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on tour: Coverings Etc


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A tour of a good sustainable building material manufacturer.

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on tour: Coverings Etc

  1. 1. coverings etc 1 on tour: Coverings Etc It is rare that we have the opportunity to travel to Florida, so when we were there late last month, we took advantage of our short time in Miami and reached out to Jennifer Ryan at Coverings Etc for a tour of the company’s facilities and showroom. We have long known about and used their products (we wrote about them here), so we were excited to visit their offices. We loved their space immediately. It is a long, open warehouse that, perhaps due to its enormous size, and definitely aided by large glass walls and an array of skylights, is bright and feels very open to the outside. A massive reception desk greets you as you walk in, and it is a showpiece: the countertop is made from Bio-Glass in Oriental Jade. As we moved further into the space, we noticed that the walls are lined with their own Eco- Cem product in Windsor Grey, further enhancing the sleekness that the bare concrete floor already brings to the building. The showroom part of the space is constrained to a relatively small area, and it is clean and sparse. Each color in their collection is shown only once, with one large sample affixed to a wall. At the very back of the long room sits another large sample of Bio-Glass surfaces enclosing a sizable bar. The bar hints to the thought process behind the space. It has been envisioned as completely flexible and multi-purpose; there is very little furniture on the floor, and most of what is there is on wheels. Along the walls, the product samples are affixed using a cleat system that makes it relatively easy for them to be taken down and moved around the space. This functionality works not only for the needs of the company itself, but for outside, community needs as well. We found out that the space gets rented out for events regularly, and a wedding reception was scheduled for just a few days after our visit. A cool glass staircase leads to the staff office spaces on a mezzanine level that is completely open and overlooks the ground floor. Walking out the back of the building, we found an entire community of designers, artisans, and retail venues. There are several buildings that share the back courtyard. Until recently, all of those buildings were occupied with Coverings Etc inventory. Now, inventory is housed primarily in their New Jersey logistics center, and the company began a redevelopment program of their Miami facilities to open it up to other businesses. The move is not fully complete, so we did still see some ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  2. 2. coverings etc 2 product stock, but it was small compared to the enormous spaces that are already occupied by other businesses. The owner of the company, an avid soccer fan, converted one of the large warehouses into an indoor soccer field. Next door is the studio of a fashion designer. A couple of doors down they will soon have a coffee shop and eatery. Further into the community we peeked into the studio of a painter, admired patterns by an interior designer, and walked into the very cool space of yet another designer. And those were just a few of the tenants that have recently moved in. One of the most exciting developments at Coverings Etc is their plan for a comprehensive material library. The first of its kind in the city, it is currently under construction and will be located in one of their now empty warehouses. “Our goal is for the library to serve not only the Miami design community, but also anyone visiting the city, such as Caribbean and South American designers and architects, as well as those from other cities in the United States,” Jennifer told us. “We hope for it to be a destination so that when someone – from anywhere – really wants to get inspired or see all design options under one roof, they come to us.” This desire to bring knowledge and inspiration to practitioners beyond the borders of the United States is reminiscent of the effort being undertaken by the organizers of the MiaGreen Expo & Conference. It’s wonderful to know these two Miami-based businesses are thinking strategically about their geographic location and reaching out to their neighbors across the waters. They, and businesses who share a similar philosophy, demonstrate why Miami is considered the gateway to the Americas. Anyone visiting Coverings Etc’s material library will be able to interact with all types of products, whether or not they promote sustainability. The company’s goal is to open the doors to the library later this year. We’re eager to see how this venture evolves and will be writing about it as more information becomes available. Thank you, Jennifer, for the great tour! Click the icon below for more tour photos: ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601