Game Of Tones
Tones and colours play a massive role in enhancing the space with architecture. Thanks to Le Corbusier we now perceive architecture as a skilful, splendid manipulation of volumes and light. Almost all materials are worthy of
Tones and colours play a massive role in enhancing the space with architecture. Thanks to Le Corbusier we now perceive architecture as a skilful, splendid manipulation of volumes and light.
Almost all materials are worthy of being included on the architect’s palette, but it is CERAMIC that wins out as far as colors and finishes are concerned. It is impossible to ignore the immense versatility the material offers designers looking to put the finishing touches to their projects.
One 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. These have been laid out, applied and interwoven to create a canvas of great beauty that uses ceramic as the foundation for the tradition the architect was seeking to revive. Ceramic tiles were used for the flooring in a poetic, tectonic gesture that encapsulates the notion of the space as underpinning the project. Overall, the ceramic material lends a typical, traditional look, with glazed colors and an irregular yet modulated surface, in counterpoint to the material and its incomparable technical benefits.
(Refurbishment of ‘Moullé’ restaurant, by Rocamora Arquitectura)
Ceramic has also become a material that can transmit a sense of calm and harmony, as 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 result is walls made of different materials with an infinite number of overtones and two contrasting textures. The end result is a finish that is at once imperfect and unique, bringing the walls to life and giving the structure as a whole a timeless look. The Grao cemetery designed by Inés García Clariana uses similar materials but in a different context, achieving a different result. This is a simple assemblage that plays with seven shades of green ceramic. The hexagonal tiles link together in such a way that the repetition creates a block that dignifies and revitalizes a somber context. Over time, this magnificent piece of work has become an identifying feature, a mark of hope and color in a space, a place that is struggling to define itself.
(Equipe Cerámicas, Fragments series)
(Roca, Plaster series, Rock&Roll collection)
While we have focused thus far on interiors and content, there are also some very well-known projects where the architects have played with tones and textures on outdoor ‘canvases’. The famous esplanade in Benidorm by Carlos Ferrater is a clear example of this testament to expression, with the ceramic tiles flooding the walkway with color.
(Benidorm esplanade, by Carlos Ferrater. Paving tiles by Equipe Cerámicas, Sfera series. Winner of the architecture category of the Tile of Spain Awards 2009)
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.
(Pearlized ceramic facade. MUCA Building, by COR Arquitectura)
Ceramic can create all of this when it has been used in a way that is well thought-out and appropriate, in a kind of game that the most brilliant minds can play. Transposing the well-known saying “you either win or you lose” to this game of tones, there can be no doubt at all that ceramic is the Queen Khalesi of architecture.