Reasons Why Architects Choose Handmade Cement Tiles

The floor and back wall of a bathroom covered with Granada Tile's Slate-and-white Fez 928 tile

Luxury, uniqueness, and vibrancy are all things architects seek out when planning a home’s design. What could encompass all of these besides handmade cement tiles? The word ‘handmade’ by itself evokes a sense of luxury, and each tile having undergone a specific process to end up a beautiful piece on its own allows the designer to truly represent his or her vision without sacrificing that luxury. Architects have chosen handmade encaustic cement tiles for years to add a touch of the avant-garde to modern homes, and there’s little reason to ask why when you see photos of the final product. The distinctive lines and palettes provide a finished home its own personality.

Someone creating a custom tileA man working on a homemade encaustic cement tile

Encaustic tiles begin their lives differently than porcelain or ceramic. Both practical and beautiful, encaustic cement tiles are poured rather than painted and created under pressure rather than heat. While traditional ceramic tiles are mixed from either red or white clay and sometimes artificially colored, cement tiles are made from a variety of natural ingredients to give them a wider range of stunning colors. Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln, while encaustic cement tiles are poured into a mold and compressed using pressure. From the very start, handmade cement tiles require less energy to create, which makes them eco-friendly, and they continue such a life by insulating temperatures more effectively than ceramic tile.

Someone in the process of making a homemade cement tile

For inspiration on use, architects and interior designers need not look further than their peers. Renowned architect Frank Gehry chose Granada Tile’s handmade cement tiles even in his own home, as showcased in the March 13, 2019 article in Architectural Digest. With the sharp lines of Granada Tile’s red-and-blue cement tile, he embraced both rustic and modern trends in a single kitchen. Bold colors clearly play into Gehry’s designs, and he opted for handmade cement tiles in this project for the bright contrast they provide to his natural wood fixtures. Architect Barbara Bestor opted to keep a neutral color palette and let her cement tile’s pattern do the talking in the home designed for Doug Zell. In the bathroom, she paints the scene with Granada Tile’s Fez in a classic black and white color combination against an open glass shower.

Architect Frank Gehry's kitchen
Architect Frank Gehry commissioned these custom Granada Cement Tiles for his own kitchen floor. Photography by Jason Schmidt.
The floor and back wall of a bathroom covered with Granada Tile's Slate-and-white Fez 928 tile
Granada Tile covers the floor and back wall of the master bath. Photography by Laure Joliet, Boston Globe.

Regardless of style, architects reach for encaustic cement tile for elegance and affordability. Handmade tiles being only for the extremely wealthy is a thing of the past, as they can be brought in to brighten even the humblest of spaces. Whether they’re incorporated into an eco-friendly home to lower electric bills or spread across the floor of a mansion, the beauty and lasting power of each tile has made it a must. If you would like to learn more or to place an order, please contact our team at (213) 788-4238.



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