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UNIQUE HANDMADE FASCINATING

7 min read

They have a special charm. Sometimes they are essential, sometimes nice-to-have. Below, you can read about construction materials and everyday objects with one thing in common:

They were developed for a certain purpose, are unique in their execution and inimitable in their manual manufacturing. Find inspiration for your next construction project or satisfy your own desire for something individual for you personally.

DEFINITELY NOT OFF THE RACK

In 2000, the Kolumba brick was developed as a joint project by Petersen Tegl and Swiss architect Peter Zumthor for the Kolumba Museum in Cologne. Today, it is used for construction projects around the world.

Danish brick producer Petersen Tegl specialises in producing bricks, prioritising hand-crafted excellence. Petersen Tegl is one of the few brickyards worldwide to master the art of coal-based brick firing. That gives the water-struck bricks a play of colours in light and dark nuances. After processing the clay, the stones are hand-made in wooden moulds, dried and fired. The different surfaces and varied nuances of the stones are created by temperature differences during firing.

www.petersen-tegl.dk

FAR MORE THAN JUST A WINDOW

The multifunctional insulated windows of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg are the only ones of their kind worldwide: They are not only coated, they were also printed with a grid of basalt-grey dots and chrome dots as protection against the sun.

Each element is unique, with the density of the grid calculated using computers for the respective use of the interior room. Some of the glass panes, up to five metres high, are shaped with concave and convex curves. The 1,100 individual façade elements have come a long way, travelling from the production and coating facility in Gundelfingen by Josef Gartner GmbH, via Plattlingen and Bretten all the way to Padua in Italy.

©Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

www.josef-gartner.permasteelisagroup.com

EVERYTHING STAYS IN THE ECONOMY AND ALMOST NOTHING IS DISCARDED

Martin Blöcher and his employees dismantle buildings that are slated for demolition, store them as a construction kit and rebuild as much as possible of them. They use everything that is not rotten or toxic.

“Things disappear,” says Martin Blöcher. Buildings, fences, benches, which tell us about people and their history. The 49-year old breathes new life into buildings others have long abandoned and cleared for demolition. He recycles old buildings, reconstructing them as historical new buildings. He calls them construction kits.

www.bewaehrte-baustoffe.de

TURNING WASTE INTO FLOORS

She designed the floor of Fiona Bennett and Hans-Joachim Böhme’s hat shop, artfully integrating pieces of wood from disused furniture and dissected wooden heads from discarded hat moulds as inlays. She specialises in art in context with social criticism.

But art in exhibitions and museums can also be a grounded element in architecture. babara caveng fills everything with her perspectives and transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary. In a participatory art project in 2010, she worked with discarded tabletops, shelves, cabinet doors and other pieces of furniture dumped illegally in the public space in Berlin’s Neukölln district, or rescued from apartments, cellars, attics and garden sheds of Neukölln locals, raising the question of social belonging to a 120 square metre parquet floor.

Part of the series:

UNIQUE [#2] or: How individual do you want to be?


More about this theme

After the ART PARQUET and the PEOPLE’S PARQUET, the NEUKÖLLN SOCIAL PARQUET completes the “Social Floor Covering Trilogy”. In 2011, visitors could experience the representative surface underfoot in the Neukölln Museum. The piece has been in the collection of the Berlinische Galerie since 2012. In 2015, barbara caveng initiated the ART ASYLUM project, bringing together artists, creatives and asylum seekers to try to find solutions for the unanswered question “Who owns space?”.

Joachim Gern

www.caveng.net

www.kunstasyl.net

UNIQUE KNITWEAR FOR THE FLOOR

Swiss carpet maker Ruckstuhl from Langenthal cooperates with a wool producer in the heart of Columbia, giving it access to the durable, versatile fibre known as “Fique”.

