Crossville, Tenn. -- Crossville is hosting four students from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design at NeoCon 2018 in Chicago, Ill. 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.

The studio, “IARC 372 - Design Development and Construction Detailing Documentation for Interior Architecture,” provides the company a direct opportunity to educate the next generation of design professionals on the specification of tile products, as well as working with tile in real-world interior design scenarios. As part of the studio experience, students completed project concepts in which tile is an essential design element. The course provided students 6 credit hours.

“In this course of study, students are exposed to tile and challenged to think and create differently with tile as a surfacing solution,” said Robin Rhea, Crossville’s director of brand marketing. “This practical approach is the best way to equip future specifiers with knowledge about tile’s technical and design benefits. In turn, we at Crossville get first-hand insights into students’ 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.

Based on the teachings, students were asked to create projects intended to expand the interior use of tile by devising the proper construction details for customizing standardized material tectonics. Students were required to work with applicable design-build requirements, leverage their early work with patterns, and incorporate porcelain tile to achieve the project objectives.

To take the experience further, Crossville held a competition to identify the four top projects created during the studio. Judges from Crossville’s corporate office chose honorees based on the merits of the projects they designed. Grace Octdiek, Brianna Willis, Anaya Kabasu, and Makenna Wood took top honors and are enjoying an all-expense paid trip to NeoCon 2018.

“Many of these students are soon to be product specifiers for new design projects out in the real world,” added Rhea. “We hope this early education deepens their preference for and confidence in tile specification and design throughout their careers.”

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