PRS Australia Keynote Address
‘Ceràmica Cumella: Shaping Ideas’ by Dr Christopher Pierce
7 June 2019 at RMIT Design Hub
Focusing on the four main fabrication processes in use at Ceràmica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects. Born in 1951, the son of ceramicist Antoni Cumella, Toni Cumella studied industrial engineering at the University of Barcelona before devoting himself entirely to ceramics in 1970. After the death of his father in 1985 Cumella redirected the focus of the workshop towards the development of architectural projects and large-scale artworks, working closely with Studio PER. Between 1989 and 1992 the Cumella workshop undertook two major architectural commissions: the restoration of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló (with architect Josep Botey) and Parc Güell (with architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña & Elías Torres). Numerous collaborations followed, including Parc Diagonal Mar and Mercat de Santa Caterina by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, the Spanish Pavilions at Expo 2005 by Foreign Office Architects and Expo 2008 by Patxi Mangado, Villa Nurbs by Enric Ruiz-Geli and major installations by the artists Frederic Amat, Pep Durán and Joan Fontcuberta. Recently completed are projects with Renzo Piano, Centro Botin in Santander; Kengo Kuma, Camper in Barcelona; Amanda Levete, MAAT in Lisbon; Carme Pinós, Massana School in Barcelona; and Hotel Ohla in Barcelona with Dani Isern.
Christopher Pierce is an educator, writer, curator and designer. At the Architectural Association (AA) since 2007 for the last nine years he has been Head of the AA Visiting School – creating an integrated global network of part-time architectural courses/programmes operating in the world’s leading schools, cultural centres and other settings in over forty countries on five continents. He is concurrently on the AA’s Senior Management Team, Intermediate 9 Unit Master, and is leading the AA’s application to the UK Privy Council for Taught Degree Awarding Powers – a momentous step in the School’s 170–year history.