Happy Independence Day! Every July, we come together to celebrate this country's birthday -- the day America was formed. To celebrate Independence Day, we want to showcase our new Sustainability page and the abundance of USA-made tiles you can purchase at Architessa or specify.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Architessa's mission, and a great way to be more sustainable is by sourcing tile domestically from the United States. Made-in-USA tile has a lower carbon footprint, utilizes domestic recycling, and ensures adherence to the highest manufacturing standards. The main components of tiles are clay and sand – natural ingredients that are abundantly present in nature. Tile is intrinsically sustainable, and many products have high recycled content and environmental certifications, such as Greenguard, Cradle to Cradle, and Red List Free.
The Tile Sustainability Guide is a fantastic resource put together by our partners at whytile.com, and we would be remiss not to mention the brand new Life Cycle Cost Study put together by the TCNA. Read more about tile sustainability on our new Sustainability page, which features the below resources and much more.
Buying Made in USA tile is good for both the economy and the environment, thanks to many USA-based tile companies' sustainability initiatives and standards. Would you believe that we carry USA-manufactured tile from 17 factories producing porcelain, cement, wood, glass, and more? This blog will break down some of the most coveted USA-made tile available in our showrooms and through our commercial reps, and you can browse many USA Made Tile Collections on our Website.
Architessa carries a large range of USA made porcelain in various sizes, designs, and finishes, including slabs. Our USA Made Contract Collections contain great products for multifamily projects and any installation requiring budget-friendly options and bullnose trim and mosaics to keep selection and design simple & streamlined. Many of these porcelain options are available on sample swatches, so reach out if you are a contractor, designer, or commercial firm needing a set of samples for your selection center, showroom, or library. Learn more about our Sample Program for our trade clients.
Our USA-made porcelains are mainly stocked on the East Coast, with a handful of selections also available in California and other regions. The main Architessa Warehouse in Baltimore houses our USA-Made Stock Program, where many options are readily available.
All of our Porcelains are high quality, first choice material, created with design versatility in mind. Whether you are seeking a marble look porcelain, wood look porcelain, or channeling a 70's vibe, like our BEYOND Collection, you will find many different size options, as well as trim and mosaics with USA-made material. This is mostly not the case when purchasing imports, which is an important benefit most don't foresee.
Source: BEYOND Collection, from Architessa
Organic and natural-looking materials have been trending for a few years now. With porcelain inkjet technology, images of actual stones are so realistic that even trained designers and salespeople have difficulty identifying if a material is indeed porcelain or natural stone after it has been installed. The JETTY Collection is a great example of this, with elegant vein patterns, which especially come to life in the chiseled finish. JETTY is available in four different colors, and its largest size, 24x48, is perfect for a maximalist design with minimal grout lines.
If you have not already looked at our Sustainability page, take a moment to bookmark it, as we have assembled a curated selection of made-in-USA porcelain tile collections, all available on our website, which we will also highlight throughout this blog. The link is a great one to save, as it provides a landing pad that provides access to all our USA-made products. We also recommend saving our New Product Updates page to view the latest product offerings.
Porcelain is actually a type of ceramic, which you can learn more about in our blog, the Ceramic Family Tree. Low-cost, plain white subway tiles available in the US market are mostly imported, with the exception of 1 factory in Texas, which mostly produces for big box stores. Economics prohibits industrialized glazed ceramic production from growing, unlike the porcelain market in the US.
Here is where the art tile makers enter the stage, and we are so glad they have. Artisan tile factories are located all around the country, and their products are second to none. You will find the most innovative glazes, shapes, and finishes right here in our backyard, with domestic labor, often family-owned. These USA-made art tile brands are responsible for some of the most spectacular tiles you will ever lay your eyes on.
Sonoma Tilemakers produces tile in California and Colorado and offers some of the most spectacular glazes. This blog will highlight three of their collections, all made in the USA; STELLAR, DAKOTA, and EUPHORIA.
Their EUPHORIA collection is the only tile in the market produced intricately and curated to create the life-like glow each color exudes. Please view all the colors in a few sizes on our website, and contact us to purchase any shape on our brochure.
Euphoria Autumn Leaves in Flask, Source: Sonoma
Sonoma's STELLAR collection is a favorite of many designers due to the breadth and diversity of shapes, colors, and decos. This collection morphs any wall into a highly coveted space where favorite patterns and color combinations are spotlighted. Architessa showrooms carry samples of this collection, and our A&D reps can order samples. Check out the collection online here.
STELLAR Dahlia in Azure, Photo Credit: 2020 SF Designer Showcase / Davinci Marble, Arthur A Photo, Barbra Bright Design
Last but not least is our DAKOTA Collection, featuring glazed ceramic bricks with a rustic yet modern edge. This makes this tile unique and more versatile than traditional bricks and subway tile. The below image shows a 2x8.5 Dakota Summit, with a design established through grout as a design element. Read more about the role grout plays in design in our Expert Guide on Grout.
2x8.5 Dakota Summit, Photo Credit: Cuff Studio
Encore Ceramics is another example of American-made tile. If we were putting together a Fourth of July show, Allison Eden Studios' mosaics, featured later in this blog, are the fireworks; Encore Ceramic's tiles are the sparklers because sparkle is what they do.
Photo: Granada in Ocean
Photo: Descanso in Sodalite
Matte, glossy, crackle, sheer, jewel -- Encore Ceramic's glazes make the collection special. The line can be broken down into eight main palettes. While Encore Ceramics calls Oregon home, Architessa is pleased to offer its product on the east coast. These handmade vitreous and frost-proof tiles offer a wide range of field tile sizes, mosaics, and trims that can all be used indoors and out.
Chevron 2×6 Staggered mosaic is shown in Heron matte glaze.
Encore Ceramics is proud of its chemistry-like process in creating its palette glazes, but it is also proud to call itself green from the ground up. Encore Ceramics cares about its environmental impact, from saving energy through solar panels to cutting out raw tile waste in landfills. Check out Encore Ceramic's Online Catalog to view the full product line or to learn more about their environmentally-friendly processes.
Photo: Eight Glazes from Encore, showing texture depth & range.
Whether seeking a smooth, creamy glaze, edgy metal, or a finish with shimmer, Encore Ceramics makes browsing for tiles a treat you don't want to miss.
Husband and wife team, Michael Pratt and Reta Larson, started their tile company together in Portland, Oregon, and in 2017 sold the company to longtime employees Belle Iskowitz and Anthony Asch to continue the company's success. What makes Pratt & Larson's tile different from others is that every piece is handcrafted and is best described as enchanting. Designers have always reached for the brand when looking for the best tile for an Arts & Crafts project. Today, the products are versatile, with the newest products recently curated by Emily Henderson.
Pratt & Larson describes glaze making as an art infused with science. Unlike paint, the final color isn't visible until the tiles come out of the kiln. That fiery chemical reaction creates a beautiful, distinctive surface and color on every piece giving their tile variation and range. Their extensive selection of glazes, from transparent to opaque gloss to matte and everything in between, gives the freedom to design without limitations.
Photo: Pratt & Larson Glazes in Blue, Green, & Neutral palettes
It's hard not to think of William Morris, a textile designer from the Arts & Crafts movement when you look at Pratt & Larson's tile. The tile fits so well into the Craftsman style. Aside from wall tile, the brand also carries mosaics and can do custom work for homes and commercial projects.
Photo Source: Pratt & Larson
While over the past 30 years, Pratt & Larson may have made their niche with a more traditional style, today; they have adapted to modern trends. Take a look at this backsplash, that combines an interesting pattern with hues of green and a soft reflective finish.
Emerald InLine Backsplash in Glaze W55, Source: Pratt & Larson
Glass tile is primarily produced in other countries. Production in the USA has a bit of controversy behind it due to the tightening of environmental regulations. This makes the few glass makers especially rare, and we wanted to highlight one of our favorites, who designs some of the most spectacular tile art with glass sourced worldwide and assembled in Brooklyn.
The founder and creative visionary of this glass mosaic company is Allison Eden herself. To say that Eden is bold and beautiful describes her mosaics and reputation. With a fashion degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, Eden approaches her mosaics with an artistic eye. "We do art on glass," Eden says of her creations, "I don't consider it tile."
Custom Mosaic, Source: Allison Eden on Instagram
When Allison is designing a project, she looks at the walls the same way a painter looks at a blank canvas. Her work is intentionally reminiscent of colorful impressionist artwork. It takes a skilled glass craftsman to accomplish unique designs with meticulously chosen colors and placement. Each tile project from Alison Eden is an original masterpiece for your home or commercial space.
For Allison Eden Studios, it's about the quality and perfection of each project, which has caught the attention of some high-profile clients like Elton John and Kris Kardashian, and her studio is located in Brooklyn, NY.
Photo: Allison Eden hand-assembling Kris Kardashian's backsplash, image via Instagram @allisonedenstudios
Amidst the popularity and celebrity client list, Allison Eden Studios stays humble and homegrown. The studio where each mosaic is hand-assembled is based in Brooklyn, New York. There, Eden and her husband have active roles in the design and business side of things. Eden's staff, some of whom have been with the studio for a decade or more, is like family. "Everyone who works here loves glass," Eden says, "everyone here is an artist." Today, after 20 years of designing glass mosaics, Allison Eden Studios is expanding its artistry. Eden is returning to her fashion roots and now offers textiles, carpets, accessories, and natural stones that feature some of the same patterns seen in her mosaics. Pictured below is her stunning foray into natural stone, featuring the Diamond Starburst Pattern.
