At a time where material innovation and technology are dominant, can “old” materials such as clay, especially if used to produce something as commonplace as a brick, be worthy of our attention? I say they are.
Simple materials take us back to basics and connect us with tradition and communities, as well as offering space for reimagining its applications. This is the case of the Staffordshire Blue brick, that was brought to SCIN by Ketley Brick this week.
The Staffordshire Blue Brick
This brick is made from the local red clay Eturia Marl. When this clay is fired at a high temperature in a low oxygen-reducing atmosphere, it becomes a deep blue that is its distinctive feature. By using this technique the surface of the brick is slightly vitrified making this brick incredibly hard, and highly water resistant. Because of its strength it has been used historically to build bridges, tunnels and railways as well as steps and pathways. Staffordshire Blue bricks have traditionally been "Class A" with a water absorption of less than 4.5%.
The beautiful blue hue makes it perfect for decorative purposes, combined with red and brown bricks or just on its own. It looks stunning above windows and doors.
Ketley is one of the few companies that still produces the Staffordshire blue and forms part of the Hinton Perry & Davenhill family business which began making bricks and tiles in 1805. In the early part of the 20th Century their blue colour was regarded as the stamp of durability, their performance under crushing tests, water absorption and abrasion tests is evidence of this.
These are some of the applications where the Staffordshire blue is used:
Harvey Nichols store in Birmingham’s
The new Harvey Nichols store in Birmingham’s Mailbox used the Staffordshire blue brickslips in a vertical bond with pistol slips above to create an eye catching brick wall.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch
The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch was awarded a Brick Award for its refurbishment using Staffordshire blue brickslips and specials, turning the hotel into a uber cool place to be.
Hardy Amies brick tables
The blue pavers have even been used to make an unusual table for a London tailor.
For more information: