The design by studio RAP gets its influence from traditional Delft Blue porcelain, the form that changed dramatically with time from imitating Chinese and Japanese Oriental design to contemporary Dutch perspective. What hasn’t changed is the differentiation between an ornamental and a scenic picture.

‘New delft blue’ 3D-printed ceramic tiles by studio RAP - Sheet4

New Delft Blue, a design by Dutch architectural design firm Studio RAP, reinterprets the world-famous form of Delft Blue porcelain, combining 3D clay printing, computational study, and artisanal glazing to unveil the real capacity of ceramics and embellishment in the 21st century.

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New Delft Blue utilizes this branch as its starting position. The vast redevelopment Nieuw Delft has a rich public courtyard of the Poor Meesters building block, which is enclosed by two massive entryways. These gates indicate Delft as an ancient trading town with its numerous city gates that provided the travelers with a sight of the pleasant life running inside. This scene works as the scenic view of Delft Blue.

This ornamental frame is represented by 3D-printed clay tiles. The computational form allows for the consideration of certain producing limitations, like the most extension, expanse, reduction, and inner support fabrication. Using an algorithmic approach to 3D pattern design, the tiles vary in form, which is also used in the artisanal glazing of the tiles. For example, there is a white runny finish on the convex parts of the tiles, representing mountains, and blue glaze lakes in the valley regions.

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Measuring four meters in width, eight meters high, and 12 meters deep, the doors cover a massive public staircase that symbolizes the communal aspect of the courtyard. The intense blue color exhibits the relationship to Delft’s blue porcelain and the encompassing canals, while it contrasts the earth-toned workmanship coating the construction to indicate a threshold. The design requires about 4.000 contemporary, bright, and unusual ceramic tiles, which will be 3D printed. 

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‘The design vocabulary of these plates has changed radically over the centuries from copying Chinese and Japanese oriental designs to making contemporary dutch designs,’ notes studio RAP. ‘The differentiation between a decorative, abstracted frame and picturesque scene, however, has been a recurring division. This division is the starting point for the new delft blue design where the scene is the ever-changing existing courtyard life and the gates exist as three-dimensional frames that focus the view.’

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Project Details:

Name: New Delft Blue
Architect: Studio RAP
Location: Delft, Netherlands
3D Ceramic Printing: Studio RAP


Shraddha Erandole, an architect by profession and curious by nature. A firm believer in architecture and research, when combined with design thinking, it helps in strengthening our society and has a positive effect. If not reading, you will always find her sipping coffee and capturing the sky.