Acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was asked by ceramic manufacturer Casalgrande Padana to create a monumental work to be installed in the road roundabout located at the main entrance of the company’s headquarters in Casalgrande, Italy.
“Aware of the paramount importance of our client, we accepted the challenge and thought of transforming the ceramic tile into an essential architectural component, moving away from its conventional use as a coating element.” says Kengo Kuma. “The unique structure we conceived of allowed us to avoid building a work that merely occupied a portion of the space available. In fact, we intended the installation to be an integral part of the place and give it a distinctive character. For this reason we decided to build a device to divide the space into two portions, thus making it special and giving it a double personality to obtain a very different result from the usual roundabouts we see in the streets.”
“Then we pushed our ‘anti-monumental’ approach further and aligned the direction of the ceramic wall to the road leading to it, so that the work looks like something about to dissolve. Drivers approaching the roundabout with their car will perceive the roundabout as split up by a vertical line; only while driving around it, following the movement of the car, the wall will take its shape and appear in its entire 45 meters of length.”
“We are often inspired, in our architectures, by antidimension and anti-volume principles, but for such a peculiar site and project – a place that only can be reached by car – we wanted to experiment with the relationship between these concepts and the dynamic principles of time, movement and sequential perception.”
“While we were observing the wall being erected during the months of its construction, we could eventually fully appreciate the dynamism with which the transparency of its structure and the diaphanous refraction of the stoneware interact with the surrounding environment and with climatic elements.”
“It seemed to us that this dynamic behaviour followed a sinuous, impalpable and continuously changing approach that reminds of the clouds; for this reason we decided to choose the name ‘Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud’.”