Inspired by the past to create designs for the future
Villeroy & Boch tiles, the international ceramics specialist, has unveiled its first designer collaboration in more than 20 years.
Created by leading fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, VICTORIAN is a vibrant and colourful tile collection inspired by the art of lepidopterists and the geometry of Victorian tiles, bringing the natural world into the living environment. The new partnership also sees Katrantzou make her first foray into interior design, built on the global success of her eponymous fashion label of over a decade.
VICTORIAN is a vibrant and colourful tile collection inspired by the art of lepidopterists
Photos : Panos Davios
A forward-thinking company with a rich heritage spanning over 270 years, Villeroy & Boch tiles continue to evolve and innovate – driven by its dedication to establishing a long-standing legacy in ceramic design. Captured by the creative vision of Katrantzou – an acclaimed designer with a strong passion for premium and timeless elegance, as well as an appreciation of craftsmanship and tradition – Villeroy & Boch tiles saw the opportunity to create a signature collection that would lend itself to the designer’s unique aesthetic and style.
When Katrantzou was first approached by the tile specialist, she was instantly drawn to its over two centuries’ history of design and manufacturing. The designer was keen to convert her approach to fashion into a spatial context of walls and floors, blurring boundaries between decorative mediums and drawing inspiration from objects, interiors and art.
Through her personal visit to Villeroy & Boch tiles’ headquarters in Merzig, Germany, Katrantzou learnt more about the process behind the creation of its tiles. She also discovered that tiles from this era were still present in one of the hallways on site, and realised that 19th century Victorian tiles have truly stood the test of time, being as fashionable today as when they first came into style.
Katrantzou recognised that this collaboration with Villeroy & Boch tiles should be an exercise in the understanding and application of balance, symmetry and proportion, and that striking a harmonious balance between colour, pattern and form is just as important in interiors as it is in fashion. As a former architectural student, she also explored Victorian interiors and ornamentation in her Autumn/Winter 2018 Collection. As a result, the designer and Villeroy & Boch tiles decided to collaborate on a collection that interplays between their respective archival designs.
New collection: VICTORIAN
Butterflies are central to the new VICTORIAN collection. A recurring theme in her fashion collections, Katrantzou sees them as one of the truest examples of metamorphosis. Notably inspired by her 10th anniversary collection in 2019, where the theme was the art of collecting, the designer wanted to utilise butterfly prints to communicate optimism while transforming tiles into a collectable piece of art.
Another theme central to Katrantzou’s work since Spring/Summer 2013 is postage stamps. She believes that they “exude the allure of faraway lands and make you dream about what each piece of paper represents, where it might have been, who has touched it on its journey round the world.” In a world where stamps are becoming obsolete, the designer appreciates them even more “as tokens of the past and relics of a different era”. Through the VICTORIAN collection, she wanted to create a vignette within the home, a window into the world that captures this sense of nostalgia but is equally graphic and modern in its design.
Gathering these themes together, VICTORIAN features eight different décor sets (20cm x 20cm) with borders and edges to complete the offering. Four coloured butterflies on either white or black backgrounds have been created using a combination of digital print and traditional screen-printing, with light visual 3-D effect used to provide a handcrafted appearance to each tile.
Seen either straight-on or at a 45-degree angle, each butterfly tile is enhanced with either gold, black or perforated borders. Continuing the theme of white, black and gold, authentic marble-effect tiles are offered in two different finishes – high gloss for walls and polished surface for floors. They are joined by concentric designs alongside modern graphic interpretations of Victorian tiles. The butterfly tiles can be used independently or in combination to create a design that perfectly suits every bathroom setting.
Mary Katrantzou commented, “It’s been a privilege working on ceramics with Villeroy & Boch tiles – an exciting process to imagine and create spaces that people will live in daily.
“These designs form part of an individual’s home, where they surround themselves with things they love, creating a feeling of permanence that’s very different to the very nature of fashion. This collaboration allowed me to look at patterns outside the female figure and be guided instead by the power of interiors to create an extension of one’s aesthetic.”
Dr Jörg Schwall, Managing Director of Villeroy & Boch tiles, added, “As one of the most style-defining companies, Villeroy & Boch is characterised by its love of design excellence. Collaborating with Mary Katrantzou is a natural evolution in taking the brand in a new direction, and offering design aficionados the opportunity to create their own aesthetic using tiles from this inspirational collection.”
Founded in 1748 in the heart of Europe, Villeroy & Boch is a globally respected brand with a rich tradition of actively shaping bathroom culture. Its products – ranging from sanitaryware to tiles – embody classical elegance and reflect the beauty of both nature and urban design. While much has changed since the Baroque era, when the company was founded, Villeroy & Boch’s longevity and unrivalled business record are a testament to its unerring ability to anticipate trends and stay relevant with changing consumer needs.
The VICTORIAN tile collection is available to order now, exclusively via Villeroy & Boch. Prices start from £21/€16 (ex VAT).
About Villeroy & Boch
V&B Fliesen GmbH manufactures Villeroy & Boch brand-name tiles and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ceramics. The company now operates in more than 65 countries. 550 people are employed at the company headquarters in Merzig. High-quality materials are used in the manufacture of sophisticated premium ranges for bathroom, living areas, architectural projects and home interiors.
About Mary Katrantzou
Mary Katrantzou is a Greek-born designer based in London. She has been dubbed “The Queen of Print” by the press, a moniker that recognises the enormous influence of her work in the medium. As an image maker who challenges the imagination and focuses on strong narrative, Katrantzou’s work changed the face of twenty-first-century fashion, inspiring high fashion and high street designers alike. In her designs, Katrantzou creates an interplay between craftsmanship and innovation and filters the beauty found in design. She has received numerous prestigious awards, including the “New Establishment” award at the Fashion Awards and “International Designer of the Decade” by Vogue. Her work has been exhibited around the world from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Amongst many collaborations, she has worked with Adidas, Moncler and the Rug Company, and has designed the costumes for the NYC Ballet and the Opera de Paris. Her first Couture show took place in 2019, at The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, which also marked the start of her collaboration with BVLGARI. The brands’ world is feminine, artistic and timeless.