at clé, tile is so much more than a surface. it is the embodiment of history, craftsmanship, tradition, art and culture, all within a piece of earth. in fact we consider every tile a miracle, be it clay, stone, glass or metal molded into a form then fired into a small piece of art, each–alchemical markers of civilizations past and present. our aim is long-term: to create and curate heritage pieces that will stand the test of time.
it is this historic reverence that informs our fascination with stone relics, worn terracotta floors and burnished marble finishes, all surfaces that have endured over centuries. we have discovered that it is the patina, hand-chiseled edges and imperfect glazes that showcase tradition passed down through generations that people respond to most in our tile. in short, it’s a way we feel connected to the earth and to humnanity.
when tile industry veteran Deborah Osburn started her blog ‘tile envy’ in 2009, it was an outlet to showcase her admiration for all sorts of artisan tile from far flung corners of the world. her findings resonated with readers and, before she knew it, clé was launched as she began selling tile online and shipping out pallets from her garage in northern california.
in 2011, selling tile online was a brave new world; no-one was. shopping for tile meant working with designers and going to showrooms that were open to the trade only. selling online turned out to be the beginning of making tile accessible to all. in the same way that fashion has moved beyond the runway and taken to the streets, so has the world of design. instagram and pinterest are the new "street"and where designers and design aficionados alike can discover what we offer, what we have learned and what inspires us.
here at clé, it is this vast experience with our tiles that creates more than just a marketplace. as with “tile envy”, clé creates a forum for the like-minded, seeking tiles steeped in artistry and history, not perfection. this experience allows for the best support throughout your own selection process. clé guides your entire journey from sampling to specifying and shipping to installation. though our passion will always be the discovery of the finest materials and surfaces, our mission lies deeper, as we remain committed to ensuring your tile investment becomes your own piece of personal architectural history.