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"Alchemy" Reinvents Rookwood Tile

Rookwood Tile travels across the ocean from Cincinnati, Ohio to Venice, Italy!

Alchemy is an award-winning installation created from thoughtful innovation, artistic repurposing. and Rookwood Tile in collaboration with The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning, and other local makers — on display alongside the 2018 Venice Bienniale.

Video credit: in collaboration with Sanjay Sridhar, University of Cincinnati

Photo credit: Sanjay Sridhar, University of Cincinnati

With an invitation from the GAA Foundation, Terry Boling, Associate Professor of Practice with the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Program, and his team of 24 students are showcasing Alchemy in Venice ahead of the May 26 to November 11 run of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition (titled FREESPACE) to install their own work in Venice’s Giardino della Marinaressa, located along the city’s monumental waterfront, an opportunity to share Cincinnati with the global design community.

There’s something important and innately human about toiling away at something with your hands instead of at a computer. It’s a different kind of work. It teaches you a different kind of persistence and a different kind of patience entirely. – Andrew Campbell, DAAP Graduate Student 

Photo credit: Sanjay Sridhar, University of Cincinnati

With over 1000 tiles and 8,000 pounds of materials, Alchemy took six weeks to be transported across the ocean. It now lives in a city bustling with artistic and architectural excitement bringing in over 500,00 visitors from 65 countries to see the 71 exhibitors for the most revered and prestigious architectural exhibition worldwide. The installation itself is an all-encompassing rainbow room of proprietary Rookwood glazes, adding a key, colorful, feature to this installation in tandem with the iconic ‘makers mark,’ all of which through their innovative reuse, pay homage to Rookwood’s core values:

“Rookwood Pottery resonates with Alchemy, especially in regard to its themes of Sustainability and Community, and we are so are proud to join other local suppliers to support DAAP in their efforts for this exhibition by repurposing Rookwood Tile in an innovative, artistic way.”

Photo credit: University of Cincinnati

In addition to Rookwood Pottery tile, Alchemy also utilizes 80 bottles of Gorilla Glue and other Cincinnati-sourced and repurposed materials to represent all 52 distinct neighborhoods for an awe-inspiring room of color and texture supported by a steel frame armature. The foundation, a Formica Floor, completes the base in the shape of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods, representing the four socio-economic qualities present in Cincinnati. A bronze marker pinpoints the University of Cincinnati, which serves as an augmented reality trigger stimulated by glyphs imprinted on 150-year-old wooden church walls.

Photo credit: Sanjay Sridhar, University of Cincinnati

Are you feeling inspired yet? Start creating your own masterpiece through our Architectural Tile and our Architectural Glaze Collection or stop by our Rookwood Pottery Factory & Design Center for a complimentary design consultation.