Breaking Molds with Tile

Jan 6, 2017

At Cevisama 2016, presented in part by Tile of Spain, the Materials Systems and Processes group from Harvard University exhibited their latest ceramic tile systems and manufacturing process at the Trans-Hitos exhibit. The new strategy for customizing ceramic tiles entitled “Extruded Tesselation: Ceramic Tectonics” consists of automated cutting of extruded clay-based ceramic in a process whereby all the pieces are produced using the same extrusion die, reducing production costs.
Extruded Wall

What is most innovative is the structural use of ceramic to create straight, curved and angled walls. This is a practical attempt to delve further into alternative shaping processes such as 3D ceramic printing.
This manufacturing process facilitates the maximum possible number of designs as the robotic system and CNC cutters produce very diverse tiles that can be used to control the how much light passes through a wall. These advances are opening the doors to the customization of tiles and will soon be the standard for the industry.

The ceramic tile module devised for CEVISAMA 2016 was created from geometric patterns that fit together to create a 3D decorative effect. The two walls were comprised of a total of almost 700 tiles of different formats and lengths, arranged in blocks according to the different angles at which they were cut. As the viewer draws closer to the installation the range of measurements of the various elements, from 15 to 60cm, creates an intricate relief effect.
Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 4.13.39 PM

The different sizes and angles on the front and rear faces of the module has produced a total of 38 unique tiles that have been added in varying proportions to bring the wall to life. The tiles were used differently on each wall, creating a unique effect on each surface. The modules can be conceived as a permanent installation and joined together with cement or built up dry so that they are easy to disassemble, as they were at the exhibition venue. With innovative designs such as these emerging, the alternative uses for ceramic tiles are becoming increasingly diverse.
To learn more about this innovative new process, visit


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