No, it wasn’t NOLA. But in true trooper spirit, the show did go on, albeit in a different world. Coverings 2020 went virtual under the banner of Coverings Connected. Kicking off the event was a series of online press conferences, the highlights of which were announcements of winners in various competitions. True to form, winners spanned the globe with tile as the protagonist in stunning architecture and design solutions for a range of project types.
First up was Tiles of Spain. In the architecture category, Barcelona’s Santa Creu and Sant Pau Hospital by PICHarchitects and 2BMFG Arquitectes was lauded for the façade’s permeable skin of ventilated ceramic tile. The treatment enabled communication between interiors and exterior while also allowing the material’s underside to reflect the surrounding colors of the Mediterranean landscape.
Winner in the interiors category was a waiting room by José Maria Sánchez García within platforms of a bus station located in Villanueva de la Serena. The clean background of “corrugated” white ceramic tile, coupled with geometric shapes, provides an elevated experience atypical of this type of venue.
Tiles of Spain also awarded a final degree project for architecture students. Óscar Cruz García from the Madrid School of Architecture won for Momento Mori: The Presence of Absence. The presentation was cited for its attention to detail and heartfelt depiction of spaces combining nature, materials, and atmosphere. Honorable mentions were also selected in each category, and cash prizes totaled $44,000.
For its annual tile competition, Ceramics of Italy selected a winner each in commercial, residential, institution, and student categories, plus three honorable mentions. New was a first-time People’s choice award, determined by a two-week period of online voting.
Ruscio Studio took the commercial prize for its Garden City Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. Standouts included colorful lounge areas playing into a garden theme and simulated stone floor tiles in various colors to separate areas. Bathrooms, meanwhile, went dark and dramatic with a 3D-like composition on walls.
A striking, contemporary house by Bolivar Arquitectos in Monterrey, Mexico’s M+B Club de Golf la Herradura was the residential winner. The villa’s exterior was clad with almost 13,000 square feet of quartzite-esque porcelain tiles, their jagged shape alluding to distant mountains, while interior floors and walls were finished with tiles in muted neutrals.
Closer to home, Perkins and Will took the institution prize for a New York City Healthcare Clinic. Located in a repurposed 25-story, midtown office building, the facility treats outpatients from varied medical practices. Its standout was a feature wall, set within lighting niches, of large-format tiles recalling the rhythmic cityscape.
Student winners Carolina Cardona, Gabriela Mesquita, Rachel Cowan, and Mariapia Sierra from Florida International University conceived a cruise-line spa as holistic experience for the senses. The team used a different array of tiles to characterize each treatment are as well as common social spaces.
Finally, the People’s Choice award went to Vida Design’s The Rodney in Portland’s Pearl district. The luxury residential high-rise is distinguished by a custom mosaic tile “rug” gracing its lobby. All winners of built projects will receive $2,000 plus a CEU-accredited trip to Cersaie this fall.
Meanwhile, Coverings celebrated its own competition of Installation & Design (CID) awards, naming 18 recipients in eight categories. Among the winning residential and commercial projects were: Juli Capella’s Mercado Little Spain in New York, a striking chiaroscuro residential renovation by Empire Kitchen and Bath in Calgary, and the Museum of Natural History Collections of the University of Alicante in Spain. Coverings also recognized young talent with its Rock Stars: designers, manufacturers, installers, and distributers in the tile industry.