Micro- vignettes to showcase tile trends at Coverings

Attendees of Coverings will experience the creative visions of four designers come to life during the seventh iteration of the Coverings Installation Design Showcase. During the live-action demonstration and exhibit, sponsored by The Home Depot, master installers will build full-scale vignettes that incorporate materials from industry-leading tile and stone manufacturers, for the duration of the show from April 18 – 21, 2016 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The 2016 Installation Design Showcase will allow attendees the opportunity to escape the show floor and participate in the newly designed courtyard setting. The four vignettes will spotlight tile applications in a variety of commercial settings, including a retail boutique, a spa lobby, a clubhouse bar and lounge, and a boutique hotel lobby.

Design teams led by representatives from Alena Capra Designs, Architecture is Fun, FGM Architects, and Healing Environments will be paired with installers who hold Five Star Recognition from the National Tile Contractors Association and certification from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation to build each team’s creative vision. Bellota, Lackmond, European Tile Masters, LATICRETE, MAPEI, Schluter, TEC/H.B. Fuller, and USG will all supply the necessary materials, supplies and tools to build each vignette. John Cox, of Cox Tile and Stone, has worked closely with each design and installation team, offering technical and executional consultation.

Retail Boutique

Designer Alena Capra, principal of Alena Capra Designs and the 2016 Coverings Industry Ambassador, will incorporate a number of trends in tile materials, including 3-D effects, shades of aqua, bold prints and fabric looks, to create a chic retail boutique environment. Incorporating surfacing from a roster of Ceramics of Italy manufacturers, including Ceramica Sant’Agostino, Tagina Ceramiche d’Arte, Atlas Concorde and Sicis, Capra’s design will feature one statement wall in a mosaic peacock print, while white 3-D tile, blue glass tiles and aqua and gray porcelain cover the remaining wall surfaces. The design navigates the challenges of incorporating display areas without visually distracting from the tile. For the second time, after first participating in 2010, Capra has been partnered with an installation team from Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co., represented by James Woelfel.

“The Installation Design Showcase is an opportunity to illustrate the importance of proper methods and standards in tile installation and show how they play such a vital role in tile design,” said Woelfel. “When designers, architects, general contractors and owners see for themselves the difference a certified tile installer makes in a project, they have a greater appreciation for the technical knowledge and quality craftsmanship it takes to make a job successful.”

Spa Lobby

The design team from Healing Environments, led by Susan El-Naggar, will illustrate the firm’s commitment to creating healthy environments that promote healing and inner peace. Their spa lobby vignette has a strong focus on sustainability, utilizing Biophilic Design practices, and will incorporate a variety of versatile stone & tile materials from Crossville for a synergistic space.

“We are looking forward to the build-out at the show and the ability to ‘experience’ a luxury space through the five senses,” explains El-Naggar. “Through the dramatic ambiance of the Opti-myst fireplace to the peaceful water feature to the smell of eucalyptus, the spa lobby will surely be a place that will bring ‘healing to the mind, body, and spirit.’”

The first-time Installation Design Showcase participants from Trostrud Mosaic & Tile, a third-generation family firm based in the greater Chicago area, will ensure the project’s elements are completed to the highest degree of quality and technical accuracy – two critical performance benchmarks for the company’s work. According to Brad Trostrud, his team has taken the challenge of combatting the Showcase’s time constraint to heart, and has developed a plan to account for any limitations or potential obstacles during build-out so to ensure success with their design partner during the building period.

Clubhouse Bar & Lounge

The design team from FGM Architects, led by Louise Kowalczyk and Raegan Porter, has embraced the opportunity to collaborate with installers in a new setting during the Installation Design Showcase. The new options of shapes, sizes and finishes offered by StonePeak’s tile product offerings provided great inspiration to demonstrate the myriad of ways tile can be used beyond the expected inside the golf clubhouse bar & lounge. The design team frequently use tile in their projects, but find a welcome challenge in creating warmth in a space that incorporates all hard surface tile and look forward to seeing the possibilities come to life with their installation team from Welch Tile and Marble, represented by Steven Coates.

“Being passionate about the tile industry manifests itself in many ways,” said Coates. “The Installation Design Showcase provides opportunities to reward, teach and support industry sustainability, and we look forward to networking and interacting with the talented participants as we advance our experiences and careers.”

Boutique Hotel Lobby

A passion for travel to exotic locales and public spaces that delight, charm and play with emotions inspired the design team from Architecture Is Fun. In conceptualizing their boutique hotel lobby vignette, the team sought to create a vibrant social space that is dynamic yet intimate, and serves an environment where visitors can ‘play and stay’ in their own personalized way, whether it’s in a rebellious, creative, calm or social.

“The Installation Design Showcase is a perfect play partner, providing an opportunity to dabble with materiality and to disrupt the norm,” said Sharon Exley, of Architecture Is Fun. “We want our hotel vignette to be welcoming, to elevate practical needs into those that differentiate and to create a place to return again and again.”

The installation team from Grazzini Brothers will work with a variety of materials from Florim to show and tell the design team’s story. The inclusion of supersized porcelain juxtaposed against jewel-sized insets is intended to create an evocative and beautiful space.

“The Installation Design Showcase is a unique collaborative process that encapsulates the full scope of a tile project from design and specification to installation all executed in a compressed timeline,” said John Cox, of Cox Stone & Tile, and Installation Design Showcase technical advisor. “The close collaboration between the design and installation professionals reiterates how integral the two professions are to ensuring the continued success of the tile and stone industry.”