Deltaker, S.A. tile. Credit: ASCER

Deltaker, S.A. tile. Credit: ASCER

The Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER) says it is working with the Harvard Graduate School of Design on a one-year research effort to explore the best ways to meet the increasing challenges of product customization, adjustment to buyers’ preferences, and sustainability in production.

The Ceramic Futures project will be led by Martin Bechthold, professor of Architectural Technology, and Christoph Reinhart, associate professor of Architectural Technology. According to an ASCER press release, the project consists of three phases.

The first phase (December 2009 to spring 2010) is focusing on current design-to-manufacturing processes. Work during this time is based on in-depth case studies on sustainability, manufacturing and related design and business strategies.

The second phase (January to June 2010) includes a detailed evaluation of the performance of ceramic materials in buildings. Integral parts of this phase are prototyping and experimentation studies that investigate the customization of ceramics through robotics and other digital fabrication technologies.In

In the final phase (May to December 2010), the group says it will develop the best ideas generated in the previous phase, and complete one or more prototypes to highlighting possible improvements in the fabrication of ceramic products.

Although details have not been announced, ASCER says it will disseminate the findings of the research project via lectures and publications.