The hydraulic tiles and its origin: the Modernism

El diseño de nuestras alfombras bebe de los suelos modernistas de la Barcelona clásica.
¿Pero, sabéis cómo se fabricaban dichos suelos? Hoy os lo contamos.


The origin of hydraulic tiles

The history of hydraulic floor tile dates back in 1857 where we find the first references, but it was not until 1867 that in the Universal Exhibition in Paris was consolidated; the Company Garret, Rivet & Co. presented the new floor as an innovation in as much as the hydraulic kind did not require baking because its system was based on the press.
The arrival of this technique in the context of modernism endowed these floor tiles more artistic aesthetic inasmuch as manufacturers counted on the collaboration of designers like Alexandre de Riquer, Josep Puig and Enric Sagnier. Among them was the famous architect Antoni Gaudí, who designed the pavement we can now see on the sidewalk of Passeig de Gracia. In fact, this type of tile was designed for the floors of the Casa Batlló but finely they were put in the Casa Milá.





The floor tiles designs used to imitate the shape of carpets because most of them had a border, which delineated the floor. Regarding the composition forms they were combined with two, four or six types of pieces. The more combinations they had more complications appeared in the production process of the hydraulic floor. This is because the mosaic was handmade piece by piece: it is made of different pastes with water, marble powder and white cement, sand and the pigment that wanted to use. Therefore, the more colors they will want to put on the drawing of the tile, more time was needed to manufacture and consequently more expensive it would be.




To make floor tiles the procedure was carried out consisted in pouring the color pasta in the shape of the special mold. This was a kind of iron that formed the outline of the drawing that would have the mosaic. It was filled up to the thickness of twenty or twenty-five millimeters and then the mold was placed in a hydraulic press for being compacted. Then it was extracted, dried and then immersed for a day in water. Then, the following process is what gives the name of “hydraulic” to the type of floor tile: these are moistened with water and put in a chamber with high humidity for twenty-eight days, which is the time required for pasta It is hardened with a chemical process that makes the water.




Practically the manufacturing process of the hydraulic floor has not significantly changed, they are still being made of compressed cement paste with the hydraulic press. This is still well because nobody has found another system that endowed the resistance and strength.




Finally, it is important to emphasize the great virtue of this type of tile and its manufacturing process: the variability of designs and colors that can be adapted to both indoor and outdoor spaces.


Captura de pantalla 2015-11-02 a las 11.53.27


Captura de pantalla 2015-11-02 a las 11.54.13


Captura de pantalla 2015-11-02 a las 11.52.35


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