Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Tile by Design
Every day more than 1,500 planes and 100,000 passengers pass through the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, making it one of the ten busiest airports in the world. Some 33,000 people work in the airport, which has an economic impact of more than 90 million dollars on the metropolitan area of Phoenix. Much of the traffic is concentrated in Terminal 4, which began operating in 1990 with five piers and since then has been upgraded several times to take account of growing traffic. The latest structural intervention was in 2005 with the opening of the seventh pier. Terminal 4 can be reached from both east and west. Arrivals and baggage claim are on level 1. Ticket counters and check-in area are on level 2. Level 3, devoted to gates, food and shops, recently underwent radical remodelling.
So what was the concept behind the project? The designers started out from the observation that the Phoenix Sky Harbor is the gateway to Arizona, a land of stark beauty, dramatic contrasts and surprising diversity of flora and fauna, and that on level 3 the shops follow on uninterruptedly one after another in a kind of “retail street” that runs through the whole of Terminal 4. So why, they asked, not recreate in this space some of the State’s characteristic natural elements to give arriving passengers a foretaste of what they are about to experience and offer a last chance for recollection to those who are leaving? It was agreed that the walls and columns should resemble rocks, the floor the landscape, the ceiling the sky and the mosaics life itself -a kind of theatre for staging the natural wonders of Arizona. The east side of the terminal features the fissured rocks of the Colorado Plateau, the typical colours of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the Petrified Forest. Further west, two series of concentric circles reflect the point on the Mogollon Rim where the Sonoran desert and the Colorado Plateau meet. The colours vary from terracotta, ochre, cream, sage and vermilion through to yellow-green, violet and purple, while angular shapes gradually give way to soft forms. Proceeding, we find the graphic designs of the large saguaro cacti that typify the Sonoran Desert. The palette of green colours intensifies and then disappears in proximity to the escalators, beyond which the designs evoke plays of light in the sunset sky. The entire promenade is clad with mosaics featuring local animals. Various materials were tested during the design of the large (around 8,500 sq.m) and complex floor covering. In the end there was no question but to choose Italian ceramic tiles for their beauty, durability, wealth of colours, textures and ease of installation and maintenance. The resultant fresco was composed with the contribution of six different Italian ceramic companies who supplied a total of 84 types of ceramic tiles. Adhesives were supplied by the Italian firm Mapei.
Casalgrande Padana, Granitogres, Marte series
30x30 40x40 30x60 cm
Nero Acapulco, Azul Macuba, Azul Bahia, Bronzetto, Botticino, Giallo Reale, Palissandro, Verde Guatemala, Madras Pink, Rosso Soraya.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <=0,10%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): N/mm2 50-60
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): >= 0,6
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant