in 2009 when artist and designer, deborah osburn began her blog, ‘tile envy’, she did so because no one else was talking about tile at the time. ‘tile envy’ quickly garnered an avid following and when readers started to ask how to source the unique artisan tiles she was featuring, deborah found herself launching an online tile shop in 2012 aptly named clé (pronounced 'clay') tile. selling tiles solely online seemed audacious at a time when tile shops were still deeply rooted in the showroom experience, however, architects, designers and design-savvy customers proved they were happy to have access to a wider array of decorative tiles and the online boutique took off.clé now:
since our beginning at clé, we have become known for our tile collaborations with artists and designers, however, it is our long-term aim to broaden everyone's concept of tile and to transform it from being a functional backdrop to a more artful, provocative facet of our surroundings. to that end we have sought out heirloom quality tiles from across the globe. our tile offerings now extend from classic moroccan zellige (which we helped put on the map in the US), glazed raku-fired tiles from Vietnam, rustic italian terracotta and carrara stone to thin clay bricks domestically sourced.
we strongly believe that good design is evergreen, in that a well-crafted and artfully designed tile will stand the test of time. our desire is to offer enduring quality over trends - to offer substance over style and to focus on the transformative, not the mundane. we strive to show how a european love of tile can be equally embraced stateside and how we can elevate our everyday appreciation of surfaces with a material that can both embellish and protect our homes and architecture.the future:
we continue to expand our offerings and this year, 2018, is no exception with the launch of over twenty new products. we continue to collaborate and create artisan and designer tiles but we are also digging deep and exploring a myriad of surface materials beyond the world of clay-based products. although clé began solely as an online tile store, six years in, we are opening a studio, showroom and a guild where we will teach young artists how to create artful tile and take the craft to a whole new level.