Lubna Chowdhary’s tile based work can evoke the hub of a city, a phrase of music colored by the time of day in which it was written or, in the case of these two projects, ice cream and sports.
Chowdhary designed delicious looking tiles for the Olivogelo gelateria in Belgravia, London. The blocky, white tiles pop out from the walls of the shop. Some are ringed with candy colors, bright pink, or yellow, or blue; it looks like the ice cream shop is one giant freezer case. The tiles were slip cast in six different molds and the colored glazes were precisely blended and applied to achieve controlled movement during the firing, thus resembling melting ice cream.
Now that we’re done pigging out on tiles we’re going to burn calories. Tactic is a series of three tile artworks for the Ethos Sports Centre at Imperial College, London. Chowdhary, in collaboration with Nick Higgins, designed two panels for the reception area and one panel for a long connecting corridor. She intended for the images to represent the speed and energy associated with sports and these pictures are definitely moving. In one piece, the tiles seem to rush straight through the center of the work; in another, the tiles look like they’re trying to move around and flank each other from opposite sides of the piece. The tiles “move,” they resemble the markings on sports fields, and they allude to the rules and constraints that define sport and physical exercise.
Lubna Chowdhary was born in Tanzania and arrived in the north of England in 1970. She holds a BA with honors from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Masters degree in Ceramics from the Royal College of Art. Her installations transform spaces through color. Chowdhary’s process of developing designs through conversations with her clients and the drawing and research that is a part of her studio practice combined with the handmade aspects of her ceramics result in something remarkable. As she puts it, “The result, a kaleidescopic vocabulary of color, shape and pattern, offers unlimited possibilities that can be implemented on any scale”
Bill Rodgers is a contributing writer at CFile.
Above image: Lubna Chowdhary’s tiles on the walls of the Olivogelo gelateria in London put the viewer in the mood for ice cream. Courtesy of the artist.