maiolica de delft: new, and classically clé
by clé tile | published: Apr 17, 2023
underpinning everything we do at clé is an abiding love for the rich history of art and architecture. it’s a deep well of inspiration from which we draw, again and again, to give our collections relevance and resonance. whether it’s our commitment to handcrafting, the way we revive and refresh historical motifs or how we use ancient materials and techniques in new ways, we look to the passions of the past to stoke our creative fires.
one of our longest-running obsessions is with blue and white tile, a color pairing that exists in decorative traditions across the world and throughout time, creating a veritable lingua franca of design: think blue and white Chinese porcelain, Italian maiolica, French faience, and of course, Dutch delft. classic and timeless, it transcends trend and is forever evolving.
our 17th century traditionals: maiolica de delft collection
when we conceived our 17th century series we knew that the first collection would have to be maiolica de delft. our love letter to the classic blue and white tile that first swept the globe many centuries ago (and hasn’t spent a moment out of style since then), 17th century: maiolica de delft is a three-part offering of handcrafted terracotta tile from Italy that brings the richness of this tradition to life.
but in a very clé way, we’ve expanded the universe of this classic, playing with placement and scale of the traditional motifs to make it modern, to make it our own… from delicate dashes on backsplashes or fireplaces to more daring maximalism for a full wall (or even an entire room).
a collection years in the making
those hoping to capture the enduring charm of maiolica and Delft for their walls today have, up to now, faced the choice of hunting for the increasingly rare (and increasingly expensive) handcrafted antiques or settling for cheaply made and fairly soulless mass-produced mimics.
clé has changed all that with maiolica de delft. subtle differences in shading and line reveal variations in the artist’s hand and the alchemy of glaze and kiln — the same expressive beauty that makes antique tiles so compelling.
it took us years of scouring the globe to find the right tile artisans to create what we’d always envisioned: an authentic, yet broad and wide-ranging take on blue and white. but when we found them — hand crafting tile at a family-owned workshop in italy — we knew it. using materials and techniques passed down through generations, they create tile in the genuine tradition of 17th century maiolica.
go behind the scenes to see these artisans at work
the collection’s three series are piccola, mezza, and nobila. each series is available in field, border, and corner tiles, while piccola and mezza also feature “deco” tiles for an even more customized look.
piccola features delicate dashes of pattern. it’s nostalgic, sweetly subtle, and infinitely customizable to inspire you to create your own tradition and narrative.
mezza exudes classic romance. it was created for those who want to amp up the boldness — but within bounds. with a hint of a french provincial vibe, mezza features florals and garden motifs (but bolder and larger than those found in the piccola series)
nobila is a full-on embrace of modern maximalism. incorporating more complicated floral motifs and classic arabesque patterns, nobila is opera to mezza’s more restrained chamber music.
the collection also offers hand painted solid-color field tiles for additional design options — or a simpler yet artistic, elevated look.
how to use the collection
17th century: maiolica de delft is designed for customization, letting you create a more personal narrative.
stay within a single series, such as piccola, or mix the series to create the level of boldness (or innocence) you’re after. use borders to frame or create separation between series — or create a dramatic effect by stacking the borders. or use the hand painted field tiles to create simple stripes and checkerboards, punctuate your patterns, or create a subtle wash of color in a space.
the only limit to the story is your imagination.
with personality, authenticity, and an almost-infinite way to make this classic your own, maiolica de delft is the 17th century collection of tile we’ve always dreamt of.