Today, the natural material is spun in the Curití region in Northern Columbia in a range of colours for Ruckstuhl, and then hand-knitted on large needs to singularly beautiful carpets. The knitted rugs in a wide range of colourful compositions – colour nuances and sizes can vary due to the hand-knitted yarns. The irregularity of the material creates an authentic, tactile pattern thanks to the hand-crafted processing.

www.ruckstuhl.com

THEIR OWN LITTLE WORLD

The are cut, painted, moistened and glued by hand. Some are very small for desks and some are over 1.2 metres in diameter.

The colours and types of certain place marks can be chosen individually by customers – the only non-negotiables are the national borders defined by the United Nations. All Peter Bellerby actually wanted to do was surprise his father for his birthday – but it turned into a company that has been shipping home-made globes around the world for seven years. They are hand-crafted and works of art to some, collector’s items to others and objects of desire for globetrotters. And each is unique. How about a matte black globe with small marks in places around the world showing the locations of the buildings you created as an architect?

Stuart Freedman

www.bellerbyandco.com

NOTE WELL

His notebooks are little unique works of art even before their owners have written even a single syllable – or drawn a sketch.

Christian Haas designs special notebooks that inspire, spread joy, are aesthetically pleasing and tell stories. For example HIDDEN: a mix of artistic words and images with white, green, embossed and golden pages, and hand-coloured art prints. The cover opens out to form a poster and it also includes pages with Braille. It is a book for people who both see and feel. Christian Haas combines empty – in some cases structured – paper with pages from old books, atlases or comics. NUMBERS is even labelled as a unique piece, with a serial number and a one-off combination of coloured, white or stamped pages.

www.werkstatt-hoeflich.de

www.christian-haas.com

THE MOST CHALLENGING FORM OF RECYCLING: RE-USE

The visible ageing, the resulting patina and the charming signs of wear and tear alone make them unique.

The Historische Baustoffe e.V. (Historic Building Materials) business association was founded in 1992, comprising 30 companies. Their aim is to promote the re-use of historic building materials. In addition to internal services for its enterprise members, the association believes that its responsibilities include informing and raising awareness among the public in accordance with its statutes of association. It aims to make it clear that valuable cultural goods are irretrievably lost unless historic building substance is re-used. At the same time, the companies help reduce resource consumption.

www.historische-baustoffe.de

ALL SQUARED AWAY? NO WAY!

The façade of the new Tate Modern in London by Herzog & de Meuron owes its vividness to the clinker bricks laid at an offset and in a crenelated pattern.

336,000 clinker bricks in colours from light to dark, with 212 different types and five different sorts of brick can be found on the building. Individual stones and cut standard stones were used for the building edges and folds, to create the surface between the bordering slopes. This was made possible by Girnghuber GmbH, better known as GIMA. It continues a long tradition of manufacturing clay-based construction materials in Marklkofen.

James & Taylor Ltd.

www.gima-ziegel.de

SUSTAINABLE, MODERN AND IN LINE WITH CONSERVATION REGULATIONS

Since 1981, Peter Bucher has been hand-making roof slabs in Fieberbrunn – in the company his grandfather founded in 1946.

He mixes sand, cement and water with an agitator, pours the concrete mix into the roof slab mould on the mould table. It is then compacted and excess material is removed. The slabs are then dried until they are ready for laying. Peter Bucher supervises most of the construction sites personally and trains roofers to lay the slabs correctly. To reconstruct the roof slabs of the Dr. Barner Sanatorium in Deutsche Braunlage in the Harz region, a project by architect David Chipperfield, Bucher had dedicated CAD-based moulds produced, recreating the colour required with individual pigments.

Sanatorium Dr. Barner

www.bucherplatte.com

THINGS WITH SOUL

Klaus Lohmeyer founded his company Werkstatt: München (Workshop: Munich) in 1996, after turning to arts and crafts from his background in philosophy, politics and music.

His passion for raw materials like silver and of course tanned leather led him to train as a silver- and goldsmith. He and his team create pieces with soul: hand-made, unique and full of passion. “... emotions are the ultimate luxury in a fully digitised and mechanically produced world. Werkstatt: München restores the timeless value of precious values to pass on stories and traditions from generation to generation.”

Werkstatt: München

www.werkstatt-muenchen.com

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