VeSta & KuQua tiles


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- story by MaterialDistrict

These handcrafted tiles feature geometrical ornaments, which are the result of repeating digitally developed graphic patterns and are fired using an ancient Japanese firing technique. The basis of the tiles is a combination of different clays and loam. Mixed in the workshop with quartz sand and fireclay, the mass is then pressed into the tile form and precisely reshaped by hand. Through a silkscreen process the basic material now acquires form. The glaze impresses rhythmical symbols in the tiles.

The ceramic tile is hardened at a temperature of 1000°C within a short time. Through the low temperature firing the material becomes more porous. The glowing tiles are taken one by one from the kiln using a tongs and immediately buried in sawdust. The process of denying the tile oxygen and the ensuing smoke have an intensive effect on the surface that differs every time: the colour changes according to the glaze and the fine hair cracks are blackened.

Together with the architects Loeliger Strub the VeSta tile with generous floral pattern was produced in a year-long process for a high-rise residential building in Zurich. The simple yet complex principle of VeSta was then handed over to the owners of the 16 apartments as part of a set that included 4 glaze colours and a floor plan which enabled them to work out for themselves how they wanted the tiles to be laid. The system and the elements of the graphic texture can be combined differently to create constantly new forms: ellipses become visible in VeSta, crosses and invisible axes connect the tiles to form large flowers.

The four-part series of the pattern KuQua is based on blending a sphere with a square. The different variations play with the possibilities of these apparently opposed geometric forms and produce floral ornaments.

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