Drawing from their like-minded ideals and shared roots in the Golden State, Dwell and Concrete Collaborative have joined forces to launch a multipurpose line of handcrafted tiles inspired by California surf culture. The current patterns feature bold midcentury colors that are inlaid into each concrete tile using pigmented clay, not glazed on top. Also known as an encaustic approach, the traditional process creates a durable finish for bathroom floors, kitchen backsplashes, courtyards—or other standout surfaces.
"I've always been inspired by Dwell, and now that our residential customer base is growing, it was an obvious choice to collaborate," says Kate Balsis, a founding partner at Concrete Collaborative. The company’s extensive knowledge of concrete yields a wide range of products, from posh wall textures and distinctive tiles to modern pavers and pour-in-place terrazzo floors, among other complementary offerings.
Building on Concrete Collaborative’s Strands Collection of floor and wall tiles, the Dwell line also continues a tradition of teaming up with the architecture and design community to develop creative new looks. "We often partner with different designers to provide sources of inspiration for both us and our customers," Balsis adds.
The current tile designs were imagined by Chris Deam, architect and husband of Dwell founder Lara Deam. "I’ve been fascinated with pattern-making for a long time, and it probably started with looking at William Morris’ wallpapers and tiles," explains Deam, referring to the nineteenth-century designer who heavily influenced the Arts & Crafts movement in both Great Britain and the United States. "As I tried to understand how he achieved his repeating designs, I started to see a whole different layer of beauty that was not just aesthetic."
Shop the Collection
Deam, who is also an avid surfer, spent parts of the COVID-19 lockdown researching the history of surfboard design and constructing his own. "I was trying to understand how different surfboards affect the feel of riding a wave, and the subtle beauty of each board I tested led me to interpret various tail shapes as tile designs," he says.
The five styles currently available can be purchased as individual boxes, or a mixed tails box combines all three for serendipitous combinations. "I hope people find these tiles smart, fresh, functional, and, most of all, versatile," says Deam. "The main idea with the line was to provide a starting point for people to express their own vision—which aligns with the founding principle of Dwell as well."