Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tilikum Crossing - Bridge of the People

This summer Pratt & Larson had the honor of working on a project with TriMet, Portland's transit authority. 
Tilikum Crossing - Bridge of the People Image courtesy of TriMet

The latest bridge to cross the Willamette River in Portland since the Fremont Bridge in 1973, the Tilikum Crossing was designed specifically for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, light rail and the street car. In fact even it's name means "people" in the Chinook Wawa language used by the traders in the Pacific Northwest in the 19th century. Check out this cool time lapse video of the building of the bridge.

The Sonic Dish
Artists rendition of the Sonic Dish
TriMet allocates 1.5 percent of a projects budget toward art installations along the transit line. One of the art installations for this project is the Sonic Dish, designed by artists Douglas Hollis and the late Anna Valentina Murch. Here's a great 1 minute clip about them.

The idea behind the Sonic Dish is to link the bridge to it's surroundings by amplifying ambient sounds under the bridge as pedestrians and cyclists pass the bridge's curved abutments. The environment plays an active role in the artwork, in the same way that the changing lights illuminating the bridge at night are controlled by changes in the river. The image above explains how the dish will magnify the sounds and focus them at a point 5 to 10 feet from the wall. Of course, its also meant to be a visual experience as explained by Mary Priester, manager of TriMet's public arts programs."The dish is there to be experienced as it is; more art than science, as much visual as aural"

Here's the Sonic Dish's underlying concrete structure. Pratt & Larson supplied the tile that would be attached to this surface. We made 1400 square feet of  white 2" circle tiles and mesh mounted them in our factory just a few blocks away from the bridge. That's 63,000 tiles!! We also mounted 436sf of smaller metal circles in sheets to make installation easier. As you can see our team had a great time visiting the site:

The tall guy overseeing the installation here is our CEO Timothy Roberts.
And our Production Manager, Anthony Asch. Obviously the hard hats were a hit with this crowd.
Here you can see the two different kinds of tile as they are being installed. 
Curved surfaces are very challenging to install flat tile on. These guys did a great job!
This shot shows the finished grouted installation. 63,000 white circles!!
The east side Sonic Dish, completed.
The bridge doesn't open until September 2015 but the Springwater trail is open again and passes right under the bridge by the Sonic Dish.  Check it out and let us know what you hear!

Tilikum Crossing Fact sheet
1/5/15 - Update - They took the fencing down so now you can go and try it out for yourself!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Indigo, Navy, Midnight. Blue by any other name.

A few years back i wrote a blog about all the deep dark blues that were turning up on my favorite design sites. Two years later and the deep dark blues are still going strong and i thought this topic was worth another visit. 
Here's an update to that original post.  

Indigo, Midnight, Navy.  These beautiful dark blues have been appearing in all my favorite design sites and magazines lately.  I've put together some pictures of these midnight beauties along with the Pratt & Larson tile they inspired me to order up in our own collection of deep blue glazes.

Filigree C in  W96
The soft texture of this rich navy blue painted wallpaper lead me to try our Filigree patterns in a deep blue Watercolor glaze. It gathers and pools in the recesses becoming deep and dark and pulls away from the delicate pattern, leaving it with a hint of the palest of blues.

Indigo Diamond wallpaper from Galbraith and Paul 
Scraffito C in PW1 with Charcoal
The strong contrasting pattern of this Galbraith & Paul wallpaper has a similar feeling to our Scraffito Series. Here we've highlighted the pattern of the tile by applying an accent color with a technique called PolyWash.  

Carpet squares from Flor

P&L's 2x6 Herringbone in R147 (glossy) and C340 (matte)
For a quieter look like the subtle stripes of these carpet tiles from Flor try a tone on tone pattern. Here I used a glossy glaze and a matte glaze in very similar colors to create a subtle herringbone chevron pattern suitable for use on the floor. 

Kitchen design by Miles Redd
6x12 Field in R147
Texture A in W10
Texture B in W11
Maybe you'd like the whole room in that beautiful deep sea blue? Use our field tile to fill your walls with dramatic color. We can make sizes as large as 6x18! Add one of our new Textures to your field tile for a one of a kind look. 

From Martha Stewart Living
Can't decide which blue to use? Pick a blend and use them in one of our mosaic patterns. There are almost 100 different mosaic patterns available from Pratt & Larson and they can be ordered in any combination of our beautiful blue glazes. Find the right blue for your next project at a Pratt & Larson dealer near you.

Follow the links in this post for downloadable brochures on each of these lines from P&L.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bevels & Frames - New Bas Relief styles at Pratt & Larson

We've added on to the Pratt & Larson Bas Relief collection with some new dimensional tiles. More sizes in our popular Bevels, a Pyramid and a whole new series of dimensional Frame tiles that are a great clean, contemporary version of the classic bevel.

Our 3x6 Bevel has been popular for decades so we thought it was about time we added some more sizes to go along with it. The new bevel sizes include a 5x10 and a 4x8 in addition to our 3x6 bevel and there are beveled squares too, in 5x5, 4x4 and 3x3.

The Bevels look great in any of our glazes, from Watercolors, to R-Gloss, Craftsman and Metallic. The Watercolors pool beautifully on the edges of the bevel accentuating the dimension of the bevel and the Metallic glazes really catch the light on all those angles. 


There are two styles of our new Frames - Recessed and Raised. Keep in mind we are describing the Frame - the outer ring of the design, when we say raised or recessed so you don't mix them up! Refer to this diagram and call them Frame A or Frame B, and make sure of your codes when ordering. 

You can order the Recessed Frame in 4x4, 4x8, 6x6 and 6x12, while the Raised Frame comes only in the 4x4 & 4x8 sizes. 

The Frame series comes in any of our glaze colors and they break on the edges and pool in the recesses in wonderful ways. Order some samples for your showroom or stop by our Portland showroom to see how beautiful they are in person. Download the brochure from our website here.