Specification surface specialists, Parkside Tiles, have just opened the Clerkenwell Design Studio. Joe Simpson attended the launch and was really impressed.
The end of February saw a bright new star added to Clerkenwell’s expanding tile firmament when Parkside Tiles officially unveiled its second London showroom. This industrially-charged space is a wonderful new addition to the cluster of ceramic tile showrooms that now bring so much energy and innovation to London’s premier design district.
Located in a former 1960s clock factory, the Design Studio offers panoramic views of Clerkenwell Green and complements Parkside’s Chelsea and Leicester Design Studios.
With its near triangular frontage, like a ship’s prow, the building is reminiscent of New York’s famous Flatiron Building; itself, of course, now the flagship showroom for Porcelanosa USA.
Designed by London-based practice Feix&Merlin Architects, the new Design Studio is a light-filled space intended to be used as a hub for the design community with a café, tile gallery, design studio, and co-working desks, providing a relaxed, creative environment that helps to inspire its clients. Fitted out with innovative displays that treat tiles as works of art – more akin to archiving in an art gallery – it will be constantly evolving as an organic space through events and exhibitions. But it is also a very practical space, something that is hard to achieve with today’s XXL format tiles.
Feix&Merlin fought the impulse to pack in too many products, but have instead allowed the showroom to breath, and allow visitors to view the wonderful array of products from both close too and, importantly, from a distance.
Feix&Merlin took inspiration from the experience of an art gallery where visitors can discover different elements of the design as they navigate the space. Large format tiles are displayed on sliding screens that can be easily moved around and will be regularly updated to create a different experience on each visit.
The product rich display environment will show over 100 ranges, from large format panels through to smaller tiles and mosaics. Product zones show the different tile looks, from patterned and geometric, to concrete, marble, textile, stone, and wood-effect. Samples of all tiles are available to take away.
The architects specified solid, well-engineered steel sliders,st metal mesh, as the mounts for most of the product displays. These not only move freely, despite the weight of the product they support, but facilitate display updates, which will allow the space to remain current and relevant going forward.
The well-attended opening also saw the launch of an exclusively-designed tile collection – Arrange by Tom Pigeon – a contemporary take on a classic pattern from the V&A collections. The geometric designs are in softened tones including mint, rose pink, charcoal, and powder blue. The team at Tom Pigeon love playful geometric design and this project was an exciting opportunity not only to explore this aspect of their practice but also to investigate the historic colour palettes and classic patterns from the V&A collections. Taking inspiration from domestic Victorian hallways, they started to play with modern interpretations of traditional square and border tiles.
Arrange is a white bodied, ceramic wall tile collection of five geometric designs, available in seven colours, that can be used alongside coloured square and rectangular tiles. The colours have a subtle gloss finish to contrast with the matt of the cool grey. The designs are bold yet simple and can be used in infinite combinations to create a huge array of contemporary or more traditional patterns.
Each individual tile is treated as a piece of art with every tile being carefully selected, before being hand-decorated using traditional lithographic prints. This craft process offers a depth, precision, and durability of colour that is claimed to be unattainable by other decorative processes. Bespoke production runs of co-ordinating glazed tiles complete the range.
The new Design Studio underlines the growing ambition of Parkside Tiles; a design-led tile specification company, now owned by Topps Tiles, that serves architects, interior designers, contractors, and developers in the UK.
For decades Parkside has been a trusted tile source to the UK contract market, supplying contemporary porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone tiles for every type of project: from restaurants and hotels to civic buildings and high-end homes.
Today Parkside offers over 500 designs, including many exclusives, from some of the world’s most dynamic manufacturers. The company also provides what it bills as ‘an unrivalled bespoke service, including waterjet cutting, porcelain worktop fabrication, and digital printing on to tiles.’
Parkside has recruited a highly experienced and knowledgeable team led by Brian Linnington, Managing Director Commercial; and three Sales and Design Directors - Mark Williams, Richard France, and Steve Lacey - to spearhead its growth.
And the company is certainly not resting on its laurels, with an additional Design Studio set for the Cotswolds.
