Explore Cuban cement tile patterns from the lens of a friend's recent trip to this island. The images provide sensational inspiration that showcase the possibilities of Cuban tile patterns. During the early 1900's, colorful, patterned cement tiles were so common on the island of Cuba, they became know as Cuban Tiles.
Cuban Tile PatternsLast week, we drew our cement tile pattern inspiration from ancient Roman mosaics and showed how designs from antiquity can be used in Creating Custom Cement Tile Patterns. Today we'll share photos from a friend's recent visit to Cuba. The popularity of Cuban tile flooring spilled over into Southern Florida and Miami as people immigrated from Cuba to find new homes in the US. As Cubans arrived, they brought with them the love cuban tiles and the moniker, Cuban tiles, is still with us today. In fact, many elegant Spanish Mediterranean Revival homes built between 1920 - 1950 in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida used Cuban tiles as de rigueur flooring for grand entries, ballrooms and bedrooms.
A tile rug with a Cuban cement tile patterns
Cuban tile patterns often make use of double borders like the unusual one shown here
In the tile images shared today, you can see patterns found in typical homes and businesses in Cuba. While some of the patterns may be less grand, you will appreciate how well these tiles have worn after nearly one hundred years of use. Moreover, you will see how these tiles were used to really make a statement - just like they can today. As mentioned above, encaustic cement tile or cement tile became know as Cuban tile because of the ubiquitous use in both residential and commercial flooring on the island of Cuba. In it's heyday, prior to the US embargo and travel restrictions, Cuba was a tropical playground for the rich and famous. Now, with the gradual opening of the borders and travel to Cuban becoming more accessible, you can see more tile patterns that are well preserved; but, still used today.
A slightly damaged example of the rich use of pattern showing a Cuban tile border inside a bordered pattern
Intricate Floral Patterns and Bold Colors Make Cuban TileTypically, Cuban tile patterns are more elaborate than found in other cement tiles and the colors will often be more bold and might include trendy colors of the time, like salmon or aqua. Cement tiles found in Europe during the same time period are often less intricate and the color palette more subdued. Furthermore, double borders, or the the use of two tiles to frame the main field pattern are something that distinguishes Cuban Tiles and makes the patterns more prominent. Also, Cuban cement tile patterns often used stylized floral motifs and quarter design patterns. Floral patterns were often in cool green colors but made very bold with a complimentary red, pink or rose accent color.
Aqua, turquoise, pink and red were defining colors for Cuban tiles from the 1920's
Tropical colors and large, intricate patterns are what give Cuban tile it's namesake
Cool tropical colors - like the greens in shown here - are common in Cuban tiles
Cuban cement tile patterns often used stylized floral motifs and quarter desgin patterns in the design
Geometric Patterns in Cuban TileWhile we often see stylized floral patterns in Cuban tile patterns in cool, tropical colors. Geometric patterns are common and often portrayed in warm colors. Here's a few examples of geometric Cuban tile patterns in the red, yellow, and warm color palettes.
Cuban cement tile pattern with a geometric motif
Cuban cement tile pattern in warm colors with an octagon-and-dot geometric motif
A more straight-forward Cuban tile pattern
Some of the patterns shown here are available today from Avente Tile in our Cuban Heritage Collection of encaustic cement tile. A testament to their enduring quality and timeless patterns some colorways would easily work today. Our lucky traveler to the island of Cuban found some more contemporary patterns that would be great custom designs to implement.
A contemporary tile pattern from Cuba
A simple Cuban tile pattern in two colors
There are few products that offer the jaw-dropping beauty of Cuban cement tiles. Because it is a green product, very durable and available in limitless colors and patterns, it's easy to understand why Cuban cement tiles are a design classic that are here to stay.