Wayne Tile has been selected as the recipient of the 2006 Assopiatrelle American Distributor Award. The firm will be honored for their dedication to the Italian tile industry during the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Cocktail Reception (April 5, 2006) at Coverings.
After an extensive selection process...Wayne Tile has been named this year's recipient of the Assopiastrelle American Distributor Award. In its 16th year, this prestigious award recognizes leading American distributors for their dedication to the promotion and use of Italian ceramic tiles in the North American marketplace.

As in past years, a Supervisory Committee, made up of members of the Assopiastrelle Board of Directors, compiled a list of criteria based on recommendations from the Italian ceramic tile manufacturers. Number of votes expressed by the companies; competence and skill over the years as an importer and distributor of Italian ceramic tiles; preference for Ceramic Tiles of Italy for their unique aesthetic and technical qualities; fair-trade practices in the commercial relationship undertaken with the Italian manufacturers; and best showroom and corporate image were all taken into consideration during the judging. Wayne Tile was a stand out in each of the rigorous standards set by the Italian ceramic tile industry.

Established in 1950, Wayne Tile, like many other tile companies, had its very humble beginnings in the tile installation business. A family-owned and operated business, led by brothers Robert, Harry and Donald Westra, Wayne Tile opened their first showroom in Wayne, New Jersey in the late 1950s and quickly established itself as one of the largest tile contractors in the state. During the 1960s, as the business continued to flourish, the brothers ended the tile installation business and focused their efforts on retail and wholesale to builders and contractors. A second showroom was opened in Sussex County, New Jersey in 1974 and a third in 1987 in Rockaway, New Jersey. With the opening of these two spaces, the emphasis shifted to importing tiles, primarily from Italy. This focus has continued to the present day as the company currently carries a number of Italian tile manufacturers including: Panaria, Magica, Vallelunga, Emilceramica, Sant' Agostino, Castelvetro, Tagina, Cerim, Kerex, La Faenza, Casalgrande Padana and Fondovalle.

"In the past two years, there has been a dramatic shift in our purchases with most of our Italian purchases growing substantially, and our Spanish purchases dropping dramatically. The main reason for our increase in purchasing more Italian tiles is simply the superior style and design of Italian tile. Italy has become the premier source for today's leading styles and most technologically advanced tiles. It should be no surprise that a culture with such a long tradition of artistic expression would product the world's most fashionable tiles," said Tim Westra, Sales Manager and part-owner of Wayne Tile.

Today Wayne Tile has three showrooms located throughout the state as well as administrative offices, a distribution center and a designer showroom in Wayne, New Jersey. The three founding members can still be found helping out at the various showrooms as well as serving on the board of directors, yet they have passed the torch onto the second generation of Westras to continue servicing the industry.

Representatives from the New Jersey firm will travel to Orlando, Florida to receive their award at Coverings 2006 - America's premier tradeshow for the tile and stone industries. Assopiastrelle President, Alfonso Panzani, will present this prestigious award to Wayne Tile during the Ceramic Tiles of Italy cocktail reception on April 5, 2006. The firm will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Bologna, Italy to attend CERSAIE 2006 (September 26-30, 2006), the world's largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings.

For more information on Ceramic Tiles of Italy visit our new gatewaywww.italiantiles.com.

Ceramic Tiles Of Italy Announces The Winners Of The 2006 Design Competition

Assopiastrelle and the Italian Trade Commission are pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. This year, the competition received a record-breaking number of submissions with 50 exquisitely designed projects. The projects were a showcase of innovative applications and installations of Italian ceramic tile. Hufft:Projects LLC of New York City took home top honors in the residential category for the stunning architecture and design of The Line House, located in Springfield Missouri. The renovation of the San Diego International Airport received the Institutional prize as the project emphasized the importance of choosing the right flooring for a high-traffic area. Using a number of different Italian tile manufacturers, Ruscio Studio, of Montreal, Canada won the Commercial category for their renovation of the "Bay Section" of the Place Fleur De Lys - a shopping center in Quebec. A special mosaic recognition was given to Rene Gonzalez Architect Inc for their fabulous jungle design on the exterior of an art institution in Miami. Finally, the Bramalea City Center by Pappas Design Studio was awarded an honorable mention in the Commercial category and Richard D. Fairbourn Architect, Ltd's Fairbourne Residence project was selected as the honorable mention in the Residential category.


Project: The Line House
Tiles: Casalgrande Padana
Tile Contractor - Herman and Associates
Distributor: Pro Tile, New York

The Line House, located in Springfield, Missouri, utilizes over 3,000 square feet of Italian ceramic tile on its interior and exterior floors. The home is divided into three parts -the main house, the library, and the workshop - with elegant, versatile Italian tiles from Casalgrande Padana's Granitogres series installed throughout the different sections. Tile selection was key for Matthew Hufft, principal architect of hufft: Projects LLC. "I choose Italian ceramic tile for its beauty, durability and its capability to be used both outdoors and indoors; which allowed me to connect the various pieces of the residence with a uniform material," states Hufft. Sustainability also factored into the design of the project. The tiles and masonry act as solar collector during winter - providing solar warmth to the house. The materials also offer a nice contrast to the recycled and scrap wood used for cabinetry. Additionally the orientation of the home provides natural light all year long and the natural cross ventilation reduces air conditioner use.

