The Globe: building the forma 1st May 2014
Work has begun on building the forma for a more unusual project that we are embarking on – and that is to clad a 25m high sphere that will become a news agency headquarters in Saudi Arabia. The tiles will be made on this forma so they fit the curvature of the building.
The forma has to be a perfect replica of the curvature of the building – to ensure the handmade ceramics
fit the building perfectly.
Once the claywork has been fired, the forma will be dismantled and rebuilt to accommodate shrinkage – a common behaviour of clay.
Before clay is fired, it is very pliable and contains a great deal of water. As it dries and the water evaporates the clay particles contract causing the tiles to shrink by about 10%.
The fired tiles will need to be laid out and modelled around the slightly smaller version of the forma before the next stage of the ceramic process can begin– the application of colour.
The Globe: a step away from our traditional pool designs… 14th October 2013
We are excited to be part of a more unusual development this year that’s being constructed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a national news agency headquarters.
- Artist’s impression of the finished building
One part of the Saudi Press Agency’s new building will contain a 26 metre high, globe shaped auditorium with capacity for more than 420 people.
This huge ball, the formas for which have been engineered in Austria, will be decorated with 420m² of especially made curved ceramics to make it look like the world or ‘The Globe’.
The Globe takes shape on site
There are challenges to consider in both the manufacture and installation with an industrial sized project like this – curvatures for shrinkage, wet size to dry, simple measurements for locating and sizing the work – not to mention the work required to install tiles to a surface that is, in effect, upside down or ‘inverted’.
As part of our initial stages of research a simple inflatable globe was used as a marker of scale (conveniently we found one perfectly scaled to reference to the actual globe).
The next step in the process will be to make a wooden replica or ‘forma’ upon which the clay can be modelled.
Careful calculations allow us to build a wooden replica of the curvature of the building.