The Legacy series by Gainey Ceramics Inc. features a variety of African motifs, including animals, people, jewels and textures.

Legacy, a new line of ceramic tile inspired by Africa, aims to not only break new ground in tile design, but also to give back to the continent that inspired it by helping to raise money for AIDS research through a joint venture with the charity organization City of Hope. The new line, which will debut at Coverings in May, 2005, will be produced by Gainey Ceramics, Inc. of La Verne, Calif.

Designed by Loring Leeds, the goal of the Legacy project is to help raise the awareness of the American public regarding the AIDS epidemic that is devastating the people of Africa, as well as City of Hope, an organization known for its work in cancer research, which is also doing groundbreaking work in the battle against AIDS.

The Legacy line of ceramic tile features a variety of elements ranging from very simple pieces to extremely elaborate and ornate ones. The line consists of approximately 38 decorative pieces and 6 to 8 plain moldings. The accompanying field tile will be a 6-by-6-inch module, with octagons and other shapes as well.

Legacy was inspired by many aspects of Africa, including native animals, jewels, prints and textures, woven together into a tapestry that truly represents the grace and beauty of Africa and its people.

Loring Leeds, designer of the Legacy series
Many of the jewel-inspired elements will incorporate metallic accents. The glaze system will include satin and glossy solid colors, antique crackle finishes and metallic finishes.

Loring Leeds, the designer of Legacy, developed the concept for the series while undergoing treatment for cancer and AIDS at City of Hope. During his recovery, he came up with the concept of Legacy in hopes of contributing to the tile industry. After five months of intense work, the design was finished.

"I woke up one morning overwhelmed with a new understanding of the process," Leeds explained. "It realized that Legacy had a purpose," Leeds added. "It was to give something back to Africa and to help with the scourge that had befallen its people, AIDS."

After three years of trying unsuccessfully to find the right manufacturer for Legacy, Leeds was on the verge of giving up hope for the project, when he received an e-mail from Kathy Stoffer at Gainey Ceramics, who was the new director of the company's tile division. Leeds and Stoffer had an instant rapport, and decided immediately to work together. Their first project was Leed's Italian line, Florentine. After the completion of that line, they began work on Legacy, which is now being completed.