The renowned ceramic artist spent three years perfecting the detail to 24 Savile Row’s facade. With 10,000 intricately handcrafted tiles, this was ‘making art at its most demanding’.
Watch the process >
Ceramic artist Kate Malone spent a year responding to the needs of the architect to define the glazes and unique recipes for the facade’s tiles.
The precision of the work meant that if recipes were out by just one gram, the structure of the glaze would be compromised. Temperamental in nature, the glazes can be affected by any element, from tap water to the heat of summer, and even transporting the tiles to storage. Glazes all have a shelf life and time constraint. Each production batch was carefully hand-weighed, sieved, mixed, bucketed, labelled and hand-tested.
Just like a diamond or a lump of coal, crystalline structures grow on the earth’s surface. Kate replicated those conditions and ingredients in her glaze recipes and firing conditions.
The building’s black tiles grow electric blue crystals, much like lichen. Some tiles grow a blanket of them, some grow hardly any – each one is unique. Slow-fired at 1,260 degrees, the molten glaze forms extraordinary crystals then cools, creating beautiful yet hardwearing ceramic tiles.
The entire building is mounted on a plinth – a kick plate, if you will – cast in bronze, creating a giant replica of the intricate crystalline pattern of the tiles.
In this environment the tiles represent a pot on a plinth. In the same way that a pot or a vessel holds liquid – or a spirit in the Chinese sense – the building holds people.