The need to add beauty, elegance and charm to one’s house has never diminished over the years, rather it’s evolving into unrealistic dreams these days. While having one’s dream home constructed, the most finest of the materials are preferred for both the exterior and interior. People go to all sorts of lengths to have the best and at the end of the day show the best. While the construction industry is evolving around the globe, Hand Painted Tiles are gaining popularity in Pakistan. Many homes are now seen using these hand painted tiles to decorate kitchens, floors, bathroom and even ceilings.
Before we explore Hand Painted Tiles let’s have a brief overview on the history of tiles.

Tiles were originally the product of earthenware pottery, thin flat square shaped discs were made from red clay and were then covered with lead glaze to strengthen and protect the surface. Designs were mostly inlaid before the firing process, and (White liquid clay) slip was used to fill in these areas. Sometimes a plain coat of slip was even used to bring out different colors in the clay. Tiles were mostly placed in churches, expensive rich stately homes and institutional building, which state the obvious; Tiles were a rich man’s luxury.

The actual revolution came from the Middle Eastern countries which were using tin-glazed tiles. They had detailed and beautiful decorations which were envy for the world as Islamic architecture spread north to Spain, Italy and so on. Spanish pottery became really popular as it spread via Majorca (Majolica) to France and then the Netherlands. Colors that became popular were green, yellow, purple, blue and orange.  In the early 17th century United Dutch East India Company started importing blue and white Chinese tiles, they were expensive and had to be copied but the quality was not as good as the original. Later, delftware was introduced which became quite popular as the process was quiet simple. Artists used white and blue colors to hand paint similar designs like the Chinese tiles and hence these delftware tiles got popular.

However, Majolica tiles were proving out to be a little delicate for heavy usage so they were moved to walls and ceilings. Later they grace fireplaces, baseboards etc. For the Netherlands as it is based mostly on canals and rivers the tiles were used for insulation to keep the water from seeping in. They were also exported to countries like Spain, France, Germany, Britain and Portugal. Aristocrats of these countries valued the finesse and the craftsmanship of the tiles. Among the tiles artists, Guido Andries was famous for his unique designs and concepts. By 19th century machinery with options to choose from were available and hand painted tiles got lost in the progress. But over the centuries the fever of hand painted tiles keeps returning and antique collectors, museums and private collectors keep asking for them.

Let’s take a look at what these tiles actually are and what makes them special. A hand painted tile consists of the tile body, glaze and the pigment. The tile body can also be made of different materials like Terra Cotta and Kaolin. Terra Cotta is hard baked clay which has colors Red, Yellow or Orange, it is porous and usually requires sealing if not covered with glaze. The painting on the tile is mostly rustic as it complements the material.  Kaolin is white clay which is also baked hard and it is the base of most walls as it is white in color and provides the perfect background for painting.

Glaze is the next part which gives the tile a glass like finish; it is applied by firing or heating the tile with the glaze. These tiles are baked in Kilns with a temperature of 1840-2230 F. Glaze comes in wide ranges of colors, it can be sprayed, poured or brushed.

Tile Pigment or Stain in other words is used for all types of decorations, the pigment is based on metal oxides and carbonates which can stand high temperatures (heating, firing). The glaze can also be on top of the painting, protecting detailed designs. This method is centuries old and it can be used on all tile bodies.

Hand Painted Tiles & AAA
The concept of hand painted tiles in Pakistan is directly linked to the Mughal Empire, where elaborate courtyards, walls and ceilings were made from these hand painted designs and styles. Thus the art work remained in the Indo-Pak Sub continent and carried on. Although, as the years progressed the art work got out of style and western themes started settling in. Use of wood on floors, and carvings on walls were more preferred. But as they say history repeats itself, Hand Painted Tiles are more in demand now as they add beauty, grace and sophistication to any place. Following Images is an example of these tiles

Amer Adnan Associates has been using Hand Painted Tiles in the current residential projects. They have been placed in niches, drive ways, walls and have graced the house to a whole new level. With one of our clients, a whole wall was designed keeping in mind hand painted tiles and the difference they could add to the wall and the house. Mr.Shahid being one of our current clients asked us to use Hand Painted Tiles in the entrance lobby. The 3D image attached with the articles is an example of how AAA has been using these tiles.  The wall has a beautiful arched window which is covered with the hand painted tiles. The tiles themselves are blue and green in color, a darker shade of both which meshes well with the pale surroundings. As you can see the outlook of a simple wall with a window opening has been changed completely.

Similarly, AAA has been recommending these tiles to most of the clients and has been showing them 3D’s for the full effect. Hopefully future projects will be having more of these beautiful hand painted tiles.