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Stone Tile Group Installs Mirage Porcelain Pavers by Belgard® in Award-Winning Luxury Apartment Project

Stone Tile Group Installs Mirage Porcelain Pavers by Belgard® in Award-Winning Luxury Apartment Project

During the past year, Orlando’s Stone Tile Group (STG) earned award honors for a multi-faceted hardscape project known as Mirage Porcelain Pavers by Belgard®. Belgard Commerical is part of Oldcastle APG, a CRH Company. Located at the MMA Robinson Apartments, a 368-unit luxury complex in the heart of downtown Orlando, the project was constructed from the Mirage Porcelain Pavers which were chosen to showcase a high-level aesthetic and sustain heavy traffic areas of the property. STG is one of Central Florida’s leading providers of architectural and natural stone surfaces, fine porcelain, ceramic and glass tile and elegant wood flooring. Founded more than 20 years ago by Chris Guadagnoli, the firm partners with the design-build community on custom residential and select commercial projects. They were introduced to porcelain pavers by the architects.

Partner and Principal, Jim Antonucci, explained, “We credit the architects with bringing Mirage Porcelain Pavers to our attention for this project. Our extensive experience and expertise in porcelain tile installation has earned us a solid reputation, and when we partnered with lead architects from Kimley-Horn, they introduced us to the pavers.”

According to Stone Tile Group’s Project Director Roger Evans, the job required over 13,000 square feet of pavers installed throughout three different levels in the Mirage Quarziti collection colors of Glacier and Waterfall. The product was designed with the flexibility to be dry laid on grass, gravel, dirt and sand or installed on roofs and terraces using raised supports.

The porcelain pavers were engineered to enhance the elegant hardscape designs of the MMA Robinson Apartments. With an aesthetic similar to indoor porcelain pavers, the thicker, more durable pavers were constructed to bear loads up to 2,000 pounds while holding up to a variety of weather conditions including direct sunlight, strong winds and humidity. 

Antonucci confirmed, “It was really a no-brainer. The clients wanted a durable material with an attractive look, and Mirage Porcelain Pavers met those goals. It will hold up to all kinds of weather and heavy foot traffic, and it looks beautiful.”

Landscape Architects Katelyn McKenna and Scott Mingonet, from the Kimley-Horn Orlando office, oversaw the hardscape, landscape, and irrigation for the project.

McKenna remarked, “For the design concept, our clients wanted to focus on wellness, leisure and accessing the downtown Orlando experience. The Mirage Porcelain Pavers were the best match for those needs.”

“Durability and resilience were important features from a maintenance perspective,” McKenna continued. “And our clients’ design goals focused on providing a Zen-like, aesthetically appealing courtyard space from two perspectives—as a comfortable circulation and gathering area on the ground level and as an attractive visual element from above.”

The complementary natural stone colors added contrast to the curved, circular and rectangular geometric patterns that accentuated the stone fountain, sitting areas and the entranceway into the lobby—a beautiful first impression for prospective leasers, residents and passersby.

“The two-tone Mirage Quarziti colors used in the courtyard were tied into the interior colors,” the architect elaborated, “with the pavers creating a visual transition from the lobby to the paseo, and the cuts were not easy, with lots of curves and angles. The Stone Tile Group was great to work with—all the cuts were perfect.”

Antonucci discussed some of his company’s principles for guaranteeing an efficient and cost-effective outcome for the installation.

“We employ our own crew,” he stated, “so that we control the quality and completion of each project. For the grounds, it was all about assuring that all levels were properly pitched—it must be perfect before installation. Our workers gave us great feedback about the pavers.”

Orlando has earned a reputation as a dog-loving city, and the MMA complex was configured to accommodate busy pet owners. The ninth-floor plans included the Bark Park, a high-rise deck with a synthetic turf doggie play area. Light colored porcelain pavers, which were installed on the adjoining area where owners could relax and socialize, added continuity to the courtyard area below.

One floor above the ninth, the landscape architects designed a rooftop pool deck with panoramic views of downtown Orlando. The skid-resistant pavers in two contrasting colors, Mirage Quarziti Glacier and Nau Indie (wood look) were used for the pool decking against an off-white inner deck of the pool. The Nau wood-look created a border for the outer lounging area.

“The exterior color designated where people would lounge or relax,” McKenna indicated, “since the darker wood-like tone tied into some of the finishes on the interior of the facility. The lighter color edging on the pool specified the more active area.”

Antonucci and his team devised some innovative solutions for the logistical challenges of installing a large amount of rooftop pavers.

“We only had one elevator and the materials were quite heavy,” he recalled, “so we installed a crane system to move the pavers efficiently and safely to the roof top. There was minimal breakage, and once the materials were in place, it was a matter of properly securing the subfloor to meet the specifications. The design and layout of the pool is just stunning.”

The saltwater pool quickly became a wildly popular amenity for residents. The convenience of cooling off on a hot day or sitting poolside and enjoying panoramic views of downtown Orlando have established it as a favorite for MMA Apartment dwellers.

“The reactions to the completed deck were typically something like, ‘Wow!’ Antonucci recounted. “Everyone who saw it was impressed, and the beautiful design and the view of downtown Orlando were a huge hit.”

Along with aesthetic considerations for all three levels, the Kimley-Horn team were attentive to the hardscape’s connection to the community and the developing web of trails that will accommodate the non-driving crowd.  

McKenna noted, “It was important to facilitate access to the downtown area. The courtyard is connected to the paseo, which has a visual tie to downtown. The residents will be able to easily access the nearby trails that are close to completion.”

The Orlando Downtown Loop has been an in-progress multiuse trail project that will create an 8.5-mile loop through the greater downtown area when completed linking bikers and walkers to shopping, dining, entertainment, parks, offices and services.

“The reactions to the project had been so positive,” Antonucci commented, “and we were so pleased that it led to the Hardscape North America (HNA) 2022 Hardscape Award. We realized that it was kind of a big deal, and all of us at Stone Tile Group are very thankful that Belgard’s National Team nominated us for this honor.”

The HNA Awards are produced by ICPI-NCMA and endorsed by the Brick Industry Association (BIA) and Natural Stone Institute (NSI).

“The HNA Awards grow year-over-year and honorees continue to demonstrate dedication to their craft,” said Bob Thomas, ICPI-NCMA President and CEO. “Projects recognized display creativity, attention to detail and design, and collaboration between contractors, designers, and producers to install sustainable and resilient projects.” 

Since the MMA Robinson Apartments completion, the dynamic team of Stone Tile Group and Kimley-Horn have continued to collaborate on a variety of innovative hardscape projects. Click here to learn more about Mirage Porcelain Pavers by Belgard.