The 25th anniversary of the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition, sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica and the Italian Trade Agency, was an immense success, attracting inspiring and innovative projects from designers and architects throughout North America. Ultimately, four winners and three honorable mentions were selected among the steep competition by an international jury of design industry experts across four categories: residential, commercial, institutional, and a newly introduced student category. Each of the finalists demonstrated how Italian tile plays an important role in the realization of thoughtfully conceived interior design and architecture.
As a way of honoring the past, present, and future of the competition, Ceramics of Italy also created a film directed by Francesca Molteni and architectural historian Fulvio Irace. Timeless Tiles: The Italian Legacy tells the story of the competition from its inception in 1994 to present day, featuring dozens of inspiring projects and interviews with architects Daniel Libeskind, Jennifer Carpenter and Michael P. Johnson.
Following are the winners:
Firm: Studio Libeskind
Location: Berlin, Germany
Tile Manufacturer: Casalgrande Padana
Distributor: Casalgrande Padana
Contractor: Medicke Metallbau GmbH, NL Berlin
The Sapphire project involved building 73 desirable, 1-4 bedroom apartments on a plot less than half an acre, whilst promoting new technologies and sustainability. One of the most important design elements were the tiles used to cover 2,600 sq. m. of the building’s exterior. The three dimensional, geometric, patterned stoneware tile was a signature design feature for this project. Designed by Daniel Libeskind for Casalgrande Padana, the Fractile tiles are technologically advanced to self-clean and aid in air purification. The tiles were also used on the balcony wall creating a continuous surface extending from the building’s façade. Around 3,600 tiles were used in the project. The Fractile series continues on the building’s interior, through the bathrooms, resulting in a vibrant metallic finish for the floors and the shower walls.
COMMERCIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Kay Green Design
Project: Venetian Isle Clubhouse
Location: Windermere, FL
Tile Manufacturer: Floor Gres, Ergon, Marca Corona
Distributor: Ceramic Technics
Contractor: Martin’s Flooring
The Venetian Isle Clubhouse is a multi-family community clubhouse in Windermere, Florida that is an elegant entertaining space for all ages. Tiles from Floor Gres and Ergon were used throughout the space due to their high quality, yet resilient surfacing. The project was inspired by the city of Venice, therefore Italian tile was naturally the most authentic choice. The designer also felt confident that tile from Italian companies would ensure a high level of quality and aesthetic that she was seeking for the project. Floor Gres’s Floor Tech tiles were used as the main overall floor tile while Marca Corona’s Terra collection was used for the vanity wall in the restroom and Ergon Elegance Engineered Stone was used as a floor mosaic.
Firm: Ziger/Snead Architects*
Project: Baltimore Slate House
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Tile Manufacturer: Imola Ceramica
Distributor: Conestoga Tile
Contractor: Custom Concepts by Greenwalt
Setting Materials: MAPEI
*2009 Residential Honorable Mention
The Slate House is a contemporary retreat that respects nature and the legacy of the vast and densely wooded site. The 7,000 sq ft building was destroyed by a recent house fire, however the design team set out to reconnect the site to the existing contextual environment. The design embodies an archetypal gable form, a geometric extrusion that is both reductive and minimal that yields cathedral ceilings. Tiles from Imola Ceramica Concrete Project were selected for all of the flooring throughout the home, and Mapei products were used for the setting materials. It was chosen due to the seamlessly transitional ability to use same product inside and outside and support the architectural vision to blur the interior and exterior spaces. Italian tile was selected due to its quality and the large format size options which were needed for the design of this private home.
RESIDENTIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: DI Group
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Tile Manufacturer: Refin
Distributor: DI Group
Contractor: Darmont Construction Corporation
The Norwich proiect is a contemporary family home in West Hollywood, California, made up of open communal spaces ideal for entertaining and family life. With lots of windows allowing for natural light throughout the space, light colored neutral tiles were used to reflect the light and translate the openness of the interior across the flooring. Three tile collections from Refin (District, Larix and Barrique) were used in the interior and exterior of the home demonstrating the versatile properties of Italian tile.
Firm: ZAS Architects + Interiors
Project: Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence at York University
Location: North York, Ontario
Tile Manufacturer: ABK
Distributor: Division 9
Contractor: Gem Campbell Terrazzo & Tile Inc.
Setting Materials: MAPEI
For the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence at York University, the client wanted to demonstrate sustainable building practices, while utilizing the advantages of an existing campus energy system. The project has been registered with the CaGBC and has targeted LEED Gold certification along with Toronto Green Standard Tier 2. ABK Downtown tiles were used on the ground floor, throughout the corridors and in the social spaces with MAPEI products completing the space as the setting materials. Tiles were also installed in assembly and exhibition spaces, as well as the student café and the orientation room. Although polished concrete was considered for the project, porcelain tile was chosen in the end due to its durability, low porosity and stain resistant properties. Italian tile provided a clean, simple and contemporary look matching that of natural concrete but captured tonal and pattern variation achieved through the latest technology.
INSTITUTIONAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: O’Brien & Keane
Project: Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Tile Manufacturer: Provenza, Ergon
Distributor: Architectural Ceramics
Contractor: David Allen Company
Setting Materials: MAPEI
The design for the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral builds on the heritage of classical sacred architecture arranged in a cruciform layout, with the main axis of the building placed in an east to west orientation. The building is approximately 43,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of over 2,000 people. The main building announces the design theme and introduces classical order. The client wanted to focus on environmentally conscious and resilient materials for the project, therefore Italian porcelain tile was chosen as an ideal material for sustainable building. Beautiful tiles from Provenza Q-Stone as well as Ergon’s Silverstone and Back2Back collections were used on the floor throughout the Nave, Transepts and Narthe. Various products from Mapei were used as setting materials including grouts, sealants and self-leveling underlayment. Additional benefits of tile that were a consideration when selecting a flooring material were the low water absorption due to its compact and non-porous structure.
Entrant: Raquel Raney and Brennan Broome
University Name: Florida International University
Declared Major: Interior Architecture
Project: Dover Street Market
Location: Miami, FL
Tile Manufacturer: Atlas Concorde, Ceramica Vogue, Ornamenta
The Dover Street Market offers an environment where the classic, elegance of art and fashion collide with an industrial aesthetic. The use of ceramic and porcelain tile, as pictured in the renderings, allows for the desired aesthetic to be achieved, while using cost-effective and environmentally-friendly materials that will hold their integrity for many years. The variety of colors, patterns and textures of ceramic tiles, create endless opportunities for juxtaposition of the industrial-like materials with polished, sophisticated surfaces. A mix of collections from Atlas Concorde, Ceramica Vogue and Ornamenta were selected to complement the interior design. Due to its consistency and composition, tile is one of the most durable floor materials and lasts much longer than traditional glazed tile, making it a great selection for a high traffic retail store.
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