Kyle Thomas, Mart Design Company
Robert Ruscio - Ruscio Studio Inc.
Winnipeg, capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba, has the unique appeal of a city standing at the edge of the world. Blanketed in snow from November to March, it has grown up around The Forks, a historic site that has undergone redevelopment in recent years and now offers a range of shops, restaurants and concert and exhibition venues. It is close to the iconic Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), designed by American architect Antoine Predock, and surrounded by a densely-knit urban fabric consisting of small single-family residences as well as a series of places and “non-places” that serve as centres of social aggregation. One of these is the Garden City Shopping Centre complex, a city landmark originally opened back in 1970 with over 35,000 square metres of covered area housing more than 75 shops and 11 restaurants. But it is more than just a shopping mall, as during the harsh winter season it combines its retail function with that of a hub for much of the social life of the community.
The complex recently underwent radical renovation work carried out by Ruscio Studio, a Montreal-based full-service interior design firm which specialises in this kind of project.
As Robert Ruscio explains: “Our approach was to create a sleek contemporary design that played upon the name “Garden”. We put together some key finishes or elements such as floral patent patterns, and we had good old Canadian oak wood. We had various lounge seating areas, different seating types and arrangements throughout the mall, and of course we had this ceiling suspended light fixture which was made up of these round geometrically shaped wooden balls suspended in clusters throughout the mall.”
Porcelain floor tiles played an important role in the project, which combined different sizes and colours by using products from two Italian brands: AlfaLux (Hills series) and Casalgrande Padana (Marte series). A soft, uniform floor tile shade was chosen for the retail spaces so as to be able to adapt easily to the individual store designs. At the same time, by installing tiles with the same length but different widths it was possible to create an elegant and contemporary fractal pattern. A more intense tone was chosen for the distribution routes and entrance corridors, creating a subtle colour contrast with the retail spaces. The central court has a more vibrant design and consists of the juxtaposition of 4 different colours. “A kind of artistic installation with a pattern that emphasises its role as the central hub of the mall,” was how Robert Ruscio described it. “A pattern that dissolves without a clear boundary and offers maximum flexibility for organising events and installations of various kinds.” This flooring project combines inclusiveness and exclusivity for its specific area of application and won first prize in the commercial category of the North American Ceramic Tiles of Italy Competition 2020 for its ability to exploit the potential of ceramic with creativity and appropriateness.
Alfalux + Casalgrande Padana
Common areas floor tiles
(main and secondary corridors + central court pattern)
Alfalux, Hills series
Cerreto, Busana, Toano, Villa
6x12, 6x36, 9x36, 18x36 cm
Washrooms floors patterns
Casalgrande Padana, Marte
Nero Acapulco ? 12x24 cm