In February 2016, American Airlines (AA) unveiled plans to complete major renovations to its network of Admirals Club lounges. With that came the introduction of its Flagship Lounges, which offer premium amenities for international passengers, transcon domestic first-class and business-class passengers, and Oneworld members.

Following the opening of its first Flagship Lounges at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY, and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL, in early 2017, AA completed the Flagship Lounge at MIA shortly after in November 2017. Located adjacent to the Admirals Club near Gate D30 in the North Terminal, the 29,000-square-foot lounge features a range of porcelain tile on the floors and walls, accented by glass mosaics, which add a sophisticated touch to the upscale, contemporary space.

The lounge offers a relaxing aesthetic, with an expansive layout and purposely separated areas for working and relaxation. Upon entering, you are greeted by a marble-inspired walkway of 18- x 36-inch porcelain tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Marvel Pro collection in the color “Grey Fleury,” which lead to the check-in desks. The light gray tiles incorporate distinct veining reminiscent of natural marble and are outlined by much darker, 9- x 36-inch tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Doga collection in the color “Cocoa,” which feature knots and veining typical of sandblasted oak wood. This tile pattern continues throughout the lounge in the quiet areas, snack and beverage cafeteria, media room and business center.

In the lounge’s Flagship® First Dining area, which offers full-service meals, a more traditional marble-look porcelain tile from Atlas Concorde’s Marvel Pro collection was utilized for the walls and floors. The “Statuario Select” design was specified in a 24- x 24-inch format for the walls.

This design is also carried onto the floor near the small bar in the Flagship First Dining area, adding a nice wall-to-floor continuation. The bar’s backsplash features glass mosaic accents from Voguebay’s Great Wall series in “Cappuccino,” which plays well with the reflection from the bar’s overhead lights.

To complement the white-and-gray tiles on the walls and floors, polished 24- x 24-inch tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Marvel Pro collection in the darker “Noir St. Laurent” marble design were selected for the remaining flooring, which incorporate subtle white veins.

For various other walls throughout the lounge, as well as some other design elements, around 7,300 square feet of Daltile’s SlimLite Coastline porcelain panels were specified. The 3.5-mm-thick panels, which emulate natural stone from Spain, were specified in 20- x 39-, 20- x 59-, 39- x 39-, 39- x 59- and 39- x 118-inch formats in the light beige color, “Beach.”

The porcelain panels, which were used in the main areas, quiet areas, snack and beverage area, and business center, were arranged in a unique pattern and required a detailed shop drawing to install. “The large-format wall panel installation was a mix of five different size panels in a repeating pattern around the walls within the space,” said Ed Rappold, manager of South Florida operations at David Allen Company, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL, who spearheaded the tile installation. “This was a bit unusual and required our installers to be diligent in following our detailed shop drawings of all the walls.”

Porcelain tile is also carried into the men’s and women’s restrooms. On the floors, 12- x 24-inch unpolished porcelain tiles from Daltile’s Diamante collection were implemented in the color “Grigio,” which provide an industrial-like feel. Complementary accent walls feature semi-polished 12- x 24-inch tiles from Eleganza Tiles’ Metallica Lite collection in the dark gray color, “Steel.”

Given the scope of the project, David Allen Company had an average of five to seven installation crews onsite, which contained 10 to 14 workers. In its entirety, the installation took around six months to complete. “We installed a total of approximately 30,000 square feet of tile,” said Rappold. “Most of the tile quantity was floor tile set in a full mortar bed.”

Laticrete products were used for the majority of the installation, with the exception of the SlimLite panels, which were installed using Bostik’s Bosti-Set, a thin porcelain tile panel adhesive and sound reduction membrane. “The biggest reason we decided to use the Bosti-Set was that our installation schedule for the SlimLite was squeezed,” explained Rappold. “The Bosti-Set requires only one surface application of adhesive, not the two required for thinset mortar. This enabled our installers to install the panels much quicker than if they used a polymer-modified thinset mortar.”

The Flagship Lounge was completed a little less than two years ago and has received praise from every angle. “We have received compliments from the architect, interior designer and owner,” said Rappold. “This is a Flagship for their Admirals Club design.”

American Airlines Flagship Lounge at Miami International Airport

Miami, FL

Architect: Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc., Miami, FL

Tile Suppliers: Dal-Tile Corp., Dallas, TX (Daltile’s SlimLite Coastline panels in “Beach” and Diamante collection in “Grigio;” Voguebay’s Great Wall glass mosaic in “Cappuccino,” “Optic White” and “Plain White”); Eleganza Tiles, Inc., Edison, NJ (Metallica Lite collection in “Steel”); Florida Design Works, Miami, FL (Atlas Concorde’s Doga collection in “Cocoa” and Marvel Pro collection in “Statuario Select” and “Noir St. Laurent”); Innovative Surfaces, Miami, FL (glass, slate, brick and stone mosaics); MSI, Orange, CA (Dimensions collection in “Graphite”); Porcelanosa, Ramsey, NJ (Baltimore collection in “Gray”)

Tile Installer: David Allen Company, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Installation Products: Bostik, Milwaukee, WI (Bosti-Set); Laticrete, Bethany, CT (209 Floor Mud, 4-XLT, Glass Tile Adhesive, Hydro Barrier, Permacolor, Spectralock Pro Premium Grout); Schluter-Systems, Plattsburgh, NY (Schluter-Indec)