Söder and hydraulic tiles

Our logo, a mosaic hydraulic tile, is the characteristic element of one of the most definitory 19th century artistic movements in Barcelona and Catalonia: the Modernism, also known in the rest of Europe as Art Nouveau or Jugendstil.

As a result of an innovative technology based on using an hydraulic press ( and that’s the origin of the tile’s name) and a mould, a colourful design could be created. This new possibilities allowed the Modernism artists to express their creativity.

Garret, Rivet i Cia was manufacturer  from Barcelona that presented this kind of tile and his innovative technology at 1867 Paris International Exhibition. Quickly, other manufacturers started to produce similar tiles using the same technology.

The most common tile is a 20×20 square tile, and the designs were normally variations of geometric shapes, floral or vegetal designs and other organic forms. Drawings were frequently done by specialized draughtsmen and famous artists of the moment.

During the 60’s cheaper tiles arrived to the market and   this lead to stop hydraulic tiles production. This kind of tiles became old fashioned and also, sometimes, owners of the buildings could not afford this expensive tiles when renovating floors. It was very common to find hydraulic tiles in waste containers after building refurbishing.

Now, the hydraulic tile has recovered its artistic and cultural worth. Short beautiful series are being manufactured again, and specific designs are done upon request, mostly to replace damaged original tiles. The colourful and spectacular hydraulic tile floors are having an splendorous second youth.