3884 or e-mailing:

Oct 22: Italy Marmomac’s audience approaches 50,000

After four days with a new midweek slot, Marmomac – the world’s leading natural stone exhibition – closed its doors at Veronafiere after attracting 47,000 professional operators. This was 49% up on 2021. International attendance from 132 countries accounted for 63% of visitors: an increase of 97% against the previous edition.

Marmomac 2022 drew an audience of 47,000 to Verona across 4 days.

“This result all but returns the event to pre-pandemic figures in 2019, following the special online edition in 2020 and the restart show in 2021,” said Federico Bricolo, President of Veronafiere.

1,207 exhibiting companies were arrayed across 10 show halls and four outdoor areas. More than 1,200 varieties of stone were on show, including unhewn blocks, slabs and processed stone. Technology for quarrying, cutting, processing, and transport was also showcased ; alongside tools, abrasives, and chemicals.

“Marmomac this year have witnessed an impressive great quantitative and qualitative return of operators from target countries such as the United States, Brazil, India and Turkey,” said Maurizio Danese, CEO of Veronafiere, “posting figures that virtually returned to the results for pre-Covid editions. The figure posted for international attendance is all the more impressive when bearing in mind the down-scaled presence of China, Russia and Ukraine in the wake of well-known health and geopolitical issues.”

Marmomac 2022 also launched a new green approach for the Italian natural stone production chain, with the presentation of the 10-point planning document in the Authentic Natural Stone, Sustainability Manifesto signed by companies belonging to the PNA Network, of which Veronafiere is also a member.

The next edition of Marmomac is scheduled for 26th to 29th September 2023 (

Oct 22: Italy Cersaie attracts over 90,000 visitors

The recent Cersaie exhibition – held in Bologna from 26th to 30th September – attracted a total of 91,296 visitors. This was around 50% up on last year’s event that was held in the difficult post-pandemic period. This attendance figure included 44,215 international visitors, and 458 journalists, including 226 non-Italians. 

The main entrance to Cersaie 2022, Bologna, Italy

A total of 624 companies took part in an exhibition space of 140,000 sq. metres spread across 15 halls. There were 354 companies from the ceramic tile sector, 88 from the bathroom furnishings sector, and 183 from the installation, raw materials, new surfaces ,and services sectors. The show’s international profile was confirmed by 237 non-Italian exhibitors from 26 countries. 

“I am convinced that the 624 exhibitors who took part in Cersaie 2022 saw the best possible return on their investment in a show that once again confirmed its national and international importance among distributors, architects, installers and real estate operators,” commented Giovanni Savorani, Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica. “The Italian ceramic industry’s commitment to sustainability was the common thread running through the entire show, as confirmed by the meeting held in the exhibition centre with the regional and local institutions to take stock of the progress and results of the industry’s voluntary agreement on limiting emissions.” 

Next year’s Cersaie will be held in Bologna from 25th to 29th September 2023.

Oct 22: Spain Open Call for Tile of Spain Awards

A jury comprised of British architect Eric Parry, architects Luis Rojo (from Rojo/Fernández-Shaw), Biba Dow (Dow Jones Architecs), José Juan Barba (director of Metalocus) and Ángel Pitarch (chairman of CTAC), and interior designer Agnès Blanch (from Estudi Vilablanch) will meet in Castellón next month to select the winners of this year’s Tile of Spain Awards.

Cash prizes totalling 35,000 euros will be divided between three categories, which will recognise innovation in architecture, interior design and a final degree project by an architecture student.

This year the winners of the two main prizes – architecture and interior design – will each receive 15,000 euros, while the winner of the final degree project will receive 5,000 euros. The awards are sponsored by Endesa, PortValencia, PwC España. They count on the support of Valencia Regional Ministry of Finance.

Entry to the awards is free and submissions are being accepted from now until 28 October 2022. Projects must have been completed between January 2021 and October 2022.

For more information on the Tile of Spain Awards 2022 and to register your project, visit

September 2022: USA Tracking trends at Trinity

American followers of Tile Addict are invited to join Tile of Spain and Trinity Surfaces as they showcase trends, state-of-the-art materials, and innovations at Trinity Surfaces’ showroom. Featuring tapas and a 1 hour CEU presentation on tile trends and technologies from Spanish manufacturers, the event will take place on Thursday 22nd September from 4:30 to 8:00 PM EDT, at Trinity Surfaces, 958 North Orange Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789. 

Ryan Fasan, Tile of Spain Consultant and Ceramic Tile Specialist, will present:  Ceramic Trends Forecast: Adapting to Adversity. This is one of Fasan’s most anticipated presentations of the year as he delves into the inner makings, artistic design, and advanced technologies behind the world’s most notable ceramic lines from Spanish ceramic manufacturers.

Banner promoting the Trinity Surfaces – Tile of Spain trend presentation.

Following the presentation, guests will enjoy Spanish tapas and wines, as well as an in-depth discussion on the bold and unexpected uses of ceramic tile where Fasan will be joined by a guest speaker, John McClain, Designer and author of the recently published book on design: The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home.


Visit to find out more.

September 2022: Poland Major investment by Cerrad Group

In 2022, Cerrad – the Polish ceramic group – has installed two new state-of-the-art production lines, increasing its annual production capacity by 8 million sq. metres. The group has a comprehensive product portfolio for use on floors, façades and terraces. It offers a wide range of finishes, such as matt, polished, lapped, and satin. Formats range up to 1,620 by 3,240 and 1,200 by 2,800mm slabs.

Illustration from the Cerrad Group’s website.

“At the beginning of February we launched a pilot production line with a capacity of approximately 5 million sq. metres of tiles per year, which allowed us to develop and bring to market unique products with very deep structures,” explains Cerrad Group’s CCO, Filip Cegłowski. “This technology also allows us to recycle and reuse soft scraps, reducing our demand for raw materials, water and energy and, in turn, lowering our impact on the natural environment. In June this year we started up a second production line, which was modified to increase our production capacity by approximately 3 million sq. metres of tiles per year,” notes Cegłowski.

Cerrad Group’s total production capacity is now around 28 million sq. metres per annum, with exports to more than 50 countries worldwide. These volumes are set to increase further in 2023. Cerrad’s increase in production is driven by the group’s strong sales performance in the strategic Western European and US markets. In 2021 Cerrad reported revenues of approx. €140 million, up around 35%, and a net profit of approx. €16.7 million.

Developed in partnership with Joanna Przetakiewicz, the Cerrad x La Mania Home brand has already launched four porcelain tile collections onto the market: Brazilian Quartzite, Ceppo Nuovo, Modern Concrete, and Marmo Thassos/Morocco. The Ceppo Nuovo collection, inspired by a type of Italian bedrock, won the international Red Dot Award 2022 in the Product Design category.

Visit for more information.


September 2022: Italy ABK turns to LB for slab production kit

ABK Group, one of Italy’s leading producers of ceramic tiles and slabs, has signed an agreement with LB Technology for the installation of a new body colouring line equipped with Easy Color Boost technology at its factory in Solignano, nr Modena, Italy.

Kitchen featuring surfaces by Flaviker: an ABK Group brand.

The new installation will complement ABK’s two existing body colouring lines and is part of the Finale Emilia-based ceramic group’s new investment programme aimed at expanding production of large-size technical porcelain tiles.