Starburst Pattern in Natural Stone, Source: Allison Eden on Instagram
Have we sparked your interest? Visit Allison Eden Studios at allisoneden.com.
Custom Mosaic installed in the Circa casino in Las Vegas, Source: Allison Eden on Instagram
Concrete has evolved tremendously over the past decade, bringing highly decorative and dimensional patterns into the world of hard surfaces. These patterns and colors can be experienced best through our CONTOURZ Brochure. This dimensional material is suitable for commercial and residential interior and exterior walls and has similar characteristics and care requirements as marble or limestone.
Contourz Hexagon Fanfare & 4" Hexagons in various colors, Source: LBT
If you want to bring tropical vibes year-round, our TOMMY BAHAMA KAPA Collection is the right tile for the job. The sculpted texture adds a distinct layer of dimension, while the monochromatic color lends to contemporary design.
Tommy Bahama Kapa Pattern: Shangri-La. Color: Fauna, Image Source: LBT
ARTO makes their concrete (and ceramic) products traditionally with skilled human hands, local materials from Southern California, and hard work. ARTO makes truly unique handcrafted products. ARTO's products attract customers who are indeed unique and want that represented in the items they use to make their spaces distinctively their own. To learn more about ARTO's products, contact us and view their catalog to preview their products. Below is a sampling of their USA-made concrete collections in both warm and cool tones.
Architessa offers two of the most popular marbles quarried in the USA; check out our DANBY collection from the largest underground marble quarry in the world, located in Vermont. This marble has a unique yet subtle beauty and is believed to have been used to help create the Marble Curtain, displayed in the National Building Museum in DC in 2004. It's a shame the display was not permanent, but you can still read all about its technical marvels here.
Marble Curtain, Source: Studio Gang
The other stand-out USA quarried stone is our Lincoln Calacatta, offered in 12x24. This stone is not available on our website, but you can chat with us online or contact an Architessa rep at email@example.com to order a sample or purchase.
12x24 Lincoln Calacatta Marble
Most of our USA-made specialty collections are found in our showrooms, which have a range of display boards showing off various materials, themes, and patterns. Our website shows a small sampling of USA Made Specialty Collections. If your project requires a custom mosaic or waterjet, we recommend you work with an associate in person or online when purchasing a custom mosaic.
New Ravenna specializes in handcrafted artistic mosaics created by their team of artisans. This coastal Virginia-based company doesn't just create mosaics but pieces of art. Established in 1992 by artist and designer Sara Baldwin, New Ravenna has established a reputation as the world's most exquisite collection of custom stone and glass mosaics for home and commercial installations. New Ravenna also hires and trains former prisoners to become artists, helping them reintegrate into society. See this incredible peacock mosaic below, one of many of its amazing designs.
Photo: Peacock Mosaic by New Ravenna, Architessa Baltimore Showroom
Another natural material and favorite of Architessans are the BAYWOOD Collection, made of real wood. Through the environmentally-friendly process of thermal modification – BAYWOOD tiles are more durable, have an increased resistance to insects, absorb less moisture, are much lighter, and have a naturally deep tone. Check out the BAYWOOD BROCHURE to see some incredible inspirational photos.
You might think quarry tiles are only used in high-traffic commercial areas, but this is untrue. Quarry tile is quite popular for residential kitchens, sunrooms, entryways, and patios, and it is currently experiencing a resurgence in the market.
Despite its name, quarry tile does not come from a quarry like marble or limestone. They are made in industrial complexes, extruded, and fired in kilns at high temperatures to create a product with low water absorption, high slip resistance, and extreme durability. Our line of Quarry tiles, QUARRYBASICS, is made in Ohio, where abundant high-quality clays and shales are found.
Photo: Mudroom with QuarryBasics Puritan Grey 8x8
Photo: QuarryBasics Puritan Gray, Puritan Gray Ironspot, Mayflower Red
Check out our Pinterest board below for USA-made inspiration
Now that you know how many USA-made tiles Architessa carries, contact us for an appointment at your nearest showroom or reach out to your commercial rep to sample or learn more about our extensive collections of USA-manufactured products.
Thank you for reading, and Happy Independence Day!
Julie Taury has thrived in the tile industry for two decades and held various positions ranging from retail sales to product development. Her unique background in distribution, manufacturing, strategic sales, and the A&D industry has built an unparalleled skill set to navigate the unpredictable surprises of the tile industry. Currently, she is the Chief Innovation Officer at Architessa, and is a remote trailblazer residing in Auckland, New Zealand.