size matters: big al + alhambra

by clé tile | published: Feb 7, 2020

some of our tile designs take on a life of their own. an installation image by a well-known designer gets people pinning, sharing and saving, invigorating their future renovation dreams. one such design is alhambra.

alhambra has become one of our most requested tiles because of it’s pattern. the design inspiration for it comes from the arabesque motifs found in the grand palace of the same name in granada, spain. it is currently available in three colorways: 1. black | white |ash; 2. red clay | white | ash; and 3. federal blue | nautical blue | white. of all three, #3 is the most requested.

what’s most interesting to note about this pattern is that it’s not alhambra that is the coveted tile from social media. it is, in fact, its older brother: big al. mind blown?

the confusion is easy to make: big al features the same design, but amplified into a larger form, with four tiles needed to create the motif found in one alhambra tile. think of alhambra as big al’s mini-me.

the mythology of alhambra began with emily henderson’s use of the pattern that generated early interest in alhambra. however, she actually used big al for this well-documented project (below, on the left).

this narrow kitchen design skillfully demonstrates that fears about using larger patterns in smaller spaces are resoundingly unfound. here, the larger scale of big al doesn’t feel overwhelming at all. in fact, it makes the galley actually feel larger and longer. had emily had used alhambra (as seen in the altered image on the right), this space might feel more constrictive and isolated, with much less personality. of course, big al is perfect for a large, open space like a patio (see here), but it is also a surprisingly smart choice for smaller installations, infusing them with big personality and making them feel grander.

need further proof that big al is a big deal? look no further than the smaller price tag. it is significantly more affordable than alhambra. big look, less cost.
which do you prefer?