Source: https://www.ceramic

September 2022: Italy Tecna 2022: Sustainability in ceramics

On Wednesday 28th September, the technology conference at Tecna 2022 in Rimini will explore ecological transition in the ceramic industry. 

Sponsored by Enel Green Power, the event will be moderated by Francesco Bottino. The first session will focus on hydrogen power.  Talks on various aspects of plant engineering will be given by two companies that have long been engaged in R&D work in this field: Sacmi and SITI B&T.

Tecna’s Sustainability in Ceramics banner

The second session, moderated by Paola Giacomini, Editor of Ceramic World Review, will be devoted to technological innovations in the fields of energy saving, recovery, and recycling.   It will feature speakers from System Ceramics, LB Group, Poppi, and Cami Depurazioni.

The final talk will be given by Marco Bertuzzi, Head of the Renewable Energy at Protesa-Sacmi Group.  He will explain how new models can be used to combine energy efficiency improvement with the production of energy from PV sources. 

Visit to see the whole programme.


September 2022: Ukraine Clay shipments from Ukraine resume

The first shipment of 17,000 tonnes of Ukrainian clay arrived at the port of Castellón, Spain, on 15th August.  Vesco, Ukraine’s largest clay exporter, resumed operations after pausing for several months due to the outbreak of the war.

Ukrainian clay being loaded for shipment.

Dmitrii Kostornichenko, Vesco’s Sales Director, says: “The shock caused by the first few weeks of the war was quickly replaced by an understanding of the need to find and build new logistics channels as an alternative to the blockaded Ukrainian ports.  The aim was to rapidly resume shipping of the stocks of material already available prior to temporary suspension of the company’s operations. We have succeeded, and shipping to major foreign markets has resumed.”

“We have now reached a shipping volume of 100,000 tonnes per month and are planning to expand the channels that we have managed to build,” notes Kostornichenko. 

Ukrainian clay shipments to Spain, Italy, and Turkey have all resumed.


September 2022: USA Villa Lagoon launches trade programme

USA-based Villa Lagoon Tile has announces a trade programme to serve customers who design and specify residential and hospitality spaces. Benefits of joining this professional community include:

Villa Lagoon Tile’s Design-Build Trade Programme banner

• Discounts on handcrafted cement tile and Zellige tiles

• Discounts on terrazzo tiles, terracotta, and Breeze Blocks products

• Exclusive previews

• Early ordering of new products 

• Free samples for projects

• A dedicated Villa Lagoon Tile specialist

• Buyer incentives

“Professionals who use cement tile in their projects are passionate about bringing this centuries-old process into their modern-day designs, appreciative of the craft and the uniqueness of each tile,” says Melissa Dillon of Villa Lagoon Tile.  “We launched this program because we are appreciative of these professionals and we look forward to offering them this enhanced support.”

To join, email:


September 2022: UK Parkside improves tile spec website

Whatever your specification mission, the new Parkside website makes it easy to find the right answer from a choice of over 20,000 commercial tiles.  Whether you’re a commercial designer, architect, tile contractor or residential developer, is developed to support your specification journey through its advanced segmentation.

Parkside’s new website simplifies tile specification

With tiles searchable by product, collection, or project category, the new website’s systems kick-in to finetune your selection by colour, size, finish, slip-resistance and recycled content.  The result is a selection of tiles that meet the needs of your project in just a few simple steps.  Samples of selected products can be ordered directly through the website for fast delivery. 

Parkside’s Tina Hughan, says: “We’ve developed the new website from the ground-up using the latest technologies to ensure it helps specifiers make the right material choices from an exceptional collection of design, technical and specialist tiles.  The new and free to access sample service will also ensure a quicker transition from consideration to specification.”

Visit to see the new site.

September 2022: Poland Laminam acquires distributor Interstone

Laminam has acquired its Polish distributor, Interstone, building on the 30% stake it already held.  This will enhance the strategic positioning of the Laminam brand in Poland.

The collaboration between the two companies dates back to 2012 and this move will consolidate the commercial and distribution structure, ensuring coverage of the entire national territory through six logistics hubs.

Aerial view of Interstone’s HQ in Poland

The agreement adds Poland to  a network of European branches in Spain, Germany, France, Benelux and the UK, and those outside the continent in the USA, Canada, Israel, China, Japan, Russia, and Australia.

“We are delighted to welcome Interstone and its people into the Laminam Group. They will contribute substantially with their experience and knowledge of the market to the growth of our customers and to realize their projects with our surfaces,” says Alberto Selmi, CEO, Laminam.



September 2022: Italy Eight Italian cities connect with Cersaie

Visitors to this year’s Cersaie – Bologna 26th to 30th September 2022 – will be eligible for discounted travel on high-speed trains, making it easier for them to get the city’s Exhibition Centre during the five days of the event.

The main railway station in Bologna

Discounts will be available on second-class same-day return tickets to Bologna from Turin, Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Padua, and Ancona on services operated by Trenitalia and Italo.  A dedicated bus service coinciding with the train arrival and departure time will be provided to shuttle visitors between Bologna railway station and the Exhibition Centre.

Visitors travelling on high-speed trains from all Italian cities will enjoy a 30% discount on first and second class fares on services operated by Trenitalia, and a 40% discount on first class fares for travel with Italo. 

A series of hotel + train packages are also available, consisting of accommodation in 3-4 star hotels in Ferrara, Rimini, Padua, Verona, Venice or Florence and train travel to and from Bologna.

A charter train will also run from Reggio Emilia directly to the Bologna Exhibition Centre’s railway station with intermediate stops in Rubiera and Modena.

The webpage shows available promotions along with links to the Bologna Welcome website for making bookings.

September 2022: UK Mid-size UK developers still optimistic

New research with mid-sized UK residential property developers reveals they are optimistic about their businesses growing over the next three years.

The study by Downing LLP reveals that 78% of residential property developers expect their businesses to grow over the next three years; with 12% anticipating strong growth.

Downing LLP’s homepage

However, over half (56%) are ‘very concerned’ about the cost of raw materials rising, while 50% worry about securing the necessary insurance.  Almost half (46%) said they are very concerned about the length of time it takes to secure planning  approval.

Parik Chandra, Partner and Head of Specialist Lending at Downing LLP said: “Despite concerns about the economy and rising inflation, the need for a huge increase in the UK’s pool of residential property and the firm commitment from the government to achieve this means developers remain optimistic about growing their businesses.  However, they face several risks from the rising cost in raw materials to access to funding.” 

September 2022: UK Large format tile masterclass

The Tile Association’s next Technical Masterclass will be Large Format Tile for Internal Tiling which will take place on 20th September.  The Masterclass will be held at Building Adhesives, Longton Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8JB.

These Technical Masterclasses are aimed at every level of tiler to enhance their understanding and competence regarding the topic. Masterclasses will run from 10am to 3pm and will be delivered by expert instructors.

TTA will be running a large format tile masterclass on 20th September 2022

Attendees will receive a free copy of the relevant technical publication and a certificate. All participants should bring their own PPE.

Numbers are limited, so places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Prices for TTA Technical Masterclasses are as follows:TTA Member – £70 + VAT.  Non-Member – £150 + VAT. Included in this price are refreshments, lunch, and free parking on site.

