Winners Announced for the 2016 Inspirations Awards

Winners of the 2016 Inspirations Awards were announced during a ceremony in the Tandus Centiva showroom in Chicago prior to NeoCon in June, and the clients of the winning projects received grants from the flooring company.

See the winning projects, as seen in the July/August 2016 issue of Contract, at this link.

The Inspirations Awards recognize a commitment to social responsibility in the design of commercial interiors with the intent to improve the quality of life for people in need. Through these awards, Tandus Centiva has given more than $50,000 in grants to worthy causes. The 2016 competition jurors were Elizabeth Gordon, associate principal at Mithun in Seattle; Tom Krizmanic, principal at STUDIOS Architecture in New York; and Angie Lee, principal at Stantec in Chicago.

Staplehouse restaurant in Atlanta, designed by Square Feet Studio, received the largest prize: a $5,000 grant. Healthcare for the Homeless in Houston, designed by Page, as well as the Teach for America headquarters in New York, designed by HOK, each received $1,000 grants.

Staplehouse Restaurant 
Where: Atlanta 
Designer: Square Feet Studio


Diane Martel, vice president sustainable strategies & planning at Tarkett, Vivian Bencich, principal of square feet studio, Editor in Chief John Czarnecki


Staplehouse restaurant evolved from a popular underground supper club run by Chef Ryan Hidinger and his wife, Jen Hidinger. When the local community banded together to raise funds to help cover medical costs for Ryan after he was diagnosed with cancer, the couple was inspired to establish The Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to restaurant workers facing unanticipated hardship. Ryan Hidinger died in January 2014, and the Staplehouse restaurant was opened, in part, to honor his memory. All of the post-tax profits from Staplehouse go to the foundation.


Staplehouse Restaurant in Atlanta. Image courtesy Andrew Thomas Lee Photography

Housed in a turn-of-the-century building in downtown Atlanta, the full-service restaurant features an open kitchen, dining rooms, and a bar, and is accompanied by office space for The Giving Kitchen. Staplehouse’s unique story is reflected in its design by Square Feet Studio, which maintains respect for the structure’s historic bones. Restored brick walls and pine framing were left exposed, while new custom lighting, glossy subway tiles, and walnut butcher-block appear throughout.


Staplehouse Restaurant in Atlanta. Image courtesy Andrew Thomas Lee Photography

Innovative in both concept and design, Staplehouse has reinvigorated the Atlanta restaurant community while offering a physical space to further the mission of The Giving Kitchen. 

Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston (HHH)
Where: Houston
Designer: Page


Diane Martel, vice president sustainable strategies & planning at Tarkett,
Ami Robinson interiors project manager at Page, and Editor in Chief John Czarnecki

Serving a marginalized population of homeless men, women, and children, Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston (HHH) provides its clients with comprehensive long-term and interim care, as well as accessible medical outreach. Architecture and engineering firm Page helped HHH to expand its mission through the design of its new downtown Houston home, which provides more than 20,000 square feet of clinic and office support space within a renovated three-story building.


Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston. Image courtesy Slyworks Photography

The clinic’s design creates functional yet welcoming spaces for HHH’s clients. Translucent partitions positioned throughout provide visual privacy while still allowing daylight to penetrate. Warm, inviting finishes were selected, and the addition of a central open staircase fosters a sense of community while also serving as a security measure to offer increased visibility from several vantage points.


Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston. Image courtesy Slyworks Photography

Page provided initial pro bono programming services and delivered design services at a reduced fee. Many materials, furnishings, and other services were donated to help HHH realize its vision—providing a vital sense of belonging for the homeless—on a limited budget. 

Teach For America
Where: New York
Designer: HOK


Tom Polucci, director, interior design at HOK

With a new headquarters in the Financial District in New York, the nonprofit Teach for America is now able to deliver on its mission in a more robust way. Designed by HOK, in collaboration with Pentagram for environmental graphics, this is a workplace for 600 people on three floors. Learn more about this Teach for America project, and view an extensive photo gallery, at this link.


Teach for America Headquarters in New York. Image courtesy of Ari Burling Photography

Teach for America recruits and enables recent college graduates from across the U.S. to serve as teachers. Known as corps members, they commit to teaching for at least two years in a public or public charter K–12 school in one of 52 low-income communities. In this new workplace, teachers from across the country have a place to work and hold meetings.


Teach for America Headquarters in New York. Image courtesy of Ari Burling Photography

To create a double-height interior that serves as a multifunctional area for various events, HOK created an open central staircase/bleacher linking two floors both vertically and horizontally. Taking advantage of an unusual H-shaped floor plan, HOK designed varied environments throughout the office. Color is used to organize the interiors. For example, red denotes informal gathering areas and yellow signifies audio-visual areas.

To learn more about the awards, visit contractdesign.com/inspirationsawards.