Glazed architectural ceramics in public spaces
Published: 15 Feb 2017
Maria Gasparian is a practicing architect and ceramic designer based in London. Maria recently travelled to the Netherlands, the USA and Hungary to research the manufacturing of architectural ceramics and their application in public spaces. Maria’s travels were enabled by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship Award, in partnership with the British Council.
Through her Fellowship, Maria wished to address how cities can create socially inclusive public spaces that reduce alienation by placing people at the centre of design. She believes that architectural ceramics can make a vibrant and interesting contribution to public spaces, whilst carrying important cultural references and being a high-quality, sustainable building material. However, despite increasing demand from designers, there is limited production of decorative glazed ceramic products in the UK.
Each of the countries Maria travelled to have rich but different heritages of ceramics. Through visiting a wide range of manufacturers, architectural practices, artists’ studios and ceramic innovation hubs, she learnt about possible applications and examples of successful integrations of architectural ceramics into both historical and contemporary urban contexts. She was also able to identify key points during the commissioning, design and manufacturing processes that determine the success of a project.
“Collaboration between clients, designers and manufacturers from a very early stage of a project is critical in producing a successful outcome. The commitment of a client towards the material, as well as flexibility of manufacturing, is very important for making products and interventions that create unique character and contribute to the public realm” –Maria Gasparian
Now back in the UK, Maria plans to share findings from her Fellowship through a series of talks and articles. She will address Ceramic and Architectural students at Central Saint Martins college of Arts and Design and other universities.
Maria recently secured a PhD at Central Saint Martins. The project is a practice-led inquiry into the social and physical aspects of architectural ceramics. She aims to create an empathic design strategy for designers and architects wishing to intervene in public spaces. The findings of her Fellowship will form the starting point for her research.
Notes to Editors
About Maria Gasparian
Maria recently graduated with an MA with distinction in Ceramic Design at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. Her project Colour Ceramic City was awarded the Unilever Prize for Sustainability and the Mullen Lowe Runner up Prize for Design Innovation.
The British Council
The British Council's Architecture, Design, Fashion (ADF) department creates links between designers and cultural institutions around the world, through a diverse range of projects across the three disciplines. Our partnership enables Design Fellows to apply to ADF for a follow up grant to further the outcomes of their Churchill Fellowship.