NOW THE TILE SECTOR CAN OPTIMALLY SERVE THE ARCHITECT
Ceramics not yet an architectural element
Architects and the tile world can mean a lot to each other but have still not crossed each-others path. The chances that the tile world can realize itself as a fully-fledged architectural element are therefore not so great (yet). Is it because of the tile world or because of the architect? Sometimes this leads to a disappointing result, such as at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. We try to make an analysis of how and where things went wrong.
As a trade magazine you want to write about tiles, as well as the esthetics and the quality they can achieve in a project, including the processing. Not all projects come to the editorial board on a presentation sheet. Search, ask, inquire and usually someone from the eld comes with a special job that we would like to mention. Because it is an example of what can be achieved with tiles.
This time it was about the Erasmus Medical Center, because it was recently initiated by King Willem Alexander as completed and there were more than 30,000 m2 of tiles mentioned on the specifications. Additionally, there were the terrazzo, the cast oors and other materials that could be processed as good as seamlessly. Articles from colleagues from other trade magazines pointed out that the architect who was responsible for dismantling the building, chose a groutless option from a hygienic point of view and to properly manage rolling stock. Because at the time of determining for 2010 no mega-tiles existed, the aforementioned alternatives were chosen.
We have just dived in our archive and tiles of 1.20 x 1.20 were actually available from 2011, also with a hard-stone look. The architect who completed the Erasmus Hospital at the time under his wing, went to a tile specialist, but between 2005 and 2010 did not get what he had in mind. Then he came across a special terrazzo company at a trade fair and that was his nal decision. The question now is: Has that architect been given all the alternatives? In one way or another, it is apparently not possible that the tile world and architects meet each other spontaneously. The architect reports that he has not be informed and the tile specialists very often tell us that the architect couldn’t be informed.
Not everyone is completely right, but the truth often lies somewhere in the middle. In the preliminary conversations on the Erasmus MC, the tile world was not fully 'en garde' to offer what a creator had in his or her head. If the architect
had started looking more intensively later, he might have found it: tiles in large formats with exactly the concrete appearance that he stood for. No nonsense! Now there is a terrazzo oor that is not allowed to look like terrazzo but determines the entrance as a collection of concrete tiles. Interesting option, especially for the company that received the order. At the same time, it was quite peculiar that you could apply a specialty in which the special should remain invisible. The playful of terrazzo are the inlaid pieces of natural stone. They are now sanded away so that the oor has become evenly gray with a light drawing. High costs for a neutral result. An architect is known as self-willed and must remain so. That is at the heart of creativity. But he may be or become a little more sensible. If that tile specialist comes along, can listening to the possibilities still offer new opportunities?
A concrete look tile of 120 x 120 cm can be installed in no time Mr. architect. And also, with anti-slip
and in all the nishes you want. As has been customary for centuries in hospitals: tiles exhibit
beauty therefore also hygiene, even with extra anti-bacteriological qualities. The fact that the largest hospital in the Netherlands does not apply tiles is a warning. Or the industry reports too little what can be done, or the architect goes forever for groutless. A responsible choice, but is there not much more to individualize with tiles? And yet architects often choose too little for this type of oor nishing. Maybe because the tile industry has not yet entered into the mind of architects with full force. Or maybe because the architect does not open the door enough to welcome all the news from the tile world.
Ceramic nishes may be welcomed instead in the case of the interior architect. It is remarkable that many prominent designers from the Netherlands nd their way into the tile world, every time again. Marcel Wanders, Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe, they are allowed to decorate hotels and other spaces and often they rely on tiles. Even more so, they design them for important brands. Like Patricia Urquiola at Mutina, her knowledge of ceramics gets turned into high-pro le series and simultaneously lls huge projects each time feeding back to tiles. Her interpretation of the most expensive apartments in London's Lincoln Square radiates from a melting pot of materials with ceramics as a recurring theme. Unfortunately, we cannot show anything yet because it is still in progress.
The conclusion remains a well-known phenomenon that the tile world runs into. The architect of the structure is dif cult to reach and will only apply tiles if a statement can be made. The interior designer understands that the game between hard and soft materials must be played well and has ceramics in the portfolio as a good option. The tile world currently offers optimal options for both outdoor and indoor, but still has two different paths. Outdoor and indoor architects often work separately. This becomes clear even at a fair like the Cersaie. After many attempts to inform the BNA architects about all the possibilities of nishing facades or squares with many added values, all attention is now focused on the interior options. This means that the chance that the tile world can ful ll itself as a construction element has been reduced. Is it because of the tile world or the architect? They can mean a lot to each other, but their paths remain uncrossed. The content of the Erasmus Medical Center is just an example. ■