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Be Inspired By The Lansdowne Club Swimming Pool 29th October 2015

Pool water

It can be difficult deciding how you want your unique swimming pool to look, so it makes sense to do some research into the many different pools that can be found around the world to discover what kind of style you like and what you don’t.

The Lansdowne Club in London, built in 1763 and transformed into a social club back in 1935, is gloriously Art Deco in aesthetics so if you’re a huge fan of the Roaring 20s, it might be worth either joining the club or doing some research online to see if you can find some beautiful images to suitably inspire you.

So beautiful is the swimming pool that it has been featured in TV series Poirot – so if it can impress the head honchos at production companies, it’s sure to be in your good graces. It’s 25 yards long and eight metres wide, and fully heated, having gone through a variety of transformations since 1935. In fact, it’s one of the few chlorine-free swimming pools to be found in London!

We here at CBD Pools are well able to help make your Art Deco swimming pool a reality, with lots of bold and distinctive handmade ceramics on offer. In fact, the way we make our tiles is perfectly suited to the Art Deco style. We select our glazes carefully and mix them together to suit each individual project and we can also inter-mix so that we’re able to add particular emphasis to various elements of the design.

Posted: October 29th, 2015 Category: PROJECT Comments: (0)

Maine Road Project, Manufacturing 25th June 2014

The design and manufacture stage of the Maine Road project is well under the way here at Craig Bragdy.

Once the design had been approved, work could then begin in transferring the art onto our clay. As mentioned in the first blog, a group of school children came together and created faces that would be placed on a mural at the old football ground in Manchester.

design and manufacture of ceramics

Clay process

Before being laid onto the factory floor, the clay is pugged and de aired to ensure it has an immaculate working surface.

Once this has been done, a group of artists start transferring the design in this case ‘the faces’ and background texture onto the clay.

When the transaction of drawing, carving and modelling the surface is complete, it is then cut into tiles.

This is followed by numbering the tiles which is crucial for when laying the mural back out once it has been fired.


Maine road ceramic glazing


The clay is then sent for its first firing, the firing temperature will be 1240 degrees where the clay will then vitrify, which therefore means no moisture can penetrate through, it gives it strength, becomes frost proof and mildew is unable to grow.

Before being re- fired ‘Engobe’ (a mixture of clay and glaze) is then sprayed onto the surface of the clay, this creates a blank canvas so the artists can start building the colour and design.

The Maine road project is due to be installed in July, Craig Bragdy are looking forward to seeing the finished product on site, keep posted for the final installation pictures.

Maine road handmade ceramics

Posted: June 25th, 2014 Category: Design, PROJECT Comments: (0)

The Globe: Claywork 2nd June 2014

Each continent began its life as a single, smoothed, sheet of clay. An outline of each continent was marked on the surface of the gypsum plaster and then clay was laid across it to form one huge sheet. Throughout production, longitude and latitude lines have been used as reference – the only consistent and accurate means to transfer information reliably from former to globe.


Once smooth, the wet clay surface needed to be marked out with the outline of each continent before adding the detail within – valleys, rivers, mountain ranges, deserts, forests, lakes – all in three dimension, modelled to the surface. Each significant geographic and topographic feature appearing in the finished work.

ceramic globe project

A team of people were required to complete the work – over 400 square metres in total. Logistics, planning, team work and supervision were all important. Here you see the landmass of Australia begin to take shape, team members working on the mountain ranges up the east side of the country, with the northern tip of Queensland visible, top right.

GLOBE HANDMADE CERAMICS CLAYWORK 3The sheet of clay had to be cut in to tile shapes to, in effect, create one of the world’s largest jigsaw puzzles. In this project all cutting was to take into account the ‘lie-of-the-land’, the strata – there needed to be a character and a rhythm to the cutting that would reflect the contours of the earth. On completion there will be over 33,000 pieces to this jigsaw, each and every one numbered and logged.
Firing to 1240℃ ensures full vitrification of the clay and with this comes strength and longevity. The rigours of the Arabian climate will have no effect on these ceramics – the colours are permanent, the tiles inert and the adhesive tried and tested!


Posted: June 2nd, 2014 Category: Design, PROJECT, THE GLOBE Comments: (0)

Maine Road Project, Manchester May 2014 12th May 2014

Manchester-City-Fc100pxCraig Bragdy would like to introduce you to a new project for the old football ground on Maine road in Manchester.

Stepping away from the usual luxurious swimming pools that we create in the most spectacular places, Craig Bragdy were approached by Broadbent studios who conceive and champion public art and design projects in collaboration with architects and urban designers.


At nearly 13metres wide, the mural will depict the crowd looking over the old centre spot. Children from a local school were asked to create and design images of their faces so that they can all be part of the crowd.

Manchester City football club occupied the Maine road football ground in Moss side for 80 years from 1923 until 2003 and Craig Bragdy are very proud to have created what will be, a spectacular mural to mark the old centre spot and we thank the school children for their amazing efforts.

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Two of the original designs made by the children

The client had clear ideas and instructions of what they envisioned the final design to look like, we have incorporated the children’s designs into to some classic Craig Bragdy textures. We can’t wait to get started on this unique project!


Maine road ceramic 2

Posted: May 12th, 2014 Category: Design, PROJECT Comments: (0)

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.

Building the forma

Building the forma

Building the forma

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.

Posted: May 1st, 2014 Category: ARCHITECTURE, Design, PROJECT, THE GLOBE Comments: (0)

Penarth Pier Pavilion Mural 17th December 2013

A request was made in 2012 for a ceramic mural to be inlaid in the entrance foyer of Penarth Pier. The design finally chosen was made by Craig Bragdy’s founder and designer in chief, Jean Powell, of Denbigh, North Wales.

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The mural, three meters in diameter – was made in high-fired stoneware clay and represents a compass gleaming with gold and copper lustres; the centre of a decorative chart of sea and sands depicting the amazing high tides and nautical history of Penarth.

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Boats and mythical sea creatures are etched and modeled in the clay. The well remembered and loved paddle steamer ‘’The Waverley’’– and a small Welsh coracle; sea birds, fish and nautical instruments can be discovered within the design. The radiating rhumb lines – ancient aids to navigation stretch across the design from their ‘”roses”.

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Gillian Clarke, the Poet of Wales, who coincidentally has spent much of her life in Penarth, especially created some beautiful words of poetry, which are included in the textures of sand and sea. Like the ‘learner of the year’ trophy for this summer’s National Eisteddfod, that Craig Bragdy were pleased to produce, wooden printing blocks from Gwas Gee, were also used for this design.

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We were very pleased to make this small intricate piece for Penarth; so different from the large murals and swimming pool installations we are normally commissioned to make for countries worldwide.

The mural can be seen from a viewpoint on the first floor. With some of the original architectural features of the pier included. With the Pavilion due to be fully accessible by January 2014 we hope that this attraction will enhance this seaside town for many years to come.


Posted: December 17th, 2013 Category: Design, Penarth Pavilion, PROJECT Comments: (0)

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.

Posted: October 14th, 2013 Category: ARCHITECTURE, Design, News, PROJECT, THE GLOBE Comments: (0)