Architectural Terra Cotta

21.06.2018 Publication

Gladding, McBean, in Lincoln, is one of the oldest companies in California and a pioneer in ceramics technology which has contributed immeasurably to the state’s industrialization. During the heyday of architectural terra cotta, the company dominated the industry in the Far West.

The book Architectural Terra Cotta of Gladding, McBean, by Gary F. Kurutz and Mary Swisher, is a remarkable photographic collection of this pre-eminent producer of decorative terra cotta from 1890 to 1930. It showcases over 100 photographs, including neo-classic motifs of the earliest San Francisco skyscrapers to ornaments of Art Deco Hollywood palaces. Some of these photographs can be seen in detail on our slideshow.

The photographer Mary Swisher selected, printed and cared for a collection of over 10,000 negatives, while the historian Gary F. Kurutz put together an informative and entertaining text about the history of the company. The result is an unmissable publication for lovers of architecture, photography and industrial archaeology.

Architectural Terra Cotta

Interview to Toni Gironès

10.06.2018 Exhibition

We share with you an interesting interview which is part of the exhibition Brick by Brick. Ceramics applied to architecture, hold in the Museo del Diseño de Barcelona from September 2016 until January 2017. The Catalan architect, Toni Gironès, explains his project Dolmen transmitter space in Seró.

Interview to Toni Gironès.

Clay Station

24.05.2018 Work

Clay Station is a collaboration between Assemble and the artist Matthew Raw commissioned by Art on the Underground.

Building on London Underground’s rich heritage of ceramics, the project involves the production of more than a thousand hand-made tiles as part of the refurbishment and remodelling of a commercial unit at the entrance to Seven Sisters Underground Station which has lain empty for more than a decade.

This technique entails colouring blocks of plain white clay with body stain and mixing together different combinations before they are sized, rolled, moulded, cut, dried, fired and glazed. The resulting tiles formed from this process will be used to clad the exterior of the building and each one will be unique.

Restoring the ceramic pieces of Casa Vicens

15.05.2018 Work

The ceramics from Casa Vicens are one of its most recognisable elements. Can you imagine discovering the process of creating tiles with carnations, the yellow flowers that cover the house’s façades? Led by the master artisan ceramist Manel Diestre, director of the process to restore Casa Vicens’ ceramic pieces, in this video you’ll discover the process of creating artisanal carnation azulejo tiles with the original trepa (transfer-printing) technique.

LIFE CERSUDS. Permeable ceramic paving

10.05.2018 Work

The project LIFE CERSUDS, Ceramic Sustainable Urban Drainage System, funded by the European Commission through the LIFE programme, is developing a sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) that uses ceramic tiles of low commercial value as a flooring filter system.

The main aim of the project is to enhance city adaptability to climate change and to foster the use of SuDS and green infrastructure. This will be done by designing and implementing a SuDS demonstrator. The demonstrator, envisaged for Benicasim (Castellón), involves the construction of a sustainable urban drainage system via the development of a permeable ceramic flooring, using ceramic tiles of low commercial value. The space foreseen for the demonstrator consists of a street section with light and pedestrian traffic in an established urban setting of about 3000 m2.


08.05.2018 Work

The Droneport project explores the generation of a drone airport network combining the dynamic futurism of drone technology with low-tech buildings that use local materials and traditional building techniques. The network aims to interconnect communities in developing countries that lack appropriate road or rail networks, enabling urgent medical supplies and cargo to be delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

The construction of a prototype droneport shell at the 2016 Architecture Biennale of Venice was made possible by The Norman Foster Foundation together with the Block Research Group (ETH Zurich), plus the support of the LafargeHolcim Foundation. They have developed a high strength, local earth-based product, called Durabric, specifically for the project.

ACAW Workshop

03.05.2018 Event

Representatives of industry and academia from around the world gather in Buffalo, NY for the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW), presented by Boston Valley Terra Cotta and the University at Buffalo‘s School of Architecture and Planning and supported by the UB Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART).

The workshop’s objective is to introduce and consider the properties of terra cotta earlier in the architect’s design process and to develop research and design models between manufacturing and architectural industries useful to the efficient production of facade solutions.

The ACAWorkshop culminates in a weeklong event, with teams constructing system models from their prototypes, and presenting their studies to peers in the industry.

For more details go to ACAW 2018 Event Website.


Sculptural terracotta enclosure by SHoP

19.04.2018 Installation

These ondulating blocks were manufactured and stacked together to create ‘WAVE/CAVE’, with the aim of providing visitors with a moment of intimacy.