Queries: Please contact

To book:

September 2022: UK Breedon Group boosts rail infrastructure

A joint initiative between Breedon Group, Network Rail and the Welsh Government has brought the disused Llandudno Junction freight yard sidings back to life.  The Llandudno Junction freight yard had not been used for several years but extensive work – including vegetation removal, track repairs and refurbishment of the points which allow trains to swap tracks – has brought it back into service.

The yard is near the main Penrhyn Quarry of Breedon Group subsidiary Welsh Slate, and up to 260,000 tonnes of materials – ranging from sub-base to decorative aggregate – are expected to pass through it each year, with trains expected to run weekly.

Llandudno Junction freight yard sidings are now back in service.

Typical freight trains will carry 1,500 tonnes of material, compared to a truck’s 28 tonnes, leading to reductions in CO2 emissions, road traffic and operating costs.

Andy Roberts, Breedon’s general manager for the west of England and North Wales, said: “At Breedon, we have a strong commitment to sustainability. We recognise the important practical and environmental benefits of rail freight, so we are pleased that this new facility will allow a greater range of slate materials to be delivered across the UK in a more sustainable manner.”


September 2022: Italy Cersaie gears up for 10th Tiling Town 

Tiling Town, the meeting place for international tile installers, celebrates its 10th edition at Cersaie this year.

Technical seminars on slab laying aimed at architects and designers will be held in a permanent conference area in the afternoons from Monday 26th to Thursday 29th September (and on the morning of Friday 30th September. 

Tiling Town 2021 from

Another initiative is the Tiling Town Matinées, a daily series of tile installation events organised by Assoposa’s technical partners: Fila, Mapei and Raimondi.

A large space in Tiling Town will be occupied by the Italian ceramic tile layers’ association Assoposa.  This trade body will also be organising three specific spaces: an Academy devoted to extra-large slab layers and an exhibition of washbasins made from large slabs; an area will be devoted to demonstrations of raised and exterior floor installation; and, finally, an area devoted to women working in the world of construction.

The Casa Italia web radio specialising in the world of home and living will broadcast a live programme direct from Tiling Town hosted by Paolo Leccese and entitled Bricks & Music

September 2022: UK Construction output falls again

Construction activity in the UK dipped for the second successive month in August as customer demand moved closer to stagnation amid cost pressures and economic uncertainty. Concerns about wider economic prospects led to a drop in business confidence and slower job creation, while firms’ purchasing activity declined.

CIPS Construction Total Activity Index

Falling buying activity did alleviate some pressure on supply chains, with lead times lengthening to the least extent in two-and-a-half years, while inflationary pressures also showed signs of waning.

The headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – which measures month-on-month changes in total industry activity – was at 49.2 in August, up fractionally from 48.9 in July but still below the 50.0 no-change mark and thus signalling a reduction in construction activity over the month. Activity has now decreased in two consecutive months.

As was the case in July, civil engineering posted the sharpest decline in activity of the three monitored categories, seeing output fall markedly over the month. Commercial activity also declined, thereby ending a period of growth stretching back for a year-and-a-half. On a more positive note, activity on housing projects increased for the first time in three months, albeit fractionally.

While some firms increased activity in response to ongoing growth of new orders, this was outweighed by those constructors that saw output decline as firms adjusted to signs of demand weakening.

New orders increased only marginally in August, and to the least extent since June 2020. Some respondents indicated that customers were holding back on committing to new orders amid cost pressures.

September 2022: UK Vistry Group and Countryside plan massive merger

Two of the UK’s largest housebuilders are to merge after Vistry Group agreed a £1.3 billion cash and shares package to take over Countryside. The takeover gives Vistry increased scale as the UK housebuilding sector prepares for recession amid high inflation.

Vistry’s homepage

Vistry, formerly Bovis Homes, was valued at £1.6 billion before the deal, while Countryside was worth £1.1 billion. Countryside shareholders would receive 0.255 of a share in the new company and 60p in cash for every Countryside share they held, leaving them with about 37% of the merged business.

If voted through by shareholders, the deal would make Vistry the UK’s fourth largest housebuilder. Vistry built more than 6,500 homes in 2021, while Countryside built nearly 5,400.

Greg Fitzgerald, Vistry’s Chief Executive, stated: “It will create a leader in the partnerships housing sector, with the scale and expertise to accelerate profitable growth across both partnerships and housebuilding, and expand the delivery of much needed affordable housing across England.”

Vistry will fund the deal with debt arranged by HSBC, but it promised to keep debt levels to only 10% of its equity

August 2022: Italy Cersaie Digital: the virtual venue

Cersaie Digital is Cersaie’s new digital platform. With features such as an exhibitor catalogue, a business matching service, a 3D map and a congress centre, it allows professionals to meet up and do business remotely. While the in-person Cersaie will be held in Bologna from 26th to 30th September, the digital platform will be online from 19th September to 7th October.

Cersaie Digital offers exhibitors the opportunity to create a digital catalogue to allow visitors to discover the collections showcased in the fields of surfaces, bathroom furniture, and contract furnishings.

Cersaie 2022: Open to Evolution

Cersaie Digital is also an integrated business matching platform that allows visitors to plan the time they spend at the exhibition and find commercial partners. Cersaie Digital features a 3D map and also offers users a virtual flight over the exhibition centre. Users will also have the opportunity to interact with the stands and access exhibiting companies’ information sheets. The map will also serve as a virtual congress centre for live streamed events.

August 2022: USA Stone symposium set for October

Registration is open for the Symposium on Dimension Stone Use in the Built Environment, to be held 18th October 2022 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Louisiana, USA. 

The aim of the symposium is to facilitate a formal exchange among professionals in the dimension stone community on its behaviour in the built environment, including areas like design, construction, and evaluation.

Topics will include:

• Physical and/or mechanical properties

• Design

• Evaluation and investigation

• Durability

• Maintenance

• Restoration

To register for the event, or for more information, visit

August 2022: UK Wolseley buys into CP Hart

Merchant group Wolseley has acquired a majority share in CP Hart as part of its drive to expand into the premium bathroom sector.

CP Hart was founded in 1937 and currently has 16 showrooms in London and the Home Counties.  The investment by Wolseley should allow CP Hart to accelerate its growth plans.  All existing CP Hart showrooms will continue to operate as normal.

Chairman Richard Reynolds, who will remain with the business., commented: “Becoming part of the Wolseley family, with its strong commitment to growing its position in the bathroom market, is a great result for our business and we are confident that Wolseley will help CP Hart to realise its ambitious expansion plans.” 

Wolseley chief executive Simon Oakland said: “At Wolseley, we’ve known and admired CP Hart for a long time and we see this move as a valuable addition to our growing bathroom business.

Simon Oakland, Chief Executive, Wolesley

“This acquisition takes us into the premium bathroom sector across both retail and commercial customers and we will work closely with the existing management team to capitalise on this opportunity including providing further investment to the CP Hart business,” stated Wolseley Chief Executive, Simon Oakland.

In March 2022, Wolesley this acquired distributor Ideal Bathrooms, heating and bathrooms systems specialist DHS, and commercial washroom and bathroom products supplier Neville Lumb from Saint-Gobain.

