Whiteworks — Exploring Materials

by clé tile | published: May 22, 2021

a bright and artistic bathroom uses clé tile modern farmhouse brick in matte white with a matching white grout to create a geometric pattern.
(above) clé’s modern farmhouse brick in matte white, design: Sarah Sherman Samuel / photo: Stoffer Interior Photography

A Different Dimension of White

Continuing our exploration of clé’s Whiteworks, our extraordinary, expansive and passionately curated collection of white tile, we examine how different materials express different facets of white.

Unlike your average paint, tile is dimensional, often layered (as with glaze over clay) and—when handcrafted or hewn from natural stone—imbued with soulful imperfections and organic textures that give each piece a unique relationship to light. It’s those qualities that make clé tile different and make our white tile as compelling as any color. Which material you choose depends entirely on your vision for your space.

Cement

an open, wet room style shower and bathroom with clé solid cement rectangles in white on the walls.
(above) clé’s white cement 2×8 rectangle, design / photo: Crutchfield Collective

Silky texture and a matte finish make clé cement tile quietly compelling.

Reinforced and pre-sealed, it performs admirably on walls or floors, letting you make a subtle statement with all-white tile in striking shapes (including Scallops and Hex tiles) or go bold with patterns that mix white with strokes and pops of color.

Crafted by artisans who train up to 15 years to learn their trade, clé’s cement tile creates a look that’s sleek but not soulless, crisp but not cold.

Terracotta

on the left, a single tile from fornace Brioni's tavella cotto variegato line. on the right, a walk-in shower with clé tile eastern earthenware squares in rice paper on the walls and floor.
(left) Fornace Brioni’s tavella cotto variegato; (right) clé’s eastern earthenware in rice paper, design: Jak Studio / photo: Kristin Juette

There is a vast and ancient tradition of terracotta tile around the world, from Morocco to Italy, Belgium to China. We revere terracotta for the way the clay shows its earthy character through white or colored glazes.

clé has taken this humble material to new artistic heights, with white finishes ranging from the smooth chalk white and soft marbled hues of Italian-made Fornace Brioni to the shimmering, prismatic glaze variations of everyone’s favorite: Zellige.

What they all have in common is a crafted aesthetic that celebrates the hand of the artist and the serendipitous magic of the kiln.

Stone

on the left, a shower with clé tile carrara large field tiles and planks. in the center and on the right, clé's white forage terrazzo.
(left) clé carrara 12×24 field tile + 4×12 plank, design: Oh Joy! + Project M Plus / photo: Bethany Nauert; (center + right) clé’s white forage terrazzo, design: Hive LA Home / photo: Amy Bartlam

The beauty of stone is in the natural variations that make each tile, and hence each wall, floor, shower or fireplace surround, unique.

clé’s Carrara collection blends two cuts of marble—vein cut and mixed fleuri—to create subtle yet distinctive patterns across the expanse of satiny, honed white.

It’s hard to imagine a more elegant material, or one that ages with more grace. In our Forage Terrazzo tile, tumbled stone flecks smooth white cement with a confetti toss of color, pairing the natural and manmade to beautiful effect.

Ceramic and Porcelain

a close-up image of clé tile ceramic basic subway tiles in planks and squares.
(above) clé basics subway tile

Ceramic is the workhorse of white tile, creating surfaces that are durable, easy-care and highly consistent.

clé offers iconic white ceramic subway tile in a range of sizes and in both traditional gloss and modern matte finishes, and we never tire of finding fresh, new ways to use them.

Porcelain penny rounds are another classic choice, either on their own or mixed with black to create custom patterns on floors and walls.

Across all of these materials, clé offers an unparalleled range of choices in shapes, sizes, finishes and colors, including myriad shades of white. Explore all the options in clé’s Whiteworks here.

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