Suzanne Lovell Inc

Fine Art

A Visit to Royal Tichelaar in Makkum, The Netherlands

September 21, 2018

During our annual pilgrimage to Art Basel, we had the pleasure of visiting Royal Tichelaar’s factory in Makkum, The Netherlands. Royal Tichelaar is second to none in the field of ceramics.

For the past several years Royal Tichelaar has invited and encouraged architects and designers to interact with their highly experienced group with 450 years of knowledge around production of ceramics.  They are working directly with architects to create materials that clad buildings.

A picture of precision, the factory of Royal Tichelaar. Artisans produce, glaze, review, and build the famous ceramics Royal Tichelaar is known for worldwide. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

The oldest company in The Netherlands (established 1572), Royal Tichelaar’s expertise ranges from the 17th Century technique of faience, or Delft earthenware, to endless glazing options, and even 3D printing.

A historic example of Royal Tichelaar’s superior hand-painted 17th Century faience, or Delft earthenware technique. Royal Tichelaar is the only factory in Europe to still produce hand-painted faience ceramics. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

A 3D printed ceramic sample. Despite the new technology being used, Royal Tichelaar does not compromise in its results — beautiful ceramic products with texture and movement, glazed to perfection.

A 3D printed ceramic sample at Royal Tichelaar’s factory. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

During our tour we had the privilege of seeing artisans working on objects, paying enormous attention to detail. Royal Tichelaar is an original maker of the famous tulip towers that were created centuries ago for the display of the famed dutch tulip.

Meticulous methods produce meticulous and famous results! The artisan hand-painting the ceramic base (left) skillfully produces the base of tulip tower (right). Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

Back in 2008 they challenged a group of 5 designers to create modern day tulip towers.  Studio Job created one that we now have here in our Studio.

Studio Job, Pyramids of Makkum, 2008. Hand-painted earthenware and faience. Number 4 of a limited edition of 7. 63″ H X 19.7″ W X 19.7″ D. Image courtesy of Royal Tichelaar.

Touring the factory, we saw endless glazing options available.

A few of our favorite glazes on view at Royal Tichelaar. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

One of the most impressive things we saw while at Royal Tichelaar were the 3D ceramic cladding tiles for the extension of the Museum de Fundatie located in Zwolle, The Netherlands.

A sampling of the 3D printed ceramic cladding for the Museum de Fundatie. The ceramic wedges were produced in two sizes as shown. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

The remarkable extension of the museum began in 2011 and was completed in 2013. Bierman Henket Architects were tasked with designing an extension of the former courthouse to offer an exhibition space for the museum.

The Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, The Netherlands. The unusual extension was done by Bierman Henket Architects. Royal Tichelaar produced and installed the ceramic tiles featured on the exterior of the extension. Image courtesy of Royal Tichelaar.

Architect Hubert-Jan Henket designed the 3D ellipsoid also known as “The Eye.” Together with Royal Tichelaar Henket designed ceramic skin that was be produced and installed by Royal Tichelaar that would blend into the sky.

A completed site photo along with an elevation and sample layout of the 3D printed tiles. Image courtesy of Suzanne Lovell Inc.

The ceramic skin is made of various wedge shaped tiles in a white glazing with blue accents to blend in with the sky. The tiles were made in two sizes and randomly positioned so the light and sky could be randomly reflected. Over 50,000 tiles were produced and used!

We were honored to be Royal Tichelaar’s guests and tour their incredible and historical factory. We are delighted to include a tulip tower by Studio Job in our collection and look forward to Royal Tichelaar’s forthcoming projects and designs!