One mid-century ceramicist, the late Maija Grotell, finds herself in conversation with another, the living Ian McDonald at Turning Still: Historical & Contemporary Ceramics. At Patrick Parrish gallery in lower Manhattan, the two ceramicists—McDonald, the current artist-in-residence and Grotell, former artist-in-residence at The Cranbrook Art Academy—dialogue through pieces that reference Cranbrook’s campus in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Grotell’s modernist vases and vessels, rendered in strong forms with geometric patterns painted in surface slip (colored clay), are in stark tension alongside McDonald’s strong, yet soft, bowls finished with colored terra sigillata (ultra-fine clay that’s sieved, applied, and then burnished for a soft look).
In Turning Still, Grotell’s work—11 pieces on loan from The Cranbrook Art Museum’s permanent collection—have rough surfaces built up with slip and glaze, creating peaks and valleys (and sometimes representative images). Compare that to McDonald’s contributions, all new for this show; the bowls and jars are simple and angular, but adorned with fully realized “pipes,” “bars,” and “rails,” turning what’s implied into actual geometry. The effect is especially pronounced as Turning Still mixes and mingles the two artists’ work to create maximum contrast. While Grotell’s vases, cups, and bowls are decorated, they still suggest functionality, an effect that McDonald’s filled-in, covered, or obscured objects eschews.
Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
On January 15, a new state-of-the-art ceramic facility designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm DIGSAU will break ground for The Clay Studio, a nonprofit ceramics studio founded in 1974 that has serves approximately 35,000 members of the Philadelphia community annually. The organization will leave its location in a narrow 19th-century structure and move into the much larger, 32,000-square-foot building in the heart of the South Kensington neighborhood. “This is a defining moment," executive director Jennifer Martin told Artdaily, "and together we are making a big dream a reality.”
DIGSAU's design is a reflection of lessons learned by The Clay Studio's interaction with the South Kensington neighborhood through the Claymobile, a mobile community engagement program that brings ceramics studios to schools, older adult facilities, community centers, and other social service agencies throughout the Philadelphia region. "Community is what began and sustained The Clay Studio for 45 years," said Martin, "and community is what will make our new building a home.”
The new building, which will be 67 percent larger than the organization's former space, will include a rooftop garden, an outdoor pavilion, and a number of classrooms that are twice the size of those in the current building. Studios dedicated to local and visiting artists will also be generously-sized to accommodate technologically-advanced art-making equipment, and the new building will have the flexibility to host exhibitions, conferences, and other special events. The ground floor's interior will be visible from the street to promote a feeling of public accessibility, while the facade of the upper floor will modulate light with its variably-sized openings to produce the optimal conditions for ceramic production.
The groundbreaking reflects the success of a $13.7 million capital campaign that includes an allocation of New Markets Tax Credits from Philadelphia’s Economic Development Corporation (PIDC), as well as an award from the Windgate Foundation and contributions from local donors.
Making PlaceMatter, a major exhibition highlighting The Clay Studio's commitment to its network of artists and the Philadelphia community, will be held in the new building's main gallery space when completed in Spring 2021. The project will also be the first ground-up ceramics-oriented arts facility in the U.S.
On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Yoon-Young Hur, or YY as she’s known by friends, met AN Interior contributor Emily Conklin for lunch at a French bistro in the West Village, not far from Greenwich House Pottery, the studio that gave her a start with weekend classes while she was working as a full-time architect. She’s come a long way since that introduction and now maintains her own studio practice at Sculpture Space, and gallery representation abroad, and was invited to teach the 2019 summer intensive studio course at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, where Conklin was her student.
Hur straddles the creative worlds of both art and architecture with a soft, minimalist sensibility. A holder of two B.A’s—a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.Arch from the Cooper Union—her past practice continuously inform her current work.
“At the Art Institute, I had this great connection with a professor who came from the Cooper Union,” Hur said. “For a while, I had been trying to figure out what his approach was and where it was coming from. When I found out, that’s where I went.”
