Our tiles are manufactured in different countries, both inside and outside Europe, and are handmade in a durable way.
We consider the individual character of the tiles very important.
We visit our factories on a regular basis and can guarantee that we have never encountered child labor.The working conditions in the factories are good. We find it important that the materials used are not harmful to the environment and that mainly green and responsible raw materials are used.
Below you find more detail which illustrates the origin and quality of non-European tiles.
Cement tiles (Encaustic tiles)Our first cement tiles came from Morocco, we started there in 2006. After a period of time, we discovered that there were also factories that made cement tiles in Vietnam. The cement tiles from Vietnam were of better quality, much better than those from Morocco. The surface of a Vietnamese cement tile is smoother and evener and the tile itself is a lot stronger. This has to do with the raw materials and way of pressing the tile into a mold. The raw materials used in Vietnam are of high quality and are often imported from Germany.
Centuries ago, Vietnam was an ancient French colony when they started to produce tiles there for France. With tile presses imported from France they started factories and became very good at making the cement tile. Later Vietnam became a communist country. As a result, factories had to compete with other factories, the technique was further perfected, resulting in an exceptionally high quality cement tile.
Designtegels.nl had chosen only to work with factories from Vietnam. The production costs are the same as those in Morocco, but the quality is significantly better. The only disadvantage is that Vietnam is far away, so the delivery are often slightly longer.
The Cement tile factories
Over time, we have worked with several factories in Vietnam. Unfortunately, because of the handmade character the colors where different from each factory. To solve this we've chosen to work with one, the largest factory. This factory has the capacity and expertise to make the quantity we want, on the time schedule we need. And with an ISO certificate as a guarantee.
The results in a good production, almost without color differences, and (with a few exceptions) mostly on time.
We regularly visit our factory in Vietnam. It's real feast to be in Vietnam! The employees at the factory are very kind and are enjoying the work. They work in a clean, well-ventilated environment and everything is well planned by the factory's management. They lunch together and there is a collective health insurance fund provided by the factory. The employees are happy and positive about the work they do. They can work quietly without noise and without an heavy time pressure as we often see in Europe. As a result, they can work with passion on our beautiful Azule cement tiles.
Child labor is absolutely out of the question. The people in Vietnam work hard to give their children a good future. And, do not underestimate, it takes years to have all the skills to be able to make cement tiles!
Fortunately, it's going well in Vietnam, the country is stable and is in good economic growth.
Raw materials for Cement tiles
A cement tile is made from cement, pigment (marble powder) and water. The color pigments that are used are organic and are pressed under high pressure. The production process is a cold process which requires no heat and is very eco. The water that is used in the process will be recycled outside the factory with a water purification installation. This minimizes water spillage.
There is also no waste of materials. Tiles with damages are donated to local schools that make mosaics, or it is used as a debris before paving a road. Tiles that are rejected because they show color differences or production defects also go to the local market where they are donated to schools, orphanages and public facilities.
The entire production process as well as the raw materials used are sustainable and socially responsible. Something that we only welcome as Designtegels.nl and, where possible, support!
After seeing the production process, you will understand that these artificial handmade tiles justify their price. After all, every tile is made by hand, this is unique.
We guarantee that our Azule cement tiles are of the very best quality available, and now you know why!
Moroccan tilesOur Platta, Zelliges and Bejmat tiles come from Fez, Morocco. This type of tile is a real Moroccan product and they only produce it in Morocco.
Platta, Zelliges (pronounced: zelliezjes) and Bejmat tiles (pronounced: bezjmat) are made of clay that occurs exclusively in caves in the city of Fez.
From this clay they roll large slices from which the shapes of the tiles are cut. They lay the tiles to dry in the sun and later they are baked with a color coating in an olive-pit oven. This way of production is centuries old and the process still goes by hand. Only simple tools are needed to get to a final product. After trimming, the tiles are manually cut to any shape. By manually cutting the tiles they get a distinctive look that give them their charm. As one of the few tiles, Zelliges is placed without a joint and only the openings that remain left of the joint are grouted.
Moroccan wall tiles are popular in Islamic countries where they are processed in graphic mosaic works. In recent years we have seen them a lot in the Western European countries. Zelliges and Bejmat tiles are loved because of their irregular appearance, beautiful colors and their handmade character.
The Moroccan tiles Factories
Zelliges are processed and sold by various factories. However, there are only a few factories that actually make the Zelliges from the clay. Designtegels.nl get's it's Moroccan wall tiles from one of the largest producers in Fez and has good experiences with it. We visit Morocco regularly and know most of the factories. Managing the colors is the hardest. If you order a light green tile today, the next order can be completely different. This color differences and color control is something we've been struggling for years. It is very difficult to receive consistent deliveries. For this reason, we always recommend that you order more then enough, taking extra into account for broken tiles, color differences as inherent in the production process.
At the factories we've never seen anything of child labor. Unlike in Vietnam, teenagers are sometimes set to work, but only light work. The work can be very monotone, shopping figures out of the clay. However, it is a precise job that not everyone can do and requires a lot of exercise. With hammer and anvil the smallest figures are cut to size.
During the day, the employees have a good time. Regularly, mint tea is poured and delicious fruit passes like dates and figs. The workers are particularly happy and very motivated to show you their work. Full of pride, they show how they make a few smaller figures out of a all ready small square tile, and at a fast pace!
The employees have a good life and have respect because they have a specialised job.
Raw materials for Zelliges and Bejmat
Zelliges and Bejmat tiles consist of clay, water and pigment coating. The clay comes from caves and is further processed at the factories. The factories usually consist of a large outdoor area with a place to dry the clay, an olive pit oven and a small storage for the dried tiles. After drying the clay tablets in the sun the tiles are glazed and then put in an olive-pit oven. The tiles are stacked by hand in the oven, which is fired with wood and olive kernels. As a result, the tiles underneath the oven get a slightly different color than in the top of the oven. After baking, the tiles are mixed and packed in jute bags ready for further processing.
The clay is very recognizable by the lime seets. These lime seets can also be placed underneath the surface of the glaced layer, which may crush the glace. These are the kind of unevennesses and cracks that make the Zelliges so recognizable and give them the distinctive look.
The production process of Zelliges and Bejmat tiles is all durable and doesn't contain materials that are harmful to the environment.