Designers to Watch

We here at i+s have had the honor of meeting so many wonderful and talented designers over the years, and now we’d like to return the favor. Every month we will be introducing design students and recent alumni recognized for going above and beyond.

12/01/2016 By Jenna Lippin


At this year’s edition of NeoCon East, held Nov. 9-10 in Philadelphia, Daltile announced the winners of its fifth annual Daltile Interior Design Scholarship competition. In partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation, this year Daltile challenged design students with a project called “Design Inspired by Nature,” in which they had to redesign a hotel lobby using biophilic design principles, demonstrating how thoughtful design, creativity, and Daltile products can come together to create a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and impactful space.The grand prize winner of the competition, Kristina Tribell, a student at the Art Institute of Houston, was presented with a $10,000 check during a ceremony at NeoCon East.

The funds are given to support the winning student’s education in the field of interior design. “The scholarship is very important for me since I currently have two loans to obtain [a bachelor’s] degree in Interior Design,” Tribell said.

In seeking inspiration for her design, Tribell researched “natural forms” as part of the biophilic design theme. She began to examine images of various bugs, specifically crawlers, zooming in on their eyes. “Their eye lenses are made up of millions of tiny hexagon cells,” she explained.

After, I continued my research in hexagon shapes in nature. I found out that hexagon geometry is strong, lightweight, and efficient. This shape can be often seen in nature—honeycombs, snowflakes, diamond crystals, basalt columns, etc. As a result, I chose honeycomb cells as my inspiration.”

Tribell chose the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston after recently visiting the site as part of a tour with NEWH, the Hospitality Industry Network. “The existing interiors presented Houston [as] the traditional oil and gas, geological, and industrial center. However, since Houston has grown to be a diverse international city with many different cultures and businesses, I wanted to create a more relaxing, calming, and peaceful design for this hotel.” She used Daltile product—including selections from the Marble Attaché and Saddle Brook Glazed Porcelain collections—to transform the space into a more palliative environment that juxtaposes the busy city in which the hotel is located.

The grand prize winner and three finalists were selected by Daltile and the ASID Foundation with the help of a panel of industry experts. New for 2016, Daltile and the ASID Foundation awarded the school or university with the highest number of completed entries with a $10,000 grant for their interior design program. Utah State University was presented with the grant with 37 students from the university submitting projects to the competition.