The Line House is only one of Hufft's residential projects to feature Italian ceramic tile. The architect is currently installing Italian tile in a contemporary space that is under construction and also planning to use it in another home, still in design. "In fact, I have used it in all of my residential projects," says Hufft.

Project: San Diego International Airport
Tiles: Caesar Ceramiche
Grout: Mapei
Tile Contractor: Cleveland Marble
Distributor: Specs Ceramics

The San Diego International Airport floor restoration presented a unique challenge to architect Bob Bolton of the Facility Development department at the airport. Gensler Architects was responsible for the original terminal design completed in 1998. Shortly after opening, the new terminal of the nation's busiest commercial single runway airport required 100,000 square feet of floor replacement. The airport serves over 16 million travelers a year and due to high foot traffic, the recently installed limestone floor was failing. Bolton was charged with the task of replacing the floors without closing any essential functions of the busy terminal during the renovation. Other constraints included: cleanliness, short workdays and limited work areas. Bolton turned to stone and tile consultant, Jim Acri, to work with MAPEI to produce a custom mortar mix that would quickly develop full strength and satisfy all the requirements of the specification while remaining workable for the contractor. The next hurdle was choosing a porcelain tile for the new floor that could withstand the heavy airport traffic and match the gold color of the existing limestone walls. Italian tile manufacturer Ceramiche Caesar was just the solution. Bolton and Architectural Alliance, a team of Minneapolis-based architectural consultants, worked together to find a solution and turned to Caesar and their US distributor Specs Ceramics in Anaheim, CA to produce a custom color tile. 18"x18" tiles from Caesar's Tecnolito collection were selected for the flooring with a custom-made color created to fit the exact specifications of the project. According to Bolton, "It really was a tremendous team effort to put it all together and Caesar provided exactly what we wanted with the porcelain tile, which matches the limestone on the wall so closely it's hard to tell them apart."

Project: Place Fleur De Lys - The Bay Section Renovation
Tiles: Pastorelli, Refin, Ariostea, Imola, Kronos
Distributor: Olympia Tiles
Installer: Ceramique Lindo B.

The jury was particularly impressed with the number of different Italian tile manufacturers used in the renovation of "The Bay" section of the Place Fleur De Lys Shopping Centre, located in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. A total of six Italian tile manufacturers were selected by Ruscio Studio Inc to complete the expansion of the mall corridor. "The Bay" section was divided into two mall corridors of 20+ feet wide. The renovation called for one single corridor of 40+ feet in width. The previous installation had a 3-foot border of Pastorelli's "Technostone Karnark" tile starting from the tenant's lease line. Ruscio Studio decided to replicate this design and use the same tile on the new side. "Temblum" beige 12"x18" and 6"x18" from Pastorelli were installed in the sections adjacent to the centre pattern while "Pietre Naturale Piasentina" 12"x24" tiles from Ariostea were used to create the surrounding borders. Different shades from Refin's "Avant Garde" collection decorate the floor beneath the seating areas.

The 16 foot wide middle portion is composed of a variety of formats and collections from Ariostea, Piemmegres, and Imola, forming an 8-foot-by-8 foot, 6-inch pattern. "We started with one tile - then added different sizes, then different manufacturers to give the design a cobblestone look," stated Robert Ruscio principal of Ruscio Studio Inc. "Durability and quality were important factors to consider when choosing the tile. The Italians are leaders in the production of porcelain tile plus Italy is the fashion capital of the world - making Italian tile the perfect choice for a shopping mall," added Ruscio.


Project: Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFA)
Tiles: Bisazza
Distributor/Contractor: Bisazza

This year, the jury awarded a special mosaic recognition to Rene Gonzalez Architect for their stunning design of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami, Florida. Using over 1 million Bisazza tiles, the firm created a 125'x35' image of a jungle on the façade of the building. Rene Gonzalez Architect designed the image then Bisazza used their software to match each individual color pixel from the design to one of their 20x20mm tiles. One hundred and seven colors from three different series: Le Gemme, Smalto and Vetricolor were used in the façade. Bisazza donated over one million tiles and devised a new exterior paneling system to bring the project to life. The façade was produced by hand in 12"x12" sections which were then applied and grouted onto 4'x4' aluminum panels. The panels were then anchored to an aluminum structure attached to the original exterior of the warehouse.

According to the firm's principal, Rene Gonzalez, "The design of the façade is a contradiction to the expected white and concrete clad exteriors of most art institutions. The gallery space and garden below are meant to foster exchanges between the Miami and global art community."

