Zaha Hadid's Milan Installation
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The tiles shift color from 'milk white' to 'coffee black.'

The tiles shift color from 'milk white' to 'coffee black.'

A view of the installation from under the arcade of the State University in Milan.

A view of the installation from under the arcade of the State University in Milan.

A nighttime view, all lit up with Artemide fluorescent tubes.

A nighttime view, all lit up with Artemide fluorescent tubes.

An aerial view.

An aerial view.

In contrast to the square courtyard, the porcelain tiled surfaces ripple out from a center space, shifting colors in a gradient from black to white and creating sinuous geometric patterns.

The floor is tiled as well, and the edges of the installation are pixellated. A series of fluorescent light tubes (specially produced by Artemide) spread light from the center outwards, lighting the existing architecture (a heavily colonnaded facade) and forming a link, as LEA Ceramiche would have it, "between the rigid Cartesian setting and the linear fluidity of the installation."


It's a promotional effort by the tile company, of course, to show off their new Slimtech line (the "latest-generation laminated porcelain tiles"—a super-thin tile that comes in sheets up to three by one meters)—but it's also an compelling project that shows the potential of tiles to move beyond floors and walls and into three-dimensional space.

Architect: Zaha Hadid
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