August 2022: UK The Tile Association’s Golf Day is confirmed

The Tile Association’s Golf Day is returning for 2022 at a new venue. TTA’s 2022 Golf Day will take on Thursday 13th October at The Stratford Park Hotel & Golf Club, Stratford-upon-Avon. 

The Stratford Park Hotel & Golf Club, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Golf Day will commence with coffee + bacon rolls served in the morning in the Meadow Barn, followed by 18 holes of golf on the 72 par championship golf course. This well-established and highly social day will conclude with a two course meal. TTA Member Price – £60 + VAT. Non Member Price – £70 + VAT

Tile Addict readers can register their interest at:

Contact details for The Tile Association are: The Mount, 43 Stafford Road, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0HG  T: 0300 365 8453 

The new TTA logo

August 2022: UAE  RAK Ceramics posts strong results

RAK Ceramics has announced strong quarterly results, with total revenue in Q2 2022 up 32.3% year-on-year to AED 927.0 million, and net profits of AED 102.2 million, up by 7.7% year-on-year.

One of RAK Ceramics’ global network of showrooms

Total gross profit margin reached an all-time high in Q2 2022 up by 0.3% year on year to 38.4%

Q2 2022 total EBITDA increased by 26.5% year-on-year to AED 164.3 million

Abdallah Massaad, Group CEO, commented: “Despite the unprecedented economic environment and increased global volatility, RAK Ceramics achieved a remarkably strong performance in Q2 2022, supported by key strategic and operational initiatives realised during Q2 2022.  We remain focused on our goals to achieve a sustainable and continued growth in scale and profitability.  We are also proud to announce that we have concluded the acquisition of KLUDI Group, launched the process of buying out RAK Porcelain’s minority positions, and approved RAK Ceramics Bangladesh expansionary project.”

Tiles revenue increased by 25.9% year-on-year to reach AED 595.1 million in Q2 2022, and by 11.9% year on year to reach AED 1.1 billion in H1 2022.  Growth was driven by increase in volumes and in selling price across all markets – except for a stabilisation felt in H1 2022 figures for the Saudi Arabian market given introduction of custom duty and supply disruption in Q1 2022.

More at

August 2022: UK   Construction output declines in UK

The headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted 48.9 in July, down from 52.6 in June and below the 50.0 no-change threshold for the first time since January 2021. 

S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, July 2022

Civil engineering performed worst (40.1), while house building declined for the second month running, although the rate of contraction was only slight (index at 49.4). Commercial work bucked the trend, registering 52.3 in July, but commercial workload growth was the weakest for 18 months. 

Survey respondents commented on headwinds to client demand from rising inflation, fragile consumer confidence, and higher interest rates.  Despite this, employment numbers expanded at a robust and accelerated pace in July. 

Purchase price inflation eased considerably (index at 78.1, down from 85.8 in June), with the latest rise in cost burdens the least marked since March 2021. Around 22% of the survey panel reported longer lead times from suppliers in July, while 7% signalled an improvement.

August 2022:  Italy  Cersaie: Spotlight on sustainable restoration

Building restoration will take centre stage in Cersaie’s building, dwelling, thinking cultural programme with a conference called The sustainable beauty of restoration on Wednesday 28th September.

The conference will be moderated by Fulvio Irace and will be divided into two parts devoted to two different  projects in Sicily: Casa Asilo and Palazzo Butera.

Award-winning Italian architect Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo will present the Casa Asilo project, which involved converting a former into a private residence. 

Italian architect Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo will present the Casa Asilo project
Palazzo Butera, Palermo. Photo: Giovanni Cappelletti.

In the second part, architect Giovanni Cappelletti will present the Palazzo Butera project in Palermo.  This involved restoring a sumptuous private villa and opening it up for public use as an art workshop.

August 2022: Italy New features for Cersaie’s Tiling Town 

Tiling Town, Cersaie’s meeting place for tile installers, celebrates its 10th edition this year.  Covering 400 sq. metres in Hall 32, this year’s visitors will have the chance to attend slab installation showcases given by expert tile layers. 

Tiling Town 2021: Image from

The technical seminars on slab laying aimed at architects and designers will consist of two hours of classroom sessions and two hours of practical experience in the installation workshop.  They will be held in the afternoons from Monday 26th to Thursday 29th September (and on the morning of Friday 30th September) and will earn CPD credits for participants.

Another initiative is Tiling Town Matinées: a series of tile installation events organised by Assoposa’s technical partners (Fila, Mapei, and Raimondi) to be held at 10.00 a.m. daily from Monday to Friday.

A large space in Tiling Town will be occupied by Assoposa: the Italian ceramic tile layers’ association.  Assoposa will be organising three specific spaces. The first is the Academy devoted to extra-large slab layers and an exhibition of washbasins made from large slabs, as well as a work in progress illustrating the cladding of a complex volume with ceramic mosaic tiles.  A second area will be devoted to outdoor spaces with demonstrations of raised and exterior floor installation. The final area – Assoposa in Rosa is an area devoted to women working in construction.

July 2022:  Germany  Atlas Concorde wins Red Dot Design Awards

Four Atlas Concorde ranges have won Red Dot Awards in the Product Design category for 2022: Boost Natural, 3D Wall Carve, Aplomb, and the Dialogo sink line.  An international jury of 48 members evaluated more than 20,000 applications from over 60 countries worldwide.

3D Wall Carve Sign by Altas Concorde, designed by Piero Lissoni

3D Signs & 3D Squares, designed by Piero Lissoni, draws inspiration from the naturalness of engraved and hand-worked stone, whose surface is enhanced by three-dimensional reliefs.  The first of the two patterns has an abstract and irregular design: the second a micro-mosaic of irregular squares.

Boost Natural 3D Wave by Atlas Concorde, a collaboration with Matteo Brioni

Boost Natural reproduces the signs of manual working of clay. It originates from the collaboration with Matteo Brioni, an Italian architect who uses raw earth surfaces in his interior designs.  The range complements the flooring offer with 3D floor and wall tiles to deliver an inspiring range that communicates tradition and originality at the first glance.

Aplomb Stripes: a wallpaper effect range by Atlas Concorde

Aplomb is a wallpaper-effect collection designed for bathrooms and other spaces with modern elegance and a contemporary style.  The soft, dusty colours of the wall tiles can be easily combined with other furnishing elements.

Dialogo Lavabo d’Autore by Atlas Concorde and Mario Ferrarini

Dialogo is the bathroom furnishing range resulting from a collaboration between Atlas Concorde and project designer Mario Ferrarini.  It is a harmonious synthesis where surface effects, colours, and volumes coexist.

July 2022: UK Supply chain issues to drive UK warehouse construction 

New warehouses and infrastructure growth are expected to fuel a rise in construction output by 2.5% for 2022, according to the Construction Product Association’s latest forecast.  This predicts the industrial sector, covering warehouses and factories, will rise by 15% for 2022, and nearly 10% for 2023.

CPA Construction Industry Forecast: Summer 2022

However, a slowdown in private housebuilding, and repair and maintenance, is predicted due to the demise of the Government’s help-to-buy scheme in March 2023.

Rising unemployment, planning challenges, the cost of meeting new building regulations – plus an increase in materials and labour costs – are forecast to constrain the sector. 

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said that it was too early to know if private housebuilding output would slow, are optimistic that mortgages for buying new homes would continue to be widely available.

