October 16, 2023
Uniquely Designed Wallcoverings Mimic the Texture & Colors of Clay

As autumn’s crisp air begins to settle in, the world is awash in rich, inviting color. Oranges, browns, and rusts speckle the turning foliage, as well as our shifting wardrobes, which increasingly incorporate the coziest of pieces. From wearing chocolatey sweaters to picking ruby-red apples, we see warm hues everywhere.

Connecting us back to the abundance of nature, fall envelops us in distinctly earthen shades. To get in the spirit, we’re highlighting an all-natural design material with a color palette to match—clay. The creamy orange of terracotta, the reddish tint of adobe, and the deep brown of earthenware are just a few examples of the different hues that clay can take on.

A sedimentary material consisting of minerals from the kaolinite, montmorillonite, or aluminosilicate groups, clay has been in use for millions of years; as far back as the prehistoric era, the earliest humans employed it as a medicinal tool in cases of food poisoning, infection, and muscle pain. Clay’s ability to harden with heat and liquify with water has made it a staple for architects and artists alike. In construction, clay has been used for flooring, roof-tiling, and structural support in the form of weight-bearing brick. In pottery, clay’s first documented appearance came with the creation of primitive vessels, which would be decorated with seashells or other stitching objects. The tradition of molding clay to make ceramic art- or tableware- pieces flourishes to this day.
An organization that places scientific exploration and sustainable practices at the fore, Clayworks is a unique design studio that creates breathtaking, clay plaster finishes. In their search for earth-materials both elegant in appearance and healthy for the environment, the founders became fascinated with the “beauty, performance, and aesthetic qualities of clay as an interior surface finish.” Clayworks has created dozens of wallcoverings made from all natural materials, with warm tones and natural patterns that truly mimic the texture of clay. They are also free of VOC’s and formaldehyde, as well as fully compostable.
Clayworks’s Rammed Earth Finish is engineered to reproduce the ancient building technique after which it’s named. The method typically compresses layer upon layer of differently-colored soil to form a solid, dense wall. Utilizing minerals, sands, and clay matter, Rammed Earth authentically achieves an organic aesthetic. The designers use earth pigments to create a variety of color profiles, which can be tailored toward each specific project. The company has stated that this feature is due to “’a desire by architects and designers to replicate geological conditions or to evoke cultural connections from Islamic, Native American, African, Moorish, Persian or Chinese vernacular architecture.’” One example of such a custom-make is the one designed for Gaucho, an Argentinian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland. Clayworks combined hues of slate, rust, and sand, conjuring the Pampas plains of the South American country.

Another line of Clayworks’s wallcoverings is titled “Arakabe,” derived from the Japanese plastering practice of mixing straw with clay. When added to clay matter, straw lends increased strength and moisture-resistance; it also serves as a natural carbon-drain. In creating Arakabe, Clayworks first experimented with a number of different straw weights before landing on an optimal option. Clayworks specifically designed Arakabe for interior use in commercial and residential buildings, adding that the combination of straw and clay brings “’warmth and depth into a space.’” Walmer Yard, a residential complex in London, recently utilized Arakabe in its construction. Its designers opted for a charcoal-colored clay with bits of golden-yellow straw, a finish creating a calm, inviting atmosphere.

The earthen shades of clay are naturally soothing, providing a sense of peace and wellbeing. Warm, comforting, and organic, they can be harnessed to create a haven of respite with interior decor. As seen in fall fashion, these shades can also travel with us on the go, offering a grounding force throughout the day. You can explore some of our favorite clay shades within Ultrafabrcis’ repertoire, here:

363-1444 Promessa Fireclay
744-14393 Montage Tobacco Brown
744-14403 Montage Mimosa
533-6596 Brisa Ice Pink
533-3591 Brisa Caramel
733-33903 Impasto Amberglow

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