Kuma: Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud

We were asked by the world wide known ceramic tile maker Casalgrande Padana to create a monument for a road roundabout in front of their facilities’ entrance.

Being able to work with such a capable manufacturer, we took the challenge of involving the ceramic tile as an architectural element itself, avoiding its conventional use as a mere cladding. Just after developing with Casalgrande Padana’s team the specific detail of how to panel and connect their standard ceramic tiles, we understood the possibilities of how to assembly and organize them creating different structures.

With this unique structure we wanted to avoid creating a monument that stands in the middle of the site: we wanted it to become part of the site. Therefore we decided to create a wall that simply divides the site in two making it a special place with a dual character, far from the usual and banal roundabouts. Our anti-monumental approach went far enough to decide aligning the direction of the ceramic wall with the road that leads to it so as to make it almost disappear: when reaching the site, drivers will only perceive a roundabout divided by a vertical line. Only when going around it, along the movement of the car the wall extends until appearing with its whole length of 45 meters.

casalgrande ceramic cloud

In our buildings we usually work with concepts of anti-dimension or anti-volume but in a project like this with such a especial site (a roundabout only approachable by cars) we wanted to experiment on these concepts’ relationship with dynamic principles such as time, movement and sequential perception.

Seeing this wall growing during its months of construction, we realized how dynamically its light structure’s transparency and the subtle reflection of its fine glazed white ceramic where interacting with the surrounding site and the weather. This other way of dynamism appeared to us as a very unique soft, light and ever-changing phenomena… and that is why we have named it as a Ceramic Cloud.

Kengo Kuma

casalgrande ceramic cloud

Casalgrande Padana spa
via Statale 467 n. 73
42013 Casalgrande (RE) Italy

Casalgrande (RE) Italy
2826 mq
lastre gres porcellanato (120 x 60 x 1,4 cm)
altezza max
590 cm
data ultimazione
settembre 2010

design team


Kengo Kuma & Associates
Kengo Kuma (principal)
Javier Villar Rujz
Ryuya Umezawa
2-24-8 BY-CUBE 2F Minamiaoyama Tokyo, Japan

project manager e controllo costi
Mauro Filippini, Casalgrande Padana spa

Ejiri Structural Engineers
Norihiro Ejiri and Pieter Ochelen
3-20-11 #402, Takadanobaba, Shinjukuku, Tokyo 169-0075, Japan

client consultant

Alfonso Acocella, Università degli Studi di Ferrara
Luigi Alini, Università degli Studi di Catania

urban planning
Angelo Silingardi (CCdP)

Enrico Rombi (CCdP)
Alberto Zen (CCdP)

Cesare Brizzi e Luigi Massa, Casalgrande Padana spa

Mario Nanni (principal)
Federica Soprani

Nadia Giullari
Elisa Grisendi
Sara Costi
Veronica Dal Buono

studio visuale