The Factory Floor is an installation of 8,000 handmade ceramic floor tiles at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The installation presents the latest experimental production method to be developed by Granby Workshop. Reinventing the traditional encaustic clay tile-making process, these tiles are made by randomly combining pieces of different coloured clays in a mould under extreme pressure. Each one captures a moment of chance in the act of making and they are all different.
In response to the overall Biennale theme of ‘freespace’, the installation foregrounds ideas of material generosity and craft in architecture. The installation creates a spectacular new floor for the Chini Room in the Biennale’s Central Pavilion. Combining close, considered detail and the visual power of the expanse, this ‘floor-de-force’ is a nod to the highly decorative floors of Victorian churches and municipal structures from the heydey of encaustic tile production.
At the end of the Biennale, the tiles will be transported across Venice and installed permanently in the garden of the V-A-C Foundation at the Palazzo delle Zattere, Venice. Framing a unique saltmarsh garden, Laguna Viva, the installation will be a collaboration between Assemble, We Are Here Venice and Granby Workshop.
The encaustic clay tiles developed for the installation are part of a new product range available from Granby Workshop from September 2018. Made from unglazed, vitreous ceramic, the colours and patterns are not surface-applied but formed from the colours of the clay body itself. Like traditional encaustic clay tiles, they are extremely hardwearing and suitable for for interior and exterior use on floors and walls.