In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we bring you a series of case studies that focus on the architectural setting materials that contributed to a successful installation. Each project presented its own specific requirements, and the articles detail specific job conditions, why each product was chosen and the methods used to install the stone and tile. You will find that each project was a collaboration between members of the trade and architects and designers — illustrating that teamwork is a key component for a positive outcome.

Beginning on page 14, there is a story about Walgreen’s flagship store in Chicago, IL. The architecture alone is impressive, as the building was formerly a bank constructed in 1919. A unique element to the store is the original vault that has been transformed into a “Vitamin Vault.” One of the challenges of the job was that the installation timeframe had been reduced from five to three months. To complete the installation properly and on time, the installers relied on a new mortar that is specifically designed to set quickly.

For the Amaya La Jolla restaurant, which is featured beginning on page 22, an adhesive was needed that would be able to guarantee that large heavy custom stone pieces of Italian marble would be securely attached to the walls. Additionally, handcrafted stone medallions were affixed to the restaurant’s walls — some weighing as much as 700 pounds. “Much of it was being anchored to the walls via mechanical methods, but to ensure that it would stay firmly attached, decisions were made to use adhesive material as well,” stated the representative from the material setting manufacturer.

At Depaul University in Chicago, a new theater facility was recently built, featuring a specialized cladding system for the stone exterior. In the article — starting on page 30 — you will learn how the architectural firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli collaborated with architect of record CannonDesign to select the system, which allowed for an efficient and quick installation. The system that was chosen eliminates the need for a back-up structure because the system is designed to span from floor to floor.

We often discuss the new developments in tile collections and new techniques being used to fabricate stone, but manufacturers of setting materials are also investing time and energy to develop new products that will help with tile and stone installations. With formats becoming larger and thickness becoming thinner, it is important that there are products on the market that meet specific needs. I hope you enjoy reading about just some of them in this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design.