The National Tiles and Grand Designs Australia Tiler of the Year Award for 2020 has been awarded, with Tom Samuels of Tile Smart taking the award
As first prize winner, Tom receives a Mazda BT-50 Boss. He received the nomination and award for his work on an impressive home steam room.
“When we were engaged by our client to work closely with the builder on his home, he showed us an image he’d found on Pinterest of a steam room that he loved. It wasn’t a photo – it was a CGI render of a steam room, so it didn’t actually exist, but he wanted us to recreate it.
“For the tiling part, I had never done anything like it before. I had worked with mosaics and done a few curved walls but nothing to the level of skill required for this space. It was pretty intimidating, and I had a few a sleepless nights worrying about it because it was so complex.”
Working with the team and the building crew, the whole process was meticulous and highly mathematical. Coupled with the highly-specific and demanding material requirements of a steam room, this project was truly one requiring technical excellence.
“The whole project was a challenge really. I hadn’t had to curve marble to fit into a curved niche before and above that section ensuring the mosaics were perfectly installed with all the curves was challenging too. I had to make a ply template in the same shape as the curve then cut the marble into 40mm strips with mitres then glued them all together and then polish and hone them, so they were smooth and perfect.
“It was a very detailed exercise but very rewarding when the conceptualisation worked.”
Tom is one of three finalists to receive prizes for their work, and believes that the awards – organised by National Tiles in partnership with Grand Designs Australia – have been a great way to raise awareness for the hard work and technical expertise of Tilers’ craft.
“It’s such a significant acknowledgement of my work and the messages of support and congratulations I have received from friends, colleagues, the public and my fellow tilers has been amazing. There’s so much hard work that goes into tiling so it’s fantastic to see that others appreciate the skill and effort required.
“I think the Tiler of the Year Awards are so great for the industry because it can really encourage tilers to try their best and do a great job so they can enter next year.”
Tiler of the Year Awards: Runners-Up
With such a range of excellent tilers’ works to select from, it was a challenge for our judges to choose the final winners. However, the breadth of work is also illustrated in the work of the competition’s two successful runners-up.
Second Prize: Sam Greiner – Straight Line Tiling
Sam was nominated for his technical prowess working with projects involving tiling curves, columns and bollards. His prize is a family trip to Milan, Italy – courtesy of Mapei.
“It’s really rewarding to see the finished result of your tiling work. We get to turn concrete and plaster into something that looks great. There’s a great deal of satisfaction when clients are happy with the completed space. Attention to detail is so important and taking pride in what you do.”
Third Prize: Joel Grenfell – Metre by Metre tiling
For his excellence in creating a balanced, symmetrical and functional space, Joel Grenfell receives a Sigma Tiling Tool Package courtesy of Sigma Italia.
“To be a successful tiler you need to be patient, to work clean and to have a great vision about what the end result will look like. And you have to be very fussy and make sure all of the lines are square and that the finish is perfect.
“The Tiler of the Year Awards have been great for the industry. Any sort of publicity that acknowledges tilers and what we do and shows people what we can create with our work is fantastic.”
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