The portfolio of products is constantly evolving. Recent additions include Royan, a collection inspired by the volcanic power of granite. It is available in two versions, fine-grained and rough-grained, both in matt and semi-polished finishes. Dawson is an extensive range that enriches the traditional concrete-effect with intense shades. SistemN is a versatile collection with neutral shades graded from white to black. Birling is a stone-effect collection with a surface that is attractively varied in pattern and shade. Rava is a range of minimalist, concrete-effect tiles that have a fine-grained grit to give the impression of a slightly worn material. Randall is a stone-effect collection comprising four warm shades, structured to emphasise the natural material’s surface. Hester is a beautiful collection of stone-effect tiles, replicating natural volcanic stone with a Raku look glaze in six subtle shades. Also new is Lyrical, a striking wall tile collection inspired by traditional zellige tiles, available in ten striking colours, each feature natural colour variation and a beautiful gloss finish.
The ranges on Parkside’s website, however, are just a selection of the tiles on offer. The company appreciates that tile designs can be inspired from virtually anywhere, from the worlds of art and fashion through to different cultures and the world around us. As a result Parkside aims to work closely with clients to develop bespoke tiles that add a true uniqueness to a scheme. These tiles can be designed collaboratively and then produced using traditional press methods, or they can be hand-made, making each tile a work of art.
Parkside is also at the forefront of the porcelain worktop market. It provides 12mm porcelain worktops, in 3,200 by 1,600mm sheets in a multitude of beautiful stone, wood and marble finishes. The company emphasises that porcelain is the perfect non-staining, heat-resistant , scratch-proof product for any surface. Parkside offers a full service from design ideas to quoting from drawings through to templating and fixing. Each job is cut using the water jet technology, providing fine mitred joints and book matching skills to deliver a stunning and convincing finish.
Parkside also offers clients a bespoke water jet cutting service, that allows tiles to be cut into any shape. To aid specification, Parkside has created a pattern book of popular shapes and sizes, that can be download from the website.
Parkside even offers clients a bespoke digital printing service. This means that almost any pattern or design can be digitally transferred onto full bodied porcelain tiles. These bespoke commissions start with a generic base colour and are then developed with Parkside’s fabrication partners into the pattern or design required.
Finally, Parkside offers a bespoke service of colour matching service. Client can select a RAL or Pantone colour and then have it printed onto porcelain tiles.
All these bespoke services are available on a quotation basis only.
This proven expertise has helped Parkside win a growing number of prestige supply contracts. For The Brass in Dubai, encaustic cement hexagons with a decorative design were supplied to colour match with the colour scheme of branding. These were complemented by real brass hexagons that were cut, etched with The Brass logo and dull polished to give a soft reflection. Plain hexagons were supplied for the floor, again colour matched to the overall colour scheme of the project.
At Giraffe in Bluewater, Adger brick tiles were used to create a bold black and white theme, using a black grout against the geometric pattern, to created an on-trend look. As with all restaurants and commercial projects, Parkside found an appropriate floor tile option which had the right pendulum 36+ slip rating yet at the same time had to be easily cleaned in the bathroom environment.
At the old Fire Station in Hammersmith, a Grade 2 star listed building now home to Wagamama, Parkside was asked to recreate the original floor tiles for the restaurant chain as some of the original tiles had been destroyed. The hand-pressed tiles offered a near perfect match to the originals.
Finally, at the Core Bar in the City of London, Parkside's supplied a beautiful 250 by 250mm random geometric patterned floor tile that complements the eclectic interior styling.
Barnsdale Way, Grove Park, Enderby, Leicester LE19 1SN
T: 0116 276 2532 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clerkenwell Design Studio
44 Sekforde Street, London EC1R 0HA
T: 0207 490 1523 E: email@example.com
Chelsea Design Studio
120 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HU
T: 0207 373 9900 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leicester Design Studio
Barnsdale Way, Grove Park, Enderby, Leicester LE19 1SN
T: 0116 276 2532 E: email@example.com
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