It is well-known that clay and ceramic tiles can have an incredibly long lifespan and can even outlast the other components of a building. This means that tiles salvaged during a demolition or a re-roof can be ideal for cladding or decorating new buildings and will almost certainly survive for the next 50 years and beyond. Last but not least, apart of obvious environmental and cost benefits, one of the best things about using reclaimed tiles is the fact that these tiles are one of a kind and have a unique history.
Indian architecture firm Manoj Patel design studio has transformed vernacular ridge shaped clay tiles, 40% of them reused, into a compelling and economical cladding feature for the façade of an urban dwelling. Employing local craftsmen, the team cut all the tiles into five sections, one inch wide, which were then configured in a zigzagging pattern created by arranging the clay tiles at 45 degrees.
The undulating aesthetic of the cladding results in an optical illusion that transforms the wall’s sharp edges into more organic corners. Besides, the layering of the horizontal and vertical clay tiles is designed based on the sun’s movement throughout the day, keeping the areas shaded by reducing the heat.
The house comprises a play of interlocking volumes with different surface materials. Voids between the volumes provide air circulation in the residence’s interiors and allow for cross-ventilation, keeping them naturally aired. The openings are covered with canopies bringing shade, as well as a visual connectivity across all levels. On the west façade, the openings give way to a large surface clad with the signature clay tiles, adding a rich textural quality to the exterior.
To respect their clients’ memories of their old home, Vietnamese studio CTA, short for Creative Architects, has clad their new two-storey 2HIEN house in Tay Ninh, a provincial city in the south of the county, into scallop-shaped clay tiles preserved by the owners after their old home was pulled down. Designed for a family of four, the design aims to allow their traditions to continue into the future.
The recycled fish-scale tiles clad large sections of the facade and roof, as well as walls within the house. They not only give a sense of rustic and intimacy that a new tile colour could hardly provide, thus bringing a feeling of familiarity, but also help reduce the amount of new materials needed for the construction, which has both environmental and cost benefits. The scallop motif is repeated in metal railings that cover one of the interior windows, and in perforated openings in the entrance gate.
Another important reference to the family’s history is the integration of outdoor living spaces into the design. The arrangement of the interior spaces features framed garden sections at both the front and the back, creating the feeling of an open-air courtyard. On either side of the centrally located double-height space topped by a glazed roof, there are two first-floor bedrooms that are designed like little building of their own and connected by a bridge and veranda-style balconies that act as a transition space between inside and outside.
Dubai-based Roar Studio has used a mosaic of broken ceramic tiles to decorate the interior of Drop Coffee in Dubai’s Dar Al Wasl Mall, which is the second outlet for this homegrown Emirati brand. The basic white tiles form an abstract pattern on the wall of the café forming a counterpoint to the a terrazzo-effect tiled stone floor in grey and white hues. The visitor gets an impression as though the chips of the broken tiles were used in the flooring.
The material palette of the project also includes industrial materials such as concrete and stainless steel, as well as pale wood. The latter is used to manufacture the café’s centerpiece – a large coffee counter connected to the ceiling by beams in the same material, framing the bar area. Stainless steel, which is extremely sturdy and hygienic but also reflective and aesthetic, is used for the counter top and the backdrop behind the bar.
The studio also chose to work with certain materials to help create a less noisy atmosphere for the visitors. The ceiling is acoustic foam sprayed, an effect that adds to the industrial aesthetic and helps muffle the noise in the open-plan space – not to mention the noise generated by the coffee machines.