Tiles With Soul Main Text

Tiles with Soul

Or how I got my first (and only) tiles manufactured

My first contact with the pattern world after college was designing tiles and at the time I was not really aware of a rare chance I was being given.

And, ok, I did not do it all by myself. And maybe we didn’t really know what we were doing (tile wise). But we got it done, and the final result was great!

Some of the first designs were inspired on the previous life of the space: a Stationery and Crafts Shop. they were pretty colorful and did not go well with the client.

tiles pattern stationery shop

Images via SAestudio (made by me when I was working there)

Second design was the charm

After getting some client feedback, we had to change tactics. Because they were going to be used on a ‘tapas’ bar, and seafood is a pretty big part of the local food scene, we took a different approach and tried to reflect that on the tiles. We were inspired by the scallop shells and how the scallop itself sit on it (that resembles the way food sits on a plate)

tile design inspiration pallete

Drawing via SAestudio (made by me when I was working there)

Getting the tiles manufactured

They are handmade encaustic tiles manufactured on the south of Spain. We were based on the north of the country, so getting it coordinated was… interesting (let´s say that after that we tried to go local whenever possible)

For example, the colour management: They sent us one of their tiles so we could check their shades of grey and the accuracy of their shapes. And they turned out all right, even if sometimes the edges were a little blurry (the joys of handmade items, you cannot expect for all of them to be exactly the same)

tile design blcak white


Actually, if you ever use handmade building products, there are 3 things you should have in mind:

  • Time: Hand made takes time, more if it is a bespoke design. Take that into account when planning, and also leave some margin for the delays that are bound to happen
  • Colour management: There is no computer behind it, just the human . Don’t ask for impossibles (I need it to be darker, but just enough to be noticeable… Not happening)
  • Variations: This should be obvious, because that is one of the appeals of a handmade item, but not 2 tiles would be the exactly the same.

And remember, tiles ave joints between them, start thinking how you are going to treat them from the start of your design process.

If you are curious about the rest of the project, last year it got featured on Archdaily. I mean, it was a pretty amazing project (at least for us). There is a lot of texture contrast happening on it, but the colour of the materials belonged to the same palette so all that change would not overwhelm the guests (Wood to receive, coco doormat to filter, hardwood to sit and eat, and tile hydraulics in restrooms and kitchen).

tile stone wood textures

Pictures (above and header) from © Iván Casal Nieto



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