Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition Award Winners Announced

The longest-running awards program of its kind, the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition—sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Commission—once again attracted a quality pool of entries from architects and designers across the North American region. Submissions to the three categories—Residential, Commercial and Institutional—were reviewed by an international jury of design professionals. Projects were selected from across the North American continent.

Competition was intense, but the jury selected three winning firms and two honorable mentions in each category. Awardees, which are announced at Coverings on April 30, 2014, at an international press conference, will receive $4000 as well as a trip to Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie, the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings taking place Sept. 22-26, 2014, as part of a VIP design/media delegation.

Each winning project was recognized for its outstanding use of Italian ceramic tile, quality of installation, and overall design excellence. Sustainable attributes are also considered along with the impact that the tile makes on the overall space and installation. Contractors and distributor partners in each project are also celebrated.
COMMERCIAL WINNER
Firm: Corgan Associates
Project: Plaza of the Americas
Location: Dallas, Texas
Tile Manufacturer: Cotto d’Este
Contractor: Kenma Tile
Distributor: Horizon Tile
Originally constructed in the late 70s, the Plaza of the Americas was conceived as a large mixed-use development of office, retail, hotel and conference space contained in two high-rise towers—one of the largest developments in the City of Dallas—all connected by a vast 64,000 square foot indoor atrium, which, for many years, contained an underused ice skating rink and a variety of retail shops. The adaptive reuse project—a fruitful collaboration between Corgan Associates, the landscape architect, and the owners of the property—transformed the atrium into a climate-controlled, tiered indoor park that offers increased retail and restaurant opportunities. The challenge: the existing retail, dining and hotel spaces had to remain open and accessible. Using Cotto d’Este’s ultra-thin Kerlite tiles that were installed directly over the existing flooring, the renovation was completed without demolition. The new atrium is warm, modern and inviting.

COMMERCIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Mojo Stumer Associates
Project: Luxottica Headquarters
Location: Port Washington, New York
Tile Manufacturer: Mirage
Contractor: J.T. Magen & Company
Distributor: Cancos Tile Corporation
This 30,000 square foot interior project was aimed at providing Luxottica, a leader in luxury fashion and sports eyewear, a powerful headquarters to back the company’s international presence. Luxottica Headquarters is a two-level building housing corporate offices, a spacious cafeteria, meeting rooms, open offices, and two large bull pin areas on both floors. With a well thought-out layout and sleek aesthetic, it is designed to produce a highly efficient and enjoyable work environment. Starting with the entrance lobby, all of the spaces feature clean lines, neutral colors of dark grey and white, and a bold red accent that is carried throughout the building. Mirage’s “Stream” collection plays an integral role in achieving this contemporary aesthetic.

COMMERCIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Leo A Daly
Project: Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
Location: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Tile Manufacturer: Unicom Starker
Contractor: Raider Construction
Distributor: Concept Surfaces
Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is a 481-key luxury Caribbean resort that underwent a large-scale revival to contemporize the entire property while maintaining its casually sophisticated look: the inviting, relaxed feel of the tropics. The public area renovations encompassed an upgrade of the Ocean Tower lobby, Morning Star lobby, and the Windows Restaurant. Unicom Starker’s “Quartzite” collection was specified for both indoor and outdoor public spaces, specifically because it could be used in both locations and its stone look would provide a seamless transition between areas that already featured natural stone.

INSTITUTIONAL WINNER
Firm: MGA Partners
Project: Morgan Hall, Temple University
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tile Manufacturer: Mirage
Contractor: Belfi Brothers
Distributor: High Style Stone & Tile
Morgan Hall at Temple University is one of the key projects in the university’s master plan, which is aimed at transforming the campus into a communityengaged, pedestrian-oriented academic and cultural destination in Philadelphia. The project encompasses a full city block on the southern edge of campus, housing over 1,200 undergraduate students and accommodating the public in dining and retail venues on the ground level. Mirage’s “Freestyle” collection was incorporated throughout the public areas because of its large format, color options, and ability to produce visual interest and texture by using a mix of polished and natural finishes. The tiles also contribute to the building’s overall sustainable qualities—they do not emit any VOC’s—joining the impressive list of measures taken to make Morgan Hall green, including diverting 95% of construction waste from landfills.

INSTITUTIONAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Gow Hastings Architects, Inc.
Project: Paul H. Cocker Architecture Gallery, Ryerson University
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tile Manufacturer: Laminan
Contractor: Gaydor Flooring, Inc.
Distributor: Stone Tile International, Inc.
The latest upgrade to Toronto’s Ryerson University, the Paul H. Cocker Architecture Gallery is a small architectural intervention with a dramatic presence. The new space sits opposite the main entrance to the Architectural
Science Building—a raw, brutalist building designed by Ron Thom—occupying the space of a former storage room and snagging real estate from the graduate student lab behind. Oversized, glass pivot doors open to reveal a pristine white gallery space, tiled with custom-sized 50 x 100cm, ultra-thin Laminam porcelain tiles. The Italian tile is an essential part of the design; not only is it strong and resilient enough to withstand the environment of changing exhibitions, but its thin format was vital in creating a smooth transition from the existing quarry stone lobby to the new gallery. Currently, temporary graphic film with quotations is installed on the tile, making the floor an integral part of the exhibit.

INSTITUTIONAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: HDR Architecture
Project: The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s
Hospitals & Clinics
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Tile Manufacturers: Atlas Concorde, Ceramiche Caesar
Contractor: Grazzini Brothers & Company
Distributor: RBC Tile and Stone
The Mother Baby Center is the only facility of its kind in Minnesota and one of only several in the country. The center creates a connection between the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, with an excellence in neonatal care, with the Abbott Northwestern’s renowned obstetrical program, enabling mothers, babies, and families to stay together and experience the highest level of coordinated care. Ceramiche Caesar’s “Glam” collection was incorporated into the entrance, lobby, and ground level public areas of the center, selected for its ability to give a distinct first impression. The porcelain material is also carried into the patient areas; “Doga” from Atlas Concorde is featured in the bathrooms and in the special Labor and Delivery Birthing Tub Room.

RESIDENTIAL WINNER
Firm: D.I Group + Adeet Madan
Project: 355 Mansfield
Location: Los Angeles, California
Tile Manufacturer: Refin Ceramiche
Distributor: D.I Group
Contractor: Rami Madan
A 5-bedroom, 5.25-bath private residence, 355 Mansfield is a mix of Asianinfluenced décor and Italian chic that cater to a Southern California lifestyle. The warm and livable abode is characterized by an artful display of lines, shapes, masses, and contrasting colors and materials. The industrial aesthetic and formats of the tiles selected from Refin Ceramiche—specified collections include Design Industry, Graffiti, Wood2, and Larix—emphasize the expansiveness of the spacious, 1,683 square foot, open-plan home. Porcelain tiles are featured in the living, dining, and lounge areas, the Japanese style outdoor garden, as well as the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second level.

RESIDENTIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Narofsky Architecture
Project: Chabra Residence
Location: Port Washington, New York
Tile Manufacturer: Lea Ceramiche
Contractors: John Gushue-Metropan; Rocco Tile
Distributor: Lea Ceramiche
The Chabra Residence is an ode to Slimtech; the exterior of the LEED Silver Certified home is wrapped entirely in Lea Ceramiche’s Slimtech “Basaltina” porcelain tiles—and it doesn’t stop there. The interior floors, indoor pool, kitchen backsplash, and bathrooms also feature Slimtech for a total of about 16,000 square feet of installed porcelain. This particular collection was selected for the project because it could be applied as a rain screen system on the exterior, requires little to no maintenance, and can withstand harsh weather conditions; the project, situated on a salt water site, has thus far survived two hurricanes with no damage.

RESIDENTIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Mario Bolivar Study of Architecture and Design
Project: Isla de Fuego
Location: Cancun, Mexico
Tile Manufacturer: Provenza
Contractor: Maline Tiles
Distributor: Maline Tiles
Located in Isla Dorada, the heart of Cancun’s hotel and hospitality zone, Isla de Fuego is a private waterfront residence that makes spectacular use of Provenza’s “Q-Stone” porcelain tiles that are designed to emulate the look and feel of quartzite. The residence features over 11,700 square feet of the material—including on the main façade and all of the external areas—which was chosen for its level of rectification, high-quality digital printed surface, and its high shade variation.

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