Hur’s ceramics are deeply rooted in her Korean heritage. After art and architecture school, She returned home to reconnect with family and culture, and South Korea is where she honed many of her formal technical skills. “There’s this embrace of imperfection in Korean art, which differs greatly from Chinese art, for example,” Hur said. “A moon jar’s seam, as well as the depressions and collapses that can happen within the kiln—are things to be celebrated, not discarded.”
Some of her earliest work revolved around this archetype; that is said to be representative of a Korean aesthetic at large. A spherical vessel with a narrow opening at the top, this type of jar is traditionally created by throwing two semicircular bowls, inverting one, and assembling them together before firing. While it is possible to throw the entire jar with no seam, she finds that imperfect connection to be a tangible interaction with a long lineage of ceramicists. “It represents a raw and direct record of the fleeting moment,” she said. “By not over-refining my process, I perceive new surprises and results that are often beyond my expectations and preconceived ideas.”
Read the full interview on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
Seizing on the momentum generated by the Trump administration’s timber and steel tariffs, a coalition of tile manufacturers is lobbying the U.S. government to impose tariffs of over 400 percent on Chinese-supplied ceramic tiles. While the approval of new duties could lift domestic producers, some design industry professionals are pushing back.
On April 10, eight U.S. ceramic tile producers, all members of the Tile Council of North America, successfully petitioned the Department of Commerce (DOC) to launch an investigation into China’s practice of tile dumping. That group, collected under the name "Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile," included American Wonder Porcelain, Florida Tile, Inc., Crossville, Inc., Florim USA, Dal-Tile Corporation, Landmark Ceramics, Del Conca USA, Inc., and StonePeak Ceramics. The coalition claims that the Chinese government is subsidizing the production of ceramic tiles to below-market-rate prices (or even below production costs) to artificially crowd out the competition, and the group is asking that the DOC impose retaliatory penalties on Chinese manufacturers to level the playing field.
To avoid confusion over what is and is not a tile, the coalition has issued a blanket request pertaining to any tile-like product, no matter the use, thickness, or design, for pieces up to five-feet-by-fifteen-feet. The scope of the complaint also includes tile originating in China and modified— beveled, painted, or refined in any way—in the United States.
In response, the newly-formed Ceramic Tile Alliance (CTA), a group of designers, retailers, and distributors, has launched a petition against imposing new tariffs on Chinese tile. The group argues that doing so would hurt the long-term health of the U.S. ceramics industry to the benefit of domestic manufacturers, that architects and interior designers would lose valuable connections that they’ve cultivated with international artisans, and that retailers would only be able to offer a limited selection.
Additionally, the CTA alleges that showrooms would need to renovate their displays, some of them larger wall and floor pieces, to reflect that certain products would be no longer available. Overall, the CTA estimates that “thousands” of jobs could be lost as distributors and retailers would be forced out of business by higher prices and restricted supplies.
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) will issue a preliminary injury determination by May 27. If the ITC and DOC find in favor of the coalition, the duties could be imposed as early as the beginning of next May.
Downtowns across the United States are littered with mid-century concrete office buildings reaching the end of their lifespans; the question facing cities is how to repurpose these aging assets while enlivening their public-facing street walls. Located in the center of Dallas, 5G Studio Collaborative’s 1217 Main Street breathes new life into a former bank with a vivid ceramic facade cladding a five-story, office-and-retail space.
Architects5G Studio Collaborative
InstallerTST Construction Services
For the design and fabrication of the 36,215-tile facade, 5G collaborated with Mexico-based artist Jorge Pardo. Ceramica Suro, a ceramics manufacturer in Guadalajara produced the tiles.
An initial challenge for the project was the fabrication of a ceramic tile suitable for Dallas's climate—the standard 9 percent water absorption rate of tiles produced by Ceramic Suro is appropriate for Mexico’s arid climate but not for the freeze and thaw cycles of northern Texas. The design team worked closely with the fabricator to develop a tile with an absorption rate at a much lower .2 percent.
Grafting the new atop the old is not a straightforward operation. “As with most renovation projects there are surprises throughout construction that must be addressed,” said 5G Studio Principal Josh Allen. “As a result, the design process extends into the construction phase due to the unexpected surprises of a renovation project.”
