What If Instead Of Covering Our Walls In Artwork, We Just Built Them As One?

Describing the idiosyncratic tiles produced by KAZA Concrete as ‘concrete surfacing solutions’ almost undermines their meditative attraction, the individual yet interlocking segments of a larger sculpture. It is as if they are art first and foremost incidentally finding their way onto the walls of homes and offices – like someone saw them resting there and noticed that they also covered the cracks.

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The variety of geometrical tile designs are a meticulous balance between functionality, intuition and art – they seem to spread curiously across walls, born from each other, a resilient army called to arms. Designed in collaboration with designers and architects the goal of KAZA is to, “challenge people to recognize the full potential of concrete and its casting”. Often we think that materials are a means to an end – a way of creating something else, something new – but here they are both: they are the singular material and the intended outcome.

KAZA are continually investigating ornate textures, shapes and tessellation – challenging concepts and preconceptions –and people are joining the revolution. The collection of 3D, and 2D, tiles are all handmade and versatile – they can be edited and maneuvered – they can act as a backsplash in a busy kitchen or as the background in the dining room next door.

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We spoke to KAZA about their creative process and the world’s hunger for something concrete.

The Plus: How do you come up with new tile designs?
Kaza Concrete:
We approach designers, artists, makers- not necessarily ‘classic’ designers, but people whom we believe are good at thinking in “3D forms” and we like their work- we have a tattoo artist, origami artist, graphic designer, architect, ceramicist amongst the designers we work with.

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TP: What is the creative process for designing a new tile?
KC:
We normally receive a concept and a sketch, or even a 3D file from the designers and then if needed our team makes adjustment so the design is technically doable. We provide thorough instructions to the designers so from the beginning they are able to create their design knowing the main aspects of manufacturing a design from step one till the final product The starting point is always a 3D file. We don’t use heavy machinery, kilns or use much energy during the making- the steps are hand-made. Here is a bit more on the process.

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TP: What has been your favourite project to work on?
KC:
We feel privileged to work on many many interesting projects- we have clients and projects from all over the world from an Omnia Nightclub by Rockwell Group in Las Vegas to the gold medal winner RBC Waterscape Garden by Hugo Bugg for Chelsea Flower Show ’14. We like challenging bespoke projects-if someone dreams of a particular tile design we are eager to realize that.
’Cracked Earth’ was a bespoke project for the RBC Blue Water Project – made up of 54 different small cracked earth pieces – that we still talk about even though it was 2 years ago. The resulting angles and striking motifs exposed and conceal sections of the garden we were working on, enticing visitors to explore the space via a ‘floating walkway’. Water will be directed through the garden at different gradients and speeds, mimicking the natural watershed and showing how storm water management can replicate nature although in bold and inventive ways.

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TP: What do you think makes tiling so effective?
KC:
The size is very easily manageable- a tiller can install it on the other side of the world too (we provide step by step installation guide) Due to the designs, one can have an instant designer feature wall installed anywhere.

TP: For you, where does the balance between functionality and beauty sit?
KC:
The tiles are not only used as a decoration, they are also used in bathrooms or as a kitchen backsplash.

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TP: What is your most popular tile?
KC:
Seed, Edgy, Quadilic, Cruck, Petal and the freshly introduced Tre

TP: Describe concrete using three words.
KC:
True body, contemporary, liquid stone.

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TP: What’s next for KAZA?
KC:
We are constantly working on product development, r&d and more product ranges. Also we are going to introduce a new metallic colour-range and a new tile design collection this year. We entered the US market this year and our distributor, Walker Zanger just announced a tile design competition in partnership with Architectural Digest- we are looking forward to a creative and productive year ahead.

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