Clark Contractors, based in Little Rock, AK, managed this phased construction project. The guest bathrooms were designed by EDG Interior Architecture + Design, a nationally recognized San Francisco, CA-based design firm with a formidable client list that includes top hospitality companies. Their initial designs called for natural limestone with glass mosaic tile used as an accent. From an aesthetic standpoint, this was a great choice, but, according to Marco Ballarin, Sales Manager at Florim USA, "The stone wasn't a budget-friendly product. And when you're considering the renovation of over 1,000 guestrooms in a major hotel, there was no question that a high-performance, cost-saving alternative had to be sought out."
Alamo Tile & Stone of San Antonio, TX, was tasked with performing the tile installation with products supplied by Crossville Tile & Stone. "We asked if they could recommend another option to replace the limestone," stated Lee Copeland of Alamo. "We knew they were market-savvy and would make solid recommendations."
Ray Hans of Crossville Tile & Stone had been stocking "Layers" produced by Florim USA for quite a while. The Layers Collection is a large-format porcelain tile consisting of 40% pre-consumer recycled content, and is produced using a state-of-the-art inkjet process called "HDG-High Definition Graphics Technology," which results in each tile looking very authentic to natural stone. "But the color of Layers wasn't exactly the same color as the limestone which was originally specified," Hans explained. So, Hans, with limestone sample in hand, quickly connected with Ballarin.
"Clearly, our Layers emulation of natural limestone was right on -- except for the color," said Ballarin. "So we came back to Ray with another option, "Avorio," which is also a large-format porcelain produced similarly to Layers. The color of Avorio, which was presented to him, was right on the money, so Ray went back to Alamo. Eventually, the decision makers at the architectural firm and at the Hyatt Regency Dallas agreed that this was an ideal selection forthe 1,120 guest bathrooms."
There obviously were strong reasons for this specification. To begin with, the body of a porcelain tile is denser and thus, less porous than that of a typical ceramic floor tile. This makes porcelain tile very hard and extremely impervious to moisture -- making it an ideal selection for wet areas such as the guest bathrooms at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. Additionally, unlike natural stone, porcelain tile does not need to be sealed on a semi-regular basis.
According to Ballarin, 6- x 24-inch tiles were selected for the bathroom walls and 12- x 24-inch tiles were chosen for the floors. Larger format tiles such as these translate into having less grout joints in the final installation. Historically, grout is the most difficult and time-consuming component of any tile installation to keep clean. So with less grout lines, the hotel actually would be keeping its housekeeping expenses down. And because of the strength of porcelain tile, the hotel realized that this installation would last for years to come.
"When we installed the tile, the finishing touch was the accent glass mosaics," said Alamo's Copeland, whose firm adorned each of the bathrooms with Crossville EF04 Sand + Surfaces mixed mosaic deco bands. "This project took us an entire year. It entailed a lot of planning and was quite labor intensive, but now that it's over, I look back and see an installation of which we were very proud to be part of."
Stefano Rabaioli, Florim USA's Vice President of Sales & Marketing, added, "We're also very proud to be part of this project. When Crossville Tile & Stone put through the order, which frankly was a quite sizable architectural specification, we were very confident that not only could we meet the demands relative to quantity, but also to consistency in quality and an impending deadline. We also knew that with our large capacity/high output factory in Clarksville, TN, that if this client wanted the same tile with the same exact color in the future, additional production of it would be no problem.
"Porcelain tile is a very green product," Rabaioli went on to say. "For example, the Avorio materials produced for the Hyatt Regency Dallas are produced with 40% recycled material. We're committed to producing tile ranges that not only look like natural stone and perform like porcelain tile, but we're offering American-made tiles that garner LEED credits and are manufactured with environmentally friendly techniques."