Handmade tiles for Musikatlier

Winterthur, Switzerland

2. And so I fell in love with a colour – in this case, the colour blue – as if falling under a spell, a spell I fought to stay under and get out from under, in turns. - Bluets, Maggie Nelson

First sketch

Solanellas Van Noten Meister has designed and manufactured 1650 tiles in collaboration with Swiss architects Bachmann Bachmann. The handmade tiles form the roof and façade for a Musikatelier in Winterthur. Located in a private garden of a pianist, the pavilion will be used for piano rehearsals, music courses, and small garden concerts.

The design of the tiles builds upon the central ideas of the workshop entitled ‘the question of cladding’, during which we questioned the tradition relation between design and construction. In the traditional notion of making, a form, which exists in the makers mind, is projected onto a raw material. In this sense design precedes construction or in other words the all thinking happens before the making starts. Through the concept of ‘thinking through making’ we investigate a different account of production and design.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Bronze Floor), 1999-2000

Rather then starting by designing on paper, making and material research took central roles in the design process. From the start we established an intimate and direct relationship with the materials we used, which in turn allowed us to create various samples and mock-ups at an early stage.

Besides developing a tile that meets the current regulations for external façade and roof cladding, the production driven design process also allowed us to precisely control the colour and saturation of the tiles. The façade is made up with 21 different shades of blue, giving a sense of movement and reinforcing the expression of being hand-made to the pavilion.

The mould with a drawing of Natalie Meister

Solanellas Van Noten Meister was closely involved during the overall design process. Together with the architects we searched for custom design solutions for technical challenging elements of the facade. As each tile was made by hand, it was possible to produce a series of bespoke tiles for specific parts of the façade, such as the tiles that wrap around the rainwater pipe. As a reference to the idea of a maker’s mark, a distinctive mark used by brick makers to stamp the bricks, we created five special tiles with a simple drawing by Swiss artist Natalie Meister.

Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Year: 2020
Type: Production
Collaboration: Bachmann Bachmann Architekten  
Status:  Completed