The Peacock Cellar's use of ancient craftsmanship combined with contemporary fabrication technologies, parametric script, and 3d printing creates a beautiful and intentional joining of past and present in a unique form and space.
The blue tone of the cellar comes from the more than one thousand individually handcrafted blue glazed clay tiles, which glisten like the peacock's feathers. To create these tiles, the design team and client worked with unique artisans from the historic porcelain town of Jingdezhen, China, known for crafting the most exquisite porcelain throughout the dynasties.
From 960-1127, during the Song Dynasty, artisans crafted a unique style of feather-textured blue porcelain glaze. Since then, this particular blue glazing technique has disappeared. Our team spent months searching for artisans who could bring back this feather-textured glazing technique as the key feature for this cellar. For over two years, the artisans worked to recreate the glazing for each tile one by one in small kilns.
Incredibly, the technique required extreme heat to achieve the blue color tone, and as a result, only 1 in 10 pieces crafted survived in the end. For every tile seen in the cellar, nine others cracked in the extreme heat or were flawed. Due to the difficulty and time needed to create such craftsmanship, it's unlikely that such work would be attempted again or repeated by others, making this a one-of-a-kind piece of art for our time.
The glazed tiles are splayed within the cellar using a triple curved parametric array inspired by the majestic form of the peacock. The symbolism of the peacock showcases both elegance and strength. The cellar tiles are designed with a dual purpose to hold each bottle securely in place and serve the cellar's light source. The design team used 3d printing to prototype and test the shape of tiles to keep the bottles still and in place. Additionally, at the base of each tile is a single small LED that lights the tile beneath the other; there is no additional lighting within the cellar other than a single spotlight directed downward above the central table resembling the peacock's head. Thus, the tiles themselves are both that which holds the wine and illuminates the entire cellar. This approach focuses the light toward each bottle in the wine cellar and gives the tiles a visual effect of floating. Tiny reflections of light from the tiles are seen within the black marble floor like a galaxy of tiny stars or fireflies; the light then bounces upward into the polished stainless steel ceiling. The effect of the reflections and light creates an expanse within the small space that feels otherworldly.
Throughout the three years of design and fabrication, our team learned from the process and gained respect for the beauty of artisan techniques. The excitement for our project team comes from the successful combination of past and present to bring to life a once-in-a-lifetime work of art.