3D clay printed tiles inspired by Delft Blue porcelain

Dutch design studio Studio RAP has reinterpreted the design of Delft Blue porcelain, by creating 3000 unique, 3D clay printed tiles, which were installed in Delft, the Netherlands.

Called New Delft Blue, the project, which we first reported on in 2020, fuses 3D clay printing, computational design, and artisanal glazing. The tiles take their inspiration from Delft Blue tiles. The design of these plates has changed radically over the centuries. First, Chinese and Japanese Oriental designs were used, later this turned into Dutch designs. What remained the same, however, was the differentiation between a decorative, nature-inspired frame and an idyllic scene.

The tiles by Studio RAP were applied in the entry gates of the courtyard of the PoortMeesters residential building block in Delft, the Netherlands. The courtyard functions as the idyllic scene, while the gates stand as a three-dimensional frame with algorithmically-designed, nature-inspired patterns that guide people from the public space to the semi-public courtyard.

The gates are roughly four metres wide, eight metres high, and twelve metres deep, and refer to Delft as a medieval trading city. They are covered with about 3000 unique ceramic tiles. The tiles were designed using an algorithmic approach to 3D pattern design and made using 3D clay printing. Finally, a blue runny glaze was applied to create a light blie colour on the convex portions of the tiles (the hills), and deep blue glaze pools in the concave areas (valleys).

Photos: Studio RAP / Riccardo De Vecchi