The installation was designed by SHoP architects for Interni Magazine’s Material Immaterial exhibition, which took place as part of Milan Design Week 2017.

Made up of 1,670 extruded unglazed terracotta blocks, the work stands at 10 meters high at its tallest point. Each block has been individually carved, and while they appear complete on the outside, the inside of the installation reveals an intricate pattern created by volume subtraction.

Coverings 2018

12.04.2018 Event

For almost thirty years, Coverings has been the preeminent event for the ceramic tile & natural stone industry in North America. Visitors from every facet of the tile & stone industry find that Coverings is the one event that drives their success, year after year. All in one venue, see thousands of dazzling products, connect with suppliers from around the globe and discover ground-breaking techniques, tips and tricks.

Covering will be taking place from 8-11 May in the Georgia World Congress Center.


Elfsteden Monument

05.04.2018 Work

‘It sil heve’ are the legendary words that were uttered in 1985 when the ‘race of all races’ was able to be held once again after a gap of 22 years. The idea for the project is a picture, which from a distance appears to be a row of skaters helping each other and keeping each other out of the wind, a characteristic scene from the Elfstedentocht (a race on skates passing through 11 Frisian towns). Seen close up, the tiles depict thousands of portraits of all the skaters that have ever finished the race.

The artistic duo of Maree Blok and Bas Lugthart approached Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum to handle the production process, which involved baking the photos onto the tiles using a screen-printing process.

The project was carried out on the Canterlandse bridge, the last bridge the skaters have to pass under in the Elfsteden route before reaching the finish a few kilometres further in Leeuwarden.

Elfsteden Monument

The charm of repetition

30.03.2018 Event

Under the motto ARTESANÍA: INNOVACIÓN | REVOLUCIÓN | PROYECCIÓN on April 12 will be held the III Jornada de Creatividad y Tendencias, organized by the Museum of Design of Barcelona. During the day, there will be different workshops related to handicrafts, among which we highlight the Design workshop for tiles: the charm of repetition, by Bussoga + Isabel Fernández del Moral.

From the background of ceramic work of the Museum of Design, various mathematical compositions will be studied to design prints. It will be based on the objects of the Museum as a source of inspiration and the personal work of the creatives to deepen the analysis and new proposals of the artisan, industrial and digital production.

Interview to Vicenç Sarrablo

23.03.2018 Exhibition

We share with you an interesting interview which is part of the exhibition Brick by Brick. Ceramics applied to architecture, hold in the Museo del Diseño de Barcelona from September 2016 until January 2017. Vicenç Sarrablo, Director of the Ceramics Chair of Barcelona talks about the multiple uses and advantages of ceramics.

Interview to Vicenç Sarrablo.

Ai Weiwei. Sunflower Seeds

20.03.2018 Installation

The Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, challenges our first impressions with his installation Sunflower Seeds: what you see is not what you see, and what you see is not what it means. The sculptural installation is made up of what appear to be millions of sunflower seed husks, apparently identical but actually unique. Although they look realistic, each seed is made out of porcelain. And far from being industrially produced, ‘readymade’ or found objects, they have been intricately hand-crafted by hundreds of skilled artisans.

Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space at Tate Modern, the seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape. The precious nature of the material, the effort of production and the narrative and personal content create a powerful commentary on the human condition.

Ceramic Constellation Pavilion

12.03.2018 Technology

The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Architecture has collaborated with the Sino Group to create Ceramic Constellation Pavilion.

The structure seeks to expand contemporary views on architectural construction by creating a 3.8 meter tall pavilion made entirely of 3D printed terracotta bricks, dispensing with tradictional brick-bonding techniques. Instead, the structure’s load-bearing features and overall stability are made possible by each brick’s unique shape and placement.

The overall structure is composed of 2,000 3D printed terracotta bricks. Over the period of 3 weeks 700 kg of raw terracotta clay were 3D printed into individual bricks. Each brick required between 2 and 3 minutes of printing time. The fresh prints the underwent an intensive firing process, baking for an extended period of time at 1025 degrees Celsius. This process makes the pavilion one of the first in its kind that incorporates this specific material system.

Ceramic Constellation Pavilion

Museum & Mosaic Park in Jinzhou

05.03.2018 Work

The project represents the paradigm of the contemporary urban park, which is neither a fragment of the natural landscape nor a landscaped piece of the city, but the mix of both of them. Museum & Mosaic Park has an hybrid character that combines architecture with landscape, and nature with artifice.

