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Ceramics of Italy 2015 Tile Competition Winners

by Christine Abbate (Novità Communication-NY)

Now in its 22nd year, the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition — the longest running award program of its kind — announced seven outstanding projects that wholly represent the competition’s goal of honoring commendable use of Italian tile in North American architecture and design. Sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Commission, the competition attracted high-quality submissions in each of the three categories: Residential, Commercial, and Institutional. An international jury of design industry experts reviewed and evaluated the projects, ultimately selecting three winners and four honorable mentions—including two that received special recognition for exterior cladding—among the steep competition.

The jury made this difficult selection under the following criteria: the creative and effective use of Italian tile, the overall quality of the installation, the aesthetic beauty and functionality of the design and the sustainable attributes of the overall project and materials used.

The finalists were officially announced at Coverings in Orlando, FL on April 15, 2015 during the Ceramics of Italy international press conference. Winners received a prize of $4,000 as well as a five-day trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie (September 28-October 2, 2015)—the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and sanitaryware—as part of a VIP delegation. Contractors and distributors involved in each project were also celebrated.

RESIDENTIAL WINNER
Firm: DKOR Interiors
Project: A Contemporary Moody Home
Location: Aventura, FL
Tile Manufacturer: Atlas Concorde
Distributor: Atlas Concorde
Contractor: Amazon Construction

Conceived under the concept of “pure modernism,” this simple, elegant Florida home demonstrates how strong an impression can be made with a minimalist design aesthetic. Atlas Concorde’s Sunrock Travertino gres porcelain tile is skillfully used in a variety of spaces throughout the home including bathrooms, bedrooms and hallways, creating a strong and elegant cohesion within the home. The versatile tiles differ in size, layout and functionality, adapting to each space while maintaining a sophisticated, contemporary ambiance. Further contributing to the project’s modern vibe, the open, loft-like quality of each room and monochromatic palette are perfectly complemented by the tile, showing a strong relationship between the design and physical nature of the space itself.

RESIDENTIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Natalie Kraiem Interiors
Project: Brooklyn Kitchen
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Tile Manufacturer: Rex Ceramiche
Distributor: Florim Solutions
Contractor: Partinico Construction

The I Bianchi di Rex Calacatta marble-look tiles from Rex Ceramiche are the focal point of this custom-designed kitchen. The large size of the tiles (24”x48”) reveals the intricate veining that characterizes marble’s natural, tactile appeal. While capturing the visual essence of marble, the use of porcelain tile gives the kitchen the benefit of being low-maintenance, durable and easy-to-clean. A custom vertical column extending from floor to ceiling, clad in the same tile, adds a memorable, individualized touch to the space. White lacquer cabinets that furnish the kitchen serve as the perfect complement to maintain the space’s muted sophistication, while allowing the tiles to remain the stand-out element.

RESIDENTIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Exterior Installation Recognition of Excellence
Firm: Tectonic Design
Project: Hanes Residence
Location: Andersonville, TN
Tile Manufacturer: Cotto d’Este
Distributor: Ciot
Contractor: Private

This Tennessee home features an impressive façade clad in Cotto d’Este’s Kerlite tiles. The Kerlite collection functions well for the exterior design as it is ultra-thin, flexible and durable, giving the house a sleek, contemporary look. The house is not only modern in design but also in its sustainable passive solar cooling design; highly insulated walls with the lightweight, reflective tiles keep the building naturally cool—a great benefit in the Southern heat.

COMMERCIAL WINNER
Firm: RSP Architects
Project: Target Northern Campus
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN
Tile Manufacturer: Provenza, Casamood, Ceramiche Caesar
Distributor: Tile by Design, RBC Tile
Contractor: Grazzini Brothers & Company

The Target Northern Campus uses excellent design to foster a sense of community and creativity for its staff. Built as an expansion to the downtown campus, the project seeks to form a link with the surrounding landscape; the building features vast, open spaces, floor to ceiling windows, and encompasses a green outdoor space for the campus. Tiles from Ceramiche Caesar’s Nera Trapezio and E.motions collections—simulating wood and stone respectively—are featured throughout the space, contributing to the setting’s connection to the natural world. In order to create an accessible, communicative space—a necessary feature for America’s second largest discount retailer—the building features a 1,000-foot interior circulation path clad in Provenza’s Q-Stone collection These neutral-toned tiles create a warm ambiance juxtaposing the cold Minnesota climate and facilitating a productive and social business environment.

COMMERCIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Firm: Alexander Gorlin Architects
Project: Bell Works
Location: Holmdel, NJ
Tile Manufacturer: ImolaCeramica, Mirage
Distributor: New Jersey Tile and Stone
Contractor: Interface Tile

Cosmic Radio Waves were discovered in this building in 1933; in 2007, it was named one of the 10 most endangered historical sites in New Jersey. Today, the Bell Labs buildings has been transformed into a beautiful, innovative commercial space for events, offices, and retail. Under architect Alexander Gorlin’s direction, the two largest Josef Albers patterns in the world have been constructed from tile on the floor, serving as the focal point of the 40,000-square-foot atrium. Using three colorways from ImolaCeramica’s Micron 2.0 collection, these patterns incorporate an interaction of color while paying homage to the square. Mirage Quartziti stone-effect tiles are used to continue the original quartzite of the foyer, working well in color and modern style with the decorative patterns. This project is well suited to foster creativity as an arts and culture space through the integration of art in the design.

INSTITUTIONAL WINNER
Firm: Shinberg.Levinas Architects
Project: Carlos Rosario International Culinary School
Location: Washington, DC
Tile Manufacturer: Lea Ceramiche
Distributor: Atlantic Link
Contractor: Jud Tile

The Carlos Rosario International Culinary School is the newest addition to the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School—a non-profit organization that encourages its students to give back to the community. The design skillfully responds to the irregular shape of the site, which is orthogonal on the West end, and angles downward in the East, creating an architecturally compelling, angular exterior. The base of the building’s façade features Lea Ceramiche’s Slimtech tiles, lending a modern look while staying cost-effective. Slimtech is also used inside the building in the atrium, lobby, cafeteria and culinary classrooms, showing an exemplary adaptation of the same tile, both indoors and out. In keeping with the school’s mission to contribute positively to the surrounding community, this tile was selected specifically for its eco-sustainable qualities, consistent with the rest of the design which conserves energy and water.

INSTITUTIONAL HONORABLE MENTION
Exterior Installation Recognition of Excellence
Firm: Gertler & Wente Architects, LLP
Project: ChristChurch Presbyterian
Location: Atlanta, GA
Tile Manufacturer: Marazzi
Distributor: Marazzi NY
Contractor: Southern Wall Systems

By the very nature of its function, ChristChurch Presbyterian was designed with a very specific set of ideals in mind. In order to convey the modern, urban, welcoming space that the client envisioned, Gertler & Wente Architects designed a bold facade that mixes light and dark tiles from Marazzi’s Monolith and Soho collections to energize and enliven the structure. The building’s position on a prominent corner in Atlanta provides the opportunity to create an open public space that gives the small building a bigger presence. The long side of the building wraps around the entrance courtyard and a pavilion that houses offices and a cafe, opening up an inviting communal space. Connecting the exterior and interior, Marazzi tiles are also used on the floor of the indoor sanctuary.

See the winning projects photos at this link.

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