Wave/Cave imagined a possible future for one of architecture’s oldest material technologies.

Created for Interni’s MATERIAL IMMATERIAL exhibition at FuoriMilan in 2017, WAVE/CAVE was a 60 square meter topographic composition formed by 1,670 unglazed terra-cotta blocks. Stacked in three tiers, the interior faces of the blocks reveal a surprising ornamental richness as they describe a smoothly curved surface within the 3.6-meter high perimeter wall. Developed in collaboration with NBK Keramik, the unique extrusions feature regularly fluted exterior faces and a webbed cross-section that exposes its geometrical complexity when cut at various inclinations.

PHT Lighting Design developed a program of uplighting to bring out the complexity of the form as night fell. The 70 projectors used were provided by L&L Luce&Light.

Working closely with our partners at NBK, we designed a block form that balances structural integrity and expressive possibility. Design and manufacturing were fully integrated, with digital instruction sets for the profile cuts auto-generated and exported directly to the production team. A concealed system of stainless steel plates was used to assemble the blocks in their final form. It was developed and installed by Metalsigma Tunesi, and engineered by Arup.

The blocks were extruded through a custom die, then cut with CNC equipment into 797 individual profiles.