clé tile at assembly line

by clé tile | published: Mar 10, 2022

photography by sean davidson

good news for clé fans (and future clé fans) in the brooklyn area: you can now experience in person a specially curated collection of clé tile at assembly line, the new venture from vaunted architecture and interiors firm general assembly and its partners sarah zames and colin stief.

a warm and welcoming new studio in the heart of brownstone brooklyn, assembly line aims to help designers and home renovators streamline the design process through a curated collection of home products and finishes. the studio brings to life sarah and colin’s aesthetic: elevated, timeless, classic design that’s balanced with a knowing boldness and a dash of flair.

as elle decor noted, assembly line takes a great deal of the guesswork out of home renovation. geared toward interior designers and home renovators, it showcases a carefully-selected library of materials and finishes including flooring, fabrics, hardware, paint, and of course, clé tile.

at assembly line, you’ll find sarah and colin’s picks from clé’s curations, from zellige and cement to our guild new california collection. you’ll find belgian reproduction as well, along with watermark from our maison clé curation. better yet, you’ll see a couple of inspired installations (more on those below.) 

in addition, assembly line features a rotating selection of furniture, lighting, and decor items hand-picked by sarah and colin. these include another country; hudson company flooring; in common with; established and sons; armadillo; calico wallpaper; atelier de troupe and others.

here’s how it works: stop by assembly line to view the selection, and schedule a consultation with colin and sarah. they’ll help you develop a general design scheme for your smaller renovation (let’s say a kitchen or bath) and put together your shopping list.

then, when you’re ready, come to clétile.com or contact one of our customer service team members. tell them you’re working with assembly line, provide us with a few more details, and you’ll be off to the races.

in sarah and colin, we feel we’ve kindred spirits: not just in terms of impeccable taste, elevated design, and a spirit of fun, but also their commitment to working with artisans and artists to create timeless, elevated spaces and homes. here’s more about their philosophy, approach, and the approach they took to designing with clé tile.

clé: we’re big fans of general assembly—you’ve designed smaller city spaces and larger country homes that “look” very different but have a similar ethos. how would you characterize that ethos?

GA: we always start with the homeowners and the space as the main factors that inform our design. i think that’s what leads to our projects’ wide range in styles. the throughline between all our projects is a sensitive approach to the existing space and a focus on natural and living materials.

clé: one of the things that’s always stood out to us is the way you incorporate craft into so much of what you do and that you believe in collaborating closely with artisans on projects. where did that instinct come from and what benefits does it bring you?

GA: we believe that a quality renovation is only possible through the collaboration of many talented craftspeople and designers. giving those designers and craftspeople the space to do their work well, will result in the best project. this concept is at the core of what general assembly believes in: allowing talented people to do what they are best at, while we give the support and overall design direction. this usually results in a cohesive and well-designed space!

clé: assembly line is a great concept: tell us a little more about the concept and your hopes for it. what’s a dream client and project?

GA: the goal for assembly line is to close the gap between the homeowner and quality home renovation materials. we also want to make it a bit easier for people to make decisions on how to improve their homes, by providing an edited selection of items to choose from.

clé: you will be available for consultations: how will that work and what do you think you’ll learn from it?

GA: we are offering 1 hour consultations for people who are looking to do smaller renovation projects. we think people developed a different relationship to their interiors during the pandemic. we were getting a lot of calls from people who were looking to do small updates to their spaces. we wanted to give them an opportunity to speak to a designer, and see materials in person regardless of the size of their project.

clé: how did you curate the lines you’re featuring in the studio? (we love the curation: another country and calico in particular!)

GA: we have been very lucky to develop relationships with a lot of the designers and craftspeople through our general assembly projects over the years. for the most part, we chose to focus on the relationships that we already had in place in order to open the shop. everything in the shop is something that we would use in one of our projects.

clé: when we’re looking at designing a space, it’s so easy to fall in love with the products—but we all know that a lot of the magic happens in how the limewash goes on the walls, how the tile is installed, and how furniture sits in a room! how do you address that?

GA: that is very true! any material is only as good as the craftsperson installing it. similar to the trusted designers we are including in the space, we have also compiled a group of craftspeople and contractors that we trust. 

clé: speaking of installation, you feature clé tile in the bathroom and entryway. you put our new california collection in the bathroom and we love what you did with it. in particular, we usually tell our clients to blend, blend, blend but the way you did it is super inspired: you made it a little less blended, and the look is super character-fun and inspiring—dare we say modern? what was your thinking there?

GA: thank you! we love the way the clé installation came out in both locations! for the bathroom, we chose to pair two fairly different finishes together (the unglazed zellige on the floor and new california on the walls)—the difference between the two finishes brought enough interest to the space on its own – so we didn’t want to blend in either installation. the new california tile, in particular, has a lot of beautiful variation to it naturally, and by using a grout that matched the tile, we were able to really emphasize that.

clé: we also love how you laid out our belgian reproduction circles in your front window: it has a fresh new look. what led to that decision? it’s so great to see a great designer use our tile!

GA: we love that belgian reproduction tile so much—we’ve just been looking for a place to use it! it works great in our window! again, matching the grout to the tile creates a more continuous surface, which makes the installation feel more modern to us.

clé: what’s next for general assembly? and what’s a dream project for you? 

GA: right now we are just enjoying having the storefront as a space to continue to experiment and try out new ideas. we’re looking forward to finding new designers to showcase in the space as well. we currently have some great projects in the works at general assembly as well, so we are also looking forward to just continuing with those!

visit assembly line in boerum hill.