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Ceramic Skins

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Ceramic Skins: Transforming Light + Space
Designed and Fabricated at The European Ceramic Works Center
Collaboration with Carol Koffel
Photography by: Sarah Willmer + ….

Ceramic Skins was developed during a Combined Residency at The European Ceramic Works Center in the The Netherlands. The installation will be on display as part of the Ceramics + Architecture exhibition at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands October 2009.

Design Statement:
Merging the disciplines of design, architecture and craft , the team of Carol Koffel and Sarah Willmer experimented with ceramics beyond it’s traditional use in building as an opaque brick or tile. Restricting use of adhesives or grout and seeking translucency, the team designed and built a contemporary room size installation.

Re-thinking ceramics through the lens of design + architecture, they explored ceramics as a new skin (rain-screen, sunscreen or space divider) for architecture. The focus was on the aesthetic possibilities of a layered wall to create space and evoke an experience. Layering to distinguish an experience between inside or outside surfaces. Celebration of the moment one crosses a threshold between spaces. Designing for light transmission and the patterns created on the floor, wall or ceiling.

The final project, Ceramic Skins: Transforming Light and Space, is elegant and sensual when lit from behind, dramatic and mysterious when side lit creating a calm layered wall for the viewer to experience.

Ceramic Skins: Transforming Light and Space is composed of two distinct panel designs, “Inside Skin” and “Outside Skin”, to create the installation. Thirty-six translucent bone china panels (35cm x 60cm x 1.8mm w/18 panels per Skin type) are suspended from a steel cable system creating the interior space divider. Finger rhythm hammered surfaces becomes a plane to capture and telegraph lighting conditions in the “Outside Skin”. An offset parallel plane, the “Inside Skin”, of embossed lace, drapes as if shifting winds have rippled fabric.

The unique physical characteristics of ceramics; fluidity, translucency and tactility highlighted in this final work combined with performance building qualities of radio transparency (fully wireless capabilities), self cleaning and electrical conductivity have a profound potential to contribute to a new ecological building system. Envisioned as a diaphanous solar screen, or a rain-screen of dappled light, Ceramic Skins, has infinite possibilities to contribute to the current milieu of building skin technology and to transform the spaces that we live, work and play in.