Combining a commitment to sustainable materials and manufacturing practices with an inspiring history of innovation and artisanal expertise, Fireclay Tile has been redefining and radicalizing the tile industry for over three decades. Founded in 1986, Fireclay’s California factory functions as a backdrop to the creation of handcrafted ceramic tiles that are made to order using recycled materials. “We’re very proud that we make all of our ceramic, glazed brick, and hand-painted tile in the U.S. and that we’re also the first tile company to be certified as a Benefit Corporation,” says Fireclay CEO Eric Edelson. “We earned this status by committing to staying local, using recycled content and sustainable manufacturing best practices, and taking care of our team members with fair wages, employee ownership, and great benefits. What’s most unique about Fireclay for our clients, though, is that we only work directly with them—no distributors, no retailers. This way you are always buying directly from Fireclay Tile, ensuring the best possible experience, price, and value, plus our Makers Guarantee ensures that you are happy every time with the outcome.” Fireclay’s latest launch—the Metropolitan collection of hand-painted, non-slip ceramic tiles—conveys the dynamism and vitality of urban environments. Geometric patterns, distinct architectural details, and industrial-inspired palettes intermingle in a tiled tribute to the golden age of American cities.
A heavy-duty, handmade collection of customizable ceramic tiles, the Metropolitan collection was initially inspired by the simplicity and fluidity of breeze block designs—Midcentury Modern marvels comprised of patterned concrete blocks, which were popularized in the 1950s for providing shade, circulation, and privacy with eye-catching graphics. The inspirational breeze block patterns eventually evolved into distinct designs that convey the characteristics of sprawling American cities across the country—from the ubiquitous scaffolding of New York to the Art Deco facades of Los Angeles. “Tile is such a timeless material and we like to draw inspiration from what we see around us—in this case the city—and rediscover other timeless elements in a new light,” says Katherine Lee of Fireclay.
Made with time-honored techniques that date back hundreds of years, every tile is in the Metropolitan collection is hand-painted to order by Fireclay’s California-based artisans. The collection combines geometric patterns and bold color pairings that reflect the texture and atmosphere of urban environments. Offered in an array of shapes and sizes, the Metropolitan collection features three signature colorways and eight versatile patterns offered with a true matte finish. Eliciting steely cityscapes, moody shades of black and gray work in tandem with prominent pops of yellow to suggest the ever-shifting temperaments of today’s urban backdrops. Furthermore, Fireclay’s cleverly conceived Color-it! paint tool enables easy customization of the Metropolitan collection. “Our roots are in making custom tile and this tool allows us to bring customization to our customers with a product that fits the designer’s needs and the project’s aesthetic,” says Lee. With dozens of design templates and color swatches available to choose from, users can create unique palettes of hand-glazed tile.
Meeting the needs of both residential and commercial flooring applications, the Metropolitan collection’s eight versatile patterns were developed using Fireclay’s non-slip glazing, which was introduced as a precursor to the collection. The tiles tout the capacity to withstand the rigor of commercial flooring applications with a breaking strength of 393 pounds per foot while passing dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) testing. Pairing industry-approved performance with a beautiful color palette, the durable and dependable non-slip glazes allow the Metropolitan collection to withstand heavy foot traffic across a wide-range of applications.