Every year, the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition showcases the work of prominent North American architects and designers who use Italian tile in their projects. The annual awards program sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica (the Association of Italian Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Commission continues to yield great results going into its 19th year. Submissions to the three categories – Residential, Commercial/Hospitality and Institutional – offered excellent and competitive projects for the international jury to consider. After carefully narrowing down the finalists, they have selected a winner and an honorable mention in each category based on the project’s functionality, visual appeal, original use of tile and overall design. The winning projects all reflect how the A&D community is using Italian tile to move forward in terms of technology, aesthetics and sustainability.
The recipients of this prestigious prize will be officially announced on Wednesday, April 18 during the Ceramics of Italy Press Conference at Coverings in Orlando, Florida. The winning architects and designers will each be awarded $4,000 and a five-day trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie 2012 – the premier international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings – in the fall. Ceramics of Italy will also award $1,000 to the contractors and distributors involved in each winning project, who help bring great design to fruition.
Residential Winner: Fractal Construction, LLC
Project: Gramercy Townhouse
Location: New York, NY
Tile Manufacturer: Sant’Agostino
Contractor: Ross Lee Renovations
Distributor: Nemo Tile
Fractal Construction’s design philosophy focused on intricate detailing, innovative material selection, and weaving traditional styles with contemporary design, was the perfect match for the revitalization of the Gramercy Townhouse. With its grand bones and patrician façade, the 1848 New York City townhouse presented exciting challenges in making an old structure modern and livable while maintaining and honoring the historical framework. To accommodate a new open floor plan, Fractal Construction used 2’x2’ grey porcelain tiles by Sant’Agostino to give the townhouse a sleek and clean look throughout.
The Cooper Residence designed by Anna Marie Fanelli, co-owner and designer at Floor & Decor, receives an Honorable Mention for this year’s Residential category. Using elegant and eco-friendly porcelain tiles from four different Italian companies – Cotto d’Este, Novabell, La Fabbrica and Lea – Fanelli transformed a 4,000 square foot space in Trump Plaza into a tile couture showcase that’s stylish as well as maintenance-free.
Commercial/Hospitality Winner: Leo A Daly
Project: Union Square 999
Location: Washington, DC
Tile Manufacturer: Lea Ceramiche
Contractors: R Bratti Associates, Diamond Tile and Sandia Ceramics
The renovation of Union Square 999 by Leo A Daly’s Washington D.C. office was chosen as the winner of the Commercial category. With two buildings comprising over 600,000 square feet of government office space, this LEED silver certified project features three innovative tile collections from Lea Ceramiche. Simtech Basaltina Stone Project, a versatile collection of super slim porcelain tiles, can be spotted across the campus from the lobby floor to the bathroom walls, bathroom dressing room walls and walls of the fitness room showers. The firm also chose the LEED-compliant collections Tecnoquartz and Stonehenge for the floors of the bathroom and fitness room showers to create a striking, modern space.
RSP Architects receives the Commercial Honorable Mention for the Software Headquarters Facility. The rapidly growing software company, located on a beautiful property in the Western suburbs of Minneapolis, wanted a sleek, clean, modern design for the corporate interiors. Aiming for LEED Gold certification, the architects chose “Ecotech” by Floorgres for its recycled content as well as its texture, color and availability in large formats. The tiles were used extensively throughout the large space – in the central "Commons" area, corridors, restroom/locker rooms and lunchroom.
Institutional Winner: RSP Architects
Project: Musical Instrument Musem
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Tile Manufacturer: Ceramiche Caesar and Lea Ceramiche
Contractor: Ryan Companies
Distributor: RBC Tile and Stone
The Musical Instrument Museum by RSP Architects is the recipient of the Institutional award for its inspired use of tile. The world’s first museum devoted to musical instruments from around the world, the Phoenix project employs tile in a way that reflects the theme of the venue. The firm needed a material that was both beautiful and durable for the main circulation space. They chose Italian tile for its warmth and texture, which gracefully connects the theater, galleries and courtyards. The variety of tile sizes also allowed them to continue the rhythm established throughout the interior and architectural elements.
Bogdan Newman Caranci, Inc. was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Institutional category for the Bradford West Gwillimbury Library and Cultural Center in Ontario. Designed to meet LEED Silver certification, the firm chose Italian tile for its high quality, elegant appearance, recycled content and cost efficiency. Mirage “Stone 2.0” tiles in two different sizes were used to create a random running bond pattern throughout the space. It gives life to the building but also creates a natural flow from the entrance gallery to the main atrium and up to the second floor.
Ceramics of Italy is the trademark for Italian manufacturers of ceramic tiles, sanitaryware and tableware, that are members of Confindustria Ceramica. For more information on the ceramic tile sector, visit www.italiantiles.com. For instant updates on Ceramics of Italy follow the industry at www.facebook.com/CeramicTilesOfItaly or http://twitter.com/tilesofitaly.