At clé, we take our inspiration from so many places: fashion, for sure. Nature, of course. History and art.
Add artists’ studios to that mix. Particularly those in Roman palazzos. Case in point: Cy Twombly.
Twombly, a painter, sculptor, and photographer, is best known for the layered calligraphic, graffiti-inspired work that gained him acclaim alongside contemporaries such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.
Twombly originally hailed from Lexington,Virginia, but in the late 1950s, he began living and working in Rome.
While known for his canvases and sculptures, his Italian homes and studios were also works of art. Over the years, those spaces gained their fair share of acclaim for the way they brought together classical sculpture, ornate furniture, and his paintings in a way that nonetheless felt spare and timeless.
One of the most notable spaces was his Rome art studio, located in a 17th century palazzo originally built for the Borgias. As captured by Horst P. Horst for Vogue in 1966 it’s clear that Twombly also had a fondness for–and quite a way–with tile and pattern.
Also smitten by Twombly’s Rome palazzo studio was clé founder Deborah Osburn. In fact, she counts the Horst photos–which she first came across and wrote about on her Tile Envy blog in 2011–amongst her favorite of all historical tile images.
She was so struck by the look and mood of Twombly’s ballroom/art studio floor that it became the inspiration for the floor of the clé studio in 2018. In Osburn’s hands, the original–which was designed in stone–was re-imagined in cement, incorporating clé’s mocha, barn, and metal cement hex tile.
We have had so much interest in the design we decided to create a Roman Palazzo Mosaic to make it easier. Composed of our cement hex tiles in barn, mocha, metal, and double hex clip in mocha/metal, it covers 52 square feet. This kit even uses a mocha hex tile specifically designed for this mosaic: when we first installed this tile in our studio, we used only hexagons and had to painstakingly cut edges off tiles to create the full polygon. This spares you (or your installer) the effort.
Whether your inspiration is Cy Twombly or the Roman palazzo in which he lived, we think this pattern epitomizes la dolce vita.