Propelled to rockstar status during the peak of mid-century home design, the breezeblock has endured somewhat of a legendary existence. Since the 1950s, or thereabouts, the extruded building blocks have either thrived or just survived through several waves of coming-in and going-out of favour, teetering between feelings of love and loathing by those who encounter them.
Ever the comeback queen, the breezeblock is making yet another debut in 2020 thanks to the nostalgia-led restylings of Adam Goodrum. “Growing up in Western Australia, I was surrounded by houses of the fifties and sixties where breezeblocks were a prominent feature,” Adam told Daily Architecture News. “I see them as a symbol of Australia’s love of the outdoors and the way we embrace indoor-outoor living.”
The Australian industrial designer has partnered up with building product pioneers Brickworks to release ‘Kite Breeze’, a completely new interpretation of the ubiquitous block that retains all the characteristics expected of such a product: lightness, the ability for breeze to pass through its core – hence its generic name – and, crucially for the designer, the capacity to facilitate a bold manipulation of light and shade. “One of the most poetic aspects of the breezeblock is its ability to create ambience via the interplay of light and shadow,” says Adam.
Manufactured from an Italian clay base in San Selmo, Italy, and informed by the rugged landscape of Adam’s beloved Western Australia, ‘Kite Breeze’ is available in three timeless iterations: glazed White, and the earth-toned Dune and Terracotta blocks, both of which are delivered in a natural finish as if to represent the escarpment from which they were inspired.
Simple in appearance yet deceptively complex from an engineering and manufacturing standpoint, ‘Kite Breeze’ is given its distinctive look by a triangle-shaped – perhaps kite-like – panel that sits flush with one corner face of the block’s frame. For designer Adam, the possibilities provided by the triangular dividers are seemingly endless and exciting in equal measure. “From just one single block there are an abundance of configurations, patterns and arrangements to design with,” he says. “I’m intrigued to see how architects, designers and homeowners can play with ‘Kite’ to help bring their designs to life.”
‘Kite Breeze’ is available through Austral Masonry, a subsidiary of Brickworks Building Products, the owner of this masthead.
One of the most poetic aspects of the breezeblock is its ability to create ambience via the interplay of light and shadow.