On the one hand, the use of broken local ceramic pieces of different colours for the materialization of the pavement and benches of the park and for the facades of the museum evokes the mosaic tradition that was widespread throughout Europe by the Roman Empire and that has evolved along history till the present day bringing technical solutions such as the trecandís technique used by the Catalan modernist architects.

On the other hand, the geometry of the park is inspired by the crackled glaze of the Chinese porcelain developed from the 10th century during the Song Dynasty in the Ru Ware and Ge Ware ceramic pieces. The Mosaic park and the Ceramic Museum remind citizens that the Jinzhou region was once a production area of ceramic and porcelain, although this tradition was lost for centuries, being nowadays forgotten.

Antony Gormley. FIELD

26.02.2018 Installation

”From the beginning I was trying to make something as direct as possible with clay: the earth. I wanted to work with people and to make a work about our collective future and our responsibility for it. I wanted the art to look back at us, its makers (and later viewers), as if we were responsible. Responsible for the world that it (FIELD) and we were in. I have made it with help 5 times in different parts of the world.

The most recent is from Guangzhou, China, and was exhibited in Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing in 2003. It is made from 125 tonnes of clay energised by fire, sensitised by touch and made conscious by being given eyes.

The 210,000 body-surrogates completely occupy the space in which they are installed, taking the form of the building and excluding us, but allowing visual access. It is always seen from a single threshold. The dimensions of the viewing area are equivalent to no less than one sixth of the total floor area of the piece. This viewing area is completely empty. The viewer then mediates between the occupied and unoccupied areas of a given building. I like the idea of the physical area occupied being put at the service of the imaginative space of the witness.”

Interview with Antony Gormley about FIELD.

Antony Gormley. FIELD

Making Porcelain Insulators

20.02.2018 Technology

General Electric made an industrial short in the 1920s, a silent film that shows how the company produces porcelain insulators for power lines.

Porcelain insulators of this time period were made from china clay, ball clay, flint, and feldspar. In the dry process, ingredients are pulverized and screened to a fine powder and then pressed into moulds. Once moulded, they are trimmed by hand to remove fins and flashing. The pieces are then spray-glazed while spinning on a vertical lathe.

We share with you this version of the short, edited with the addition of some playful ragtime music. We hope you enjoy it!

Substància Cremada

16.02.2018 Exhibition

“The project focuses on the abandoned ceramic factories located in Onda (Castellón). It’s a research line related to the abandoned industrial heritage and the obsolescence of these buildings. Their print on the population is strong, there was a time when the whole town lived into the rhythm of the factories’ shifts and the baking times of the ovens. These pictures build a document where all the details are legible, and unfortunately this is the only thing we are going to have from them in a few years if nothing is done because the degradation rate is increasing year after year.”

Milena Villalba

Substància Cremada

VII Congreso Internacional de Cerámica y Arquitectura

06.02.2018 Event

The School of Architecture of Madrid hosts the 27th and 28th of February the VII International Congress of Ceramics and Architecture under the slogan ‘Ceramic and Soil’, a title that should be considered as a suggestion, but not excludes proposals from other fields related to non-structural ceramics. The event is part of the Network of Ceramic Chairs promoted by ASCER.

On the one hand, the ambition of this congress is to place ceramics in an architectural context from a historical-artistic perspective; and on the other, his intention is to promulgate the work of contemporary architects who have used ceramics in their works.


Art and technology at Villa Nurbs

25.01.2018 Technology

Nature and technology come together to create a perfect combination in Villa Nurbs, work of an unconventional house designed by CLOUD9 in collaboration with the ceramist Toni Cumella and the artist Frederic Amat, who has intervened in each of the ceramic pieces through the application of enamels.

The building is covered by a ceramic skin that proposes a new way of conceiving the facade in the field of architecture. It consists of a series of ceramic pieces designed so that, taken together, they function as if they were a plant wall. According to the orientation, this skin has the ability to isolate the building from unfavorable environmental conditions and to protect it against insolation, rain or strong winds. At the same time, it is permeable to the breeze. A system of tensioned cables in the form of a network that rests on the metallic structure of the facade serves as support for these ceramic pieces. Both elements define the outer layer of the façade.


New life for Paolozzi mosaics

15.01.2018 Artwork

The restoration of Eduardo Paolozzi’s iconic mosaics at Tottenham Court Road station has been completed.

Paolozzi was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement, and this mosaics, from 1986, are widely considered to be one of the most spectacular examples of post-war public art. The designs, that cover 950 square metres, contain references to London’s culture and economy.

