The Return of Terracotta
Celebrating the resurgence of terracotta, we've put together a list of examples that show just how the remarkable colour and material is making a comeback.
Having largely disappeared in the mid-20th Century, it seems that terracotta is once again making a comeback in the design world, with everyone from developers to product designers opting for the hardwearing and malleable material – or choosing its soft, orange colour for their latest collection. Seamlessly blending into existing streetscapes when used for developments, or complementing a variety of the most trend-worthy colours, it’s high time terracotta had its moment to shine.
Traditionally a type of earthenware, terracotta is a clay-based ceramic that was formally the material of choice for building. Also known for its iconic orange tone, terracotta was used in almost all developments for centuries, being a light and inexpensive material perfect for roofing. In the 1800s, it was also moulded into decorative details on housing products.
Now terracotta is seeing a resurgence in demand as developers look to create statement facades for their buildings, especially if this is in keeping with the local heritage surrounding a project. Similarly, designers are opting to both use the ceramic and the colour terracotta for their products, giving the pieces an earthy tone and a sense of history. To celebrate the resurgence of this remarkable material, here at DesignCurial we have put together a list of examples showing just how terracotta is making its comeback:
A beautiful new-build block in the heart of historical Marylebone, The Mansion’s design interprets the traditional mansion blocks that are present in the neighbourhood, clad in a bespoke terracotta exterior. Paying homage to the surrounding Edwardian facades, this seven-floor property will be home to 23 luxurious homes, and has been designed by DSDHA with a distinctive warm red exterior, which offers different perspectives depending on the light, or when viewed from different positions.
“The Mansion's bespoke terracotta glazed cladding was chosen to echo the architectural characteristics of Marylebone,” says Deborah Saunt, co-founder of DSDHA. “Its thé-au-lait tonality was developed with a specialist company in Germany over the course of two year and is inspired by the tiles on the nearby Wigmore Hall – the term indeed means ‘tea-with-milk’ and refers to a pink/terracotta colour typical of Edwardian London.”
Founded in 1979, Bisque have revolutionised the way that radiators are seen and sold – no longer are they just a technical plumbing item, but are also a desirable interior product that can add character and transform a space. Over the years, the Bisque team have developed over 300 products and are constantly on the hunt for the latest innovations, working with both established designers and up and coming talent, as well as brands such as Alexander McQueen and Liberty.
One of the most iconic of Bisque’s radiators, the old-school style Classic, has an enduring appeal and is a perfect complement to a range of interiors. For this particular model, Bisque offer a range of sizes and have also given buys the option of a colour match to popular paint ranges. As well as this, they have also developed the Classic radiator with a Rose Copper finish. This finish, which gives off a warm terracotta glow, contains genuine copper overlaid with a matt lacquer to keep the metal from tarnishing.
Victoria + Albert Baths
With a global reputation for creating beautiful baths, Victoria + Albert Baths has continued to deliver luxurious, lasting products since the company formed in 1996. Each of its products is hand finished by craftsmen, with the company striving to be market leaders and innovative product developers within the free-standing bath market – indeed, V+A Baths often have exciting launches of new products which keep the brand moving forwards when it comes to international luxury bathroom design.
An example of one such bath that adds sophistication to any bathroom is the Monaco freestanding bath; deep with a double ended roll-top, the product has a minimalist elegance and has been created with single piece casting that gently slopes all the way to the floor. V+A Baths have also recently launched a new colour service, offering a spectrum of colours in gloss or matt finishes – including the trendy terracotta.
Named after the Dutch word for ‘beautiful’, Moooi has been inspiring the world with exciting and innovating designs since 2001; the brand’s portfolio contains designs and collections from internationally recognised designers, focusing their energies on finding the most playful and exclusive designs from around the world. Fusing the character of antiques with the fresh techniques of modern technology, Moooi creates a range of iconic objects including lighting, furniture and interior accessories.
Always ahead of the curve, Moooi have embraced the terracotta trend, and the material can be found across the brand's products – including in a collection of tables called the Obon Tables. Designed by Italian Simone Bonanni, the Obon collection is inspired by terracotta and its ancient heritage; patiently combining shapes and volumes, the tables have been designed to bring together new technology and an antique, earthy feel.
Award-winning company Another Country was founded in 2010 with the aim to make sustainable, contemporary wood furniture and home accessories. The company has a growing collection, including a pottery range that has seen the brand explore the use of terracotta – such as, for example, the Pottery Series Pitcher. Made of terracotta, the pitcher has been fired to an unusually high temperature in order to give it the ‘scorched’ colour and extra strength.
The First Light Pendant is another example of Another Country incorporating the terracotta trend; made of the same stoneware as the Pottery Series, the pendant lamp features solid brass fittings and a colour matching chord. Designed by Canadian Dana Cannam, the lamp is part of the First Light collection – the first lighting collection by Another Country – and has been handcrafted to come in three colours: black, cream, and terracotta.
La Manufacture Cogolin
Producing stylish hand-knotted or woven rugs since 1924, La Manufacture Cogolin prides itself on its exceptional craftsmanship and tradition – many of its pieces are still created by local craftswomen on 19th Century looms, in a small village near Saint-Tropez. Each Cogolin rug is unique by virtue of being handcrafted; the rugs are made with natural materials including linen, silk and wool, and feature shades of colour that have been developed exclusively for the brand.
Cogolin’s Idylle collection is made up of eight designs hand-knotted by artisans in Nepal, and one of the pieces in the Idylle collection, Jouvence, is the perfect example of the pink tones sometimes found in the terracotta palett. Bringing to life archival gouaches by artist, fashion illustrator and designer Christian Bérard, the rugs are one-of-a-kind the pieces, and within them it is easy to see Bérard’s distinctive brushstrokes and use of vibrant colours.
Established in 2009, Petite Friture is a French design house that has become renowned for its work with emerging artists and its specially chosen collection of furnishings. Curating a range of different objects including lighting and furniture, it’s no surprise Petite Friture is always ahead of a trend; the design house has showcased designs that use terracotta for over a year now, including the NUBILO sofa.
Created by Constance Guisset, NUBILO is a set of both an armchair and a sofa, which has been designed so that its cushions are reminiscent of a cloud formation. Varying in size and forms, the cushions are free to be played with and are only attached to the sofa itself by elastics, so that they can be moved into new formations. Playful and elegant, the NUBILO comes in the choice of two colours: varients of grey, or this vibrant collection of terracotta tones.