By Ken Ryan—Austin, Texas—Daltile held a grand opening for its 20th design studio here in Austin, a city known for food, great live music venues and general weirdness. With a nod to that uniqueness, Daltile’s new studio aimed to blend colorful and intricate designs with bold statements meant to stand out to the denizens of the culture-rich city, a mark it hit.
“Austin is funky,” Brian Smith, senior manager of marketing for Daltile, told FCNews. As the lead person tasked with designing the Austin studio, Smith said his objective was to bring more color to the studio to reflect the personality of the Texas capital. “In Austin you have more freedom to think outside the box and that’s what we tried to create here.”
The Austin studio, which features a painted mural on the side of the building, is roughly 5,000 square feet, which is on par with other studios. Daltile operates 66 DSCs—or Design Service Centers (smaller facilities that cater to homeowners)—which are larger, within close proximity to the A&D community and are located in cities or major markets with an established design network. This location welcomes residential and commercial customers to make selections from Daltile’s tile and stone portfolio. The gallery is staffed with design consultants to assist in the selection of products for any type of project.
The Austin studio was a year in the making and the first studio to open since the onset of the pandemic. The brand’s studio in Seattle opened just before the pandemic hit. The studio is open to the public and consumers can work with Daltile staff in collaborating the right products and designs for their home projects; they are then referred to local retailers or designers.
Kim Wanslow, CEO of Floor King, the closest flooring store to the new studio, attended the grand opening and said she was blown away by the displays and tile samples. “This is truly inspiring. The space they chose was great for the area. It really ties in with the community, and I can’t wait for the studio to open. The homeowners can come here to meet with the designers and we take it from there. I’ve been here 31 years and never had an experience like this.”
Amber Leigh Hartman, senior marketing manager for Daltile, said the relationship between studio and retailer/ designer provides continuity with the shopper. “There is an inner connectivity that exists here,” she noted.
Dealers also praised Daltile for helping to revitalize the area. Patrick Warren, senior vice president for Daltile, who pointed out that at least 75% of the products in the showroom are made in the U.S., noted, “We have the best store in town.”