Ten years ago, artist and designer Deborah Osborn launched Tile Envy, a blog showcasing extraordinary tiles she discovered in her travels. Her enthusiastic readers were soon asking how they could get their hands on them. In response, Osborn launched Cle Tile, an online shop selling heirloom-quality tiles from artisans and designers around the world–from Moroccan zellige to raku-fired tiles from Vietnam.
Now, Bay Area customers can see all of the offerings up close, as Cle has opened its first brick-and-mortar presence: a 12,000-square-foot headquarters in San Rafael.
The complex features a soaring gallery designed as an homage to Cy Twombly’s Roman palazzo, with rotating vignettes. In the rear of the studio is a kitchen with a wall of Fornace Brioni Acanti tile. The location also includes an on-site guild where emerging artists can learn the craft of tile making.
One of Cle’s newest offerings is its new octagon/bouchon collection, designed by Anthony D’Argenzio of Zio and Sons. Handmade in Morocco, the textured collection features a simple, timeless design of octagons and square dots–as well as zellige border tiles–that can be mixed and matched in 16 different color combinations.