Warehouse construction will be a major UK growth driver in 2022 and 2023

The CPA is forecasting activity in private housing repairs and maintenance to fall by 3% this year and 4% in 2023 due to reduced consumer confidence and disposable incomes. 

“Private housing repairs maintenance and improvements is the sector most exposed to changes in consumer confidence and real incomes.  It is also the sector that is most exposed to materials and products cost inflation, as small contractors are less able to plan and purchase in advance for projects,” said CPA Economics Director, Noble Francis.

July 2022: UK Builders’ merchants sales volumes fall in UK

The May Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveals that builders’ merchants’ value sales were up +14.8% in May 2022 year-on-year; driven more by rising prices (+17.8%) than volume sales (-2.5%) year-on-year.

BMBI: May 2022 highlights

All categories sold more in May 2022 compared to the previous year, with Kitchens & Bathrooms increasing the most (+29.7%).  Six other categories fared better than merchants overall including Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+21.6%), Heavy Building Materials (+20.6%) and Decorating (+16.5%). Tools (+11.9%), Ironmongery (+11.3%), Timber & Joinery Products (+6.8%) and Landscaping (+5.1%) grew more slowly. Like-for-like sales, which take into account the extra trading day in May 2022, were 9.1% higher.

Compared to May 2019 – pre-pandemic – total merchant value sales were 23.9% higher with one less trading day in the most recent period. All categories sold more, with three outperforming total merchants: Renewables & Water Saving (+50.8%), Timber & Joinery Products (+36.8%), and Landscaping (+33.0%).  Like-for-like sales were up +30.1%, while price inflation hit +30.0% and volumes were down -4.7%.

July 2022: UK Entries sought for Surface Design Awards 2023

The prestigious Surface Design Awards are now open for entries.  Now in their 11th year, the Awards recognise excellence in material innovation from around the world.  Organised by Surface Design Show, the Awards attracted 180 projects from 24 different countries in 2022. 

The Awards are judged by an expert panel, co-chaired by Jonathan Hagos, Director of Freehaus and Nasim Koerting, Head of Design, The Office Group. There are six categories for projects: Commercial Building, Housing, Landscape + Public Realm, Light + Surface, Public Building and Temporary Structure plus an Architectural Photography Award. From the individual category winners, the judges will then decide on a Supreme Award. 

Last year’s Supreme Winner, the BAFTA Headquarters in London by Benedetti Architects, was described as being ‘truly impressive’ by the judges. 

There is no charge for entering the Awards as the organisers want to welcome entries from practices both large and small and for both bigger and smaller projects.  Every shortlisted and winning entry will benefit from vast company recognition, exposure to the judging panel, presence on the Surface Design Show website, via social media, in the press, and to the Show’s huge community of architects and designers.

The closing date for Surface Design Award entries is Friday 23rd September 2022.

The BAFTA Headquarters in London by Benedetti Architects
July 2022: Spain Cevisama Tech: new 2023 innovation showcase

Cevisama – Spain’s tile trade fair – is launching a new section at its next edition, scheduled for 27th February to 3rd March 2023 at Feria Valencia.  Cevisama Tech will highlight the value of Spain’s ceramic tile industry and its work in R+D+i.

New Cevisama Tech logo

Two exhibition halls are being dedicated to Cevisama Tech, featuring many top brands.  Cevisama Tech will be a dedicated space where visitors will be able to discover innovations in machinery, frits, glazes, and colours for ceramic tiles; plus software, logistics, BIM companies, applied technology, and much more.  An extensive programme of presentations and debates will complement the exhibition, centred on innovation, sustainability, and technology.  Here expert speakers will be sharing insights into key sector developments set for the near future.

July 2022:  Spain  Fernando Fabra elected Chairman of ANFFECC

At the recent general meeting of ANFFECC – the association of Spanish ceramic frit and glaze manufacturers – on 15th  July, Fernando Fabra Florit was elected Chairman.  The owner of the frit and glaze producer Esmaltes takes over from Joaquín Font de Mora and will lead the association for the next four years.  He has served as Vice Chairman of ANFFECC for the last two years.and confidence Other board members elected during the meeting included Ángel Navarro (Coloronda) as Vice Chairman, Joaquín Font de Mora as Treasurer, and Gonzalo Trilles (Colorobbia).

Fernando Fabra and Joaquín Font de Mora


July 2022:  Poland  Franco Stefani wins Ceramics in Europe Award 2022

During the congress held in Krakow from 10th to 14th July, ECerS presented Franco Stefani with the Gian Nicola Babini Award in recognition of his work in developing Lamina technology with System Ceramics.

Franco Stefani receives the Gian Nicola Babini Award

The award recognises the contribution that this industrial process and innovative technology has made to the European ceramic industry by developing a new product with enormous technical and aesthetic potential and opening up new areas of application and market segments; transforming the traditional floor and wall tile concept into a 1,800 by 4,800mm slabs from 3 to 30mm thick.


July 2022: Spain Cevisama Build will focus on sustainability

There will be a new feature at Cevisama 2023: Cevisama Build.  Spain’s leading tile trade fair – which runs from 27th February to 3rd March 2023 at Feria Valencia – will use the new section to showcase sustainable construction solutions.  These concepts are increasingly important in construction and Cevisama wanted to provide a visible response to the high demand for sustainable.

The construction sector has traditionally been represented at Cevisama by a small show of fixing materials and cutting tools for use with ceramic tiles.  Cevisama 2023 is taking a step further and launching a new section dedicated to construction solutions.  MEP installations, BIM, construction systems, sustainable construction materials, home automation, diamond tools, thermal and acoustic insulation, ventilation, and façades are among the product ranges that will be on show.  Exhibitors already signed up include Danosa, Fila, Chova, Cemher, Revestech, and Zehnder Group Iberica. 

This commercial showcase will also feature a programme of presentations on issues relating to sustainability and bioconstruction.  Industry experts will reflect on the current state of this market and debate the importance of actively addressing the environmental problem. The programme will be complemented by the sustainability awards ceremony.

The new logo for Cevisama Build
July 2022: UK Howdens announces stellar results

Kitchen giant Howdens’ half-year results show that the company is trading 40% ahead of pre-covid levels.  Howden Joinery Group posted a total revenue of £913.1 million, which is 16.3% ahead of last year, and 39.9% ahead of pre-Covid levels in 2019.

The group’s pre-tax profit of £145 million is up 21.6% on 2021, and 85.7% up on 2019.

CEO Andrew Livingston said: “Howdens delivered a strong financial performance in the first half, well ahead of pre-Covid levels in 2019, as we continued to manage effectively ongoing inflationary and supply chain pressures.  Our kitchen and joinery markets are large and attractive, and we are prioritising investment in future growth through execution of our strategic initiatives.”

Howdens operates with 788 UK depots; plus 42 in France and Belgium.


Howdens publishes a strong set of half-year financial results
July 2022: UK  Michelmersh to produce Hydrogen-fired bricks

With hydrogen-fired kilns looking set to be the a game changer in the sustainable production of ceramic tiles, there is interesting news from the closely-connected UK clay brick sector. Michelmersh has announced its successful bid for UK Government funding to conduct a feasibility study to replace natural gas with hydrogen in the brick making process.  Phase 1 of the project will demonstrate the viability of fuel switching and will see hydrogen used in the clay brick production process at Michelmersh’s Freshfield Lane site in West Sussex. 

