New York Office - Italian Ceramic Tile Center
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Confindustria Ceramica and the Italian Trade Commission are pleased to announce the winners of the 2007 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. A record breaking number of projects, particularly in the commercial category, were submitted to the competition this year. The rich and diverse pool of applicants serves as an example of the wide usage of Italian tile in the US market and illustrates how this material can be specified for any installation.

An international jury considered the overall design of the space as well as how the tiles met their functional and technical requirements. After an intensive selection process, two projects were given the highest prize in the Commercial category. Ellerbe Becket, Inc was selected for their innovative tile application in the atrium of the Target Northern Campus. The testani design troupe and CMD Architects won for the state-of-the-art Evensong Spa. Honorable Mentions in this category went to HGA (Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc.) for their contemporary design of the General Mills, James Ford Bell Technical Center and Divison1 Architects for the attention to detail and the sophisticated charm of the Charlie Chiang's Restaurant. In the Residential category, Vanessa De Leon Associates won for the streamline minimalism and glamorous details of the Old Tappan Residence, New Jersey. This year, the jury gave Honorable Mentions in the Institutional category to Architectural Alliance for the colorful Phoenix SkyHarbor Airport Terminal 4 Redevelopment and Cero Design & Built for three public works entitled In Dreams of Giants, Blacks with Wings, and Ceremonial Spiral.

Commercial Winner: Ellerbe Becket, Inc
Project: Target Northern Campus, Building D Atrium
Tiles: Caesar
Tile Contractor: Harrison Tile Company
Distributor: RBC Tiles & Stone (Minneapolis, MN)

When the nationally recognized retail giant Target embarked on the expansion of their Northern Campus, located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, their intent was to create 'the best corporate campus ever'. Ellerbe Becket, one of the United States' largest architecture/interiors/engineering/construction firms, was charged with the task of creating a sense of community and a campus environment similar in quality to the Target offices in downtown Minneapolis.

Completed in the fall of 2006, the newly constructed 250,000 square-foot office building (Building D) was split into two components of 100,000 and 150,000 square feet, connected by a central atrium. For this high traffic and aesthetically important space, Ellerbe Becket's architectural team selected Italian tiles from Ceramiche Caesar to be laid on the floors. According to the project's lead interior designer Sandra Becker, "These large-format Italian porcelain tiles provided the exact qualities we desired. We were looking for a material that would give us the density; endurance and appeal of natural stone when viewed up close and offer the elements necessary to create a subdued pattern that would have impact when viewed from the upper levels of the atrium. We wanted the feel of a monolithic floor surface with some interesting detail. We introduced the color red - characteristic of our client's brand - by cutting 1/8" diagonal lines into the field of tile and filling these lines with red grout."

This atrium acts as the connecting link between the two wings of the building, while also serving as the heart of the employee community. The unique tile pattern was derived from the geometry and organization of the two sections of the building. The diagonal red lines follow the direction of one wing and the main tile pattern follows the alignment of the other.

Commercial Winner: testani design troupe inc/CMD Architects, Inc.
Project: Evensong Spa
Tiles: Sant'Agostino
Tile Contractor: Coyle Contract Flooring
Distributor: Arizona Tile

The Arizona-based interior design firm testani design troupe worked with CMD Architects, Inc to create a luxurious spa. Nestled in the woods of Wisconsin, this peaceful setting mirrors the warm tones of the surrounding area. The color palette and materials are rich and reflect the changing seasons.

The jury loved every aspect of the facility, from the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired exterior to an interior filled with deluxe surfaces and furnishings. Particularly impressive is the entranceway's stunning circular maze-pattern created out of slate inspired Sant'Agostino floor tiles from the "Gemstone" collection and tiny white rock. The labyrinth, which is a single circular path that has been used for centuries as a tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation, is the key indoor focal feature and was the seed of the design inspiration. In addition to the entranceway, the Italian tile collection extends from the manicure and pedicure areas, to the men's and women's locker room floors, shower, steam room and whirlpool walls.