Alfonso Panzani, President of Assopiastrelle will present the awards at the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Press Conference on April 4th, 2006. The conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center and mark the start to a number of different activities hosted by the Italians during Coverings 2006.

The Design Competition was started 13 years ago, to recognize outstanding achievement by North American architects or interior designers using Italian ceramic tile in commercial, institutional or residential installations. The criteria used by the jury included: Overall Design of the Project, Innovative Use of Tile, Tile Design, Quality of Installation and Degree that Tile Enhanced the Setting. Previous award recipients include: Michael P. Johnson Design Studio '05; TMP Associates '05; Bernard Tschumi Architects '04; Gillies Stransky Brems Smith PC '04; Jones Studio, Inc. '04; Ralph Appelbaum Associates '04; Swanke Hayden Connell '03; Richard Fleishman + Partners, Inc '03; Waddell + Associate '02; KA, Inc '02; Michael P. Johnson '01; Mojo Stumer '01; Anthony Belluschi Architects '00; One Dream Design '99; TVS & Associates '98; Hirsch-Bedner '97; Arquitectonica '96; Stanley Tigerman '95 and Barbara Lazaroff '94.

To learn more about Ceramic Tiles of Italy visitwww.italiantiles.com, the new gateway to the Italian tile industry.

Italian Companies Gear Up for Coverings 2006

The countdown to Coverings 2006 (April 4-7, 2006) is on. The Italian ceramic tile industry, world leaders in the production and design of ceramic tiles, is preparing for an exciting show and the opportunity to transform the Orange Country Convention Center into Little Italy. In addition to an action-packed schedule of events, including the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Press Conference, visitors will have the chance to see Italy's finest manufactures of ceramic tile all under one roof. Last year, the Ceramic Tiles of Italy booth, designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects, was the talk of the trade show. This dynamic partnership has a few surprises in store for the 2006 exhibit (booth #4422) - sure to be another showstopper.

The cylindrical orange tubes and unique tile curtains that drew so much attention in 2005 will once again be used. Yet a change in the color scheme from red, orange and yellow to black, white and gray will give the exhibit a fresh new look. New collections of Italian tile, donated by a number of different manufacturers including Ascot, Atlas Concorde, Caesar, Ricchetti, Edilcuoghi, Lea, Marazzi, Marca Corona, Mirage, Novabell, Refin, and Viva, installed using keraflex mortar, grout and mesh panels from Mapei, will be used for the curtains and floor - offering visitors a first-look at the industry's top introductions and trends for the season.

The exhibit will serve as the centerpiece of the Italian Pavilion. As always, it will be a hub of activity as Italian manufacturers host their clients for traditional Italian refreshments. The infamous trattoria is always a popular spot, especially during lunchtime. Last year, the on-site chef served more than 4,000 plates of pasta on the first day of the show. Visitors will also be able to pick up the industry's latest promotional materials at the information point and visit the Italian tile industry's new web portal, www.italiantiles.com at the computer kiosk, both located in the booth. The near-by satellite café/newsstand (Booth #4206) is also a convenient place to relax with a cup of Italian coffee.

The exhibit and satellite café will be a showcase for innovative design and inspiring tile applications. These themes will also take center stage as Alfonso Panzani, President of Assopiastrelle, presents the winners of the 2006 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition during the annual Press Conference. The conference, which will be held on Tuesday April 4th at 3:30PM, will also provide valuable information about the Italian tile industry.

The Italians are in the midst of planning their annual cocktail reception. This year, the event will be held on the second day of the show, April 5, 2006. Guests will be treated to a taste of Italy and can enjoy wine from each of the main tile regions in the country. The 2006 Assopiastrelle American Distributor Award will also be presented during the event.

For the Coverings Conference Program, Italy's voice will be heard. On Wednesday April 5, 2006 from 9:00-9:50AM, Industry Consultant Donato Grosser will lead an AIA-accredited seminar entitled "The Future of U.S. Ceramic Tile Distribution: What We Can Predict." He will analyze the increase in tile consumption over the past five years and its impact on distribution. Grosser will focus on two important factors: the effect of tile imports from the Far East and South America and the behavior of the U.S. tile manufacturers. On the following day (April 6, 2006), Arturo Mastelli, President of A&MA Marketing, will lead a discussion on exterior cladding and the benefits of using ceramic and porcelain tile applications as ventilated walls' veneer. Mastelli will also examine mechanical fastening and chemical bonding installations and discuss the benefits of both systems. His seminar, "Vertical Applications with Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles," will take place from 9:00-9:50AM.

Italian style will be seen throughout the Orange County Convention Center. The aerial signage will reflect the stunning cylindrical designs of the exhibit and satellite café and mark the borders of Italian tile country. Ceramic Tiles of Italy will also sponsor the Coverings tram, the Coverings show bags and a keynote speaker.

To keep up-to-date with the Italians' plans for Coverings 2006, visitwww.italiantiles.com.