Around 95 percent of the mosaics have been retained at the station while it underwent a huge expansion. Wherever possible the original tiles have been reused, and where new tiles have been required they have been closely colour-matched using the same process as the originals. The sections that could not be relocated were transported to the renowned Edinburgh College of Art.

Architecture and Design Forum

08.01.2018 Event

The line-up of speakers at the Architecture and Design Forum that is part of Cevisama Lab, Cevisama’s ideas powerhouse, is one again set to feature some eminent names in architecture  and interior design, as the Pritzker Prize Rafael Moneo and the Portuguese Eduardo Souto de Moura. The Forum will be taking place the days 5 and 6 February under the theme ‘Material Architecture’ in the North Forum Assembly Hall of Feria Valencia as an integral part of the 36th edition of Cevisama.


08.01.2018 Event

The International Fair for Architectural Ceramic, Bathroom and Kitchens CEVISAMA, has established itself as the most prominent event of the Spanish ceramic industry. The last edition of the fair, titled CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY took place from 5th to 9th February 2018 at Feria Valencia and showcased the the newest offers and innovations from all sectors concerning the ceramic field. An essential meeting for distributors, promoters, architects and designers in the international sphere.


28.12.2017 Event

The World Congress on Ceramic Tile Quality QUALICER, biennial event, will be held in February 2018 at the Chamber of Commerce of Castellón. International leaders of the ceramic tile manufacturing industry will be debating the need for strategic conditions and industrial policies that make industrial investment feasible.

Kengo Kuma on his Ceramic Cloud

21.12.2017 Interview

CCCloud (Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud) was Kengo Kuma’s first built work of architecture in Italy and it was completed in September 2010. The monument, located in the middle of a roundabout in front of Casalgrande Padana‘s Headquarters, is the collaborative result of Kengo Kuma’s team, the University represented by Alfonso Acocella and Luigi Alini, and Casalgrande Padana.

The completed structure is 12 meters tall and is a maximum of 1.7 meters wide at the central section. It is composed of nine layers of porcelain stoneware slabs that. This tiles measure 60 x 120 cm and are stacked and held in place by thin threaded bars. Traditionally used as cladding, the ceramic tiles are used in this monument for the first time as a structural component.

Here we share with you an interesting interview with Kengo Kuma on his Ceramic Cloud.


ECALAB and RIBA North present CERÁMICA

14.12.2017 Exhibition

CERÁMICA, a ground-breaking new exhibition at RIBA North supported by ASCER, explores the future use of ceramics and technology in architecture. From 28 October 2017 to 10 February 2018, a series of full-scale installations by ECAlab (Environmental Ceramics for Architecture Laboratory) will enliven RIBA’s new centre on the Liverpool waterfront.

The exhibition seeks to highlight how traditional ceramic techniques and digital engineering processes can be used together to produce more significant and sustainable architectural elements.

One of the main events of CERÁMICA is a symposium on architecture and ceramics that will be held on 8 December 2017 under the title of Molding Futures: Architectural Ceramics Symposium. Experts like Martin Bechthold (director of the Harvard’s GSD), Eric Parry or Maximiliano Arrocet (Amanda Levete Architects) are among the scheduled speakers.

Parisian Floors. Ceramic at your feet

29.11.2017 Artwork

German photographer Sebastian Erras’ Instagram account (Parisian Floors) showcases the bright and beautiful floor tiles of Paris and other cities. Intricate historic mosaics and colourful worn off hidraulic tiles are often the main characters of these pictures. In all of them his shoes peep out, giving a sense of scale and reminding us that sometimes it is ok to look down.

Parisian Floors. Ceramic at your feet

Tile of Spain Awards 2017. Winners

25.11.2017 Awards

The veredict of 2017’s Tile of Spain Awards took place on 24th of November in Castellón, with the prestigious architect Iñaki Ábalos as the jury chairman and Ángela García de Paredes, Víctor Navarro, Bak Gordon, Moisés Puente, Martín Azúa and Ramón Monfort as other jury members.

The architects Víctor Rahola and Jorge Vidal were the winners of the 16th ASCER’s Tile of Spain Award’s first prize for their project Mont-Ras Winery in Girona in the Architecture category. Mont-Ras Winery is a space evolving from the essence of wine, ground and grapes. It was designed as a platform inside the earth with four main spaces and a roof-garden, taking in consideration all the specific conditions required for the wine production and conservation. The jury highlighted the appropriate use of the materials to the industrial and also rustic character of the program and its adaptation to different geometries.

