For the past 17 years, the Italian Trade Commission and Confindustria Ceramica - the Association of Italian Manufacturers - have hosted the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition to recognize North American architects and designers who use Italian tile in their projects. Recently, in concurrence with the Meatpacking District’s overall architecture theme for the 2009 New York Design Week, they presented a retrospective of select winning projects from the competition’s rich history at The 414 Gallery (414 West 14th St.), the Meatpacking District’s central hub.
Commenting on the competition itself, Aniello Musella, U.S. Trade Commissioner, Italian Trade Commission, said, “This is an important opportunity for the leading Italian ceramic tile manufacturers to meet with the vibrant international and national A&D community in NYC - a city known for design and architecture. In addition to our presence at ICFF with a multi-brand pavilion, this special exhibit in the Meatpacking will celebrate some of the best projects created by American architects and designers working with Italian ceramics. We appreciate the opportunity to share these projects with a savvy NY audience in the Meatpacking District and hope that they will inspire future installations across America.”
Vittorio Borelli, president of the Commission for Promotional Activities and Tradeshows of Confindustria Ceramica, added, “For Ceramic Tiles of Italy, this initiative underscores our commitment to the American market. Our tiles are included in prominent projects across the world. This competition gives us a chance to learn more about these projects and to celebrate and thank the talented architects that specify them.”
Designed by the New York-based graphic designer Maiarelli Studio - building on elements created by architectural studio Phu Hoang Office - the showcase featured a mixture of winners from the 2009 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition including the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Cooper Carry, and Baldinger Architectural Studio, as well as a selection of projects from previous award recipients such as Bernard Tschumi, Michael P. Johnson, Swanke Hayden Connell and Rene Gonzalez.
Five custom-designed display units were set-up in the space so that guests could walk around each structure and view the large-size photos of each 2009 winning installation. To add to the experience, oversized vertical banners - highlighting former residential, commercial and institutional winning installations - hung from the ceiling and offered a historical look at the competition.
Annie Washburn, executive director of the Meatpacking Initiative, said she was pleased to have Ceramic Tiles of Italy onboard, “The Ceramic Tiles of Italy exhibit fit beautifully with our architectural theme and added to the international flavor of the district.” In addition to the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition exhibit, the previously raw space housed displays from other architecturally oriented partners including Design Boom, iCrave and more, as well as itssit_down_pleaseexhibition that featured six tile-clad chairs designed by Setsu & Shinobu Ito, Michela e Paolo Baldessari, Diego Grandi, Massimo Iosa Ghini, Michael P. Johnson and Paolo Ulian.