Tile inspiration from around the Globe
When it comes to finding inspiration for decorating your home, the world is your oyster. From the subway stations of New York to the churches of Portugal, taking influence from around the globe is the perfect way to add some unique personality into your decor.
Azulejos of Portugal
Azulejos can be found across Portugal, from churches and palaces to ordinary houses, schools and restaurants. This painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework dates back to the 16th century, and is used for both ornamental purposes as well as for temperature control in homes - the perfect mixture of form and function. From simple geometric patterns to intricate designs, you’ll find plenty of tile inspiration across Portugal.
City Hall Subway Station, New York
This abandoned subway station in New York is a true work of art, decorated with large chandeliers and intricate glass tiles. Guastavino vaulting has been used to construct the self-supporting arches; interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar allow the tiles to follow the curve of the roof - perfect for this unusual space. The beauty may have been lost on busy New York commuters, but the subway train still passes slowly through the station so you can admire this feat of architecture.
If you’re after some inspiration for an upcycling project, look no further than the Escadaria Selarón in Rio de Janeiro; these iconic steps are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from 60 different countries. Originally the tiles were scavenged from around the city, but in later years most of the tiles were donated by visitors from around the world. Around 300 are hand-painted; if you’ve got an artistic streak then hand-painting a tile is the perfect way to add a unique touch to your room.
The Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan
Dating from the 17th century, the Wazir Khan Mosque is famous for its extensive tile work and frescos, just showing how versatile and beautiful tiles can be. From intricately patterned ceilings to tiled towers, the mosque is decorated with traditional patterns and motifs that will surely impress anyone who gazes on their magnificence.
Guadi’s work can be spotted throughout the city of Barcelona, but perhaps the crowning jewel is the riot of colour, pattern and shape that is Park Guell. His innovative use of tiling and mosaic will certainly inspire you to try something new, but he also incorporates motifs of Catalan nationalism, elements of religious mysticism and ancient poetry into his work, demonstrating that it is possible to merge the modern with the traditional. The eclectic serpentine bench is a particular highlight.