The Italians brought innovation to a new level with a provocative exhibition of six chairs, developed by designer/manufacturer teams and clad in ceramic tile, entitled "sit_down_please." Italian tile manufacturers included: Aquileia, Del Conca, Etruria Design, Lea Ceramiche, Ragno and Settecento.

Trendsetting new collections from Italy’s leading manufacturers of ceramic tile, a fresh look for the Ceramic Tiles of Italy central station and special promotions paved the way for another successful show. The Italian pavilion was a bustling hub as visitors flocked from exhibit to exhibit to get a first-hand look at the products and trends that will fill the market this season. The Italian tile producers were ready and waiting to show off their spring introductions to a qualified audience of architects and designers, dedicated dealers, distributors and importers who make the trek to the show each year, as well as new clientele from the Midwest area.

With its glowing orange banner tubes, the always popular, Ceramic Tiles of Italy exhibit, designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects, could be seen from entrance of the grand concourse. Located in the center of the Italian pavilion, the piazza-like space was an area where guests could enjoy traditional Italian lunches and authentic afternoon snacks. It also included an information point where attendees could pick up educational materials including the sought-after new pavilion catalog and guide. Since its debut in Orlando in 2005, the booth’s cylindrical tubes, futuristic tile curtains and chic porcelain floor have been a crowd favorite. Each year, Tschumi and his team have created a fresh color palette for the innovative exhibit. In 2007, attendees were treated to an eye-catching mix of cobalt blue, dark blue, primary red, dark red and orange. According to project manager Phu Hoang, “With its unique design and innovative approach to exhibiting ceramic tiles, the space draws visitors who understand the importance of design in everyday life.” A smaller satellite newsstand and café served espresso and cappuccino for guests in need of a pick-me-up.

Taking place in a city full of architectural significance and iconic landmarks, the Ceramic Tiles of Italy pavilion at Coverings paid homage to great architecture and photography. This theme was not only reflected throughout the pavilion, but also in the signage, seminars and new promotions created for the show.

In addition, the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Pavilion presented three other special new attractions this year:
As the show opened in Chicago, the famed Salone Del Mobile Furniture Fair took place in Milan. In celebration of the crossover between the worlds of architecture, furniture and Italian tile – Ceramic Tiles of Italy created a special exhibit entitled “sit_down_please.” Working with famed architect Mario Botta and Milanese design guru Aldo Colonetti, the industry commissioned a group of nine architects to create a series of chairs with ceramic tile. Attendees were the first people in America to see and literally have a seat on a selection of these provocative new chairs – as their counterparts were simultaneously unveiled at the Triennale in the center of Milan.

In keeping with the theme, the Italians also created a new exhibit that celebrated the winning projects from the 2007 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. Large 24”-by-36” panels of the winning projects hung from a unique accordion-like white softwall material. The exhibit was a stunning display of innovative Italian tile applications and installations. Visitors to the space could also pick up information on the 2008 competition.

Finally, following a successful iPod promotion in 2006, visitors to the Italian Pavilion had a chance to win a digital camera. The five lucky winners, which will be announced in the weeks following the show, can use the camera to capture their own future tile masterpieces.

Residential Winner: Vanessa De Leon Associates
Project: Old Tappan Residence, New Jersey
Tiles: Lea, Viva, Sant’Agostino and DolceVita
Setting Materials: MAPEI

Ceramic Tiles of Italy Announces 2007 Design Competition Winners, Sets Deadline for 2008

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 U.S. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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” x 24” porcelain tiles from Caesar set the tone, creating a sophisticated interior space that is functional and offers patrons a unique dinning experience.

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” x 8” and 6” x 6” tiles to create a natural look. In addition, 2” x 2” 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.

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, 46 colors from leading tile producers including Casalgrande Padana, Cercom, Impronta Italgraniti and Lea were used in the redesign.

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.

The deadline for the next Ceramic Tiles of Italy has been set for January 11, 2008. North American architects and interior designers are encouraged to keep Italian tile in mind as they design commercial, institutional and residential projects and submit their work. There is no limit to submissions and new construction and renovation projects from the past five years are eligible. Winners receive a trip to Coverings, a check for $5,000 and participate in a 5-Day trip to Bologna to attend Cersaie, the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings – as part of a delegation of design journalists. Distributor and contractor teams on winning projects split a check for $1,000.

For more information on the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition and to learn about the 2008 guidelines, visit

Commercial Winner: testani design troupe inc/CMD Architects, Inc.
Project: Evensong Spa
Tiles: Sant’Agostino
Setting Materials: MAPEI

2007 Design Competition Winners

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

Commercial Winner:testani design troupe inc/CMD Architects, Inc.
Project:Evensong Spa
Setting Materials:MAPEI
Tile Contractor:Coyle Contract Flooring
Distributor:Arizona Tile

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.

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

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

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

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.
Setting Materials:MAPEI
Distributor:Maderas Alfa

Confindustria Ceramica Vice President Enzo Mularoni congratulates CAPCO Tile & Stone President Joe Holgerson.

Ceramic Tiles of Italy Recognizes CAPCO Tile & Stone as a Leading Distributor of Italian Ceramic Tile

After a lengthy selection process, CAPCO Tile & Stone has been named the 2007 recipient of the Confindustria Ceramica North American Distributor Award. Presented annually at Coverings, this award recognizes a U.S. or Canadian distributor for their dedication to the promotion and use of Italian ceramic tiles in the marketplace.

As in past years, a Supervisory Committee, made up of members of the Confindustria Ceramica 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. CAPCO exemplified each of the rigorous standards set forth by the Italian ceramic tile industry.

CAPCO imports and distributes the finest in ceramic tile, stone tile, and stone slab from Italy and around the globe. Established in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1977, this firm has quickly grown to become one of the premier tile distributors in the Rocky Mountain region. The firm prides itself on quality service, reliability and a “customer first” attitude. Throughout the years, CAPCO has added various new locations in order to better assist the surrounding areas. Today in addition to its 87,000 square-foot warehouse and showroom in Denver, CAPCO has stores throughout Colorado including: Silverthorne, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Basalt, Grand Junction, Avon, and Boulder as well as one in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each branch has its own showroom, showcasing tile and stone vignettes and interesting floor patterns. Among the most recent introductions to the CAPCO family is a center for Interior Solutions in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a combined effort to showcase tile and stone, custom cabinets and millwork, and high-end appliances, which is located adjacent to the Denver Design Center.

Italian tile, long associated with timeless style and beauty, is the backbone of CAPCO’s product line. Approximately 80% of the company’s offerings are from Italy including lines from Century, Cerim, Dom, Eco, Edilcuoghi, Floorgres, Giardini di Pietra, Imola, Magica, Monocibec, Novabell, Refin, Rex, Saime, Sicis, Tagina, Viva and more. According to a firm representative, “The Italians continually set the industry trends. In addition, products made in Italy exhibit excellent quality and the Italian tile manufacturers are always easy to work with.”

On April 17th, 2007 CAPCO president and representatives from the firm were on hand to accept their award. Confindustria Ceramica Vice President Enzo Mularoni presented the prize during the Ceramic Tiles of Italy annual cocktail party at Coverings. The distributor also receives an all-expense paid trip to Bologna, Italy to attend CERSAIE 2007 (October 2-6, 2007), the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings.

For additional information on the award, visit