In May we presented Kengo Kuma’s CCCWall Installation in anticipation for the now completed CCCloud monument. CCCloud, or Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud, Kengo Kuma’s first built work of architecture in Italy was completed September 2010. The monument, located in the middle of a roundabout in front of Casalgrande Padana‘s Headquarters, is the collaborative result of Kengo Kuma’s team, the University represented by Alfonso Acocella and Luigi Alini, and the authorities of Casalgrande Padana. The monument is remarkably made out of unglazed ceramic tiles that have been adapted for structural use that are produced by the client, Casalgrande Padana. Read on for more information and images after the break.
Casalgrande Padana is the leader in the production of the unglazed stoneware that is used for the completion of the monument. The completed structure is 12 meters tall and is a maximum of 1.7 meters wide at the central section. It is composed of nine layers of porcelain stoneware slabs that each measure at 60x120cm that are stacked and held in place by thin threaded bars. Traditionally used as cladding, the ceramic tiles are used in the monument for the first time as a structural component.
Like a thin curtain, the CCCloud divides the space of the roundabout transversally, engaging visitors to the site in away that is unexpected at a traffic circle. The orientation of the monument places it in line with the road, making it disappear as cars and their passengers approach it from either end of the roundabout. This anti-monumental strategy creates an unobtrusive presence on the site that creates space without overwhelming the observer. The actual proportion of the line that divides the site, a full 45 meters in length, becomes apparent along the movement of the car past the site.
The installation is by no means visually static. The effect of the ceramic tiles creates an ephemeral play of light, water and material in the minimal and poetic installation. The monument evokes tranquility and mindfulness of the site through its presence. Kengo Kuma says of the project: “We wanted to avoid creating a monument that stands in the middle of the site: we wanted it to become part of the site.”
That is precisely what he has done at the site, using it as both the place and the backdrop. The subtle translucency of the monument and reflections that appear on the surfaces of each tile allows it to interact with the weather and time of day. The monument’s day and night effects vary substantially. In the light of day the tiles blend serenely with the developed site, the surrounding area, and the atmosphere of the Mediterranean climate. At night, as the background fades into the darkness, the CCCloud stands illuminated and vibrant in its reflection. This CCCloud video demonstrates the changing qualities of the monument as one would experience it on the site: