Paris-based Ceramic Custodians

Almaviva is a Paris-based tile atelier that makes Delft tiles, azulejo panels and a huge diversity of hand-made glazed tiles in a variety of time-honoured designs.

Landscape by Almaviva
Delft-style Multi-tile landscape, 3,450 by 1,500mm, by Almaviva
Garden seat by Alamaviva
Garden seat decorated with earthenware tiles by Almaviva

The studio’s specialties also include Italian Renaissance majolica tiles, but Almaviva also designs and creates medieval pavements, Iznik panels and Islamic tiles, including zellige.  The atelier uses manual Renaissance techniques to produce tiles, with the clay stamped by hand and decoration hand-painted with natural oxides.

Almaviva Renaissance tiles
Almaviva Renaissance tiles

As well as producing tiles on commission for architects and interior designers, Almaviva also works on restoration projects since it’s production techniques closely resemble those used to produce historical tiles.  The tiles shown above are typical of Almaviva’s Renaissance tiles.  This polychromatic pavement features octagons composed with oblong hexagonal tiles surrounding square tiles.   The original was painted in Anvers (nowadays in Belgium) around 1530.

Jacques De Ghey
Army rabble from Beauregard reproduction tiles inspired by Jacques De Ghey

Over the years Almaviva has assembled a vast image library of ancient tiles, tile murals, azulejo panels and majolica tiles of all periods.  These archives are complemented by a collection of engravings, paintings, adornments, etchings and landscapes.  This extensive library is an enduring source of inspiration for the creation of new ceramic pieces that evidence great respect for ancient traditions.  The tiles above show an Almaviva Delft tile depicting the army rabble from Beauregard.  These tiles are a reproduction of those forming the floor in the Illustrious Gallery, Beauregard Castle in Loir-et-Cher.  They measure 150 by 150mm and are inspired by Jacques De Ghey.

Almaviva Renaissance tiles
Almaviva Renaissance tiles

The tiles shown above are typical examples of the azulejos tile panels produced by Almaviva. They are typical of the blue and white Portuguese azulejo panels of the early 18th century. Here, the room is surrounded by a balustrade decorated in trompe l’œil, while the doors are framed with cut tiles, a common sight in Portugal.

Art Nouveau Tile by Almaviva
Art Nouveau tile panel by Almaviva

Almaviva is also renowned for its replicas of Art Nouveau tiles and murals.
  These panels are made using the ceramic techniques that were employed around 1900: including cloisonné, also called cuerda seca, or tubeline relief.
   The resultant tiles are characterised by the use of arabesques and curves inspired by plants.

Dance scene by Almaviva
Dance scene by Almaviva

The dance scene, above is a detail from a larger panel, inspired by tiles from the 18th century.  The tiles are produced in either 130 by 130mm or 150 by 150mm.

'Figura Avulsa' by Almaviva
‘Figura Avulsa’ by Almaviva

Azulejos ‘figura avulsa’ are typical of Portuguese tile production from the 17th-18th centuries.  Again the tiles are either 130 by 130mm or 150 by 150mm.

Delft tile showing Dutch landscapes by Almaviva
Delft tile showing Dutch landscapes by Almaviva
Almaviva Delft tile
Almaviva Delft tile with blue birds and a spider corner motif.
Almaviva Renaissance tiles
Almaviva Renaissance tiles: a majolica pavement from San Sebastiano Church, Venice, from around 1510.
traditional zellige by Almaviva
Detail of a traditional zellige by Almaviva
Almaviva's zellige design
Almaviva’s zellige designs feature a great variety of geometric combinations.
Art Nouveau tiles by Almaviva
Alternating plain and floral Art Nouveau tiles by Almaviva
Cloisonné Art Nouveau duck decor by Almaviva
Cloisonné Art Nouveau duck decor by Almaviva

Almaviva also produce plain hand-made tiles.  The photograph on the left shows multiM-coloured wall tiles, 100 by 100mm, with a matt glaze  finish.  The photograph on the right show different whites glazes.  These tiles are available in 100 by 100, 130 by 130, 150 by 150 and 200 by 200mm and are glazed in various shades of white.

Almaviva 018

Almaviva also produces gloss hand-made plain tiles.  This multi-coloured shower installation shows 100 by 100mm gloss glazed tiles in various bold colours.

The two squares above show Almaviva’s reproduction of majolica tiles, 150 by 150mm, from the San Paolo Convent in Parma, Italy, (1471-1482)

Alma Viva

A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2017.

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