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Clayworks is the go-to British company for calming natural wall finishes

Based in Cornwall, Clayworks is a world leader in beautifully textured clay plaster finishes, which are good for the planet and your health

Plastered clay by Clayworks
August 2, 2022

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Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce began making clay plasters in 2002. Their fascination and ‘near obsession’ with using clay as an interior surface led to a travel scholarship from Prince Charles and a much-lauded book on the subject, Clay and Lime Renders, Plasters and Paints: A how-to guide to using natural finishes.

Their company, Clayworks, is credited with popularising and pushing the conventional boundaries of clay plaster, as well as raising awareness of its myriad health and sustainability benefits. These tranquil, textured finishes are a fully compostable, breathable alternative to the standard plasters or wallpaper. They absorb humidity, toxins and odours, in addition to softening sound and light for a soothing, atmospheric space.

“Until just a few years ago, clay plaster was still widely regarded as ‘eco-niche,’ specialist and unreliable,” comments Weismann. “Associations with mud huts were prevalent. We have worked relentlessly to create a new market category by rebranding clay plasters and entirely shifting how people think about them and the spaces they inhabit.”

The ever-evolving, experimental Clayworks range spans rustic, rough finishes and highly polished, smooth iterations. Choose from neutral and earthy tones, alongside a vivid spectrum of richly pigmented shades that are all created naturally.  

The innovative Rammed Earth Effect plaster mixes clay, minerals and sand to achieve “the authenticity and feel of monolithic rammed earth” for a striking aesthetic. Elsewhere, the tactile Arakabe-style finish takes its cue from the Japanese tradition of mixing straw with clay.

“Japanese ceramics, art and design continue to be a huge influence. While visiting Japan, we learned a lot about the traditional science of clay plasters, which continues to inform our work. We have also trained with master plasters in Morocco and America.” 

The Clay Works portfolio of hotels and restaurants includes The Mondrian hotel in Shoreditch, where soft clay walls meet light oak floors, and the immersive Red Room wine bar at The Connaught in Mayfair. Memorable residential projects include Walmer Yard, a landmark development in London’s Notting Hill by internationally acclaimed architect Peter Salter. Seven years in the making, it comprises four finely crafted houses, defined by their rounded walls and organic shapes, clad in clay plaster. The interplay of light and dark creates a deeply ambient setting, which pushes the boundaries of its materials. 

“More and more, people are seeking soft, natural and consciously made materials that evoke a sense of calm and wellbeing,” says Bryce. “Not only are they good for respiratory health, but they also heighten the senses that help people feel more alive.” 

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