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Dal-Tile opens interactive design studio

By Louis Iannaco

Dallas—Just outside the downtown area here, an eclectic assortment of antique shops, architectural firms and design studios have replaced what was once a fading industrial complex. The newest addition to this urban revival mosaic is a cutting-edge design studio, conceived by Dal-Tile and brought to life by designers, for designers.

This is Dal-Tile’s 10th studio and features tile and stone in every conceivable shape, color and size, setting a new standard of service for the professional designer, noted Lori Kirk-Rolley, senior marketing director.

Designed by Gensler, an architecture and design firm, the studio embraces visitors on a sensory level, enhancing the tile and natural stone selection process by engaging all their senses. “We’re making our full range of product options more accessible, allowing customers to instantly evaluate design options and make the best selection for their projects,” she said.

The studio presents products in a differenet way, Kirk-Rolley explained. The new product feature area has a variety of re-sources and showcases the mill’s latest selections, allowing designers to see trends and applications not yet available in their libraries. Products are easy to navigate and clearly labeled, so finding an item is intuitive and fast. Samples are available throughout the studio, making them more accessible.

Designer Joanie Wyll of Joanie Wyll & Associates recalled a studio experience in which her client “could immediately see what I was trying to accomplish. I didn’t have to take samples to a slab yard but was able to do one-stop shopping while easily getting my design concept across. The main thing here is you can show somebody what they’re getting so it’s not a surprise.”

The studio showcases several unique architectural areas for designers. “The 6,400 square foot space includes five vignettes—two bathrooms, a shower, a kitchen and a fireplace—each with a distinctive flair to help residential designers show their customers what a product or combination of products could look like installed in a finished room,” said Christopher Goggin, Gensler’s design director and lead designer.

“The space also features a mural in the entranceway that demonstrates visually aesthetic options for using tile and provides a ‘wow’ factor for customers,” he added. “Both the studio’s architecture and tools cater to the needs of designers and architects, as well as homeowners looking to design a space.”

Located in Dallas’ A&D district, the studio provides tile and stone design inspiration through a variety of innovative resources that allow users to see the final product, including four 42-inch LCD touch screens, an inspiration gallery of room scenes, an electronic product catalog and a backsplash designer.

David Warren, Dal-Tile’s manager of digital marketing and e-commerce, said the company wanted to provide an “interactive mechanism to extend ideas and inspiration to designers and their clients. With this, we don’t have to change boards or hang large images of room scenes. On any of the touch screens, we have more than 100 room scenes we can change centrally so any time we launch products, we can provide new inspiration at minimal cost.”

The studio was created to look and feel like a working design firm, Kirk-Rolley told FCNews, with communal work tables and library that displays loose tile to create an extension of a designer’s own work space and provide a professional area to bring customers.

The studio design reflects Dal-Tile’s “philosophy and practice for reducing the impact on the environment.” Designers utilized LED lighting to minimize energy and cooling costs, and reduce waste and building materials with recycled content.

For more on Dal-Tile and its studios, call 800.933.8453 or visit dal-tile.com.