Lustrous wrappings: complex colour and collaborative practices in the contemporary ceramic façade

Fiona McLachlan*, Xuechang Leng, Mengmeng Lyu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Glazed ceramic cladding is a material with a very long history of use in the built environment, whether as roof tiles, wall tiles, or more recently, as part of a rainscreen cladding system. A key factor in the resurgence of interest in ceramic as a cladding material—in addition to its inherent qualities of sustainability, malleability, durability, and fire resistance— is as a means of incorporating colour into the facade. Although polychromatic facades are commonly achieved using tessellation of a range of single-coloured elements, this article will focus on complex layered and variegated colour and texture within a single component. Historical glazes, such as the blue-red of Chinese Jun ware pottery from the 12th century CE were produced through carefully controlled reduction kiln processes, yet retained an element of uncertainty in the resultant patterns and remain an inspiration for contemporary ceramic artists. Drawing on historical research, literature review and interviews with ceramic artists and industrial manufacturers, six case studies from the UK and China are discussed that show collaborative processes at different scales of operation. These combine unique artisan and artistic glazes, with standardised, rigorously tested, and internationally manufactured products. These ‘fusion glazes’ refer to historic hand-made practices to bring an element of unpredictability, and a layer of complexity in terms of colour, texture and lustre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalColor Research and Application
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Ceramic facades
  • color appearance
  • aesthetics
  • architecture
  • collaborative process


Dive into the research topics of 'Lustrous wrappings: complex colour and collaborative practices in the contemporary ceramic façade'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this