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Viva Rock Vegas

It’s not Bedrock, but Fred and Wilma Flintstone would be happy visiting “Rock Vegas” next week as the stone age returns.

Thousands of people are expected to rock out at Coverings, the largest exhibit and show devoted to stone and tile in North America. It begins Monday and continues through March 17 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

“This is where design trends and technology breakthroughs emerge, buyer-seller relationships are forged, and education and learning are imparted — all in equal measure and in a lively atmosphere,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “It’s a great event for distributors, retailers, fabricators, architects, designers and builders.”

And registration is free for attendees.

Hoff said they expect about 1,000 exhibitors from more than 50 countries to showcase the latest trends in stone and tile over 600,000 square feet of space in the expo and convention center.

This is the first year Coverings will be held in Las Vegas.

“We wanted to come toward the West Coast to serve our existing audience and to give an opportunity for a West Coast audience to come discover the show,” Hoff said. “Las Vegas is a great city to host exhibitions and trade shows.”

An integral part of the show is the Installation Design Showcase, where designers and installers work together to show what can be accomplished with tile and stone. It’s a live-action demonstration and exhibit.

“It’s installers and designers working together to create one-of-a-kind spaces on the show floor. In our view, the Installation Design Showcase is the crown jewel of this year’s Coverings and effectively tells the tile and stone story,” Hoff said.

This year, the showcase will feature conceptual bath vignettes by three leading designers: Ali Azhar, co-host of HGTV’s “Design on a Dime”; Phoenix-based designer Annette Denham, who has her own design firm and is president of the city’s chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association; and Laura Yober, the principal of LCY Designs in Orange County, Calif.

Denham said she is using 800 square feet of tile, much of which has to be cut to fit, in her creation of a spalike master bath retreat. She calls the space classical modernism. To create her master bath, she worked with Toto and showcased its Soirée suite.

One of the interesting aspects of her installation are the “windows” into the walk-in shower. In her design the windows were intended to be oversized niches, about 15 inches wide by 5 feet tall. However, in order for show visitors to see what was being done inside the shower – including the installation of rain showerheads, side sprays, hand-held showerhead and separate regular showerhead — the niches were turned into windows.

Azhar is planning a bath retreat he describes as “spa meets nightclub. It will be edgy and modern, possibly even featuring a fireplace.”

Yober is creating an aging-in-place bath, imaging a space for an older woman that is “practical and accessible but drenched in plenty of wow.”

According to Hoff, all of the materials and products featured in the Installation Design Showcase will have an afterlife benefitting Tile Partners for Humanity.

Another key component of the show are the more than 70 training and educational seminars, all of which are included with registration. Many of the sessions offer continuing education credits.

Hoff said one of the most popular sessions features Leatrice Eiseman, who speaks on color trends.

Also on tap is a special exhibit featuring the winning entries in the Project: Green competition, a program with Environmental Design + Construction magazine that recognizes outstanding tile and stone projects where sustainability was a driving goal.

Hoff said one of the unique features of Coverings is that the last hour of the show each day, except the final day, is a happy hour providing an opportunity to network as well as discuss trends, exhibits seen on the show floor and industry news.

“Coverings is a great opportunity to see new tile manufacturers or releases that are new to marketplace,” Denham said. “And it’s a great place to network and meet up with people who are doing the same thing you are.”

She said she gets energized and inspired by what she sees at the show.

Although the Coverings is a business-to-business event and no products will be sold directly from the show floor, it is open to the general public. Hoff suggests that those who are not in the industry but wish to attend the show bring along their interior designer.

Coverings is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and until 3 p.m. Thursday, March 17.

For more information about the show or to register, visit www.coverings.com or call 703-683-8500.

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