Top tile designs honored in Ceramics of Italy competition

Entries are divided into three categories: Commercial, Institutional and Residential.

Institutional Winning Project, MGA Partners. Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography
June 11, 2014

The Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition, an annual event open to architects and designers across North America, has concluded its 2014 competition.

The judges chose one winning firm for each category--Residential, Commercial, and Industrial--and two honorable mentions for each. Winners were awarded $4,000 and a trip to Cersaie, the annual tile exhibition held in Bologna, Italy.

"Each winning project was recognized for its outstanding use of Italian ceramic tile, quality of installation, and overall design excellence," Ceramics of Italy said in a press release. "Sustainable attributes are also considered along with the impact that the tile makes on the overall space and installation."

Check out all the winning entries below.






Commercial Winner 

Plaza of the Americas

Firm: Corgan Associates 
Tile Manufacturer: Cotto d’Este 
Contractor: Kenma Tile 
Distributor: Horizon Tile
Photography: Amber J. Reddick

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

Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 


Firm: Leo A Daly 
Tile Manufacturer: Unicom Starker 
Contractor: Raider Construction 
Distributor: Concept Surfaces
Photography: Leo A Daly

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.




Commercial Honorable Mention

Luxottica Headquarters
Port Washington, N.Y.

Firm: Mojo Stumer Associates 
Tile Manufacturer: Mirage 
Contractor: J.T. Magen & Company 
Distributor: Cancos Tile Corporation 
Photography: M. Stumer and M. Biernat

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. 




Institutional Winner

Morgan Hall, Temple University

Firm: MGA Partners 
Tile Manufacturer: Mirage 
Contractor: Belfi Brothers 
Distributor: High Style Stone & Tile 
Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography

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 community-engaged, 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

Paul H. Cocker Architecture Gallery
Ryerson University, Toronto

Firm: Gow Hastings Architects, Inc. 
Tile Manufacturer: Laminan 
Contractor: Gaydor Flooring, Inc. 
Distributor: Stone Tile International, Inc. 
Photography: Shai Gil Fotography

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

The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s Hospitals & Clinics
Minneapolis, Minn.

Firm: HDR Architecture 
Tile Manufacturers: Atlas Concorde, Ceramiche Caesar 
Contractor: Grazzini Brothers & Company 
Distributor: RBC Tile and Stone 
Photography: Ballogg Photography

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

355 Mansfield
Los Angeles

Firm: D.I Group + Adeet Madan 
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 Asian- influenced 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

Isla de Fuego
Cancun, Mexico 

Firm: Mario Bolivar Study of Architecture and Design 
Tile Manufacturer: Provenza 
Contractor: Maline Tiles 
Distributor: Maline Tiles
Photography: Jorge Silva

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.




Residential Honorable Mention

Chabra Residence
Port Washington, N.Y.

Firm: Narofsky Architecture 
Tile Manufacturer: Lea Ceramiche 
Contractors: John Gushue-Metropan; Rocco Tile 
Distributor: Lea Ceramiche 
Photography: Stuart Narofsky

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.


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