Green electrolytic hydrogen will be used for the HyBrick study which will explore testing of specific infrastructure components to prove hydrogen firing capability and determine any impact on overall quality, brick integrity, or aesthetics. The bricks will then be compared against control bricks (produced using 100% natural gas) to ensure they meet all technical, aesthetic and characteristic requirements.

Home page of Michelmersh Brick Holdings plc
July 2022: USA US construction output is forecast to grow

Construction output in North America is forecast to grow by 2.4% in 2022 despite rising material prices and interest rate hikes, says GlobalData.  Construction output is expected to reach $1.94 trillion, up from $1.89 trillion in 2021.  However, following interest rate hikes and rising material prices, the recovery is predicted to be lower than expected, with GlobalData’s growth forecast cut from 4.5% to 2.4%.

Jack Riddleston of GlobalData says: “The North American construction industry remained relatively stable over the course of the pandemic and was the only region to show positive growth in 2020.  Growth was supported largely by the rapid expansion in the residential housing sector which made up for contractions in all other sectors. Where other regions grew rapidly in 2021, North America stagnated, growing marginally as a contraction in the US was offset by high growth in Canada.”

Riddleston adds: “The surge in material prices and labor shortages are causing significant project cost hikes and delays, reducing funding available for new projects. For example, the initial cost expectation of the Des Moines International Airport terminal expansion was $434 million when it was announced in 2018, however, due to a spike in input costs the project is now set to cost $733 million, and officials are considering staggering the construction of the project to offset the increase in costs.”

July 2022: Italy Atlas Concorde invests in large porcelain slabs

Atlas Concorde has announced a significant investment to boost the production of large ceramic slabs in Italy.  This will see the expansion of the Finale Emilia facility with a new line dedicated to the production of large porcelain slabs.  The investment of over Euro 60 million will strengthen Atlas Concorde’s leadership in the segment of large porcelain slabs and is in addition to the Euro 160 million allocated over the last five years for logistical and industrial development.

The plant is expected to start production of large slabs in June 2023.  The additional surface area of the new complex will be 35,000 sq. metres and will be covered by solar panels capable of generating up to 3,850 MWh per year, with a consequent reduction of 2,000 tons of CO2.  It will also ensure very low concentrations of polluting emissions.  The plant will be Hydrogen Ready for the future introduction of hydrogen into the production process.  It is expected to start production of large slabs in June 2023.  

Atlas Concorde facility in Finale Emilia, Italy

July 2022: Italy Bold and beautiful new marble

Brèche Fantastique is the latest marble in Antolini’s Exclusive Collection which contains over 80 exclusive materials from the world’s finest quarries. Brèche Fantastique features earthen colors and lively hues; with grey and sandy colours shifting towards white, and appearing to run along geological strata, reminding us of nature’s continuous, eternal metamorphosis. 

The stone combines radically different colours – creamy whites, stoic grey-blues, and fiery oranges and golds – in a collage that is contemplative, precipitous, harmonious, and inimical.

July 2022: Spain Production falls in Castellón due to energy costs

There has been a drop of 8.3% in tile manufacturing in Castellon this year, and the sector’s trade body is warning that this trend will grow over the coming months as energy costs are set to double, putting the brake on tile production in Castellón. This is confirmed by the data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

May saw tile output down 12.7% compared to the same month in 2021; while in April 2022 there was a decrease of 28%; only recently surpassed by 57% fall at the outbreak of the pandemic.

Castellon seen from the air

From Ascer they value that these figures show “how the trend reflects a reduction in production in a sustained manner throughout the year”.

The Spanish tile sector expects to pay Euro 2,100 million for energy this year, with gas being the main driver of the increase, although the cost of electricity will also increase.

July 2022: Italy Italgraniti Group fires up new website

Italgraniti Group’s new website is now online.  This is being billed as a totally innovative site with a graphic appearance that offers clients, partners and users a very intuitive experience.  The new user-friendly interface guarantees a smoother navigation of content, texts and photos.  It has been created as a corporate showcase for the group’s four brands: Italgraniti, Open, Italstone, and Impronta.

Italgraniti’s new website spans 4 brands: Italgraniti, Open, Impronta, and Italstone

July 2022: Italy Manuel Herz set to speak at Cersaie 2022

German architect Manuel Herz will be one of the guest speakers in the Building, Dwelling, Thinkin” cultural programme at this year’s Cersaie with a lecture to be held on the afternoon of Thursday 29th September.

Herz has worked extensively in the fields of furniture and exhibition design, as well as in urban planning and urban research.  One of his most famous projects is the Mainz Synagogue, a multi-level volume clad in green glazed ceramic tiles whose form is inspired by the relationship between writing and space. 

The leading German architect, Manuel Herz

July 2022: UK Victoria delivers record revenue and profit

Victoria plc, the fast-growing floorcoverings group, has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 2nd April 2022.  This was the ninth consecutive record year for Victoria in terms of revenue and underlying operating profit.

Five value-adding acquisitions were completed in the year: one in the UK-Europe Soft Flooring division, three in the UK-Europe Ceramic Tiles division, and one in the new North America division.

Victoria Group’s website: the home page

Victoria achieved record annual revenue of £1,020 million, including like-for-like organic growth of +19.2%.  Underlying EBITDA grew by +27.8% to £162.8 million.

Geoff Wilding, Executive Chairman, commented: “Victoria continues to be in an enviable operational position thanks to the achievements of our management team, who have successfully managed a year that has seen the highest inflation in a generation alongside massive disruption to global supply chains.  This year they remain laser-focussed on integration of recent acquisitions and execution of detailed synergy plans that will drive higher productivity, lower costs, and better customer service.”

Against very strong comparatives, the Group’s ceramic tile division delivered record revenues and profits in FY2022.  Victoria acquired three ceramic tile businesses during 2022 – all of which were producing lower margins than the incumbent businesses in this division.  However, the margins of these new acquisitions will grow as integration continues.

The management team had to contend with extraordinarily high energy prices for part of H1 and the entirety of H2, with energy costs comprising approximately 10% of revenues for Victoria’s ceramic business.  Victoria completed the acquisition of Turkish ceramic tile manufacturer, Graniser, in February.  This is a profitable and growing business, primarily exporting to Europe and delivers a good-quality, low-cost manufacturing platform to the Group.

July 2022: UK UK construction slowdown continues

UK construction companies signalled another loss of momentum in June as total business activity expanded at the weakest pace for nine months and new orders increased to the smallest extent since last October.  Worries about the near-term economic outlook led to a sharp decline in business expectations for the year ahead. June data indicated that growth projections are now the least upbeat since July 2020.

S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchase Manager Index, June 2022

At 52.6 in June, down from 56.4 in May, the headline seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index registered the slowest rate of expansion since September 2021.

Civil engineering was the most resilient sub-sector in June (index at 54.3, down only slightly from 55.5 in May).  A similarly strong increase in business activity was seen in the commercial segment, but the rate of growth eased sharply since May to the slowest so far in 2022 (index at 54.3, down from 59.8).

House building was the weakest-performing area of construction activity for the fourth month running in June.  the latest index reading of 49.3 signalled an overall downturn in residential work for the first time since May 2020.

