Commercial Winner: BKA Architects, Inc.

Project: Samsonite Corporate Headquarters

Tiles: Floor Gres

Contractor: Middlesex Carpet Co., Inc.

Distributor: Stone Source/Daltile


When American designers work with Italian materials great things happen. Confindustria Ceramica and the Italian Trade Commission have announced the winners of the 2008 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. The competition, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, recognizes extraordinary North American architects who create design masterpieces that employ innovative uses of Italian ceramic tile. Prizes are awarded for excellence in Residential, Commercial and Institutional architecture. An international jury critiqued the artistic and technical aspects of each project. They considered the creative uses of tile, and how it fits into the overall design aesthetic.

Honorable Mention recipient Gieseke Rosenthal Architecture + Design (GRA+D)’s Northstar Café project.

Massachusetts-based firm BKA Architects was declared the winner for the Commercial division for the Samsonite Corporate Headquarters. The highlight of the project was the company logo inlaid in the floor of the central lobby. The design was created using contrasting colors of 24” x 24” porcelain tile from Floor Gres Ceramiche. “The swirling floor pattern was designed to draw people through the lobby into Samsonite’s new Corporate Headquarters,” said David Seibert, Senior Vice President and Senior Designer of BKA.

Institutional Winner: Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects, Inc.

Project: Cleveland Job Corps Center

   for the Department of Labor

Tiles: Impronta Ceramiche

Contractor: Impronta Ceramiche

Distributor: Virginia Tile

Also receiving recognition in this category is Gieseke Rosenthal Architecture + Design (GRA+D) from Columbus, Ohio for its Northstar Cafe. The project possessed many sustainable features to help preserve energy and water, which meshed with the client’s eco-friendly attitude. GRA+D carefully curated all the materials in this restaurant to ensure their green attributes. For the dining room walls, they played with slender 1” x 6” tiles to create visual interest and a chic setting. Large format 12” x 24” Italian porcelains were also used on the kitchen and restroom walls.

Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects from Cleveland, Ohio stood out as the winner of the Institutional category. Their design for the Cleveland Job Corps Center displayed a progressive and creative application of Italian porcelain tile. Impronta Ceramiche tile in 12” x 12” and 12” x 24” formats were used as the exterior surface for all the buildings in the sprawling 25-acre campus. The site was selected by the Department of Labor to be the location of an accredited high school and community college program.

Division1 Architects

Project: Roberts Residence

Tiles: Caesar

Contractor: Act, Inc.

Distributor: Best Tile

Division1 Architects from Silver Spring, Maryland, was chosen as a Residential winner for the Roberts Residence, which features 12” x 24” Ceramiche Caesar tile on a portion of the exterior façade and much of the interior. In addition to conventional use as flooring, the tiles were used in many innovative applications including a bridge, the wall of the fish tank, and the bathrooms. The project location was known for its extreme topography. Division1’s other submissions, the Harris Residence and the commercial project A PLACE to Cleanse, also impressed the jury.

Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

Project: Industrial Designer House

Tiles: Refin

Contractor: Heisei Kensetsu

Distributor: Riviera, Inc.

Koji Tsutsui of San Francisco was selected as a winner for its Industrial Designer House. The structure, which stands in a suburb of Tokyo, boasts sleek white interior flooring of Refin’s Stile series. The Refin tile is the central design motif and symbol of continuity in the project. Tsutsui honed his skills through working with Pritzker Prize winning architect Tadao Ando for more than six years.

In recognition of his commitment to innovative design using Italian ceramic tile, architect and two-time Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition winner Michael P. Johnson of Michael P. Johnson Design Studios was honored with the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Legend Award. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based architect’s two projects, the Bradley Residence and the Ellsworth Residence, wowed the jury with their minimalist sophistication and modern aesthetic. In the Bradley Residence, 12” by 24” Imola porcelain tile was used as both interior and exterior flooring. For the Ellsworth Residence, Johnson used 24” x 48” Imola tiles to create a pristine and open appearance. In both projects, the use of tile supplied sustainable benefits, because when flooded with sunlight through the south facing glass panels, they provide a heat sink, thus reducing both heat cost and energy consumption. 

Legend Award: Michael P. Johnson Design

Studios, Ltd.

Projects: Bradley Residence (pictured); Ellsworth Residence

Tiles: Cooperativa Ceramica D’Imola

Contractor: Artisan Tile, Inc.

Distributor: Imperial Tile Imports, Ltd.

Conestoga Tile Receives 2008 Distributor Award

After an extensive selection process, Conestoga Ceramic Tile Distributors has been named the 2008 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, including: competence and skill 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.

Jim and Steve Vogel of Conestoga Ceramic Tile Distributors have been named the 2008 recipients of the Confindustria Ceramica North American Distributor Award.

Conestoga Ceramic Tile Distributors, Inc., is a wholesale distributor and importer of ceramic tile and allied products representing approximately 50 domestic and foreign manufacturers. They carry an extensive collection of Italian ceramic tile including: Edilgres Sirio, EmilCeramica, Ceramiche Ricchetti, Mediterranea, Cerim, Rex, Rondine, Tagina, Impronta Ceramiche, Dolce Vita, and Pastorelli.

Conestoga Tile was given the award during a special Serata di Gala held at the Hard Rock LIVE in Orlando, FL. Confindustria Ceramica President Alfonzo Panzani and famed Italian singer Luisa Corna presented the prize to Jim and Steve Vogel. The firm will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Bologna, Italy to attend CERSAIE 2008 in September.