The western and eastern elevations of the original building are composed of concrete masonry units while those to the north and south consisted of glass and stucco over metal studs. 5G Studio reached out to engineering and facade consultation firm Studio NYL for help on the installation of the tiles.
The rain screen system rests on a matrix of custom-fabricatedaluminum rails, and the gridwork provides spacing between the existing wall and tile. The tiles come in two different sizes: nine by nine inches, and six by six inches. There is a quarter-inch joint between each tile.
"The modular framing is prefabricated to support the weight of the individual tiles offset to permit the airflow behind them and offer a substrate for the tiles to be mounted using adhesives rather than mortar," said Studio NYL founding principal Chris O'Hara. "The project is a success not just for the dynamic vision of the architects and artist but also in developing a higher performing system faster and less costly than the traditional construction method for this material."
5G Studio Collaborative's Josh Allen will be presenting a further dive into 1217 Main Street at the upcoming Facades+ Dallas on March 1.
In Mexico, handcrafts and folk art have shaped society for centuries. Often referred to as artesanía—a blend of indigenous and European designs—the country’s rich history of artisanal techniques has generated some of the most celebrated handmade objects, from the decorative to the utilitarian. Today, while crafts products enjoy a resurgence in popularity, inequalities persist, posing a number of obstacles in sustaining centuries-old traditions.
Since 2009, the Oaxaca-based organization Innovando la Tradición has been invested in rethinking the imperatives of clay-based crafts, while promoting sustainable practices. Besides running educational activities across potters’ communities in the region, the group’s commercial branch, Colectivo 1050°, identifies opportunities for the distribution of handmade objects to contemporary and high-end markets. AN Interior contributor Benoît Loiseau speaks with cofounder Diego Mier y Terán about the organization's challenges and hopes.
AN INTERIOR: You’ve spoken extensively about the risks of seeing Oaxacan pottery disappear. Are you noticing any progress?
COLECTIVO: It’s likely that 40 percent of the villages will stop producing pottery within our lifetime. That said, I think there’s hope, and we have seen villages revive their craft traditions. There’s currently a trend in the market for crafts and handmade products, and we are witnessing an increased interest in traditional pottery and ceramics. It is one of our missions to elevate the economic value of traditional pottery, but also its cultural and symbolic value. Ultimately, though, our goal is to change the narrative around how artisans are perceived and presented in the dominant discourse of institutions—one based on the exoticization of otherness—from museums, NGOs, designers, chefs, and government.
AN: Do you find that younger generations are interested in taking up the craft? Is there an issue of perception?
C: For young people, to see their parents struggling financially in the profession is clearly not an incentive. Earth is seen as something dirty, not elegant, cool, or modern. For that generation it often feels more dignified to build cars or computers. But we have seen changes when communities start earning more, with increased sales. The whole relationship within the family then changes, with children looking to take part in the workshops. We just had an exhibition at the Franz Mayer Museum [Mexico City], where we showed traditional pieces, made in the present day. It’s a big change; it’s really saying that the craft is alive. Clay is so ingrained in the history of Mexico—and of humankind—if given a little window, people will engage.
AN: A number of contemporary designers in Mexican cities work closely with artisans and craftsmen. How do you envisage best practice?
C: Best practice is in the making, but I don’t see a critical discussion taking place around design in Mexico at the moment, particularly in terms of colonizing practices. Designers are fixed on the fetishization of crafts, with little consideration for social change. It’s a dangerous and harmful situation for artisanal communities because designers are reproducing inequalities.
AN: In August you curated the IV Encuentro Nacional Alfarero Independiente, the fourth edition of the national gathering of potters and artisans from 12 states and 25 different villages, which gathered over 85 participants this year. What was the focus of the event?
C: The main focus was on sharing knowledge. It is very rare for artisans, particularly potters, to share knowledge and techniques with other villages, even less so other states. On the one hand, because the work demands to be in a closed environment, but also because there’s a certain level of competition—they’re nervous their work would be copied.
AN: Can you tell me about one of your most significant pieces?
