EXPERIMENTATION WITH MATERIALS TO CREATE CERAMIC PRODUCTS BY MANUAL AND DIGITAL PROCESSES IN A DESIGN WORKSHOP
In September 2016, a workshop on design and materials took place at FAU USP. It was aimed at design undergraduate students and dealt with the experiments with colours and textures for the creation of ceramic products. This workshop was part of the event Materials and Creation in Design and Architecture: sharing experiences for the creative economy, which was organized through a partnership between LabDesign from FAU USP and Materiali e Design, from Politecnico di Milano. This activity belonged to the research project on Materials and innovation for application in the creative industries in the fields of design and architecture: the Politecnico di Milano experience brought to the Brazilian context. The experience of the Italian institution with workshops that involve companies and academia in the development of innovative proposals in design was used as a reference to the planned activities at FAU USP. Grupo Fragnani, a Brazilian ceramic coverings industry, was the partner in this entrepreneurship. Their product development team supplied information on their materials and characteristics of the ceramic tile manufacturing processes. The workshop outcomes resulted in the production of ceramic prototypes according to some fabrication parameters given by the company, in relation to the size of the products and the equipment die. Some experiments with different materials were made to provide varied visual and tactile features for the ceramic tiles favoring the students' direct contact with both the clay and its plastic properties and the transformation of the material caused by the firing phase. During the workshop, students developed projects of ceramic tiles with reliefs and textures for application on facades and walls in order to accentuate and value their aesthetic qualities by the incidence of light on the vertical surface. Eighty-five prototypes of tiles of 100 x 100 mm with varying colours, textures and reliefs were created. Two strategies were used for the creation of the ceramic pieces: digital and manual, both of which were applied for the development of the design and the moulds manufacturing. The students could create relief patterns making use of Photoshop and Rhinoceros softwares, as well as the set-up of the CNC milling equipment. They also created textures and reliefs by pushing and pressing objects against a soft clay surface. Then they developed moulds of plaster of paris from the negative of the surfaces. The visual evaluation of the prototypes showed a huge roll of potentialities for the development of new products by the ceramic industry.