(Dallas, Texas) –Inspiration. That’s the byword for the fresh approach to Interceramic’s new showrooms, which opened in mid-October in San Antonio and Dallas. “It’s all about inspiration,” said Marianne Cox, director of marketing, Interceramic USA. The new showroom evokes the question, “How do I pair wall and floor decorative elements in my space?” she said.
I attended the grand opening of the Dallas location, 11935 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 130, to witness the new way Interceramic is showing up to the industry, A&D professionals, contractors and the public.
In 2015 Interceramic began a rebranding and repositioning of its brand. These new showrooms are an extension of that. The 15,000 sq. ft space houses the showroom, offices and a contractor area, plus a 35,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
Kyle Jeffery of Callison RTKL, design director for the project said there was a focus on “making the product art,” which meant including only key vignettes so as to not limit the vision of what could be done with a product. “When a customer sees a tile in a bathroom, they think, ‘That’s a bathroom tile,” Jeffery said. “This showroom is designed to let your imagination go, and give you a more open mind.”
A series of metal frames gives the space structure and lets product flow from category to category: Featured Product, Stone, Wood, Concrete (tile) and Natural Stone. “We wanted to make it feel like a studio,” Jeffery said.
There is a community area with a gourmet kitchen and island that can be used for company events, but also for team building – a true multifunction space, he said. Interceramic’s Cox said an IIDA event is scheduled in the coming weeks; and there are plans to hold “lunch and learns” in the space.
Product is displayed on massive “canvases” on the wall and there’s a library wall with sliding sample racks as well as collaborative work stations. Offices are embedded within the showroom to integrate personnel with space visitors.
An interesting note: the floors are not covered in tile or stone. Jeffery said natural concrete is interspersed with tile or stone flooring to provide contrast and let the tile stand out and make it “more special,” he said.
More to come
Cox said the showrooms are the beginning of the outpicturing of the new branding – a new 240,000 sq.ft. distribution center is being built 15 miles north of Dallas.
“Interceramic has a state-of-the-art factory in Chihuahua,” Cox said. “Until very recently, it was the largest in the world.” And a new factory is in the works there, growing capacity.” Currently, the company has an annual capacity of 500 million sq. ft.
“ Interceramic owns its entire process, from beginning to end,” Cox added. “It owns its mines for raw materials and its mold shop — we make our own molds and punches and etch our own rollers for lines that aren’t ink jet,” she said.
Interceramic is strong on, well CERAMIC. High density ceramic to be exact – what’s now known as HD Ceramic. “We make ours denser, with the same glaze as porcelain, fired at the same temperature as porcelain – but way more affordable.”
Cox explained that the flow of the showroom follows the way the consumer shops. The rotunda area to the right of the front door holds signage that tells the story of HD Ceramic and technological innovations like Lumen FX, a unique ink that gives a subtle shimmer to veining in tile products.
There’s also information about Interceramic’s wall tile – the only manufacturer in the U.S. that uses digital printing on wall tile, made in the company’s Garland, Texas factory, which has an annual capacity of 300 million sq. ft.
Moving into the main part of the showroom, one first encounters Feature Products, where all the new introductions populate the floors, walls and occasional vignettes, interspersed with concrete floors to create “focal points” Cox said – and tile appears in places and patches for inspiration.
Next is the Stone looks, with core and new products that are showcased along with a sample library of digitally-printed wall time and samples paired with floor tile. Sliding sample drawers allow clients to take a sample home to pair with other furnishings.
Following are the Wood and the Concrete areas, paired with coordinating product, such as textile designs or encaustic looks.
Beyond the community area is the Natural Stone section, with a full selection of all the hottest stone species, and a conference room with a marble herringbone wall.
Adjacent to the Natural Stone area is the Inspiration area, showing different ways to pair materials and looks and textures. “It’s all about Inspiration,” Cox emphasized. Also on display are “our jewels” Cox said – iridescent and colorful glass, stone mosaics and other wall or floor bling.
Navigating past the showroom takes you into the office area, where the Elite display merchandising unit sits – packed with 96 boards that showcase Interceramic’s entire line of tile and natural stone. At nine feet from end to end, “This is for the dedicated tile customer,” Cox said, adding 200 have already been sold. A smaller, 7.5 foot wide merchandiser is also available.
Past the offices is the contractor area, with comfortable seating for contractors to wait for orders, and a 35,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
The design makes the most of each space – even the women’s restroom (and presumably the men’s too) is a showcase and example of how to pair product.
Spectra Contract Flooring of Carrollton, Texas installed the Dallas location; and J&R Tile of San Antonio installed the showroom in that town.
At the opening, (l to r) Interceramic’s director of marketing Marianne Cox, Victor E. Almeida Interceramic executive vice president U.S. operations, TileLetter’s Lesley Goddin, and Interceramic’s chairman and CEO Victor Almeida.