C: The Tonaltepec Bowl is made with a very unique technique. Archaeologists have found examples in the area dating from as far back as 4,000 years. Still 30 years ago, most of the women in that remote village worked with clay, selling their products at the local market. When we visited in 2012, only five ladies were working with clay, and two years later, they had basically stopped, because the market had disappeared. So we started a series of workshops with the children in the village and other members of the community. Altogether, this generated somewhat of a revival, and production resumed. The bowl made it to Noma’s pop-up restaurant in Tulum last year.
AN: How do you redistribute profit, and ensure that your activities are sustainable?
C: Most of the products we sell are continuous. We test them, to see if the market responds to them. Forty to 50 percent of the retail price of the product goes back to the artisans. The rest goes to operations—maintaining shops, administration, packaging—then there’s a marginal 10 percent profit that pays for the activities of Innovando la Tradición.
Last week over 100,000 people wandered through the porticos of Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie, the annual international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. The show surveyed nearly 900 exhibitors showcasing a world of tiles and bathroom surfaces.Why Italy? And why ceramics? According to Ceramics of Italy, the trade organization that coordinates the exhibition, in 2017 Italy’s 145 ceramic tile manufacturers produced 930 million square feet of tiles, accounting for an overall revenue of €514.9 million. The material has been the main staple for flooring and surfaces because of its beauty, cost-effectiveness, and durability, but also because of its environmentally sustainable qualities. Its intrinsic characteristics are "green"; the material is more sustainable over its entire lifecycle than products like linoleum (which is cheap but has a very short life cycle) or naturally occurring materials like marble (which is expensive but can be expensive to maintain).Here, we review only a handful of what we saw in the collections that debuted in Italy last week, though some of the new colorways and large format sizes below premiered at Coverings and Salone del Mobile earlier this year. We encourage you to also have a look at the Cersaise story on our Instagram account to see more tile and style at the world's premiere show for ceramic tile and furnishings.Wide&Style Dark Edition
ABKFeaturing a dark-hued background, this collection encapsulates six floral motifs that would fit right in at a Vivienne Westwood boutique or as a backdrop in a Siouxsie and the Banshees music video. The digitally-printed slabs are made-to-order in customized dimensions along with a rendering and instructions for cutting and installing. Majestic collection
Valentino by Ceramiche PiemmeFor forty years, the Italian fashion house Valentino and luxury ceramic tile manufacturer Ceramiche Piemme have collaborated to make glamorous wall and floor tiles. Majestic, the newest brainchild from the collab, is inspired by gorgeous veined marbles like Carrara, Calacatta, and Emperador. While the materials imitate the naturally occurring rock, these ceramic alternatives are much more cost effective and are heat-treated to last for decades. Eterno
Versace CeramicsInspired by shou sugi ban—the traditional Japanese technique to preserve and finish wood using fire—these tiles feature a charred, tactile motif rendered by high-resolution digital printers. The full effect is accentuated by gold inlay tracing the frame of the trim with the original Versace bordering that surrounds the Medusa head in the brand’s logo. The collection dropped in May at Salone del Mobile in Milan, while new larger format tiles were released at Cersaie last week. Operae
ORNAMENTAEarlier this year in April at Coverings in Atlanta, ORNAMENTA unveiled Operae, a large format family of seven collections of saturated floor and ceiling tiles—all of which are digitally fabricated and completely customizable. The eclectic collections—Gradient, Squares, Domestic Jungle, Rugs, Deco, and Terrazzo—feature colorful themes ranging from an Art Deco motif with geometric shapes to a pattern with a foreground of palms printed on a millennial pink background. GRANDE in Treverkfeel finish
MARAZZIEmulating the look and texture of a natural wood grain, the Treverkfeel collection is spired by the knots and rings found in large planks of American walnut. Bigger sizes and wider thicknesses span the breadth of this large-format collection offered in slabs of 600 by 3200 millimeters with 6 millimeter thickness and 1620 by 3240 millimeters with 12 millimeter thickness. They are offered in four natural shades: ivory, beige, cherry, and brown.Titan
CENTURY by Finbec GroupGritty and unfinished, Titan is a collection of seemingly-aged tiles in seven metal and cement finishes. The collection is one of the new brands of oversize ceramic slabs aptly dubbed OVER, which is offered in nine thicknesses and sizes.
Sponsored Product: MaglinThe Pixel Collection gives you the flexibility to design the perfect space.
