In a remote and intimate workshop on the golden plains of the Alentejo region in Portugal, our artisans transform the native rose tinted marble into colourful patterned tiles. Paying homage to the Moorish legacy, each tile is handmade carrying subtle variations that reflect the crushed marble, the natural drying temperature and the unique flourish of its maker.
A distinct colour palette
Our tiles go under the names cement tiles or encaustic tiles, but we call them crushed marble because of their key ingredient. They have been made in the same way since the 1800s; marble powder mixed with pigment is poured over a layer of cement to create the pattern, and is then pressed by a hydraulic machine creating each unique tile.
The pale rose tinted marble is a feature of royal palaces in the nearby towns of Vila Vicosa and Estremoz. When mixed with pigments, the resulting colour is a unique blend which contains hints of the rose origins of its marble.
Batch dried and shaped by natural elements
The tiles are submerged in water and left to dry in the Portuguese sun for up to two days. Depending on the wind, the humidity in the air and the temperature, the marble surface will acquire a subtle variation in finish.
The lifetime of a tile can last hundreds of years and the effects of age only serve to increase the beauty of the surface as the marble regains its original hard stone sheen.
Check out our gallery for more photos from the tile production process.