Architecture, Building and Design

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Darwen Terracotta

One Eagle Place – a commercial building demonstrating the use of faience in modern architecture.

Final finishing and inspection of a ceramic sink

D arwen Terracotta is a new business continuing a ceramics producer decided to close its architectural business in 2015 to concentrate on other work, it meant redundancy for 39 people. Steve Allen and Jon Wilson, two former managers, recognised the opportunity and Darwen Terracotta was formed. What is Terracotta? In Britain, the Victorians popularised the use of terracotta, fired clay in sculptural forms, for schools, churches, civic and commercial buildings. The Natural History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall in London are two outstanding examples of the craft. A further development of this, known as faience, is a glazed terracotta that became popular in the early 20th century and is often seen decorating art deco cinemas of this period. These are long-life, low-maintenance materials but time, industrial pollution and weather take their toll and so there is a substantial business in repair and restoration. Modern terracotta is fired in kilns where temperatures are more consistently controlled, giving modern pieces greater strength and endurance. The creative possibilities are vast. Sculptors and artists shape many forms, from reproducing natural objects and re-creating classical details to moulding more geometric shapes. Blending of clays gives a range of terracotta colours. Faience adds scope for the imagination with an almost limitless pallet of colours, textures and finishes – from flat cream, for a stone effect, through vibrant colours to special effects such as mottles, textures and multi-colours. Lancashire tradition of quality architectural ceramics that dates back over 150 years. When a long established

FACTS ABOUT DARWEN TERRACOTTA »» Founded in September 2015 »» Location: Blackburn, Lancashire »» First year turnover: £1.2 million »» Projection for 2017/18: £2+ million »» Number of Employees 36 »»


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