A sneak peek at this year’s Ceramics of Italy Pavilion

Every year at Coverings, attendees flock to the Italian Pavilion as the center of hospitality during the four-day show. Like a real-life piazza, it’s a hub for architects, designers, contractors, distributors, and remodelers to gather in one place, sip on an authentic Italian espresso, and discuss the state-of-the-art products and design trends found at the show. In a new twist this year, the 3,000 square foot Italian Pavilion will even look like a piazza, as envisioned by e+i studio. The NYC-based architecture and design firm was selected as the official winner of the Ceramics of Italy Exhibit Design Challenge and will design a brand new space for the Italian Pavilion at the fair in April.
Sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica, the Association of Italian Ceramics, and hosted by Architizer, a dynamic online community of architects, the Ceramics of Italy Exhibit Design Challenge called on architects from around the world to submit their designs for a 3,000 square foot pavilion to be built at Coverings this spring. Given relatively free artistic reign and a reasonable budget, entrants were asked to incorporate a restaurant and café, space for an information desk and re-usable components to reflect the Italian tile industry’s commitment to sustainability. Over 80 architecture firms signed on for the challenge. Proposals were reviewed by representatives of Confindustria Ceramica, Architizer, and an advisory committee of previous exhibit architects including Bernard Tschumi, Laurinda Spear, and Michael P. Johnson.

After much deliberation, Eva Perez de Vega and Ian Gordon, founders of the dynamic architecture and design practice e+i studio, were chosen as the overall winners of the competition for their inventive Piazza Ceramica design. Based on the idea of an Italian piazza, their proposed design features a large open gathering space with gradual steps reminiscent of a piazza church. According to e+i studio, the topographic mounds can be recreated into many different piazza-like configurations.
Michael P. Johnson, principal of Michael P. Johnson Studio and an advisor for the competition said, ‘The proposal by e+i studio is a clever concept of carving out the functional requirements of the project. A landscape of tile-cladded typography ‘steps’ will certainly draw attention to the booth while the plaza located in the valley between the hills will create a rich experience for visitors.’

Ceramics of Italy is now working with the design team at e+i studio to finalize the plans for the pavilion. Stop by during Coverings to see the new landscape –register for free at