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Amtico RIBA Journal Competition: And the winner is...

Tongan by WHAT_Architecture for the Amtico RIBA Journal Competition 2016

posted: September 2016


WHAT_Architecture: Anna Marta Scibior, Caline Masrehjian and Sarka Gulasiova with Chiba the studio dog.

WHAT_Architecture: Anna Marta Scibior, Caline Masrehjian and Šárka Gulasiova with Chiba the studio dog.

The theme for WHAT_Architecture’s winning design was asymmetry. As described by Director Anthony Hoete at the presentation day, this approach suits the practice’s natural aesthetic tendencies for the asymmetric. Both symmetry and asymmetry were explored by the architectural team of Anna Marta Scibior, Caline Masrehjian and Šárka Gulasiova (not forgetting Chiba the dog!) while deciding on an inspirational theme for the competition brief.

Another important step was imagining not only who this flooring was for but also where the flooring’s owners would love to spend their dream holidays… and that’s how ‘Mr and Mrs Barclay’ were created as notional clients, and their Polynesian island retreat became the idea behind the contrasting white, yellow, wood and black colour scheme.

Anthony picks up the story. “We started the process by getting Šárka to lay out the Amtico Signature Collection so we could appreciate it in a single glance. From there, it was apparent that an interesting design would be one that could simulate depth by combining block colours with materials.”

WHAT_Architecture’s creative flair and individuality was clear in the approach they took to the overall flooring design. They conceptualised an evolving, non-repeating pattern that stretched across a 20m x 20m area. Rather than create a flooring design on a single room basis, this approach allows customers to select which part of the overall pattern area best suits the room or area they’re working with.


Anthony continues: “Working with Amtico was great – they totally understood the twin aims of our proposal. 

“Firstly, we did not seek to re-invent the Amtico product range of luxury vinyl floor tiles but looked to transform consumer selection: how a customer could order and thus potentially create a personalised range to suit their own space.

“Secondly, we were intrigued that although asymmetry has a ubiquitous value, most tiling ranges produce symmetry because the scale of the pattern is smaller than the host space. We aimed to invert this spatial relationship.”

“Our creative concept allows the flooring pattern to transform as it flows through the space. What we particularly like is that the customer can choose whether the sparser or more densely populated sections of the pattern are to their preference,” Anthony explains.

To meet the requirements of the competition brief, the team used three areas from the macro design to create repeating patterns. And it is these three designs that will feature in our Designers’ Choice 2017 Collection.

The judges’ favourite

One of WHAT_Architecture’s winning designs – Tongan (featured top of page) was picked out as the judges’ favourite. It uses the Kite laying pattern to combine a rich Ashdown Plum Wood design with Napoli and Glint Orb from the Abstract Spectrum palette.

Anthony thinks the idea of letting the customer take ownership for the design – a sentiment that inspired his team’s approach – is a very powerful one, and he sees it as having great potential for both residential and commercial applications. “I’d particularly like to see these designs used in our next housing project in Peckham,” he said. “We would really love to work with Amtico on this.”

“We had good fun in the office coming up with ideas for this competition. And as a Maori architect, it really was a wonderful opportunity for me to talk about Polynesia!” Anthony says, summing up.


Left Samoan 
Middle Maori Right Tongan

About the competition

Architectural teams from six practices competed in this exciting competition to develop highly creative flooring designs using Amtico’s 2016 Signature Collection. The winner, will see their design go into production as part of Amtico’s Designers’ Choice 2017 Collection.

More information about the other teams in the competition and their designs can be found on our Amtico RIBA Journal Competition page, along with a video featuring all of the entrants discussing the competition and inspiration for their designs. The 24 page RIBA Journal supplement is out now and available to view on line.

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