By Nadia Ramlakhan
New York—Daltile, an industry-leading brand of ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, and natural stone tile products, opened a design studio in the heart of Manhattan Sept. 16 in partnership with its sister brand Marazzi. The remodeled 3,700-square-foot space, conveniently located near Union Square, is the fifth Daltile design studio to open its doors, joining Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Miami as a regional design hub for the brand.
The Daltile and Marazzi Design Studio serves as a collaborative workspace for designers in addition to being a place to hold networking and local association events for organizations including the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The layout of the showroom is divided into two sections, which allows designers to browse products while educational events are in session.
“The first part is more of the showcase and the second part is the workplace,” said Laura Skeeters, commercial sales/store manager, Daltile. “We can have privacy during presentations, seminars or classes with up to 100 people—or even more—and still have use of the showroom without any interruptions. People can still gather information while we’re in here doing something different.”
The studio’s open concept design features movable workstations and can seat 100 comfortably. Overall, the space offers communal worktables, easy access to product samples and wall panels that showcase individual collections by material and application along with two vignettes (a kitchen and bath) that highlight unique product application. A loose tile library provides customers with full-size samples to help them match and coordinate colors and styles for their projects. Light panels show how various tiles will look in different settings, an important factor in choosing the correct tile for a customer’s space.
“When we first started things were in drawers and behind closed doors,” said April Wilson, director of brand marketing, Dal-Tile. “People weren’t sure if they could use them, they weren’t sure if they could open the drawers. [With this studio] we wanted to make sure everything was really accessible at all times so there are cubby holes all over the place and open drawers so you can see inside of them. We also provide different workstations—customers can be in a professional environment, be proud to bring clients in and work with them and bring colleagues in to go over different styles, techniques, options, etc. We created a little playground for them. That’s the Daltile message as part of the new brand repositioning—dream as big as you want because we’ve got everything you need.”
Digital tools in the studio allow customers to bring their design ideas to life. An LCD touch screen lets customers virtually flip through the digital catalog, view inspiration gallery images and build designs with the tile and stone visualizer tool.
This particular space differs from Daltile’s other studios to cater to its New York audience. “Certainly the product is relevant to our audience here,” Wilson said. “That’s the No. 1 way we distinguish design studios from each other. They all have a white palette because we want the colors and patterns to take center stage but open spaces and workstations allow our customers regardless of where they are to have the best experience possible. There are also different elements of flavor in each studio that take on the personality of the region it is in.” For example, an intricate mosaic wall depicting an apple blossom greets visitors, alluding to the city’s famed nickname.
Daltile offered attendees a sneak peek at some of its fall introductions scheduled to roll out Oct. 1, with additional launches slated for later this year. The new products draw inspiration from both traditional and contemporary designs. Portfolio offers customers a cement-look tile with rectified edges for a clean installation while Bee Hive, a hexagonal tile, caters to recent trends. Volume 1.0 provides high-DCOF StepWise technology, a patent-pending Daltile exclusive innovation. The surface technique combines slip resistance with superior cleanability.
Dignitary replicates the delicate veining and natural fossil layers of French limestone and can be used in contemporary or traditional designs. The large-format Ambassador series offers a high-end look that works well in both indoor and outdoor applications. Haut Monde reflects the look of sandstone and Consulate is available in two finishes: Consulate Antique, which conveys the smooth look of aged marble, and Consulate Quartzite, which amplifies quartzite’s natural texture.