Bright, Shining Star Designer used GranitiFiandre's Geologica Collection to re-create Utah's big skies in Provo. How do you best represent the region when designing a regional mall? For Roger Brown, the answer was easy when he was given the task of designing Provo Towne Centre in Provo, Utah. The natural surroundings of the center, owned and developed by Salt Lake City-based J.P. Realty Inc., suggested the design.
"I've done a lot of work in the Salt Lake area, and I'm always struck by the big, starry skies," says Brown, senior vice president and director of design at Law/Kingdon Inc., Wichita, Kan. "We decided we wanted a skylight and then had the idea of making it star-shaped."
With the skylight and its star shape confirmed, Brown turned to the task of designing and specifying the floor. "We wanted to reflect the star shape in the floor and did so by interlacing different colors in a pattern that rotates from a central point," Brown says.
The look, an exploding pattern that radiates from the center, was inspired by a Renaissance tile pattern found in a cathedral in Venice.
With the basic design of the floor determined, Brown still had to choose the colors that would be interlaced and the product that would best suit the concept.
Brown was looking for large-particle porcelain because he wanted the floor to have a lot of character. The flooring product used would have to be available in colors that reflected the seasonal aspect of the region: deep red signifying fall; green to represent spring; and white for snow. Black and grey were thrown in as accents.
He found his solution in GranitiFiandre's Geologica collection.
Specification: natural, strong Jeanne Nichols, director of sales and marketing for GranitiFiandre, an Italian company with U.S. headquarters in Itasca, Ill., stresses that the Geologica collection is like natural stone, only better.
"The collection re-creates rare and exotic stones from around the world," she says. The fabricated material has the same composition as granite and uses no polymers or synthetic materials. The resulting product is 100% natural, 30% harder than granite, stain-resistant, wear-resistant and easy to maintain, and it requires no buffing or sealing.
She says the low maintenance and durability of Geologica are what make the product a perfect fit in projects like Provo Towne Center.
The collection's color palette was also an appealing factor. The floor consists of 130,000 sq. ft. of Dolomiti, Bianco Montorfano, Coral Grey, Black Galaxy and Indian Red tiles from the Geological and GranitiReali -- "royal granite," another line in the Geologica series -- collections.
The Finished Product Provo Towne Centre, an 800,000 sq.ft. mall anchored by Sears, Dillard's and JCPenney, opened Oct. 28, with a theater scheduled to open this summer. Brown attended the mall opening but kept a low profile. He wanted to be "incognito," he says, so he could hear what people really thought of the mall's design. What he heard pleased him.
Byron Orton, the mall's general manager, has heard many of the same statements. Customers have commented on the "beautiful patterns" and the color scheme. The mall's maintenance workers are happy, too, because the floor is easy to maintain, even after high-traffic weekends.
With a designer's eye, Brown has noticed other elements of the floor. "I used standard porcelain in a project I finished about a year ago, and it looked good," he says. "But this floor has such a depth of color and so much character that people at the opening were blown away by the look of the floor."