National Tiles.


A display centre should be just that. A place where the merchandise is hero and all design elements contribute to making the browsing and buying process an easy and enjoyable experience. Such was our primary focus for National Tile’s new retail showroom in Richmond, Melbourne.

Tiles can be heavy, awkward to carry and easily chipped or cracked. We chose a radical solution to the problem: floors, benches and countertops clad in recycled rubber. This forgiving material protects the tiles, reduces noise and softens the shopping experience. We chose a neutral tone with flecks of black, white and grey to heighten contrast and frame the tiles.

The showroom too, features a predominantly neutral palette, to focus all attention on the tiles. One exception is the main serving counter which exerts its presence by being wrapped in distinctive blue rubber.

Presenting the optimum display solution was a primary consideration. Our client had already designed excellent merchandising units that angled the tiles for easy viewing. Our store layout positions these to maximum advantage, so visual presentation and traffic flow work hand in hand.

In contrast, a gallery wall displays a dramatic grouping of the more assertively patterned tiles. An elegantly designed glass-topped display case gives special attention the more exclusive and expensive imported items. To emphasise the beauty of tiles in situ, we clad the existing concrete columns from floor to ceiling in tiny marble tiles. The exposed ceiling with its maze of air-conditioning ducts was converted into a reflector of light simply by changing it from black to white.

Generous zoned areas with light timber tables and stylish metal-framed stools and chairs invite customers to relax and consider their purchase options in comfort. The overall look is clean and open, more like an architect’s studio than a retail showroom.

Altogether, a design that works perfectly by not drawing too much attention to itself.


Richmond, Melbourne



Design Team

Iva Foschia
Mimi West
Kathryn McKenzie


Photography by Jack Lovell

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