that's amore: the next great white tile is here
by clé tile | published: May 26, 2023
asking us to choose a favorite clé whiteworks collection of white tile is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. from architect's palette in blotter to weathered white zellige (not to mention sea salt), we love them all, equally of course. but sometimes a collection strikes a chord that even we — besotted though we are — didn’t anticipate. such is the case with casale rustico from fornace brioni + clé.
launching with a capsule collection
initially, we launched casale rustico — our collaboration with italy’s fornace brioni, celebrated fourth generation makers of terracotta tile — as a capsule collection. the range comprised one square (the 4 “ x 4” quadrato) and two rectangles (4” x 8” normale and 3.5” x 7” misto) — simple shapes that could be combined in a host of ways and laid with a variety of grout lines, to create myriad looks.
casale rustico (farmhouse rustic in english) marries the hand-hewn rusticity of our weathered white zellige and a more modern, streamlined aesthetic.
distinctively handcrafted, its soulful, rippled surface and warm-yet-fresh white glaze drew accolades, while its relative ease of installation (when compared with zellige, for example) felt liberating. suddenly, our little capsule collection was having a big, big moment.
in fact, casale rustico has been in such demand, we’ve decided to expand the current collection to include additional high-demand rectangular shapes — baguettes, cigars, and blades. (2” x 6” baguettes, 2” x 8” cigars and 3” x 12” blades).
clé + fornace brioni casale rustico normale bundle. design: storie collective / photo: stacy zarin goldberg
misto features the ability to create a random-seeming pattern, which — along with uneven, wider-than-usual grout lines — allows you to create a unique aesthetic. normale offers a slightly (but not terribly) more conventional installation recipe that still showcases casale rustico at its best and feels slightly closer to typical zellige installations.
because it’s made from iron-rich Italian terracotta (cotto in italian), individually molded rather than cut and fired at a higher temperature than zellige, casale rustico is exceptionally durable, standing up to stacking, packing and shipping with minimal breakage. that translates into edges that are more refined than our perfectly imperfect zellige for a quieter, crisper feel that can work in modern settings as well as more traditional ones.
handcrafted from start to finish (watch here), casale rustico captures the earthy elegance of a Tuscan farmhouse — a long table groaning under platters and bowls of food. a sleepy sunday afternoon. the conviviality of family and friends.
but it’s equally at home in a chic boutique hotel in Lisbon, a Hudson Valley farmstead, or a sophisticated Brooklyn Brownstone.
but casale rustico isn’t just about the tile — it’s about what you do with it. after the runaway success of zellige, clé founder Deborah Osburn had a vision of building on what clé started — creating new design possibilities with rustic white tile and offering customizable character through playful use of grout joints. she realized that vision in this heritage collaboration with fornace brioni.
and now, with these new additions to the casale rustico collection, the world of possibilities has expanded again. go with a classic installation, push the boundaries of white tile with casale rustico sets, or best yet, let your own eye decide the arrangement you love best.