Architonic Newsletter 09.2013

Dear Readers

Ceramic materials have been used in architecture for hundreds of years and in a great many ways. We take a look at how ceramics continue to demonstrate their relevance, in spite of the rise of high-tech materials.

New on our Facebook page you'll find our Architonic photo tours from the London Design Festival, which will be the focus of our October newsletter. 

Here's what you'll find in our September Newsletter:

  • Agenda October - November 2013
  • Out on the Tiles: ceramic architectural facades
  • Signs of the Times: wayfinding design that pushes the boundaries
  • New Tools on Architonic
  • Architonic Photo Tour MAISON&OBJET
  • Inspiring Search Results N° 21: Ceramic mosaic finishes
  • Inspiring Spaces N° 13: Exterior view / facades
  • Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic


Get inspired!

Your Architonic Team

Zurich | Milan | Barcelona | Berlin | Cologne | Copenhagen | Stockholm | London | New York

Spanish practice Mestura Arquitectes’ CEIP primary school near Barcelona.


Agenda October - November 2013



Out on the Tiles: ceramic architectural facades

Contemporary architects internationally are breathing new life into the old tradition of using ceramic elements on exteriors. The result are striking facades that marry expressive ornament with sustainability.


Tiles in seven, subtle shades of white, provided by Toni Cumella, clad a building designed by architect Pedro Campos Costa – a new addition to the existing Lisbon Oceanarium

Ornamental, often textured facades – not seen in significant numbers since the floridly decorative ones on Art Nouveau buildings – have made a comeback in recent years. Architects who have helped spearhead this development include London-based FAT, whose Blue House is fronted by a cartoon-like, powder blue silhouette of a house, and Squire & Partners, which has just completed a house in Mayfair whose facade bristles with 4,000, folded aluminium leaves in bronze. Often bespoke, today’s ornamental facades make a virtue of craftsmanship. And usually made of a single material, they tend to be monolithic yet avoid being dull since they’re unique and eccentric.


Manuel Herz’s arrestingly jagged Jewish Community Centre in Mainz, Germany is clad in glazed, bottle green ceramic tiles; photo Iwan Baan

One tributary of the trend is a growing number of buildings with large-scale, matt or glossy ceramic facades. These inevitably recall such elaborately decorated Art Nouveau buildings as Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Battló with its iridescent roof, Paris’s Ceramic Hotel with its glazed earthenware façade, courtesy of ceramicist Alexandre Bigot, and Villa Marie-Mirande in Brussels, which is cloaked with hand-made tiles provided by ceramicist Guillaume Janssens.


Signs of the Times: wayfinding design that pushes the boundaries

Feeling a little bit lost? It's no surprise, really. As populations grow, cities expand, international travel increases and we all work (and live) harder and faster, it seems that there are ever more new and complex terrains to navigate. Enter a number of highly considered wayfinding systems that help you make sense of the space around you.


Messe Basel's new wayfinding system, comprising over 1,800 separate signage elements across five exhibition halls, was delivered by Swiss manufacturer BURRI public elements in collaboration with Frankfurt-based studio «unit-design»

The world’s population can roughly be divided into two camps. Boy scouts and the rest of us.

The former are armed with a finely honed set of path-finding skills, developed to ensure safe and effective navigation through the most inhospitable and confusing of environments, while we civilians rely on the legibility and logic of the public spaces that go to make up our designed world – and sometimes, especially when on unfamiliar ground, on a certain amount of luck.


The Zurich Airport wayfinding system, designed by internationally renowned Grimshaw Architects and built and installed by BURRI, maximises legibility through a pared-down approach: black and white graphics are teamed with a reduced formal language

Whether we are aware of it or not, we make our way through the public realm of the everyday – be it urban or interior, architectural space – as participants in a series of systems that have been designed, to greater or lesser extents, to shape our experience of what’s around us by at turns inviting and ordering us to move through space in certain, prescribed ways. A cynic might argue that such systems serve to regulate and control us, while a happy optimist might suggest they make modern life liveable.


New Tools on Architonic

To make your research even more efficient, we've introduced two new Architonic tools in the last couple of weeks. They can be found on the left-hand side of the layout, underneath the product-group navigation.


"Visitors also selected"
You'll find "Visitors also selected" to the left of every product data sheet. This tool analyses all data-sheet call-ups and ascertains which further products users called up in addition to the selected product. This tool allows you, with no extra time spent researching, to find products that are similar in terms of typology or appearance to the selected product.


To the left of every manufacturer's product overview you'll find the "Most-visited" tool. This presents you with the most researched (in other words, the most popular) products of each manufacturer and, in doing so, provides you with a better overview of their products. 


Architonic Photo Tour MAISON&OBJET 2013


It's as if you can still sense something of the opulent interiors of the Louis XIV era: both modern and avant-garde, the French design scene has managed to retain a somewhat different style – and that goes for Paris's MAISON&OBJET, too.

Our Facebook photo tour presents everyone who wasn't able to make it to Paris – or who simply wants to revisit MAISON&OBJET (this time from the comfort of their office, studio or home) – with the best manufacturers and their new products. 

Inspiring Search Results N° 21

Ceramic mosaic finishes

Inspiring spaces N° 13

Exterior view / facades

Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Manuel Herz Architects

Jewish Community Center | Mainz | Germany | Completed September 2010


New Court of Justice | Hasselt | Belgium | Completed 2013
photographer: Filip Dujardin

Haruka Furuyama Design & Craft

Lilla Ateljen | Sweden | Prototype 2012


Diplomatic | Spain | Prototype 2012

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