Daniel Libeskind designs Fractile
by Sara Costi
There’s a secret relationship between numbers and the harmony that governs the creation of shapes in nature. The whole universe expresses itself through wonderful works of art in a fascinating mathematical language, following stunning numeric sequences that transform into magnificent geometric shapes.
The 13th-century Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa (later known as Fibonacci) discovered that many elements in nature – in the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms – feature an infinite sequence of numbers in their form, in which the first is 0, the second is 1, and the next is always the sum of the previous two. During the 17th century, German astronomer Kepler noticed that the ratio between consecutive Fibonacci numbers approximates Phi (1.618033). This number is known as the golden section or the golden ratio and has inspired thinkers, philosophers, mathematicians, and artists over the ages.
There are many examples of how living beings follow the Fibonacci sequence. In the plant and mineral kingdoms, in diamonds, butterflies’ wings, the human body (Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man), snowflakes, and even in microcrystals, geometric shapes repeat themselves in different scales. They never change. Even if you magnify and observe a part of them, You’ll always see the whole too. These shapes are called fractals. The word fractal, from the Latin fractus, was invented in 1975 by Benoit Mandelbrot.
This way, natural shapes become examples of beauty and harmony that have inspired us to create – using the four natural elements earth, fire, air, and water – porcelain stoneware tiles that reflect the Fibonacci sequence and reproduce harmonious and symmetrical shapes.
Fractile: three-dimensional fractal tiles
Daniel Libeskind and Casalgrande Padana have joined forces to create Fractile, a unique collection of porcelain stoneware tiles that embodies the magic of fractal mathematics, beyond the borders of mathematics and imagination.
These exclusive three-dimensional porcelain stoneware tiles, designed by Daniel Libeskind and manufactured by Casalgrande Padana, are the result of a sophisticated industrial procedure, which includes glazing and firing processes at 1250 °C, using select mixtures of clays, quartzes and feldspars, which provide a colour-changing effect while ensuring the highest quality, resistance and durability.
A geometric relief pattern and a metalescent surface finish provide the tile with an unexpected sense of movement under the light. This deconstruction and reconstruction of luminous reflexes enhances the whole architectural envelope.
The Fractile tiles made their debut in 2013 at Bologna Water Design, where these special three-dimensional tiles were used to clad Pinnacle, an installation placed in the 16th century Cortile del Priore at former maternity hospital to pay tribute to the verticality of medieval Bologna, its towers and historical buildings.
Pinnacle 2013 – Bologna Water Design
The partnership between Daniel Libeskind and Casalgrande Padana continued with the revolutionary ceramic envelope for the Vanke Pavilion at Expo 2015.
Vanke Pavilion by Studio Libeskind @ Expo 2015 – ph. ©Hufton+Crow
Again in 2015, these three-dimensional fractal tiles were used to clad the imposing landmark designed by Daniel Libeskind located in the Reggio Emilia countryside, near the Casalgrande Padana production plant: Casalgrande Ceramic Crown.
Casalgrande Ceramic Crown
Sapphire, also designed by Daniel Libeskind, is the perfect continuation of this journey through experimentation. This multi-storey building features surprising and complex volumes and a ventilated façade clad with Fractile porcelain stoneware tiles with Bios Self Cleaning technology.
Fractile - Sapphire
The magic of fractal mathematics and logarithmic sequences, where the whole looks the same as each of its parts and each of its parts looks the same as the whole. This philosophical concept seems to describe the very essence of beauty in architecture and design. An invisible mathematical thread that connects all the works created in one great work.
Nature and living beings – from the smallest shell to the largest galaxy – are arranged according to a geometric pattern and evolve imitating themselves according to fractal patterns in a specific sequence with a golden ratio.
The universe has always been governed by unknown forces, which are a spiritually mysterious expression of mathematical laws in a harmonious geometric context.
The beauty we perceive when we admire these harmonious symmetries can be considered as an energetic vibration that resonates in us, communicating unconsciously with our soul.
Pinnacle - Fractile