refined rusticity

fireplace with clé tile architect's palette blotter terracotta subway

design / photo: jennifer tidwell, the workroom

silky, elevated planks in versatile neutrals

architect’s palette is an edited collection of elongated planks of terracotta with slightly softened edges and a look that is rustic but with a polished appeal. coated in a silky matte finish, these hand-hewn tiles are made of traditional, rustic italian clay and are available in four architect-honed hues.

blotter is a versatile, creamy white. this shade is one favored by architects and designers for applications in a variety of settings and exposures.

clé tile studio wall with clé tile architect's palette blotter terracotta subway
mudroom with clé tile architect's palette blotter terracotta subway on the wall

why we love architect's palette

this traditional “listello” shape was typically used in italy as a border, but this elongated form is now gaining popularity as a field tile. its linear shape is easily converted to an elevated herringbone, stack, and subway pattern and can be used on walls, wet spaces, and floors with low traffic.

a passion for terracotta

a humble clay, traditional terracotta requires few alterations and in its best form goes almost straight from the earth into the kiln. this new wave of terracotta honors the traditional forms of terracotta production by using it as a canvas for more artistic tile endeavors. architect’s palette is the embodiment of this new approach. adapting the traditional “listello” shape typically used in centuries of italian tilemaking as a decorative border, this elongated form is now being used as a field tile to great effect, translating terracotta to a world that, until now, has been heavily dominated by subway tile.

clé tile studio wall with clé tile architect's palette blotter terracotta subway

perfect grout to match

product specifications

technical specifications

non freeze thaw rated icon

non freeze thaw rated

radiant heating compatible icon

radiant heating compatible

uv resistant icon

uv resistant

heat resistant icon

heat resistant

stove backsplash icon

stove backsplash

sink backsplash icon

sink backsplash

interior floor icon

interior floor

light residential icon

light residential

interior wall icon

interior wall

exterior wall icon

exterior wall

fireplace surround icon

fireplace surround

shower icon


* see installation and maintenance guide for specific requirements

surface type

finish type

level 1: low

level 2: slight

level 2: medium

level 3: heavy

2" x 12" x 5 / 8 "
water absorption
avg. 17.0%; non-vitreous

see more information under 'wet area application' in our architect's palette installation and maintenance guide below

Pieces per sqft
5.40 pcs/sqft

Pieces per box
33 pcs/box


clé recommends the use of mapei flexcolor cq grout and a 1/4" grout joint with this collection.

important: if architect's palette tiles are being grouted with a contrasting grout color vs. a matching one, then you must also apply a penetrating sealant or grout release prior to grouting in order to minimize the possibility of the contrasting grout curing in the inherent hairline cracks.

Grout color selection is always up to our client and/or their design professional. However, clé is often asked for our opinion on best grout selections for our tiles. And due to the large array of grout colors that are now available, clé would like to offer this general guideline on a foolproof grout color selection for any of your clé tiles.

  • First, have your professional tile contractor complete your tile installation, except for the grout portion.
  • Next, when ready to grout, ask your contractor to bring ALL grout color charts from his preferred grout manufacturers, for your review.
  • Lastly, choose a time of day when you are most pleased with the lighting in your space (either natural lighting, installed lighting or a blend of both). During that lighting and time of day, select the grout color that best matches your tile selection.

Note that the full Mapei Flexcolor CQ color catalogue contains 40 colors to choose from. Visit the Mapei website to view.

for more information about grouting please see our architect's palette installation & maintenance guide.

collection dimensions

rectangle - 2"x12"x5/8"

disclaimer: please note all dimensions are nominal. additionally, dimensions between tiles can vary +/- 1/4 inch.

installation and maintenance guide

read before you buy this tile

do i need to seal architect’s palette tiles?

architect’s palette tiles should be sealed for all applications (dry and wet) to maintain their appearance and avoid staining. you must apply sealant or a grout release before and after grouting to minimize risk of grout haze and to allow for easy cleanup.

IMPORTANT: if architect's palette is being grouted with a contrasting grout color vs. a matching one, then you should also seal before grouting because many tiles may have crazing without it being visible to the eye and would only come out with the grouting of the tiles as the invisible crazing absorbs the dye from the contrasting grout.

both the tile surface and grouted areas should be sealed as the final step of installation. exterior walls require vertical weather flashing and waterproof, penetrating sealant.

for more information about sealing please see our architect's palette installation & maintenance guide.

do you offer trim for your architect's palette tile?

at clé we follow the international model of no trim and highly recommend our clients to do the same. below are the trim alternatives we recommend for this collection.

- if your project needs to turn a corner either inwardly or outwardly, mitering the tiles to meet seamlessly in a corner gives it the cleanest, crafted finish.

- another way to complete your tiling is to run a bead of caulk or grout along the exposed brick edge.

- like with any of our tiles, you can also build out the sheetrock so that the surface of the finished sheetrock is flush with the surface of the tile.

how do i take care of my architect's palette tiles?

over time the tile will develop a crackled patina. please note this is an intrinsic characteristic of architect’s palette. mild, pH neutral soaps should be sufficient for most cleaning—test before general use. clean using soft materials, like a cloth, instead of coarse materials. always avoid harsh chemicals and acidic or alkaline cleaning products. grout lines can be cleaned with warm water and a soft bristled cleaning brush. immediately clean up spills—do not allow liquids to sit on the tile surface.

single coat reapplication of the penetrating sealant is required once a year on all grout lines in shower applications due to the continuous exposure to water.

see our architect's palette installation & maintenance guide for more information.

what type of finish should i expect with this collection?

architect's palette comes with glazed matte finish with visible crazing and light texture variation.

how much variation should i expect?

architect’s palette tiles will show some slight textural variation as well as low color variation in their glaze from tile to tile. medium variation in size from tile to tile is also to be expected. due to the variation in this tile, it is very important to blend the tiles from all boxes once they arrive and place them in their installation area to ensure you have the layout you want before installing. do not install without blending tiles from all boxes. all tiles will exhibit some percentage of variation from lot to lot.

what's crazing, and should this be expected with architect's palette tiles?

architect’s palette tiles are made by hand and will show visible crazing. crazing refers to the hairline cracks which may occur in the glaze surface of tile after firing and is common in handcrafted tile. cutting architect’s palette tiles with a wet saw can enhance the crazed finish of the glaze. this happens because the slurry, created from the tile dust mixed with water, settles into the cracks on the surface of the glaze. to avoid enhancing the crazed finish, we recommend dry cutting the tile.

variation and imperfection ratings:

architect's palette tiles are rated 'level 1 low' for color variation, 'level 2 slight' for texture variation, 'level 2 medium' for size variation, and 'level 3 heavy' for crazing.

see illustrations in the technical specifications section above, and read more about the ratings in our tile variation and imperfections guide.

why do you suggest i order at least 15% more than my measurements?

industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs.

for more information related to ordering and shipping, please be sure to visit our shipping and returns and delivery information resource pages.

try before you buy

order sample

calculate your project

sq.ft. needed

industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs


total sqft



total boxes




1 total pieces

IMPORTANT: Do not use dark grouts for lighter glazes of Architect’s Palette, even with the use of sealant or grout release. The thin crackle/hairline crazing on the tile surface may get stained if using a dark grout. A like-colored grout is recommended to minimize the possibility of curing/staining in the inherent hairline cracks.

minimum order of 12sqft

in stock - ships within 10 business days