Starnet Awards Best Design 2020 - June 2020
By Meg Scarbrough
Like many other gatherings and events, Starnet’s annual membership meeting planned for Amelia Island, Florida was canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak. A highlight of the annual event is the Starnet Design Awards celebration, which honors innovative use of flooring in commercial settings, including corporate, education, healthcare and hospitality/public space. In lieu of the 22nd annual meeting, a virtual awards show was held to celebrate Starnet members, vendor partners and the A&D community.
“While we were not able to celebrate the Design Awards in person this year, the portfolio of winning projects deserves a virtual round of applause,” says Mark Bischoff, president and CEO of Starnet Worldwide Commercial Flooring Partnership, which has 185 commercially focused member companies. “These installations were complex, beautifully designed and impressive in scale and detail. They also highlight the true value of Starnet-the power of collaboration and partnership in the floorcovering industry.”
For the judges, this year’s crop of applicants was exceptional and inspiring. Entries ranged in scope and function and included a fire station in Kansas, a bowling alley in Virginia, an immigration center in Canada to a TV news station in Missouri. One was even an exhibit, “The OtheRealm” by Michael Reeder, a Los Angeles-based artist, of which one judge said, “It’s a very dramatic space, and it’s artful and interesting.” Another added, its “artistic flavor was brilliant.” In total, more than 110 submissions came in, and the judges spent hours poring over every detail.
The grand prize was awarded to Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Cornerstone Commercial Flooring’s work on Baton Rouge’s Park Elementary School, which also captured the gold in the education category. It’s the second year in a row that Cornerstone has won gold in that category.
“I thought it was remarkably bold and thoughtful,” says Tracy Herzer, senior associate and manager at SLAM Collaborative in Glastonbury, Connecticut, who specializes in education design. “[The design] really gave personality to the building, and you can just immediately take yourself back to elementary school and think what fun that would be to go there every day as a kid.”
In the healthcare division, St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Pediatric Emergency Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin took top prize. Judge Jane Rohde, who specializes in healthcare design and is the founder and principal of JSR Associates in Catonsville, Maryland, says it was an interesting project, noting in particular that the colors throughout the space are softer than traditional pediatric facilities, which usually feature bold primary colors. She also likes how nature was woven into each room, be it in a forest scene in a wall mural or the silhouette of an animal in the frosted windows. “It wasn’t a childish solution, but it was thoughtful,” Rohde notes.
And even the projects that didn’t win are stuck in the minds of the judges. For Herzer, there were several religion-themed entries that were remarkable. “Sometimes, projects can be beautiful and creative but not a lot of fun. Yet I thought there were some really good ones, and I don’t get to see a lot of those working on education projects,” the designer notes.
John T. McGrath Jr., executive director of the International Standards and Training Alliance (INSTALL), has twice served as an honorary judge for the Unique Installation Challenge Award. He describes flooring installation as an art, “It’s like artists with music; our canvas is the floor.” He says this year’s group of contractors was impressive, adding that he always learns through the judging process. This year’s winner in this category is Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Century Floor Space’s St. Stephen Catholic Church project, located in the same city. McGrath says what makes this year’s winner so special is that the technicality and scope of the project made it a huge challenge-precision was key. “A seam has to be precise,” says McGrath. “If it goes wrong, you’ve messed it all up.” All in all, he adds, “It was a beautiful installation.”
Chi-Thien Nguyen, associate at Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston, Massachusetts, says he enjoyed having McGrath’s insight on the panel, “It was interesting to see what he picked versus what we picked. When he explained [his decision], it made total sense. It was great to get the perspective from him and the challenges, and it helped us understand it.”
Rohde also says the experience provided her with unique insight from peers that she might not otherwise have gained. “The fun part for me is seeing what people are doing in other markets,” she says, noting that each judge brought to the table a different area of expertise.
Herzer agrees, adding, “We all came from a different mindset, but we were able to collaborate cohesively” and in celebration of good design.
Here are this year’s winners.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Gold in Education
MEMBER: Cornerstone Commercial Flooring
PROJECT: Park Elementary School
ARCHITECT: Coleman Partners Architects
MANUFACTURERS: Armstrong Flooring, Daltile, Mannington Commercial, Mapei, Spray-Lock, Tarkett
MEMBER: ReSource Colorado
PROJECT: The Idea Garage - Studio B2SJ
ARCHITECT: Studio B2SJ
MANUFACTURERS: Ardex Americas, Daltile, GrassTex, Henry Adhesives, J+J Flooring Group, Mapei, Milliken, Roppe, Tarkett, XL Brands
MEMBER: H.J. Martin & Son
PROJECT: St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Pediatric Emergency Center
ARCHITECT: Bernes-Schober Associates
DESIGNER: CJMW Architecture
MANUFACTURERS: Bostik, Tarkett, Uzin Utz North America
Category Winner-Hospitality/Public Space
MEMBER: Consolidated Carpet
PROJECT: Tarkett Atelier
ARCHITECT: Huntsman Architectural Group
MANUFACTURERS: Schönox, Spray-Lock, Tarkett
Category Winner-Unique Installation
MEMBER: Century Floor Space
PROJECT: St. Stephen Catholic Church
ARCHITECT: David B. Meleca Architects
MANUFACTURERS: Mapei, Roppe, Schönox, Spray-Lock, Uzin Utz North America
Category Winner-Mixed-Use Development
MEMBER: DCO Commercial Floors
ARCHITECT: Dwell Design Studio
MANUFACTURERS: American Olean, Daltile, Ecore Commercial, Leggett & Platt, Mapei, Marazzi, Tarkett
Category Winner-People’s Choice
MEMBER: Floor Systems & Design
PROJECT: Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health Pavilion
MANUFACTURERS: Ardex Americas, Armstrong Flooring, Mapei, Spray-Lock, Tarkett, XL Brands
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