The quest for the perfect aquamarine tile

Meeting for the first time in their house filled with colourful objects and artefacts from all corners of the world, it was clear that my clients in Windsor are well-travelled.    

The brief was to transform a forlorn zone at the end of their walled garden. We arrived at a consensus that it should be quite exotic, a sort of foil to the existing garden which is structured and austerely handsome.

I assembled mood boards and the idea crystallised that this new space would become a secret destination, loosely based on the idea of a middle eastern paradise garden. 

A rill was to be part of the design. A rill is a narrow water channel, common to Islamic gardens, typically culminating in a quiet pool.      


So I set out to source tiles for the rill. I considered a range of tantalisingly colourful ‘zellige’ tiles from Morocco. But after receiving some blank responses from importing agents, I lost confidence that they would withstand a north European winter. I looked at other options like traditional English enamel slip tiles, developed for Victorian pubs and available in quite pleasing emerald tones.

But eventually I came across a small French manufacturer called Pyrolave. Pyrolave have perfected their own unique process of cutting volcanic rock to almost any format required, and then glazing it in your choice from a kaleidoscope of mouth-watering colours. They can make all manner of remarkable objects from basins to bar tops to tiles. After raiding their extensive glaze sample cupboard, we arrived at this aquamarine ‘Lagon’ blue for the Windsor rill. I think you’ll agree it looks pretty stunning in a tile format that was tailormade to the dimensions of the rill.

View the Windsor garden here.

Visit Pyrolave website here.

Learn more about the author of this post, Robert Wadman, here.