June 2022: Italy Gruppo Romani invests in energy efficiency

Italian ceramic tile producer Gruppo Romani is upgrading the energy efficiency of its Rubiera, Roteglia and Casalgrande facilities for an investment of around €8 million.

The aim of the project is to reduce the group’s reliance on the national power grid and, in the case of the Rubiera site, to achieve complete self-generation in the near 

At its Rubiera site, Gruppo Romani has installed a new cogeneration plant in collaboration with Cefla and Sacmi.  It consists of a gas turbine with a nominal output of 6 MW that will be capable of producing around 35,000,000 kWh/year of electricity and recover exhaust gases in the form of thermal energy in two existing spray dryers.

The company has also decided to purchase an additional electrical power generation system which uses photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs of the business unit’s production and logistics buildings.  The new photovoltaic system is due to come into operation by next September and will have a total installed capacity of 1,700 kWp and an annual electricity production of 2,000,000 kWh/year.

PV panels with a total power output of 400 kWp and annual production of 500,000 kWh/year will be installed on the logistics, administrative and commercial buildings at the Casalgrande facility. The resultant energy production will allow the site to reduce its electricity consumption by 60%.


Gruppo Romani’s HQ
July 2022: Spain  Pamesa’s astonishing growth continues

Grupo Pamesa reported consolidated revenues of €1,220 million in 2021, a 56% increase on 2020.  This included 43% growth in the ceramic segment to €881.7 million.   Following the acquisition of Azuliber in September 2021, the group had predicted revenues of €1,100 million by the end of the year but achieved €1,220.6 million, up 56% from €782.7 million in 2020, and pre-tax profits €97 million (+47%). In the ceramic segment alone, sales increased by 43% from €616 million to €881.7 million (72% of consolidated revenues), while total volumes rose from 92 million sqm to more than 125 million sqm.

The raw materials division also performed well (+47%), while the energy sector delivered the anticipated surge in revenues (+233%).

Commenting on the ceramic division’s performance, Fernando Roig explained that the soaring energy and raw materials costs in the second half of the year had placed a severe strain on the group’s ability to maintain its profitability.  

Roig confirmed that a further €95 million will be invested in 2022.  The group plans to install new kilns, high-capacity presses, glazing lines, grinding plants and sorting lines.  Proposed R&D investments include a hydrogen-based fuel pilot plant, as well as the development of new technologies for digital tile decoration and expansion of the product range with the launch of XTRA, a new type of thin material.


Fernando Roig, CEO, Pamesa
July 2022: Germany Italy aims to increase German clay flows

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 23rd June in Munich between Confindustria Ceramica, the Italian association of ceramic manufacturers, and BKRI, the German association of producers of raw materials for ceramics and industrial minerals.

The agreement, signed at Ceramitec, calls for an increase in mineral flows  to the Italian ceramic industry of up to +10% by the end of August, and up to +30 % by December 2022

The Italian ceramic tile industry has been importing about 1 million tons/year of German minerals, particularly clay, for many years.  This is transported predominantly by rail, limiting the environmental impacts.

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Signing the memorandum at Ceramitec
June 2022: USA Material Bank acquires Architizer

Material Bank, the world’s largest marketplace for architectural, design, and construction materials, has announced the acquisition of Architizer, home to the world’s largest database of architectural projects and a renowned and trusted source for architects, interior designers, etc.

Currently led by CEO David Weber, Architizer was founded in 2009 with a mission to help architects build better buildings, better cities, and a better world. The platform now has more than 900,000 registered users, and a database of more than 3 million architectural images from 86,000 inspirational projects, alongside building products from 31,000 manufacturers. For the past decade, it has also hosted the prestigious A+Awards, the world’s largest architectural awards program that celebrates the best-designed buildings from around the globe and spotlights the people, products, and technology that bring them to life. 

Material Bank’s Founder and CEO, Adam I. Sandow, notes: “With an incredibly powerful database that provides seamless, curated access to building product information, Architizer allows for creativity and meaningful connections. Architizer has built an extraordinary business with a team devoted to innovation in the architecture community. This acquisition will benefit both our users and Brand Partners, and together we will build an even more comprehensive platform for the industry.”

“It is a winning proposition to bring together Material Bank’s unparalleled database of design products with Architizer’s robust database of architectural projects,” said Weber. “We’re excited to combine our data and resources to build better tools that serve the global community of architects and designers.”

Architizer will continue to operate independently as a subsidiary of Material Bank led by David Weber.  Currently, the Material Bank platform is exclusively available to design professionals in the contiguous U.S. and Canada.



June 2022: Vietnam Altadia equips new tile plant in Vietnam

Esmalglass-Itaca, Fritta, Vetriceramici, and Younexa – four companies belonging to the Altadia glaze, colour, ink, and ceramic frit group –  will be main suppliers to the new plant currently being completed by the Viglacera Corporation near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The factory will produce large size ceramic tiles and slabs using Sacmi’s Continua+ technology for applications on floors, walls and kitchen countertops and as furnishing accessories.

Viglacera Corporation is Vietnam’s largest building materials producer with operations spanning a variety of sectors and a portfolio ranging from ceramic tiles to glass, sanitaryware, bricks and concrete blocks and panels.  Viglacera operates in 40 countries with around 300 offices and distribution centres and has a workforce of approximately 9,000 employees worldwide.



July 2022: Italy Record year for Italian tiles

The Italian ceramic industry has posted exceptional 2021 results, including a 21% year-on-year increase in total revenues to €7.5 billion.  The tile sector achieved sales of almost €6.2 billion (+20% on 2020 and +15.4% on 2019), including €5.2 billion earned from exports.

The Italian ceramic industry, consisting of a total of 263 companies with 26,537 employees and activities spanning tiles, sanitaryware, tableware, refractory materials and bricks, posted a record total turnover of €7.5 billion in 2021, up 21% on 2020 and 14.5% on 2019. This represents an approximately €1 billion increase in sales in the space of two years.

Production climbed to 435.3 million sq. metres, the highest level since 2008 (+26% on 2020 and +8.6% on 2019).

Exports surged to 364 million sq. metres (+14.6% on 2020 and +12.6% on 2019), the highest level seen since 2007.  Exports to the European Union performed particularly strongly with sales of 218.5 million sq. metres, up 12.6% on 2020.

June 2022: Germany Ceramitec opens in Munich

Ceramitec has opened at Messe München (21st to 23rd June). Covering three halls—C1 to C3, this international trade fair for the ceramics industry will not only feature the entire spectrum of the sector – ranging from classic ceramics and raw materials to industrial ceramics, technical ceramics and powder metallurgy – but also a rich supporting programme.  This will, for the first time, fill two forums (Halls C1 and C3), with over 30 slots.

“The programme this year is one that has never been so colourful and varied before,” says Dr. Robert Schönberger, Exhibition Director. “Along with new applications for our high-performance material, visitors to the show will discover ideas that make manufacturing processes and the products themselves even better.”

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June 2022: Italy Tecna: the Future of Surfaces

The 27th edition of Tecna (formerly Tecnagilla) will run from 27th to 30th September 2022 at the Rimini Expo Centre, Italy.  The event will host the top international suppliers of technology and materials for the surfaces industry who have already confirmed their presence in 2022 (see the show´s website for the list of exhibitors). Some 30% of exhibitors are non-Italian companies, mostly from Spain, Turkey, Germany, China, Portugal, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Greece, and the USA.

