ONLINE EXTRA: Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition Winners Announced

Awards celebrate the best of Italian ceramic tile in architecture and design.

The Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition showcases the work of North American architects and designers who use Italian tile in their projects. Now in its 18th year, the annual awards program, sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica, the Association of Italian Ceramics and the Italian Trade Commission, continues to yield great results. An international jury selects a winner and an honorable mention in each of three categories-Residential, Commercial/Hospitality and Institutional-based on the project’s functionality, visual appeal, original use of tile, and overall design. The winning installations demonstrate how the A&D (Architecture & Design) community is “thinking big” by using larger, slimmer formats and choosing tile with recycled content and environmental certifications.

Awards were given on March 15 at The Ceramic Tiles of Italy press conference during Coverings 2011 in Las Vegas. The winning architects receive $4000 and a five-day trip to Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie 2011. Ceramic Tiles of Italy will award an additional $1000 to be shared by the winning contractor/distributor team.

Institutional Winner - Brocade

Commercial/Hospitality Winner: RMW Architecture & Interiors
Project: Brocade Communications
Tile Manufacturer: Caesar Ceramica
Contractor: DeAnza Tile and Reputable Tile
Distributor: SpecCeramics Inc.

With a mission to create work environments that encourage productivity and harmony within a client’s culture, RMW Architecture & Interiors constructed the award-winning Brocade Communication’s new campus. The 560,000-sq-ft space gave Brocade an opportunity to enhance its mission and values as a company and focus on growth. Being a business of face-to-face communication, the workspace needed to be attractive and innovative while encouraging teamwork and community. RMW designed a layout consisting of universal workspaces, presentation theaters and outdoor cafes. Receiving the ISO 14001 rating for its commitment to environmental sustainability, Caesar Ceramica’s More collection was chosen as the flooring in the lobby of all three buildings, inside the elevators and throughout the public spaces on all 18 floors. Throughout the Bladerunner Café, the floor and accent walls are tiled in “More” to provide an attractive, easily maintained surface in heavily trafficked areas.

Commercial Honorable Mention - Fairview Mall

The Fairview Mall, designed by GHA Design Studios, received an Honorable Mention for this year’s commercial category. The renovation included re-tiling the interior public areas with large format Floor Gres “Stone Tech” tile on the corridors, columns, food court floor, washroom floor, entrances and interior walls. Mapei was used in the installation of the Floor Gres tiles.

Residential Winner - Kona House

Residential Winner: Belzberg Architects
Project: Kona Residence
Tile Manufacturer: Floor Gres
Contractor: DEM Construction
Distributor: Stone Source

For the stunning Kona Residence in Kona, Hawaii, Belzberg Architects found inspiration in the nature that surrounded the property. Located between lava flows and overlooking the predominate views of the site, the placement of the home is an integral part of the project. With the Hawaiian volcanic mountains to the east and the ocean’s horizon on the west, the natural elements helped to shape the geometric center of the home. Built in a series of pods throughout the property, the layout features two sleeping rooms with common areas, a media room, master suite and a main living area. A gallery corridor connects the two wings and becomes a focal feature for the home. Influenced by Hawaiian tradition, the entryway incorporates the local basket weaving culture in a large sculptural overlay that represents the traditional arrival gift of the island. Floor Gres runs throughout the home’s floors, giving a fluid look throughout the main living areas and onto the outdoor space.

Residential Honorable Mention - Curved House

2006 Residential Design Competition winner Hufft Projects won this year’s Honorable Mention for the Curved House residence. Matthew Hufft, architect and interior designer of the project, chose Emilamerica’s “Mikado” tile in Ebano as the main house and cabana flooring due to its high recycled content (40%) and to create a consistency that gives the illusion of a large space. Mapei was chosen for the installation of the Italian tiles.

Commercial Winner - Canada Line

Institutional Winner: SNC Lavalin Inc.
Project: Canada Line-Rapid Transit
Tile Manufacturer: Casalgrande Padana SPA
Contractor: SNC Lavalin Inc.
Distributor: Stone Tile
Installation Materials: Mapei

Institutional winner SNC Lavalin Inc. designed The Canada Line Subway, featuring 16 new stations from the Vancouver International Airport to Olympic Village. Fifteen out of the 16 stations feature Casalgrande Padana’s “Marte” collection, which were used on the floors, walls, platforms and all public access areas for their durability. Each station was designed with a slightly different appearance to blend in with the surrounding neighborhood. From the Marte series, various colors were chosen for each station’s design: Thassos, Botticino, Azul Bahia, Azul Macauba, Nero Acapulco, Raggio di Luna,Grigio Maggia, Grigio Egeo, and Grigio Marostica in a matt, satin and bushammered finish.

Institutional Honorable Mention - Ingleside Library

Fourgeron Architecture was awarded Honorable Mention for its work on the Ingleside Branch Public Library in San Francisco, Calif. Casa Dolce Casa tiles were chosen for the exterior of the building because of their durability and simple maintenance in a neutra gres silver color to blend in with the surrounding buildings. The contractor chose Mapei installation products for their strength on both indoor and outdoor projects.

Ceramic Tiles of Italy is the trademark for Italian manufacturers of ceramic tiles that are members of Confindustria Ceramica. For more information, visit


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