In the countryside outside of Buffalo, New York, Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) has an impressive industrial terra-cotta operation—a potter’s studio on steroids, with dust and clay scattered around a relatively calm factory. Since 1996 “Rusty” Raymond Conners has spent his days by the window and among his plants, carving intricate designs in the capitals of columns and the faces of tiles.
BVTC started in 1889 as a flower pot business, and has since morphed into one of the leading-edge facade manufacturers in the world, producing a range of baked-clay cladding products that are being used by everyone from Machado Silvetti to Morris Adjmi to Annabelle Selldorf. How did this transformation take place?
In the last five years, something remarkable has happened. In 2011, Omar Khan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p), and Mitchell Bring, a researcher and adjunct professor, realized the potential in Boston Valley’s operation. Bring has been working with some former students of UB/a+p to incorporate the latest in digital documentation, design, and fabrication technologies to help BVTC remain at the forefront of the terra cotta industry. What started as a couple of interns is now a whole team of digital designers and fabricators.
The digital documentation team uses 3D scan data to enhance more traditional techniques of reproducing historic buildings in preservation projects, such as Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building, or New York’s Woolworth Building, which the company is working to restore at the moment. In order to make the process the most efficient, designers use CAD to rationalize the component parts that make up any large ceramic assembly. In a small corner of the factory stands a digital fabrication shop, now led by UB/a+p alum Peter Schmidt. They work with mesh editing software, a 5-axis CNC router, and a 5-axis CNC hot wire cutter to make models that are then translated into molds for the traditional methods such as hand pressing, ram pressing, or slip casting.
Some worried that these new tools would cut into the work of the skilled craftspeople, such as the sculptors who hand-finish many of the more intricate pieces. However, once implemented, these artists found that they actually had more time to focus on the part that they really enjoy—sculpture—because many of the mundane tasks were cut out of the process. John Ruskin would be proud.
In addition to making traditional techniques more efficient, BVTC and UB are working together to think about how digital technology can allow more experimentation with clay-based building systems. This was the basis for Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, a week-long conference at UB/a+p, where architects, engineers, artists, and other leaders in the industry came together to share ideas and discuss what might be the future of clay and terra-cotta. The conference was a collaboration of Alfred State University, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, UB/a+p, and Data Clay, an art collective that is pushing the boundaries of digital craft and ceramics.
Keynote speakers were Jason Oliver Vollen, architect and principal of High-Performance Buildings at AECOM in New York; Willam M. McCarthy, ceramics professor at Alfred State University; and Neil Forrest, ceramic artist and educator at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada.
“While many architects design with industrially-produced ceramic components, they may have limited material understanding of clay, and most artists and designers trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the object,” says Bill Pottle, international sales and marketing manager at Boston Valley Terra Cotta, who helped organize the gathering. “By attending this workshop, they will have the opportunity to collaborate and deepen their understanding of and experience with the potential for terra-cotta in the architectural setting.”
Experiments in Clay
What does clay have to offer? What characteristics are unique of clay, and what can it offer that other materials cannot?
To explore these questions, the group of nearly 20 broke off into three groups, each with a balance of engineers, architects, artists, and researchers. Throughout the week in the top floor of UB/a+p, they combined their broad collective knowledge with computers, 3D printers, clay, and a range of drawing tools to experiment with clay.
On the final day, the four groups presented the findings of their charettes and pin-ups. The first group, led by Adjmi, developed BIO CLAD, a panelized system that used the thermal capacities of terra-cotta to enhance the energy performance in residential applications. Terra-cotta panels—TerraClad by BVTC—would collect heat on the outside and run it through a heat exchanger, which would expel it on the inside via a series of radiant heating tubes. Group two presented “Bundled Baguette,” a set of experiments using the baguette, a basic, ceramic tube that is often used as a louver, could be aggregated in several arrangements including a parallel tumbleweed-like cluster.
The third group set out to try new hybridized methods and constructions. They showed an idea that might use raw and fired clay at the same time, with the raw clay acting as a possible medium for humidity control. In another experiment from the week’s workshop, a classic, two-dimensional extrusion is made, with a 3D-printed form grafted on. This would not only be a new technique that hybridizes these tools, but it also would be the first time that a 3D printer would be used for an actual building component, and not just for prototypes or formwork.
