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The Tales of the Moroccan tiles


Tile… An old fashioned and traditional manner to embellish our (or our grandmas’) homes which is slowly becoming a real piece of ornamentation. You better throw the idea of a cold old tile and take a look at a new kind, which little by little takes its place on houses’ walls and grounds: the Moroccan tiles.

About that, Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes have recently decided to open a little lovely storefront in Paris, in the famous Art Deco district Le Marais. Longtime residents of Marrakech, this American couple decided to set their feet in Paris with the idea to make French people know their company: Popham Design, founded in 2007. This Moroccan company designs and manufactures cement tiles that are exported all around the world, gracing luxury hotels, restaurants and residences, from San Francisco to Sydney. And now in Paris! The concept of Popham Design? To promote and maintain the art of traditional tile production. Indeed, every pieces are made by the skilled hands of their qualified Moroccan tilers. The collections draw inspiration from Morocco and the rich history of pattern in this part of the world, along with influences as diverse as raindrops cascading down a windowpane, the shadow cast by a palm tree under the blazing African sun, or a delicate crescent moon aloft in a velvety sky. Enough for spiritual travel right?

Let’s now find the blue front of rue du Vertbois. This tiny surface looks and feels more a cosy and chic flat than a shop. Comfortable sofas, with blue colored cushions are placed here and there, among manufactured fixtures (also for sale and designed by Samuel) and exotic plants, as if we were having a cup of tea into a friend’s place. Like in a welcoming waiting room you can have a sit and leaf some brochures of Popham Design tiles. In front of your eyes, a beautiful mix of blue tiles draws waves certainly inspired by the sixties. The plush furniture has been bargain-hunted in the Paul Bert market or at the flea market of Saint Ouen. ‘‘This way we can show tiles the way we want people to live with them’’ Caitlin says. And she’s right, because the way the store is carefully designed, we have no choice but to feel at home surrounded by warm colors, plenty of original shapes on the grounds and walls and unique old pieces of art design.

According the pair of tile lovers, no need to have a ground completely covered with tiles, some squares here and there, just behind a fireplace or a frieze above your kitchen worktop is enough to personalize any room. For those who have the kitchen and living room in the same place, laying two different types of tiles is a really nice idea to separate the room in two parts and make distinct spaces with taste and originality.

In their Parisian showroom, the couple shows a way of living with these traditional tiles. Popham Design has found a really nice way to infuses Moroccan aesthetic in the French flair.