At Coverings 2021, we honored outstanding Special Recognition projects that demonstrated spectacular craftsmanship and creativity in the use of tile & stone. This week we’re putting the spotlight on projects who were recognized across a variety of types.
Special Recognition: Restoration
By George at the Candler Hotel
The Beck Group
The most prominent space in the Candler building is located on the main floor, facing what was Houston Street, and served as a bank for most of the building’s history. The banking hall featured an expansive, beautiful mosaic floor installed in 1906. The space was renovated in 1938 and the large vestibule to Houston Street was removed and the marble columns along the building exterior were sealed behind plaster walls. The mosaic tile floor remained hidden for years until renovation for the restaurant began.
The Beck Group’s first effort was to remove the vinyl tile and clean the mosaic floor, but the cement used to adhere the vinyl tile was impervious to any chemical cleaner. The result complements the featured area of exposed original tile at the entrance and enhances the historic space and overall upscale, elegant design of the restaurant.
It represents a creative response to an opportunity to renew and feature the tile craftsmanship that had been hidden from view for decades and blend it with a new installation that creates a timeless feel in harmony with the historic context.
Special Recognition: Community Project
San Pedro Creek Culture Park
J&R Tile, Inc.
San Antonio, TX
Created with the story of the San Pedro Creek in mind, the Culture Park features the works of prominent San Antonio artists. Murals, ceramic art, tiled benches and historical text and poetry depict the colors of our vibrant history. The San Pedro Creek has attracted people to its banks for 12,000 years. These banks have witnessed an exciting history of bold exploration and monumental mission, resulting in the vibrant, diverse culture of our beloved community.
Custom digitally printed tile murals were made on a grid, to be installed featuring local artists paintings celebrating and expressing the creek’s and city’s history. There were many challenges, including exterior application assemblies of the tilework in systems for appropriate climate conditions. Custom color mission tile to match RGN pallets caused 10 different color samples and mockups prior to approval by Bexar County and the artists and architects.
Flattening of vertical concrete for flatness tolerances was also a challenge, in the hot South Texas climate where much warping had taken place and tile is to be installed. Also, custom profiles were made for the tile benches so public skateboarders would not damage the public tile art. Verification of the super format artwork to be displayed, and movement joints not cutting through the artwork was also critical for the as-planned versus the as-built conditions.
Special Recognition: Artistic Installation
‘Ethyl and Steph’, Aqua Therapy Pool
Tierra Tile was approached for this project about a year before the building concept was even designed. The owners came to them with the idea of doing a mosaic in the bottom of their proposed new aqua therapy pool. They knew the size was 16 x 24 feet and they knew that they wanted it to be glass mosaic tile. The owners had no ideas for the mosaic. The design and color scheme were completely left up to Tierra Tile with 100% artistic freedom. Because this building was in a coastal town, they knew that the mosaic needed to be something found in local waters.
Upon doing pool mosaic research, Tierra Tile discovered that a lot of underwater mosaics were visibly lost when there were waves present in the pool. Keeping this in mind, they figured that the black and white contrast of Orca whales would still be visible in wavy water. They proposed two life size orcas with the mother measuring 21 feet and the calf measuring 8 feet which just fit in the bottom of the 24-foot-long pool.
They had to be situated just right, so not to be covered by an underwater treadmill or in the way of the steps or the underwater bench. When the project was completed, and the pool was filled the water added an element of movement and the whales appear to be swimming. The Orcas were properly named Ethyl and Steph after the owner’s mother and sister that had passed away in a childhood car accident.
Special Recognition: Artistic Installation
In a Galaxy (Not) Far, Far Away
LATICRETE International, Inc.
Ever since he was a young child, Jonathan Stanton had a love for Star Wars and a passion for following in his father’s footsteps to learn the tile trade. In 2002, he put his passion for tile and working with people to create a professional tile installation company located in Louisville, Kentucky. Much like a safari baby nursery or a princess-themed little girl’s room, Stanton sought out to create a Star Wars-themed bathroom.
Installing Handmade Murals: The Star Wars artwork throughout the whole bathroom would consist of five custom-made separate glass mosaic murals. Since the murals were going to take three months for Stanton’s colleague to create, the complete design plan had to be both firm and specific prior to the demolition so that once the finished murals arrived, they would fit perfectly into place.
Acute Accuracy: To achieve a “warp speed effect” throughout the bathroom, eight petite LED lights would need to be placed within the shower to help spotlight the custom-made glass murals. Another string of LED ribbon lights would also need to be carefully installed above the petite LED lights to create an additional “3D Glowing Force.”
Special Recognition: Artistic Use of Tile
SEIU Building, Re-Making Mosaic Mural
Miotto Mosaic Art Studios Inc.
New York, NY
In 2018, Miotto Mosaic Art Studios was asked to reproduce a mosaic mural made in 1970, at the SEIU union headquarters NYC. The mural was designed by Anton Refrigier; 15′ by 45” and was actually fabricated and installed by a company that their godfather owned with two other partners. Years ago, they had worked on the job the last days of the installation, doing the final cleaning of the mural. Before being awarded the project, Miotto Mosaic Art Studios was asked to reproduce on of the faces and partial figures, since they had some of the same material used in the mural it came out well.
Process: Miotto Mosaic Art Studios traced the entire mural onto clear cellophane; they also put a grid on to the mural with chalk lines and then photograph each section of the grid. They then chiseled out sample tessera from each of the colored areas (close to 200 color combinations). Fabrication was done in Italy with Miotto Mosaic Art Studios’ associate studio, Travisanutto, Giovanni SRL, using the same method as the original, surface mounting the tessera with water soluble glue.
The full-size cartoon was created by printing my photographs in reverse, which was then cut up in sections. Once the mosaic was glued to the paper, they then flipped it over on to mesh in the studio and peeled the paper off. On site they installed the sections with thinnest and then grouted the mosaic.
Do you have a recently completed project that features innovative design and installation of tile & stone? Consider entering it to the 2022 CID Awards – the submission portal is now open!