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THE ELEGANCE OF ITALIAN CERAMIC TILES ON SHOW IN NEW YORK
Their ability to make rapid modifications to their products, to respond promptly to aesthetic trends, and to make speedy alterations to the design of their equipment and organization of their working environment: these are certainly some of the strong points of the Italian ceramics industry. Ceramic manufacturers from the district of Sassuolo, in the province of Modena, Emilia Romagna, will be amongst those displaying their products at the ICFF fair, taking place in New York from the 14th to the 17th of May.
Participation in this event forms part of a wider promotional scheme that the Italian Trade Commission is organizing together with the trade association, Confindustria Ceramica, in order to help and support the SMEs in this sector. The brand-label “Ceramic Tiles of Italy” is being re-launched as a means of bringing together the various concerns. The aim is to actively promote Italian ceramic tiles, already well known for their high quality, presenting them not simply as floor and wall-coverings, but as real and proper elements of design.
Competition from countries with lower wage costs (such as China, Brazil and Mexico) has forced Italian ceramic tile producers to become increasingly innovative in order to stay competitive; drawing on their strengths of quality and design. To establish new trade links, and to reinforce existing business relationships in crucial markets such as the United States and Western Europe, a programme of combined promotion, information and communication activities has been organized.
Participation in the ICFF fair, together with the “Maison & Objet” event in Paris, is one of the key elements in this strategy. Eleven companies have been selected from the best to go to New York, and will provide visitors and workers in the sector with a comprehensive view of Italian production. On show will be porcelain stoneware with high anti-bacterial properties, as well as “Granitogres”, a new variety of fully vitrified porcelain stoneware. Also on show will be the so-called “rustic” tile: a hard-wearing product, resistant to dirt, and both frost and fire-proof. There will also be room for the coloured “Vietrese” tiles, which take their name from Vietri sul mare, a village in the province of Salerno. A great variety of quality products is therefore guaranteed, together with an added focus on the environment. Indeed, one of the important elements of the strategy instituted by the ITC and Confindustria Ceramica to help support the Italian ceramics industry is to stress its green, ecological credentials. The presentation of the Italian products will certainly highlight the durability and superb technical qualities of the tiles, but will also focus on the attention paid by the companies to environmental issues, demonstrated by their participation in events promoting “green design”, such as the Ecobuild fair in London and the AIA Convention in the United States.
The 23rd edition of the ICFF fair will host more than 600 exhibitors from about 30 different countries and approximately 23,000 visitors are expected to attend. These figures prove what a unique opportunity this is to study new trends in the American market, and to admire products that are at the cutting edge o