Ok, so today we’re moving away from snowy ski slopes and towards the sunny south of Spain for some azulejos appreciation. I think I’ve mentioned before that I spent some time living in Barcelona and Madrid a few years back, and while out there I went on a bit of a road trip with some friends down to the south of the country for Semana Santa. As well as being totally bowled over by a bunch of BONKERS processions and fiestas, and the incredible Alhambra in Granada and Real Alcázar in Sevilla, I also became rather enamoured (read: obsessed) with the azulejos tilework that adorns practically every single wall of every single building in these two cities.
So, brief history lesson…the art form has spread all over the world – I think it began when the lower part of the Iberian peninsula was invaded by the Moors in the 8th century, and they founded the first factory in what is now Sevilla. From there it was transported all over the ‘New World’ (really hate that term) via the machinations of the colonial powers, from the Portuguese ‘ownership’ of Goa in India, to the Spanish (and Portuguese I guess) ‘ownership’ of the whole of Central and South America.
And here are some examples (we’ve had dinner inside the second place – it’s the Casa de los Azulejos in Mexico City, pretty cool inside too!)
Pretty amazing, hey? I especially love them paired with the Arabic archways and script – incredible. There are a bunch of places down in the south of España where you can buy the real deal authentic azulejos, and I’m pretty sure you can also get them from the incredible El Rastro flea market in Madrid (LOVE that place).
Anyway, so relating this to a domestic setting as opposed to a Moorish palace (as I figure that would be slightly more relevant to the average person), I came across this feature a while ago in (randomly) Phoenix Home and Garden, where they’ve used azulejos to pave the outside steps of a home, and I absolutely LOVE IT (not so much the fishy things in the second pic though).
I love the idea of one day when we have our own place, making a big azulejos mosaic in the garden or on a terrace or something, kind of like this guy – one on the most incredible things I saw in Rio (which, let’s face it, is pretty jam packed full of incredible things…).
So his name is Jorge Selarón – he’s a (pretty potty, in a good way) artist from Chile who, for the last 20 years, has been tiling and re-tiling this one set of steps in the Lapa/Santa Teresa area of the city. People send him tiles from all over the world, so this constantly evolving artwork represents like 60 or 70 different countries. Pretty bloody cool, you should check it out if you ever go to Rio.
I know it’s not the real deal authentic shizzle, but when I was back home last year I discovered that Fired Earth have a pretty good range of azulejos-type tiles. And also right now a SALE!
Check these puppies out:
And they have some other pretty cool ones too!
Love love love these metallic jobbies (but NOT all mixed up like in this pic):
And some gorgeous floor tiles:
And some pretty darn swishy tubs (ok, veering wildly off topic here, but check out the bling-tastic bathtubs!!):