Now in its 25th year, the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition – the longest-running award program of its kind – is proud to announce seven outstanding projects that capture the competition’s goal of honoring the innovative use of Italian tile in North American architecture and design. Sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Agency, the competition attracted a large number of high-quality submissions in four categories: residential, commercial, institutional for built projects; and a new student category, created to celebrate imaginative concepts using Italian tile. An international jury of design industry experts reviewed and evaluated the projects, ultimately selecting four winners and three honorable mentions among the steep competition.
In the Commercial category, the prize went to Studio Libeskind for the Sapphire project in Berlin, Germany which was conceived to promote new technologies and sustainability. This commission – Daniel Libeskind’s first residential project in the city – presented a design challenge: how to carve out 73 desirable one to four bedroom apartments on a plot measuring a little less than half an acre? To achieve the desired outcome, Studio Libeskind incorporated large angular windows and canted walls that bring in natural light and invoke a feeling of spaciousness. The design team also added a dramatic flourish: atop the roof and visible above the façade is the upward sweep of a double-height glass ceiling: inside, a penthouse with sloping glass walls and access to a roof patio overlooks the City of Berlin.
With retail shops on the ground floor, underground parking, and a common outdoor area, this high-spirited, contemporary complex stands on land where the Wulffersche iron factory once operated, before being expropriated from its Jewish owners during World War II. One of the most important design elements were the tiles used to cover the building’s 2,600 sq. metre exterior. The three dimensional, geometric, patterned stoneware tiles became 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. Use of the Fractile range continued in the building’s interior, through the bathrooms, resulting in a vibrant metallic finish for the floors and the shower walls. This Casalgrande Padana tiles were installed by contractor Medicke Metallbau.
An honorable Mention in the Commercial category was awarded to Kay Green Design for the Venetian Isle Clubhouse in Windermere, Florida, USA. This used a portfolio of Italian tiles from Floor Gres, Ergon, and Marca Corona. These were supplied by distributor Ceramic Technics and installed by contractor Martin’s Flooring.
The Venetian Isle Clubhouse is a multi-family community clubhouse in Windermere, Florida that provides an elegant entertaining space for all ages. Tiles from Floor Gres and Ergon were used throughout the space due to their aesthetics and practical resilience. The project was inspired by the city of Venice, making Italian tile the natural and authentic choice. The designer also felt confident that tile from Italian companies would ensure the high level of quality and aesthetic sought 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. Ergon’s Elegance Engineered Stone was used as a floor mosaic.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, August 2018.