The last group was the most experimental, and they displayed a range of technical and artistic experiments, including a “mono-clay assembly,” or a complete, easy-to-produce wall module that relies only on clay bodies for performance. Another experiment used three different colors of clay to create a psychedelic extrusion.
While these experiments were certainly fruitful, for the most part, they were simply conceptual ideas and the prototypes were almost entirely representational. The research—even when rooted in long-running experiments—is still a ways off. That is probably what makes this workshop so important, however. There were no expectations of the week other than to generated ideas, share research, and introduce these practitioners to the Boston Valley enterprise. The caliber of people was matched by the torrent of ideas, and it is only a positive for the future of ceramics in architecture.
Future of Ceramics
What is next for Buffalo? What are Boston Valley and University of Buffalo School of Architecture cooking up?
To understand what is happening at the nexus of Buffalo’s industrial history, university research, state-of-the-art industry partnerships, and the specified knowledge of ceramics, it is important to start with Governor Cuomo and the Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) Centers of Excellence. They have set up eleven of these centers around the state to foster collaboration between the academic research community and the business sector. As part of a larger initiative to make Buffalo a center for manufacturing again, they have established the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) at the University at Buffalo.
There is an ongoing collaboration as part of the Buffalo Center for Excellence called SMART, or the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies, which will join forces with the Department of Architecture and the Department of Engineering. There will be a second workshop—supported by Boston Valley—in the late summer of 2017, which will focus less on experimentation and more on advanced manufacturing. Thus the increased number of engineers in the second round, as well as a partnership with a company called BuiltWorld a leader in advanced manufacturing.
“The ceramics world is not yet as advanced as far as the digital fabrication world, but that is where we are trying to push it. And Boston Valley is very supportive of this. They are probably the most important manufacturer in the US working with architectural ceramics.” Khan told AN.
"Last year's workshop was an open forum with all the participants owning their intellectual property. BVTC has the right to use that material for publications and advertisement. Moving forward to this year, intellectual property will be more focused as the teams are more deliberately constructed," Khan explained. "Hence the teams will own the intellectual property with Boston Valley and UB having the rights to publish the work unless otherwise requested by the teams. The University is much more formal. This is why industry collaboration normally happens around sponsored research grants, which have clear intellectual property rules with the University as the major beneficiary."
These partnerships are certainly going to push both the school and the industry to the edges of knowledge, and there will be plenty of money to accomplish whatever they can dream up. As with any intra-disciplinary partnership, it is important to remember what the goals are: to push the boundaries of the profession—in this case, ceramics—and to provide the students and faculty with opportunities for learning. If at any time it becomes too proprietary, it could jeopardize the integrity of the research and the value added for the students, the taxpayer, and the university. So far, so good.
A Survey of Ceramics: 1970s to Present will run at the Derek Eller Gallery from September 8through October 9. The exhibition covers the life’s work of Los Angeles–based artist Peter Shire, an eminent ceramicist and former member to the Milan-based design collective Memphis.
Shire’s work, spanning 40 years, borrows from Futurist and Bauhaus design while being distinctly influenced by late modernism and the Googie style of Southern California. Inspired by what he called “California High Kitsch,” Shire's work explores color, geometry, and function, often in playful and unexpected ways. Though his catalog includes everything from sculptures to teacups, Shire’s most notable and persistent form is the teapot. His life-long engagement with the teapot has produced typical and atypical configurations for the ubiquitous household item. Shire has spent a great deal of effort exploring teapot physics and the challenge of getting every last drop of water out.
Shire’s inclusion in the influential Memphis group came after being featured in Wet Magazine early in his career. Personally invited to the group by Ettore Sottsass, Shire was part of Memphis from 1981 to 1988. During that time, he would help shape the world’s understanding of postmodern object art and design.
Running concurrently with the exhibition at the Derek Eller Gallery, Shire’s work will also be on show at The Jewish Museum, in New York. Shire’s work has been collected by many of the country's preeminent museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Seattle Museum of Art.
