October 1, 2004
Photo-Form bas-relief tiles blend digital technology with the traditional craftsmanship of handmade artisan tiles.
Unique tile studio Photo-Form provides designers with the ability to create bas-relief tiles from photographs. It’s the brainchild of architect Keith Carlson, who developed a computer-based process (patent pending) called Photo-Cast while working on a way to produce tactile graphics for blind people. “Aside from Braille and some raised images, there really isn’t anything that shows detailed textures for images,” he explains. “Since I had a lot of experience in architecture, I thought it would be a good commercial application.”
Tiles can be made from any two-dimensional image scanned in and manipulated on a computer. So far such images as leaves, coral, microprocessors, a watch’s inner mechanism, and satellite aerial photos have been used successfully. “We’re finding that images with patterns and good visual clarity work better, as well as images that have reduced contrast or definition, like clouds or star constellations,” Carlson says. “It’s a trial-and-error process.” The turnaround time for six sample ceramic tiles (available in 4-by-4-inch, 6-by-6-inch, and 8-by-8-inch formats) in a variety of glazes is about three weeks. (Gypsum-based tiles range in size from 4-by-4-inch to 8-by-8-inch square with any aspect ratio specified.) After the client decides what the production run is going to be there is a four- to six-week lead time. Photo-Form can also make handmade tiles in other materials, such as cast rubber, clear acrylic, or plastic. “We’re willing to experiment,” Carlson adds.
Photo-Form Bas-relief Tiles
A custom bas-relief tile made from any two-dimensional image, available in ceramic, gypsum-based polymer, or terra-cotta. All glazes are certified as nontoxic.
Walls and countertops, fireplace surrounds, kitchen backsplashes, door borders, stair risers, room murals, shower and bath stalls. Tiles are suitable for exterior use as long as they are installed properly with the appropriate grout, and gypsum-based polymer tiles should be sealed with a terrazzo sealer. Blue and red glazes are not recommended for outdoor applications because they fade in ultraviolet light. Floor tiles made of porcelain will be available in the future.
Durable, water-resistant, and frost-proof
15440 North 71st Street,
Scottsdale, AZ 85254