The Pearl District is an area of downtown Portland, OR, formerly occupied by warehouses, light industry and railroad classification yards, which is now known for its shopping, art galleries and upscale businesses and residences. Located at 14th Avenue and NW Glisan Street, is The Rodney, a 17-story, multi-family, luxurious high-rise, which features an incredibly unique floor mosaic using ceramic tiles from Appiani.
Stretching from the entryway to the elevator lobby, the detailed mosaic was created using a custom-made pattern from Appiani’s Open Space collection, which was designed by local design firm, Vida Design.
“The goal for the design was to provide a ‘wow’ moment when potential residents and guests enter the building,” said Sheena Brittingham, principal and director of design at Vida Design. “The name we gave to the interior design vision was ‘classic edge,’ which is inspired by classic interior design you would see in older historic buildings, but given a new/fresh perspective. We wanted to blend the history of Portland into the design and what better way than by a mosaic inlay floor.”
Upon entering The Rodney, you are greeted by a “tile entry mat” that reads “Portland” in all caps, which is indicative of the local product of the building, according to Brittingham. “We are a Portland-based design firm and we wanted our love and pride for our great city to show,” the designer explained. “Our client was very involved with the approval process. We used our SketchUp rendering tools to represent multiple versions of the tile design and had mock-ups made in different color combinations, which we shared with the client. At one point, the tile was going to be mostly blue, and after seeing the options, ultimately the group preferred the more neutral combination of white, black and warm gray.”
The customized pattern, which resembles an older-style area rug, was crafted using three colors from Appiani’s Open Space collection — Blackite, Calcite and Vanadio — in a matte finish. Around 380 square feet of the 1/2- x 1/2-inch tiles set on 12- x 23-inch sheets were chosen for their slip resistance, durability, color options and customizability.
“Prior to choosing to work with Appiani tile, we were considering using Puzzle by Mutina,” Brittingham said. “We chose to change directions due to concerns with the thickness of that product and potential for dust to show on the solid colors of that tile. We are so happy we changed directions.”
The soft- and neutral-toned tile from Appiani, which creates a “dynamic, interesting motif,” was supplied by Statements Tile and Stone in Portland, OR. “My favorite thing about it is that it’s incredibly durable and functional,” Brittingham said. “I don’t think we could’ve achieved the same aesthetic using any other product. The size and sheen of Appiani mosaics are so unique.”
Although the design of the building took around two years to complete, the tile installation only took two weeks. “We had very detailed drawings that we provided to the installer and Appiani did an amazing job mapping out and numbering the pattern to make the installation very straightforward and smooth,” Brittingham said. “We visited the site a few times during the installation process, mainly because we were so excited to see it going in.”
Since the project’s completion, it has received an extremely position reaction, according to Brittingham, and was also awarded the very first People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. “The Rodney really stands out in the Portland multi-family housing market and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Brittingham said.
Architect/Designer: Vida Design, Portland, OR
Tile Supplier: Statements Tile and Stone, Portland, OR (Appiani’s Open space collection)