Tile is big business in Italy. In 2013, the country's industry put out 15.8 percent of material produced worldwide and at a value of $5.8 billion, or 30 percent of the global market's worth, as ARCHITECT reported from the annual Cersaie tile trade show in Bologna, Italy, this past fall. The U.S. imported 11.3 percent, or $311 million worth, of Italian tile in the first half of 2014, which means there's a good chance that you've either specified the material or tread on a floor or grazed a wall covered in the (usually high-end) stuff.
To recognize North American designers and architects for their use of tile sourced from the country's producers, the Italian Association of Ceramics and the Italian Trade Commission recently announced the winners of their 22nd annual Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. An international jury reviewed the projects in residential, commercial, and institutional categories. The winners, listed below, received $4,000 and a trip to Cersaie this coming fall.
RSP Architects, “Target Northern Campus,” Brooklyn Park, Minn.
For its new office space near Minneapolis, Target used Ceramiche Caesar’s Nera Trapezio and E.motions tiles, which emulate wood and stone, respectively, as well as Provenza’s Q-Stone collection for a 1,000-foot-long interior circulation path.
Commercial Honorable Mention
Alexander Gorlin Architects, “Bell Works,” Holmdel, N.J.
The historical home of Bell Labs was retrofitted into a mixed-use property that features two Josef Albers patterns replicated on the floor in three colorways from ImolaCeramica’s Micron 2.0 collection, complemented by Mirage’s Quartziti stone-look tile.
Shinberg.Levinas Architects, “Carlos Rosario International Culinary School,” Washington, D.C.
Joining the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, the new addition makes use of Lea Ceramiche’s Slimtech tiles for the base of its façade as well as throughout the building in the atrium, lobby, cafeteria, and culinary classrooms.
Institutional Honorable Mention
Gertler & Wente Architects, “ChristChurch Presbyterian,” Atlanta
The structure’s two-tone façade combines light and dark tiles representing Marazzi’s Monolith and Soho collections, which are also included on the floor of the indoor sanctuary.
DKOR Interiors, “A Contemporary Moody Home,” Aventura, Fla.
The project team used myriad sizes of Atlas Concorde’s Sunrock Travertino porcelain tile throughout the residence, including in the bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
Natalie Kraiem Interiors, “Brooklyn Kitchen,” Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rex Ceramiche’s I Bianchi di Rex Calacatta marble-look porcelain tiles take center stage in this custom kitchen, showcasing their intricate veining.
Tectonic Design, “Hanes Residence,” Andersonville, Tenn.
The Perrysburg, Ohio–based architects clad this home in Cotto d’Este’s slender Kerlite tiles, which are lightweight and reflective to help reduce the structure’s solar-heat gain.