In most of my hospitality interiors I have used Popham tiles somewhere. A highlight of my trip just past, was to visit owners, Caitlin & Samuel in their tile factory outside of Marrakech to see where these vibrant handmade cement tiles are created & make one of my very own! I have been assured a job if everything goes pear shaped!
Q&A with Caitlin Dowe-Sandes from Popham Tiles
Describe your studio/work place
Although we have a proper office, which is a converted little country bungalow right beside our atelier, the workshop is where the magic happens. As we are located in an agricultural zone surrounded by olive trees, the factory has various greenhouse-style tents where materials mixing and packaging happen. Inside the main structure, the tiles are produced A to Z. We have pattern molds hanging on all of the walls and a line of bustling tiles makers (2/machine) working on orders. The place is in constant motion with assistants mixing colors and refilling the tile makers’ supplies, tiles being moved from the production area into the hammam where they cure, our mold maker soldering away on pattern molds, and the packaging team washing and sealing and inspecting tiles before packaging them up to ship. Controlled chaos is probably an apt term. It’s an energy and ambience we find very inspiring. By contrast the office is quiet and more serene, so we have a space to collect our ideas and respond to clients, etc.
The airplane. Hail the Wright brothers. Travel opens us up to new ideas and fresh inspiration. Borrowing from around the world, whether for work or pleasure, whether we are buying or selling something, travel has enriched our lives.
My Leatherman. How many times have you had that response?! I keep it in my handbag and pull it out a few times a day to do everything from tightening up a pair of sunglasses to rewiring a lamp. If the iPhone is the ultimate high-tech multi-task device, than the Leatherman is the low-tech equivalent.
Go to colour
Indigo blue. I find the colour to be moody, sophisticated and deeply calming.
All time material
Brass. There’s something so sexy and handsome about this metal. Admittedly, we’ve gone a bit crazy over it.
Latest book purchase
I just bought Madeline L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time for my 6-year-old. There was a great New Yorker article a few years ago about how girls can be divided into those who read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid and those who did not. It was such a seminal book for me and I’m delighted to share it with Gigi.
Top 3 shops in the world
Deyrolles in Paris. This trove of flora and fauna never fails to inspire. LL Bean in Freeport, ME, USA. I am a Maine girl at heart and love this bastion of all things New England, especially their canvas tote bags and classic Bean boots. Hennessy + Ingalls in Los Angeles. We live in a place where it is very difficult to buy books, much less great architecture and design books, and so on our trips to Los Angeles, we always stock up at Hennessey + Ingalls. The excess baggage charges on our flight back to Marrakech are always worth it.
Most recent destination
Just back from Bologna, Italy last night. Before that, LA, where we are opening our first popham design US showroom in 2017.
Hotel/riad to stay in Marrakech
If you’re going for it and money is not a worry, the Royal Mansour delivers on exotic and opulent and its new expanded garden/pool open next month.