An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, September 8, at Derek Eller Gallery.
The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, is famed for its ornate Venetian-Gothic Cà d’Zan mansion. Translated, “Cà d’Zan” means “House of John,” referring to John Ringling, who shared the residence with his wife, Mable.
In 1924, construction started on the mansion that was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. His design embodied the palazzosthat line the Venice canals, emulating the Italian decor that the Ringlings fell in love with on their many trips to the Mediterranean. The building also typified the Roaring Twenties. More than 90 years on, however, the Cà d’Zan remains the showpiece structure on the Ringling Museum site. Boston firm Machado Silvetti used it as a precedent for the building’s recently completed extension of the Asian Art Study Center.
This new project includes the conversion of approximately 18,000 square feet of preexisting gallery space from a temporary exhibition area to permanent galleries. Catering to the museum’s developing Asian collection, the scheme also includes a gut renovation of the west-wing galleries, located to the southwest.
The most visually striking aspect of the project, though, is the shimmering terra-cotta-tiled facade. Craig Mutter of Machado Silvetti said the facade is meant to act as a guide to visitors, highlighting the entrance to the building.
“People would often be lost and wander into the loading-bay area,” Mutter said. “There was no visual key to tell you where to go, and so the mission of the project was to provide this clear marker and definitive entrance.”
The client had asked for a “monumental” entrance, for “something that did not currently exist on the site.” What resulted were more than 3,000 jade-colored ceramic tiles cladding the elevated extension. Their color, Mutter said, is a nod to the natural surroundings and opposes the original pink Italian campus.
In terms of procuring the tiles, the firm sought the help of Boston Valley Terra Cotta, who also worked on the renovation of the Cà d’Zan in 1999. Such experience gave Mutter and his team confidence that they could work successfully to deliver the facade they wanted.
In fact, a ceramic skin was something that had intrigued Machado Silvetti for quite some time. “We had done a number of facade screens in the past where we had been interested in using ceramic but for one reason or another were not able to do so, usually because of the available technology at the time,” said Mutter.
Originally, they had planned for the tiles to be both larger and thicker. However, the dimensions were reduced by four inches on each side and two inches in thickness to allow Boston Valley to fire more panels inside their kiln.
The tiles also enabled the firm to deliver a high-performance envelope. Their large mass helped combat heat gain while also acting as a barrier between the envelope and the elements. “The program demanded a constantly monitored climate control; that meant we really wanted to ensure that there was a continuous insulated seal,” Mutter explained. “By using the panel system that we adopted, we essentially used a rain-screen system to allow the continuous insulation and air-vapor barrier to wrap the museum.”
Cevisama is the largest annual ceramic and terracotta exhibition in the world. Architects and designers from the whole world are here, but there is almost no North American representation—either displaying products, media reporting on building advances with the material, or architects looking for new products. Thus it was surprising to run across this Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) project from their Material Processes and Systems Group student studio. It is one of the most advanced and exciting projects in the entire fair. Have a closer look below.
A luminous, arched pavilion in Ohio aims to highlight the potential of 3D fabrication techniques, and to so it's mounting a Promethean stunt. The so-called Solar Bytes Pavilion grabs sunlight during the day and radiates light when it gets dark, recreating the day's solar conditions minute-by-minute throughout the night.
Brian Peters helped found DesignLabWorkshop in 2008, eventually settling in Kent, Ohio. Their latest project is the Solar Bytes Pavilion, a continuum of 94 unique modules (“bytes”) 3D printed in ceramic bricks covered with white, translucent plastic. Peters and his team then put solar-powered LEDs in each of the bytes, snapping them together in a self-supporting, arched pavilion just big enough for a few people to huddle inside.
3DPrint.com got some detail on the fabrication process:
...he used a 6-axis robot arm located at the Robotic Fabrication Lab at Kent State. A hand welding extruder, called the Mini CS, was attached to the robot arm to serve as the 3D printhead, and it extrudes plastic material in a sort of FDM-style process. The technology, provided by Hapco Inc. and called BAK/DOHLE, is employed by universities, government agencies, and concerns like the University of Michigan, Oak Ridge Laboratory, the US Department of Energy, and the University of Tennessee.