Ceramica Cumella: Santa Caterina Market

Work / Architecture

New show celebrates the Spanish studio which turned ceramics into jaw-dropping architectural features

One of the strangest objects in my mum’s house is a marrow my sister made in pottery class decades ago which she still keeps as a totem of our family’s artistic promise (that was as good as it got). It’s what I picture whenever I hear the word “ceramics” and chances are that for you the first thing that springs to mind is something fairly small scale. But Ceramica Cumella, the subject of a show at the Architectural Association later this month, have recast ceramics on a mind-blowing architectural scale.

The Spanish studio dates back to 1880 but it was current head Toni Cumella who set the studio on a new course in the mid 1980s as he looked to combine their traditional craftsmanship with his degree in industrial engineering.

Their work is staggering and varied, from the Santa Caterina Market to the Spanish Pavilion at Expo 2005, private villas to the Catalan police headquarters and the studio has collaborated with huge architectural names like Amanda Levete and Enric Miralles.

The show at the AA, called Shaping Ideas, will focus equally on process ( extruding, casting, pressing and revolving) as the extraordinary finished pieces and is likely to change the way you think about ceramics for good. And if the organisers are in dire need of a clay vegetable, I know just the person…

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas runs from September 29 to October 27.


Ceramica Cumella: Santa Caterina Market


Ceramica Cumella: Aichi Expo


Ceramica Cumella: Aichi Expo


Ceramica Cumella: Oceanario, Lisbon


Ceramica Cumella: Pluja de Llagrimes Theatre


Ceramica Cumella: Spanish Pavilion Expo 2005


Ceramica Cumella: Spanish Pavilion Expo 2005


Ceramica Cumella: Spanish Pavilion Expo 2005


Toni Cumella in his studio