Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Porcelain Tile Creates an Urban Look for Retailer

January 18, 2008
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Springfield, which is an international chain of stores found in Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico, most recently established a new location in Madrid, Spain. Maintaining the design focus of its other locations, Porcelanosa Ferroker tile was chosen for its "urban" character. Designer: JGA, Southfield, MI; Tile Manufacturer: Porcelanosa, Leganes, Madrid

Springfield, an international chain of stores based in Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico, has recently launched a new location in Madrid, Spain. Establishing a prototype design that will be the focus of its other locations, Principal-in-Charge, Ken Nisch, AIA of JGA in Southfield, MI, revealed that the goal for "Springfield Spain" was to capture the essence of "in city" living with a loft or studio space at the heart of the thinking. Porcelanosa Ferroker tile was therefore chosen for its refined rustic finish, yet tailored proportions and detail.

The Porcelanosa Ferroker tile, which carries a metallic finish in the store's theatrical light, has several qualities that Nisch recognized as a useful advantage. "We appreciated the over-scaled portion of the tile," he said. "[It was] helpful in giving a dramatic flow of the store with its very exaggerated proportions."

Fitting for the location of the new store, the tile also turned out to be manufactured in Spain, which Nisch explained was coincidental. "We looked at retailers in the U.S. and Europe for inspiration," said the architect. "The final selection came from a tile resource in the U.S., but by chance, it came from a Spanish manufacturer."

During the selection process, different types of material were also considered, including natural stone and synthetic materials. "Cost was an issue when it came to natural stone, whereas with synthetic materials, we worried about them being environmentally friendly and durable," said Nisch. The environmentally friendly porcelain material -- suited for both interior and exterior uses -- was ultimately selected.

The tile, sized 3.6 x 1.8 feet, was employed for the entire floor throughout the space. This includes the fitting room and limited vertical areas. Nisch noted that due to the larger size of the tile, a well-prepared surface was required.

One challenge on the project involved remnants of an historic Roman wall from 200 A.D., which posed surface coordination difficulties. Despite these challenges, JGA worked closely with the field team. "Although we're based in Michigan, we were in almost daily contact and received photos of the progress through e-mail," explained the architect.

Nisch further explained the fact that the entire project evolved from a very engaged team. "The idea of the store was conceived as an integrated concept," he said. "The client, merchant teams and market team were all very involved in the design process."

The overall design of the store has received a positive consumer response, according to feedback Nisch has received from his client. The architect attributes the success of the store with having the right merchandise in the right environment at the right time.

The international chain of Springfield began the design and creative process in March 2006, with the Madrid, Spain, location completed in August 2007.

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