How to break tiles for Trencadis mosaic


Trencadís is a special type of mosaic and a typical element of Modernism, a special form of Catalan Art Nouveau around 1900. Assembled from fragments of ceramic tiles, it was used to clad complex, curved shapes, which are characteristic of this period in Catalonia. Your best-known representative Antoni Gaudí often used such mosaics to design the Parc Güell in Barcelona. He used shards from industrial tile and tableware factories.

A contemporary architect who uses Trencadís to train his buildings is Santiago Calatrava. Among other things, he left that Auditorio de Tenerife clad with millions of gleaming white quarry stone tiles. In the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia he used them for the outer shell of the open house Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. Here, however, the tiles came loose in the winter of 2013/2014 due to strong winds and had to be replaced.

Unlike in Gaudí's time, broken mosaic tiles are now specifically manufactured. In order to avoid the sharp and splintering edges that were common in the past, the clay slabs are broken before glazing and firing. The glaze protects the tile edges and allows the production of all common colors.


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