The traditional craft of hydraulic cement tile making, in which the pattern is inlaid with pigmented cement as opposed to printed on a substrate, offers a bold and vibrant look for any wall or floor, making it as popular today as when it was first invented in the 1800s. Now Sausalito, California–based Clé is shaking things up by marrying this craft to contemporary style in a new collection. Dubbed the Artist Cement Collection, the series features a wide range of eye-catching designs created both in-house and by 10 invited artist studios from around the globe.
“Our current encaustic cement tile collection is anchored with 19th-century patterns, and so it’s exciting for us to introduce new work that has been envisioned by such provocative minds outside a revered segment of our traditional tile world,” says Deborah Osburn, founder and creative director of Clé. “These artists are creating alluring interpretations of a classic tile, merging historic techniques with their own distinctive sentiments to create modern design.”
Geometric color blocks and arcs, some with complementing bias or border stripes, are Brazilian studio Coletivo Muda’s contribution to the line. The asymmetry and individuality of each tile’s pattern ensures that no two installations using these tiles will look alike. In sharp contrast, Johannessburg painter Ruan Hoffmann created a miniature art series of sorts, with designs possessing a hand-drawn doodle or organic quality about them.
In addition to the 8-inch-square formats, hexagonal tiles are also a part of the series. Among the hex lot are fun, graphic patterns by Sarah & Ruby Design Studio, best known for artisanal hand block–printed wallpaper by principals Sarah Schwartz and Ruby Geisler.
Sarah & Ruby Design Studio
Clé’s own Deborah Osburn contributed to the collection, as well: Her tiles are typographic in nature and meant to be rotated and installed in any way to convey a message or compose a quirky field of letters, numbers and symbols. Two complementing units sport edgier graphics inspired by Shakespearean plays — a skull and a crow — in block-print styling.
Smink Things (also shown at top)
All of the tiles are pre-polished and -sealed for indoor or outdoor installation. For architects, designers and clients needing help visualizing these products, Clé recently launched a great new tool to preview them on walls or floors of different settings. Try it out here.
New visualizer tool
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