Experimenting with production technique is something of a specialty for Liverpool based Granby Workshop. Formed by Assemble in an attempt to rebuild the almost derelict neighbourhood of Granby, the Workshop brought together a group of creative residents to breathe life back into the area. After decades of regeneration initiatives which were utlimately doomed, in 2011 this new attempt saw ten empty houses secured in a community land ownership project.
The Workshop created a range of products from tiles to fireplaces to be used in the homes which were eventually renovated and made into affordable living spaces. These unique features not only showed the consideration offered to the regeneration effort, but also became the beginning of their distinctive manufacturing process.
Since then, the Workshop’s success has been growing. They were awarded the Turner Prize in 2015, and have a larger scale production system which enables their work to be seen and utlised worldwide. The company is still based in Granby Street, and they are still involved in renovation efforts, but their exciting products are not restricted to the locals.
Their materials are all inspiring, but it is their take on encaustic tiles that are of most interest today. With these ‘designs’ it is up to chance to decide what the final product will look like. Random combinations of coloured clay are pushed together and moulded under extreme pressure. It’s the tie-dye of ceramics, and the result is beautiful and fun, and en masse, highly effective.
It is these products which were used in the Chini Room at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. Covering the floor in vibrant colour, 8,000 hand made tiles from Granby Workshop make a stunning statement that works so beautifully with the grand building it might’ve been there for centuries. It spreads like the ocean and amplifies the ‘free space’ which was so important for the exhibition.
This exciting company is sure to find success year on year, and it will be a delight to follow its progress and see what it has in store!
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2019.