Modern Spanish Tile Meets River North Loft: A Collaboration with Roca Tile and Variant Collaborative

Roca Tile, a modern Spanish tile manufacturing company, established a strong presence in River North with a new showroom that honors the historic character of their early 1900 Chicago loft while highlighting the brand’s modern European aesthetic. The existing structure featured distinctive brick walls, timber beams and existing steel elevator shaft doors, and an amazing skylight that brings a lot of natural light into the space. 

Roca brought on local interior design firm Variant Collaborative to tackle the showroom design and bring their vision of a Chicago home to life.

Photos by Sean Henderson

Showroom Design Goals

Roca Tile has a global image in each of their showrooms across the world. Now that they have arrived in Chicago, they wanted to keep and see that here as well. The ultimate goal Roca Tile wanted to achieve through the showroom design was to keep the Chicago essence and the personality of the existing space while integrating the Roca brand identity. The talented team at Variant Collaborative helped them to achieve this goal

In addition to integrating the Roca brand into the space, there were a few other design goals Roca wanted to achieve and Variant Collaborative was up for the challenge. This goals consisted of linking the look and feel to Roca’s Barcelona roots and creating an inviting area for architects and designers to work, collaborate and even host events. These goals where to be achieved while staying away from the typical tile showroom feel, yet boosting Roca’s brand awareness and seamlessly incorporating the collaboration of complementary European brands like Marset (decorative lighting), Sancal (furniture), Pitt Cooking (Kitchen Burners), INSCA (work stations and displays) Nobilia (kitchen cabinets) and Cosentino (bathroom counters).

Variant Collaborative’s Design Plan

Building off of the existing elements of the loft space, the design team at Variant Collaborative integrated the clean lines and neutral color palettes of the brand and created a variety of functional vignettes that showcase over 40 different tile specifications. 

Celebrating the company’s roots, they collaborated with other Spanish brands to elevate the final results.  The entry features an authentic Spanish cement tile called “Panot,” a material you can only find in the streets of Barcelona. Therefore, it is unique to have this installed here in Chicago. Variant Collaborative also included accents of terracotta hues throughout which reflect the company’s renowned beginnings. 

Each area of the showroom has its own identity, while complementing the overall story and serving as a multi-purpose space that displays the deep portfolio of product, provides ample room to entertain clients and host designers, and allows for a variety of productive workspace for Roca team members, blending work space, amenities and showroom display.

We are excited to have Roca Tile as one of our 20 locations at the 6th Annual River North Design District Fall Gallery Walk this year! Opening night is Friday, September 10th, and you can reserve your space here. All showrooms – including Roca Tile – are free and open to the public from 5-9pm (with the exception of the kickoff and after parties).

Each participating location will feature designer vignettes which showcase art in a living space in collaboration with some incredibly talented artists from around the country.

Now you can have the chance to see Roca’s beautiful new showroom in person! Visit Roca Tile (215 W. Illinois St.) on September 10th to see a vignette designed by Variant Collaborative featuring artist Adam Thomas of Daniel Kinkade Fine Art.

Here’s what you can expect to see at their showroom that night:

From darkness comes light. In a year where we emerge from a period of global adversity, we take the time to reflect and rediscover. We invite you to take in the beauty of our collective reemergence through art and the strength of our industry as we transform our space into an immersive experience. Unveiling a new artistic direction from renowned artist Adam Thomas, Roca Tile’s new showroom provides a unique atmosphere, curated by the designers of Variant Collaborative. Savor authentic Spanish tapas and wines while enjoying music, cooking demonstrations and cocktails inspired by Adam’s artwork and the Roca Tile product line.

We hope to see you there!

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