Commercial Honorable Mention: Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc.
Project: General Mills, James Ford Bell Technical Center
Tiles: Casalgrande Padana, Floor Gres, Bisazza and Vogue
Distributor: Tile By Design, Inc

The architectural and engineering firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) has over fifty years of expertise in the industry and an impressive repertoire of clients including General Mills. The James Ford Bell Technical Center, located in Golden Valley, Minnesota is General Mills' primary research and development facility and comprises over half of a million square feet of space. The firm wanted the JFB Technical Center to project a world-class image consistent with the rest of their corporate campus in order to attract and retain the best talent in their industry. The airy interior corridor, the cafeteria area/eatery and the multi-purpose center feature a stunning array of Italian tiles from Casalgrande Padana, Floor Gres, Bisazza and Vogue.

Commercial Honorable Mention: Division1 Architects
Project: Charlie Chiang's Restaurant
Tiles: Caesar
Tile Contractor: Crouch Construction
Distributor: Best Tile

Located in Naples, Florida the 3,000 square foot Charlie Chiang's Restaurant has a modern design sensibility. The team from Divison1 Architects placed a special focus on surface materials, innovation and detail. The 12"x24" porcelain tiles from Caesar set the tone, creating a sophisticated interior space that is functional and offers patrons a unique dinning experience.

Residential Winner: Vanessa De Leon Associates
Project: Old Tappan Residence, New Jersey
Tiles: Lea, Viva, Sant' Agostino and DolceVita
Tile Contractor: Yellow Brick Road
Distributor: Mediterranean Tile

The diversity and versatility of tiles manufactured in Italy are underscored in this elegant New Jersey residence redesigned by Vanessa De Leon Associates. Principal Vanessa De Leon, who specializes in residential and commercial interior design, used Italian tile in five different rooms of the house. The modern kitchen has a cool neutral ceramic floor. The tiles, part of Lea Ceramiche's "Natural Parks" collection, were laid in a random pattern of 12"x12", 12"x18" and 6"x6" tiles to create a natural look. In addition, 2"x2" tiles from the same series were chosen as the backsplash. The master bath features sleek white tiles from Viva's "Xilo" series while Sant'Agostino's "I Quarzi" adorns the floors, walls and shower area of the office bath. Tile from La DolceVita's "Tuscany Chianti" was also used on the floor, halfway up the wall and as a chair rail in the Southwest bath. Finally the homeowners wanted to update their 1970's style kitchen to a new contemporary space with a rustic theme. To accomplish the desired aesthetic, De Leon opted for a warm, natural hue named Yosemite from Lea's "National Park" collection.

Institutional Honorable Mention: Architectural Alliance
Project: Phoenix SkyHarbor Airport Terminal 4 Redevelopment
Tiles: Casalgrande Padana, Cercom, Lea and Impronta Italgraniti
Tile Contractor: Scuderi Tile Contractors (AZ)
Distributor: Tile By Design (MN), Facings of America (AZ)

The redevelopment of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Terminal 4, completed by Architectural Alliance, has an eye-catching design that depicts Arizona's rich natural landscapes. The integral color porcelain field tiles provide a light neutral backdrop for both the bold decors and the brightly colored accent tiles that are intended to suggest the ground materials, rock formations and vegetation that are native to this region. According to Eric Peterson, Principal Architectural Alliance, "During the design process, a number of floor finish alternatives were considered. Ultimately porcelain tile was selected for its qualities of beauty, durability, wide range of colors, finishes, ease of installation and low maintenance - inherently sustainable characteristics." In all, forty-six colors from leading tile producers including Casalgrande Padana, Cercom, Impronta Italgraniti and Lea were used in the redesign.

Institutional Honorable Mention: Cero Design & Built Inc.
Project: In Dreams of Giants, Blacks with Wings, and Ceremonial Spiral
Tiles: Cerim, Valentino Ceramiche Piemme, Sima and Gambarelli
Tile Contractor: Pick and Save Inc
Distributor: Maderas Alfa

Rounding out the list of this year's top projects are true works of art created by Cero Design & Built, Inc, a Puerto Rico based-company dedicated to art and architecture. The brilliant mosaic decors and rich colors immediately won over the jury. The three designs include: In Dreams of Giants, which restored beauty to a vandalized park; Blacks with Wings, which shows the faces and names of 25 famous Afro-Ricans inside the wings of a giant phoenix-like bird and Ceremonial Spiral, a multi-colored concert bench-like sculpture which was created for the students at the University of Puerto Rico.