In the Interior Design category the judges decided to award first prize to the project Three metro stations L9 Barcelona by Garcés-de Seta-Bonet Arquitectes. In the Degree Project category the winner was Un jardín de paisajes: recuperación del entorno de la Muralla Zirí en el Albaicín by Rafael López-Toribio Moreno from ETSA Granada.

Ceramic poppies at Tower of London

15.11.2017 Installation

This art installation Blood Swept Lands an Seas of Red at the Tower of London marked one hundred years since the first day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively filled the Tower’s moat between July and November of 2014. Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war.

The poppies encircled the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display but also a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation was intended to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary and create a powerful visual commemoration.

The ceramic pieces were manufactured with techniques used by potters during the First World War (Making the poppies). After the installations all the poppies were sold, raising millions of pounds which were shared equally amongst six service charities.

Tile of Spain Awards 2017. Open call

05.10.2017 Awards

The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association, ASCER, organizes the competition for the Tile of Spain Awards of Architecture and Interior Design. The prizes aim to improve awareness and understanding of ceramic tiles made in Spain amongst architects and interior designers and promote their use by these professionals.

The jury for this sixteenth edition is made up of internationally-acclaimed professionals working in the architecture and design sectors: Iñaki Ábalos (chairman), Ángela García de Paredes, Víctor Navarro, Bak Gordon, Moisés Puente, Martín Azúa and Ramón Monfort. Jury’s veredict will be announced on 24th November.

In the previous edition, the award in the architecture category went to a renovation project for Two homes in Oropesa (Toledo) by  Paredes Pedrosa studio. The TABA espazioa gastro space by Ibon Salaberria received the Interior Design award. Access to the video summary of last edition.


15.09.2017 Event

CERSAIE is the major international showcase for the latest trends in the ceramic and bathroom design sector. The world’s greatest ceramic exhibition will be taking place once again in the Italian city of Bologna from 25 to 29 September 2017, which constitutes a meeting point for the most innovative brands from all across the globe.

For decades, this Bologna fair has contributed to the prestige of ceramic materials and has inspired a great deal of highly demanding architectural, design and interior design projects. As a result, the Bologna fair has risen to become the greatest showcase for state-of-the-art trends in ceramics, glazing, bathroom ware and furniture.

Gio Ponti. L’Infinito Blu

25.02.2017 Exhibition

2017’s Triennale di Milano presented the exhibition GIO PONTI: L’INFINITO BLU, dedicated to the ceramic tile designs for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento, as well as notes, drawings and photographs of the creative process.

The collection of 33 ‘Blu Ponti’ tiles in 20×20 format was composed of the 27 models used at the hotel, with the addition of five patterns that were never produced and an another one unpublished that was discovered in the archives of the original manufacturer Ceramica D’Agostino. The tiles have been reproduced by Ceramica Francesco De Maio for the occasion.

Alongside this article there is a suggestive animation produced by LIXIL Group (Tokyo) in 2014 for the exhibition Giving Warmth to the Building Skin, The World of Gio Ponti, Father of Modern Italian Design.



10.02.2017 Event

The International Fair for Architectural Ceramic, Bathroom and Kitchens CEVISAMA, has established itself as the most prominent event of the Spanish ceramic industry. The 2017’s edition of the fair, titled PERFECT FUTURE, took place at Feria Valencia from 20th to 24th February 2017 and showcased the the newest offers and innovations from all sectors concerning the ceramic…

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Tile of Spain Awards 2016. Winners

17.02.2017 Awards

The architects Paredes Pedrosa were awarded the ASCER’s Tile of Spain prize for their project Two homes in Oropesa in the Architecture category. The veredict took place on 24th November 2016 in Castellón, with the prestigious architect Gonçalo Byrne as the jury chairman.

The project addressed a meticulous restoration and reuse of ruins crossed by walls and arches from an ancient connection between the castle and the village church. Although the use of ceramic has a reserved character, its careful layout and finishes give the space a determining touch of warmth and timelessness.

Paredes Pedrosa won in 2004 the third edition of these awards for Peñíscola’s Congress Centre and obtained in 2011 a honourable mention for Gandia’s Kid University.

First prize in the Interior Design category went to  TABA espazioa by Ibon Salaberria and the first prize in the Final Degree Project category went to In-Situ: Tools and Technology in Traditional Architecture by M Wesam Al Asali.