Tecna will have a new layout with two entrances. The 70,000 sq. metre exhibition area will offer a comprehensive overview of the entire supply chain, and will provide an ideal opportunity for industry players to discuss innovation and the new prospects for production and the market.

The programme of business meetings organised in collaboration with ITA is expected to be well attended.  In 2018 Tecna was attended by 35,000 visitors.  This year’s Tecna will act as a showcase of technological excellence and an international marketplace located in the heart of the most creative, innovative and technologically advanced country in the world of surfaces.


June 2022: Italy Florim’s 14th sustainability report

Florim has published the fourteenth edition of its Sustainability Report; a transparent, concise description of the company’s 2021 results in economic, social, and environmental terms that also sets out selected future goals.

This edition records the company’s recent admission to Altagamma, the Foundation that brings together Italian luxury businesses. The internationalisation project continues: by the end of 2023, Flagship Stores will be opened in Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, and New York, giving a total of 10 showrooms in strategic global design locations.

Ten years after it began producing clean energy, Florim has now included a formal commitment to gradually evolve its business model towards net zero emissions. 

2021 saw consolidated turnover of more than 480 million Euros and an EBIDTA of over 25%. The last five years have seen investments of over 280 million Euros, with over 50 million Euros of green investments since 2011.

In environmental terms, as well as the 111,042 tonnes of CO2 not emitted since 2012, 12.8 million litres of rainwater were recovered and reused in the production process during 2021; and all electricity not produced in-house is purchased entirely from renewable sources.

Future objectives include the installation of a new photovoltaic plant of 4.5 MWp at the Mordano site; and the modification of product body mixes to reduce the use of raw materials, water and energy.



Florim’s Vigna plant
June 2022: Spain Àgora València is officially opened

Tile Addict’s Joe Simpson was in attendance when Àgora València, the pavilion of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, opened its doors for the press preview in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.  From this strategic location it will host a programme of activities as the nerve centre of the design capital.  These workshops, meetings, round tables, and presentations will be added to the official programme of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 in the centre of the city.

Miguel Arraiz, architect and project director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, was responsible for the architectural project of Agora Valencia, together with Arqueha Arquitectura y Urbanismo.

The purpose of Agora Valencia is reflected in the materials and manufacturing of the venue and in its construction, which fuses tradition and avant-garde, crafts and industry, using only wooden rods and a material similar to ceramics known as MDi. The construction of the pavilion has seen the participation of companies such as Inalco, Wandegar, and iGuzzini, and studios and professionals such as Manolo García Carpintería Artística, Radiante Creative Studio, ATG Desarrollos, Josep Martí, and Quatre Caps.

At the opening ceremony, Mayor Joan Ribó stated that: “Starting today, our Plaza del Ayuntamiento has a new building to admire and enjoy.  Agora Valencia tells a lot about what we are, with an architecture that speaks of the Valencian industry through its ceramics, of the waves of the sea through its roof, which is, in turn, a tribute to our festivals: the Fallas.  A place of shade and meeting, of comfort and information, where its design invites everyone who passes by to make it their own.  A space that also offers the first shade of the square.  Moreover, its design and architecture, the materials that compose it, guarantee a much more pleasant thermal sensation than in the rest of the square.”

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June 2022: Italy New award for DIN by Konstantin Grcic

Mutina has announced that DIN by Konstantin Grcic has won the EDIDA 2022 award in the Floor Covering category.  The collection represents a complete new way of conceiving a modern mosaic.  It is conceived in a strictly modular logic that allows to play with the elements and offers a wide scope of possible applications, from simple concepts to the most complex ones, demonstrating an almost unlimited flexibility.

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June 2022: Spain Dune promotes the Design for Peace initiative

A couple of months ago, Dune received a video from the Ukrainian studio We Art, led by Elena Maksymchuk, that explained the difficult situation the studio was going through due to the outbreak of war.  They launched an appeal to the international community, offering their work to maintain the studio.  Faced with this situation, the Spanish tile company contracted a package of 3D environments with interior design projects, to give them visibility through its dissemination channels and provide them with access to new potential clients. At the same time, the firm spread the message of the Ukrainian studio to members of its international interior design community and the response was immediate.  Many of the professionals working with Dune, upon hearing about the situation of their Ukrainian colleagues, immediately got in touch to offer their collaboration altruistically.  This is how the Design For Peace project came about, an initiative that vindicates design as a universal language that does not understand conflicts and which is open to all architecture and design professionals who wish to support this Ukrainian studio.

Participants will be asked to create a photorealistic 3D environment, using Dune products and encouraging the crossover of collections.  As a result, a physical and digital style book will be published, in which the work of the Ukrainian design studio We Art, as well as all the selected works and their creators, will be disseminated internationally.  Design for Peace seeks to give visibility to the Ukrainian studio and all the professionals who collaborate, through the publication and international dissemination of the aforementioned style book, which will include the best projects.

“At Dune, we firmly believe that design is a form of self-expression, capable of moving the masses, which is above nationalities, cultures or ideologies,” says Dune’s Ismael Carne.

In addition to the publication of the best projects in a style book, Dune will award €1,000 to the best residential project and the best contract project.  To choose the best proposals, Design for Peace has a professional and qualified jury formed by Elena Maksymchuk (interior designer), Alexander Kononenko (interior designer), Gina Rosete (architect), Gabriela Pessuto (architect), Lutzía Ortiz (head of ITC’s Observatory of Habitat Trends), and Begonya Segura (Marketing Director of Dune).

Projects can be submitted until 15 July. The jury’s decision will be announced on 25th July.

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June 2022: UK Berkley Group rocks geometric formats

Wall and floor tiles from Parkside feature at Royal Exchange, Kingston, a luxury residential development by St George, part of Berkeley Group.  Parkside Acrux and Hexil mosaic tiles are being used throughout the bathrooms and en suites of homes at Royal Exchange, Kingston.

This prestigious development sees a mix of high-specification homes with residents enjoying a 24-hour concierge, gym, screening room and meeting room. Across five main residential buildings, the development provides 320 apartments and homes in Kingston Upon Thames.

Inspired by the architecture of the Grade II listed Old Post Office and Telephone Exchange buildings within the development, the design team at St George selected Hexil mosaics and developed a bespoke tile to create a link to the heritage of the site in new buildings.  The stylish cross motif with a handmade feel is now part of the Parkside collection as Acrux, made with 39% recycled content.

The design team paired the bespoke Acrux wall tile with Hexil, a mosaic available in two finishes, including 36+ PTV, which allowed it to be used as a floor tile throughout Royal Exchange.


June 2022: Germany Red Dot Award for Husqvarna cutter

Husqvarna’s K 1 PACE high-performance battery power cutter has won the Red Dot Award 2022 in the Product Design category. The Red Dot Design award is one of the biggest design competitions in the world.

As well as boosting productivity and efficiency, K 1 PACE offers cordless convenience, low vibrations, built in X-Halt TM brake function for operational safety and zero direct emissions.

The PACE battery system, 94V with capacity up to 750Wh, can be used for more machines as the battery-powered family expands.  In addition to the power cutters and battery system, diamond blades in 12″ and 14″/300 and 350 mm have been optimised for battery operation.