Antique tile floor
It was the result of industrial innovation at 19th century, antique tiles floor prevails like a creative and durable pavement and spreads through Europe, especially in continent’s south, and afterwards, in North Africa and South America.
The great diffusion of this artistic solution was a consequence of many elements like manufacture’s simplicity or its low cost in relation to materials like ceramic, which requires more complex manufacture technology.
It´s necessary to keep in mind that industrial innovations afforded cement invention and its implementation in construction product, one of them, antique tile.
Modernism and Art Noveau esthetics
Middle-class demand consolidated antique tile’s success, however, the main reason for antique tiles floor’s success was the manufacturers’ skill when they satisfied new esthetic tastes. Industrial societies began to demand innovative materials and designs, in line with modernism triumph, the artistic and decorative style that represents the period.
Internationally known as Art Noveau, modernism has one of the most important focal point in Barcelona, which in the moment was inside its urban expansion. Between 1880 and 1920, most distinguished modernist architects built a great number of singular buildings in Eixample quarter, the centric district grid designed. Most of these new building’s floors were covered with antique tiles.
Designs with great personality
Antique tiles floor improved with famous artists contributions.
Antique tiles gained such a popularity that immediately appeared more and more manufacturing companies. Companies like Orsola Solà, Butsems y Cia or Escofet y Fortuny stand out for these tiles’ typology. Most of these companies employed recognised artists, like architect Domènech I Montaner or painter Alexander de Riquer, to make their designs.
Vegetal, neoclassic and geometrics motifs were more and more innovative and transgressor. Great urban middle-class houses’, but worked- class houses’ too, would seem to compete in a race of coloured floors and shapes with great personality. Tiles` production crossed over Atlantic Ocean and Cuba became, at end of 19th century, one of the most important producers in New World. Most catalonian employees of the factories established in the Caribbean island where they could increase pigmentation technics with motives and designs more colouristic.
Change of epoch
Economic materials unseated antique tile. Little by little, antique tile made way for other economic facings. In the middle of 20th century, stop using at new constructions in favour of terrazzo.
Terrazzo is a type of cement tile harden with marble pieces or grind stones and presents some functional advantages: it is hardwearing and does not need too much maintenance. On the other hand, it does not have antique tile artistic virtues.
A new sensibility
Hidraulik arises in a moment when antique tile is being recovered. Over time, a new sensibility to old antique tile has been expanding. A new public, who knows and admires golden age designs, has allowed to value one more time. Recently there are new manufacturers, who are recovering handmade and retail making of some models based on traditional esthetic of modernist tiles.
In this context, Hidraulik arises like a proposal its principal value is the combination of design and functionality: a recreation of antique tiles’ aesthetically appealing to create a synthetic thin carpet with very advanced properties.