Crouch End tile specialist brought up to date by Chelsea College of Arts
PUBLISHED: 17:50 16 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:05 16 January 2015
Traditional tiles have been given a cutting edge makeover in a competition launched by a Crouch End tile shop for design students at Chelsea College of Arts.
Original Features specialises in tile-making techniques from the nineteenth century, when Crouch End was being developed by Victorian industrialists.
The students on the Interior and Spatial Design course were challenged to create a contemporary look for the tiles that are more often associated with period properties, and came up with a range of striking, graphic responses to the brief.
Alex Kempner from Original Features said: “The students are using the same practices but making modern designs. All the Victorian designs were really based on the Gothic Revival so they’re very colourful and complex. Depending on how grand the property was they got more complicated.
“The idea with this collaboration is to demonstrate you can use these products in a cutting edge, contemporary way.
“Most people want to open up their houses these days and have new extensions at the back and we wanted to show that these designs could work just as well in a modern architectural setting as in the original, Victorian walkways.”
For the students it was an opportunity to flex their commercial muscles alongside their creative ones and the judges’ choice winner was chosen as it displayed a balance of the two.
Colin Priest, course leader for the Interior and Spatial Design degree at Chelsea College of Arts, was one of the judges, who were a mixture of academic staff and tile trade experts.
He said: “As a university we like to engage with the professional world to introduce our students to it.
“The freedom of this opportunity meant the students could re-imagine things and question the status quo. They could imagine new ways of designing what seems like quite a basic thing
“The judges’ winner was chosen because it was working at many scales visually and aesthetically, at a large scale from afar and also up close. It created a powerful piece of design.
“The online winner was also credited by the judges as it was a striking proposition.”
All 26 of the designs are on view in the exhibition at Original Features’ shop until March and any of them can be chosen and made into tiles by customers.
“Our tiles are very colourful, very hard wearing,” says Kempner. “They have got special qualities so you can use them in swimming pools and they’re frost-proof too.
“They look brilliant in all sorts of locations.”