In order to produce innovative products that actually differentiate from the rest of the ordinary products you need to learn from the old techniques and appreciate the nature of their naturality.
In this case Bert & May started as an online venture selling reclamation turn into be the pioneers of design industry focusing their collection on three companies: materials, spaces and encaustic, blended together by passion for design rage, craftsmanship and discovery.
The business started in Spain as a reclaimed tile company founded by Lee Thornley, who was a former barrister that moved from London to Spain in 2004. Actually, the idea came from the opening of Lee Thornley “Casa de la Siesta” which in English means sleeping house, who is a Hotel Boutique located in Andalucía, Spain opened in 2008, who turn to be one of the main attractions for interior architects and designers. Traveling through Spain, Thornley discovered his talent for raw materials and antique house details.
In 2010 Thornley met Juan Menacho who was the owner of a small family artisan business who make encaustic tiles using the traditional technique.
“You need to extend with a layer of hot wax over the paint and later polish with a well-dry linen cloth”.
-Vitruvio (c.70-25 b.C) describing the encaustic technique.
Since then, the company has evolved into an expert supplier of artisan tiles, engineered wood, natural pigment paints, and recently in furniture, bathroom and kitchen fittings, moreover a new fabric collection.
However, until September 2013 they opened their first showroom in Vyner Street in Bethnal Green London, where the full collection is available as well a complete design service.
Bert & May Tiles
To create a raw finish, each tile is precisely crafted with crushed marble which is included as an element of the cement mix in order to strengthen the tile.
The technique involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. Metallic tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools. Of course, over the years, several artists have practiced this technique adding different types of wax, resins, pigments and Bert & May are not the exception. In their selection of handmade tiles, they provide customized designs of handmade tiles, glazed tiles, handmade terracota, fresh new talent and short lead.
Designed in the UK and hand poured in Southern Spain by a fourth-generation artisan tilers family, is how they create their unique handmade tiles.
Handmade Tiles meaning that is not industrialized. One of Bert & May special techniques is the Encaustic, which has been used since the Egyptian Empire, later on used to permeabilize boats with wax and during the wars the color was added.
Providing customized designs, the cement tiles come in neutral, blue, green, orange/yellow, red/pink and black/grey presentations.