Game of Tones

Jun 13, 2018

Architecture is a skillful manipulation of volumes and light that can be likened to the potential that a canvas provides to a painter. Almost all building materials are worthy of being included on the architect’s palette, but it is ceramic tile that takes home the gold as the top material of choice.

Detail of the ceramic wall in Grao cemetery, Valencia, by Inés García Clarian.

It is impossible to ignore the immense versatility that ceramic tile offers designers looking to put the finishing touches to their projects. The material helps create spaces where the vertical and horizontal limits are canvases upon which emotions can be explored and expressed.

Refurbishment of ‘Moullé’ restaurant, by Rocamora Arquitectura.

An example of this form of expression is the ‘Moullé’ restaurant project, where Ángel Luis Rocamora designed a space with three ‘honest to goodness’ materials: ceramic, wood and stucco. Focusing in on the ceramic material, it lends a typical, traditional look, with glazed colors and an irregular yet modulated surface.

Ceramic tiles were used for the flooring in a poetic, tectonic gesture that encapsulates the notion of the space as underpinning the project, in counterpoint to the material and its incomparable technical benefits. The revamped restaurant now gives off a bright, exciting and welcoming feel to guests that will last the test of time.

Málaga Monastery, by architect José María Sánchez. Photo: Marinauno Arquitectos.

Ceramic has also become a material that can transmit a sense of calm and harmony as seen in the Málaga Monastery by José María Sánchez. The architect decided to restore the fabric of the building as part of his renovation and chose traditional glazed white tiles for the vertical walls, combined with a lime mortar-based cladding applied to their upper part. The end result is a finish that brings the walls to life and gives the structure a timeless look.

There are innumerable spaces that, even if they are conventional or even trivial are able to convey something unique to those who inhabit them: vertical seas, warmth amid pristine cleanliness, altered nature or tradition in the midst of the cutting edge. Ceramic can create all of this when used in a way by architects and designers that is well thought-out and appropriate.

In the game of tones, ceramic is most definitely the monarch of the realm of materials.

This story was originally published in Ceraspaña 40, a journal published by ASCER/Tile of Spain to promote the use and benefits of Spanish ceramic tiles in contemporary architecture and interior design. Read the article and view past issues HERE.

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