Portuguese tiles in the interior

Portugese tegels in het interieur

At Designerwand we are fans of the 'Portuguese' tile, but really just all tiles with patterns. When you see the tiled buildings in Lisbon you have to be impressed. You feel the history all around you. The city therefore has a very rich history with regard to the ceramic wall tile.

Photos from customers who went for the Portuguese Tile design

Piece of history about the Portuguese tiles

The decorated tile was already widely used in the 16th century and it is still very popular to decorate the buildings with tiles. At the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the city imported the tiles from Valencia, but especially from Seville. In those cities people worked according to the techniques and with motives of the old occupier: the Moors. They introduced the decorated tile in Spain. In our collection you will find a number of walls with these versatile patterns.

Halfway through the 16th century, they started manufacturing the ceramic tiles themselves in Lisbon. A large number of workshops were established. But the tile makers working there, who mostly came from Flanders, did not apply the 'dry rope' technique, but painted directly on the tiles. They also used more themes of European origin and worked in the style of Mannerism. Complete tile pictures were often commissioned to cover an entire wall. That was of course a costly business and in the 17th century the repetitive motifs that we now know so well were designed. With those pattern tiles it was possible to cover a small wall, but also a large one. The walls were then finished with beautiful frames and strips with which windows and doors were accentuated.

You can easily keep our backsplashes clean

The appearance of the walls was, and is of course very artistic, but also has a great practical advantage: it ensures that the walls are made watertight. There is even an additional advantage with our Designer Wall: there are no joints, so your new Designer Wall is ideal for cleaning.

In the beginning, the use of color was limited to a few colors: blue and yellow on a white tin-oxide basis. This was followed by a very short period of more color use, but eventually only blue was used at the end of the century. At Designerwand we also have more neutral colors in our range.

Portuguese Tile Design for Backsplashes

The tile makers became increasingly creative in mixing and matching the different patterns and frames. Eventually, instead of the abstract geometric figures, they also designed flowers, swirls, leaves and shells.

The Portuguese tile pictures are said to tell stories, enhancing the symbolism and atmosphere in all kinds of spaces. Because they were so widely used in the 17th century, the use of the pattern tile receded somewhat into the background.

After the great earthquake of 1755 that destroyed the center of Lisbon, 'tiling' was rediscovered. During the reconstruction, buildings began to be tiled inside and out. Rental houses were also richly tiled from about 1875, this idea came from Brazil. One building richly decorated with handmade tiles, the other with more industrially produced tiles. It became somewhat the trademark of the Portuguese cities and towns. And so they continued to decorate according to the prevailing trends: Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Later, well-known artists were asked to design tiles for the Metro Station, for example. In a nutshell, this is how Lisbon's varied streetscape came about.

Delft Blue on a kitchen backsplash

Delft Blue on your kitchen backsplash

Tile walls with beautiful designs were and are also used in other countries. Very inspiring to us. Our designers love old tiles, old tile motifs and aged materials. You can see that in a large number of our Designer Wall Collection and Wallpaper Collection. In addition to the Portuguese and Brazilian tile motifs, there are of course also our own Dutch Delft blue tile motifs.

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