Cement Tiles Around the World (Infographic)

Cement Tiles Around the World (Infographic)


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Behind The Cement Tile: Cluny


Cluny cement tiles are not only pronounced like George Clooney, these concrete tiles also share the actor’s classically handsome looks and versatility.  In fact, the name of these encaustic tiles derives from a district in the fabled Burgundy region of France.  Evocative of that country’s medieval heritage with its stylized three and four-leaf clover patterns, it’s one of our oldest cement tiles, a legacy from Don Ovidio.  Each of the three in-stock color ways of this cement tile captures a different mood; they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this concrete tile pattern’s ability to adapt to your project.  In taupe, chocolate and coffee, Cluny cement tile conjures up the rich, wine-producing soil of its namesake region.  In black and white, a color way which was inspired by the display in the window of a jewelry store, the encaustic tile takes on a modern, graphic feel and can add a bit of whimsy and softness to an otherwise spare kitchen backsplash or kitchen floor.  The playful blue color way of our third in-stock color way came out of a client’s order.  When we saw it we knew it would be a perfect showcase for Cluny’s versatility.  We love how this cement tile fits right in to a room plush with wood whether dark walnuts and light oaks.  Have you used Cluny cement tile in your projects?  We’d love to see the results!   

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

One of the great things about traveling around Europe and Latin America is seeing all the amazing cement tile installations. They show up where you’d expect them—cafes, restaurants, shop and hotel floors—and where you wouldn’t. For concrete tile-philes like those of us here at Granada Tile, it’s those surprising glimpses of cement tiles that are both a treat and an inspiration, and we hope for your as well. On a trip to France a while back, Melanie and Marcos spotted several unique and surprising tile installation that we wanted to share. One happened to be on the side of a brick building in Chartres. There, they saw three cement tile plaques framed with bricks. The tiles were flipped on a 45-degree angle to create a diamond shape and each featured a different design: one geometric, one with curvy strapwork and another with a more traditional pattern. While each was very different, they all had a similar palette that unified and harmonized them.

Chartres cement tile plaques

A trip of cement tile plaques decorates a building in Chartres, France. Cement tiles in unexpected places make a unique design statement. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Chartres might just have the market cornered on unexpected and delightful cement tile installations. Melanie and Marcos came across another fun outdoor wall tile installation there too. This time, it was below a window and incorporated a group of corner and border tiles to create a rectangular cement tile installation.

tile installation chartres

Below a window in Chartres, a cement tile installation features a surprising use of border and corner tiles. It creates an embroidery-like effect. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

All of this is to say that cement tile isn’t just for your back splash or bathroom—and especially cement tile from Granada Tile. Our concrete tiles are do durable and versatile, they’re a great choice to go pretty much anywhere, inside or out.

Breaking News: Granada Tile’s New Lookbook

Granada Tile Lookbook 2013

Granada Tile’s new lookbook features new cement tile designs, great design ideas, and, of course, divine cement tile installations. Cover photo courtesy designer, builder, and photographer Ken Koonce.

Granada Tile has some big news! Our new Lookbook is now live on our Web site, and it’s filled with some special treats. Probably the biggest news is the seven additions to our flagship Echo Collection of cement and concrete tiles.

The new concrete tiles were inspired by the travels of the company’s owners and founders, Marcos Cajina and Melanie Stephens. Included in the volume are Connemara and Galway, which take their cues from traditional Irish designs. French design gets a nod in the form of Lille, Carcassone and Limoges, while North Africa is represented by Tunisia and Central Spain by Toledo.

They range from abstract and geometric to more traditional—regardless they will add plenty to whatever your next cement tile installation may be. Look for more on these fabulous new cement tile designs here in the coming weeks and months.

The Lookbook also includes one of our favorite features from the blog. Some of our most beloved cement tile designs also appear in the Lookbook but are reinterpreted by Share Designs users. The new color combinations will inspire you and show you once again them just how transformative it is to play with Granada Tile’s standard palette of 32 shades.

Of course, the best way to appreciate Granada Tile’s fabulous cement tile offerings is in finished projects, and the Lookbook offers two. The work of designer and builder Ken Koonce, the bathroom tile projects shown illustrate just how versatile Granada Tile’s cement tiles are. While both include our Cluny cement tile design, the color changes in each yield utterly distinctive looks.

Be sure to check out the Lookbook and be sure to come back here, where you’ll be able to check out just how smashing our new concrete tiles are.

Living History: Exploring More of the Cement Tile of France

Several months ago, we took you on a brief tour of some truly fabulous French cement tiles Granada Tile‘s own Melanie and Marcos spotted on a trip to France. Of course, being the devoted tile-philes they are, they took lots and lots of tile photos, so we have some more stunning tile pictures to share.

Melanie and Marcos came across a lovely, classic cement tile installation in the northern town of Mont St. Michel. In the tile installation, a complex tile carpet, with a center field featuring a strapwork design, is surrounded by two thin, but equally stunning borders. We love the bold mix of patterns and colors, which has a perfectly French flair—no fear of either!

Mont St. Michel tile entrance

A carpet of cement tiles welcomes diners to a restaurant in the north of France. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

It’s probably no surprise that strapwork patterns figure so heavily in French cement tile design. After all, the pattern was a popular one in medieval times, and the French pretty much wrote the book on that style (Notre Dame and Chartres, anyone?). It seems to pop up everywhere in Melanie and Marcos’s photos, including one from small bookstore in Paris. Paired with a central compass design, it’s sophisticated and simple, with just the right nod to history.

