A Swifter, Smoother Way to Transform Walls in Commercial Design

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

Wall coverings for commercial design hold high priority in specification not only for achieving desired aesthetics, but also for providing durability and technical performance over the long term. Today, a new category of surfacing material has emerged as a viable contender to take the look and function of walls further: porcelain tile panels.

Also called “thin tiles,” porcelain tile panels can have profiles as lean as 3 millimeters for walls and 5.6 millimeters for both wall and floor applications yet are produced with extremely large outer dimensions of up to 1 by 3 meters or more. These generous proportions, coupled with porcelain tile’s innate durability and minimal maintenance requirements, make this category of surfacing solution a compelling alternative to slab, sheet and other panel materials.

Here are but three examples of the transformative use of porcelain tile panels in demanding commercial environments.

LaFayette School Auditorium

Cool for School
The LaFayette School auditorium in LaFayette, New York, is a facility that serves both junior-high and senior-high students. So for this high-profile space, members of the Ashley McGraw Architects design team focused on creating a monolithic appearance with minimal grout joints for the wainscoting along the expansive walls — all while adhering to the stringent technical requirements. To answer those needs, they selected Crossville’s Laminam porcelain tile panels in Travertino Avoriao 3+.

The panels were installed in a lengthwise fashion above the handrail, producing a warm, natural travertine stone look in the space. With minimal joints installed with planar alignment, the tile panels show nicely even under the LED cove lighting that rakes across the wall. The material is easily cleaned and durable to resist whatever wear and tear may take place in the auditorium for years to come.

Woodlands Business Park Tower 1

Successful Lobbying
The lobby and common areas of Tower 1 at Woodlands Business Park, Salt Lake City, were in need of a renovation, but there was one major obstacle: The project needed to be completed while the building was still occupied and in use. It was thus imperative to minimize disturbances and shorten the renovation process as much as possible.

Rather than fully demolishing the tower’s expansive walls, the team from Chase Associates specified Laminam by Crossville as the product could be installed atop already-existing finishes. This efficiency also greatly reduced the timeframe needed to complete the project. The team chose to install a skin of horizontally applied marble-look porcelain tile panels over the dated granite of the lobby and elevator zone walls. To modernize the style, Schluter Designline stainless steel was used for the grout lines between the panels, with Schluter Quadec to protect the corners of the tile while adding a tailored look.

What’s Brewing
Texas Ale Project, a craft brewery in downtown Dallas, is many spaces rolled into one. The facility contains manufacturing operations, wholesale keg sales, offices, high-capacity coolers and a tasting room for patrons. Unlike the multiuse spaces of yesteryear where manufacturing and back-of-house operations were kept out of sight, Texas Ale Project offers full views of manufacturing facilities from the tasting-room floor.

Texas Ale Project

To highlight the industrial feel of the space while creating a modern aesthetic, the team from The Orion Collection turned to Crossville for wall covering solutions. Dark, textural Laminam Oxide 3 Grigio was specified for the tasting room, while Laminam Oxide 3 Nero was installed on columnar walls. For visual interest, the design team also interspersed antique spalted maple. The pairing of tile with wood blends is within view of the warehouse through the windows. The overall effect is stunning and offers low maintenance for this busy brewery.

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