Crossville hosted four students from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design at NeoCon 2017. These students earned the trip by creating winning, tile-focused projects as part of Crossville’s sponsorship of a semester-long Design Studio held in partnership with the university. As part of the studio experience, students completed projects in which tile is an essential design element. The studio provided the company an opportunity to educate the next generation of design professionals on the specification of tile products.

“The studio exposed students to tile and challenged them to think and create differently with tile as a surfacing solution,” said Robin Rhea, Crossville’s director of brand marketing. “It’s a great chance to educate future specifiers to tile’s technical and design benefits, and, likewise, we get a better understanding of their perspectives, questions, and needs.”

The academic semester began with an intensive, two-week design course that focused on innovative approaches to tile use. To round out their knowledge, students also took an in-depth tour of Crossville’s manufacturing facilities in Crossville, Tenn.

Based on the course, students then were asked to create projects intended to expand the interior use of tile by devising the proper construction details for customizing standardized material tectonics. As part of the assignment, students had to develop multiple variations of new material formations that explored a range of permeability and texture through light, opacity, sound, temperature, humidity, or other sensorial parameters. Crossville selected the four top projects created during the studio, earning them an all-expense paid trip to NeoCon 2017. The winning student projects were:

Mary Morgan Smith - Young Mothers’ Sewing Center
Andy Thompson - Sensory Gym
Susan Stewart - Mappery Center for the Blind
Polly Ann Blackwell - Reflection Center for Domestic Violence Facility

“Today’s architecture and design students are tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said Rhea. “Our goal is to be a resource for knowledge and source of inspiration—to deepen their preference for and appreciation of tile throughout their careers.”

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