Strapwork cement tile in Paris.

A classic strapwork and compass cement tile design covers the floor in a Parisian bookstore. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Our erstwhile travelers spied another great cement tile design through glass—still more proof that they keep their eyes trained on tile no matter the circumstances. The combination of realistic and abstract designs is really what gets us going. The central medallions have a jewel-like feel, and we love the way the blueish maple leaves frame the design as does the fretwork pattern that runs around the perimeters of both.

jewel like tile carpet in France.

Deep jewel tones make for an eye-catching tile carpet that was spotted through a window in France. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Feeling inspired? We’ve got plenty more cement tile designs inspired by French concrete tiles. And, keep a close eye on this space in the coming months—we’ll have more French-flavored tile design to share. Stay tuned!

Get the Look: French-inspired Cement Tiles for Your Next Project

At Granada Tile, we love France. Marcos and Melanie have spent countless blissful days traveling around the country—the birthplace of concrete tile. It should come as no surprise then that many of our cement tile designs have a distinctly French flavor.

Not long ago, we took you on a virtual tour of some truly lovely cement tile installations spotted by Marcos and Melanie around France. Today, we’ll show you some tile pictures of our own cement tile designs designed to bring a certain savoir faire to your next tile installation.

First up is the stunning tile design Melanie and Marcos glimpsed behind glass while soaking up the site of Paris. The floor tile installation suggests the Art Nouveau period with its softly curving lines and blue and gray palette.

Spied through a glass door, the cement tile floor has a delicate, Art Nouveau–like pattern. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

If you’re in the market for something similar, say as a wall tile installation in a living room, we’ve got a great suggestion for you. Segovia, one of our eight-by-eight tile designs has a similarly sweeping pattern akin to the one Melanie and Marcos discovered. The sweet floral elements give it an added touch.

Segovia’s lyrical pattern suggests the Art Nouveau tile designs of Paris. Try it in a mix of blues and grays or let your imagine run wild. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

One of the most dramatic tile installations Melanie and Marcos spotted on a trip to the city of Chartres were wall tiles lining the facade of a building. It’s a virtuoso example of cement tile design, boasting three different inventive cement tile designs.

Three different tile designs play across the facade of a building in Chartres. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

To echo the fantastical tile design of the central tile installation, look no further than our Echo Collection‘s Sevilla tile design. A rich, bold and colorful pattern, it would be the perfect choice for a floor tile installation. Install the tile design as wall tiles or as an eye-catching tile backsplash and have it pack a wallop. Pair it with other Granada Tile designs as wall tiles and create your own mini-Chartres!

Bold and beautiful, Sevilla is a bravura tile design that makes a statement. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Check back soon for another stop in our world tile tour and get more inspiration. Melanie and Marcos travel the globe, searching for inspiration to bring to our tile designs and taking plenty of tile pictures. In the meantime, check our historic tile installation section at our Web site. You can find more tile photos from France and elsewhere.

Living History: The Antique Cement Floor Tiles of France

By now, regular readers will know the story of Granada Tile‘s founding—how Marcos Cajina first spied the brilliant cement tiles of Nicaragua as a 10 year old and then as an adult, with his wife, Melanie Stephens, rediscovered them, which led he him to experiment with concrete tile production with  a hydraulic press in his Los Angeles basement. But did you know that France figures into our story as well? As they began researching cement tile,  Marcos and Melanie traveled the country—considered by most to be the birthplace of concrete tile—seeing original tile installations up close and poring through antique texts in libraries to learn even more about tile design and the tile production process. From their travels in Latin America and Europe, the Echo Collection of cement tile was born.

Over the course of their trips to France, Melanie and Marcos have amassed a trove of tile pictures that point to the beauty and durability of cement tiles. As a special treat, we’re showing you some of those tile photos today. Dating primarily from the turn of the last century, the cement tile designs are whimsical and fun—and have maintained their good looks for going on a century.

First up on our tour of French cement floor tiles is the Paris restaurant Au Petit Margueryin the 13th Arrondissement.

A cement tile–carpet beckons diners into Paris’s Au Petit Marguery. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

The concrete tiles date from around 1900 and cover pretty much the entire floor of the restaurant—even into the kitchen as kitchen tiles, where they still look fresh and vibrant, considering the decades of spills and drops they’ve had to withstand. The tile design itself is a complicated pattern in a mix of blues, yellows and earthy reds.

If you’re a dedicated tile-spotter such as Melanie and Marcos, you’re always looking no matter where you are. They spied a lovely tile floor with an Art Nouveau feel from behind a door.

Melanie and Marcos never know when they’ll run across an extraordinary concrete tile floor, such as one they spied walking through Paris. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

The elegant tile carpet features a graceful tile design in shades of blue and gray. Needless to say, Melanie and Marcos were disappointed that they couldn’t get a closer look.

Paris, of course, doesn’t have a monopoly on fabulous tile installations. One of the most exciting ones that Melanie and Marcos have seen happened to be in Chartres.

Cement wall tiles cover the surface of a building in the French town of Chartres. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

It’s a truly spectacular assemblage of wall tiles, with three distinct tile designs running in courses up the side of the building. There’s even an amazing three-dimensional effect provided by smaller tile bosses set against the background of larger tiles.

For more tile pictures taken on our trips to France, be sure to check out our historic tile pages. If you’ve traveled to France and have taken your own tile photos, don’t forget to share them with us! Check back next week when we’ll show you how to get the look of France in your next tile installation.