As part of last month's Milan Design Week, Zaha Hadid Architects teamed with LEA Ceramiche to create "Twirl," a mesmerizing installation in the 18th-century courtyard of the State University in Milan. It was up for only a week and has since been disassembled, but since I just received some beautiful pictures of the piece I figured I'd share.
In contrast to the square courtyard, the porcelain tiled surfaces ripple out from a center space, shifting colors in a gradient from black to white and creating sinuous geometric patterns.
The floor is tiled as well, and the edges of the installation are pixellated. A series of fluorescent light tubes (specially produced by Artemide) spread light from the center outwards, lighting the existing architecture (a heavily colonnaded facade) and forming a link, as LEA Ceramiche would have it, "between the rigid Cartesian setting and the linear fluidity of the installation."
It's a promotional effort by the tile company, of course, to show off their new Slimtech line (the "latest-generation laminated porcelain tiles"—a super-thin tile that comes in sheets up to three by one meters)—but it's also an compelling project that shows the potential of tiles to move beyond floors and walls and into three-dimensional space.