From the Floor Up

Awarding Great Design

Posted by Daltile Team on Nov 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The 5th annual Daltile Interior Design Scholarship presented by the ASID Foundation focused on the idea that humans desire to connect with nature, aka, biophilia. The connection between nature, human biology, and the built environment all come together in biophilic design. Health, productivity, and wellbeing are at the center of this type of nature-centric design.

Tribell design
Tribell's design

This year’s challenge was to design a hotel lobby using key biophilic design principles that would enhance a guest’s experience. And the response was stunning.

“We had more than 120 entries from some of the most talented students across the country, showcasing the exemplary work created by the next generation of interior designers,” said Kim Albrecht, Sr. Manager of brand marketing at Daltile.

The winner was Kristina Tribell, a student at The Art Institute of Houston. Her biophilic design took the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Houston and transformed it into a nature-inspired haven.

“Houston is business oriented. There aren’t many buildings with biophilic design. It was a pleasure to recreate an already well-designed space to be more peaceful and relaxing ,” says Kristina Tribell. It’s also very hot in Houston and that limits activities, especially in the summer. “Bringing nature indoors with biophilic design lets us enjoy outdoor living even when we have to stay indoors,” says Tribell.

Tribell’s design is quite eye-catching with a unique concave hexagon patterned wall curving from the floor to the ceiling and separating the lobby from the rest of the space. High contrast and 3-D texture balance earth tones and natural-look materials (like Saddle Brook wood-look tile and Marble Attaché marble-look tile) for a calm aesthetic.

scholarship award
Tribell (second from L) stops for a photo with Daltile and ASID Foundation representatives

Tribell took inspiration from looking at close up images of insects and was especially intrigued by the hexagonal shapes in many insect’s eyes. “It was the natural form I was looking for in this design and it occurs everywhere in nature: snowflakes, crystals, honeycomb.” The curving surface of an insect’s eye covered with hexagons inspired the one-of-a-kind creation that became the centerpiece of Tribell’s design.

Natural, desert-based colors and visual textures produced a calming atmosphere. Plenty of natural light and shadow brought added peace to potentially busy guests of the hotel. Albrecht commented, “The reinvented space is much more calming, a stark contrast to the bustling city right outside the lobby doors.”

The scholarship was awarded at NeoCon East last week in Philadelphia. An award was given to the school with the most entries as well. Utah State University in Logan, Utah claimed the award for its art and design department.

Keep a watch out for next year’s scholarship competition at

Congratulations, Kristina!

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