Clerkenwell Design Week served up a smorgasbord of ceramic surprises this year, but none were quite as tasty as Solus’s sensorial spread of Ketley bricks. One of the UK’s leading tile distributors, Solus UK teamed up with architectural practice Szczepaniak Astridge to create a sensory architectural installation in the company’s strategically-located London showroom.
Sensory architecture explores the potential of non-visual acuities, not to the detriment of, but as an enhancement to, sight. “Working with Nick and Simon is always an enjoyable experience; they make the design process exciting. I’ve learnt a great deal from them; it feels like working with two explorers searching for the best outcome at every stage of a project,” explains Sam Frith, Creative Director at Solus.
The Ketley installation can be touched and walked upon, and heard by the visitors as the floor tiles are loose-laid on their sides. This installation is a prototype for a larger project the architects have been commissioned to complete later in the year.
The stars of the show are very familiar and very authentic: handmade clay quarry tiles from South Staffordshire. Ketley Quarry is the fulfilment of an exclusive partnership between Solus and Ketley. This collection is made in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands at a brickworks that first opened in 1805.
Ketley Quarry is an heirloom of the Industrial Revolution and evokes the spirit of enterprise and innovation that characterised that era. Etruria marl clay, quarried at pits in the Black Country, is processed and fired in a reduced oxygen kiln to produce stunning, iridescent, brindled quarry tiles. Four colours – Smoke, Flame, Ember and Cinder – are available. The tile is suitable for use on both floors and walls. The textured surface offers excellent slip resistance, and its frost resistance rating means it can be used outside and inside.
The Solus-Ketley partnership focuses on the promotion of a specific range. This empowers the factory to produce stock of the components in the range resulting in shorter lead times. Solus holds samples and provides technical information for the A&D community through their established communication channels.
Solus showroom: 80 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, July 2022.