Tile 101: Malibu Series

The west coast aesthetic in the palm of your hand

By Clay Imports

The image of a sunset on the west coast, the joy of reliving a simpler time, the warm color shades that adorn the aesthetic of a golden age. We love working with timeless, distinctive looks, and the trends of the California coast in the beginning of the past century is one of the most famous. If to remember is to live, we want to relive the better parts of design history and refresh it. That's why we are thrilled to present you our new relief tile collection: Malibu Series.

The Inspiration

Back in the 1920’s, a ceramic production factory called Malibu Potteries flourished in the region. The designs of their clay works, specially tiles, gained popularity in the region and spread rapidly in the California bay area. The tile work produced by the factory took inspiration from the art and architecture of Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy, with their rich history of  Arabic and Islamic influence.

These tiles featured the intricate Talavera designs but added a distinctive touch of color that defined the coastal Santa Barbara and Spanish Colonial design aesthetic in Southern California and extended to the entirety of the west coast region and all across the U.S.

Now, in 2024 we are seeing a resurgence of Spanish Modern and Spanish Revival interior design trends as a way to recapture the essence of what made these designs as timeless as they are and we felt it is only fitting that we provide a refresh version of the pieces that made the California interior design so iconic.

Malibu Spanish Relief tiles

The Tiles

Malibu Relief Tiles are intertwined with North American tile history. They are reminiscent of a classic golden era of the California bay and evoque the golden age of movie and television productions. We wanted to bring this style back to stardom and pay homage to their intricacy and original colors that have been used for almost a century.

The Malibu tiles of this collection are available in 2 different sizes: 6” x 6” and 4” x 4” and each of them features a different handmade design. Handmade tiles exhibit natural variations, which are inherent traits of natural materials like Terracotta. These variations in color, texture and sheen are not defects but rather a natural part of the product. We highly recommend ordering samples before making a final purchase to confirm and appreciate these natural variations in each tile.

Malibu Spanish Relief Tiles
The sizes and design of our Malibu Relief Tiles

Zuma & Vista

First, let's talk about the 6 inch tiles. Zuma takes its name from the Malibu beach of the same name. The place is not only known for its beautiful vistas, long, wide sands and excellent surf conditions, but also for being the film locations of multiple movies and t.v. shows like Baywatch or the original Planet of the Apes.

Meanwhile, Vista takes inspiration from the colors you can see in all the sunsets in Malibu: the combination of blue and red motifs in a sandy canvas that will evoke the calm before the nightlife of the coast.

Vista and Zuma are the bigger sized tiles from the collection and can be used to highlight your backsplash or any staircase.

Staircase with Spanish Relief tilesStaircase with Spanish Relief tiles

Topanga & Bluffs

Malibu is not only known for its beautiful beaches, but also for their mountains and canyons in the north. The most simple, yet elegant of the 4 inch tiles, Topanga takes its name from the east  region and features a more simple yet sophisticated design. Meanwhile, the Malibu Bluffs Park is the perfect lookout in the same eastern region and the confluence of natural motifs is drawn into this bold designed tile.

Yellow Spanish Relief Tiles
Modern Spanish Relief Tiles

Tuxtla & Trancas

Finally, the more traditional inspired designs in the collection, these tiles pay homage not only to the original designs of Malibu relief tiles, but also to the Talavera and Mexican handmade work. These tiles are synonymous with what a traditional relief tile should look like and will be the perfect choice for your next project.

Yellow Relief Spanish tilesRed and brown Spanish Relief TilesThese relief tiles are made to last, but you can also take care of them with the help of our Clay Care products. These maintenance items have been carefully tested with our products, and they are designed to preserve your tiles' beauty, ensuring their longevity and durability. From sealers to cleaners, purchasing these maintenance items together with your tiles not only simplifies your order but also prepares you to enjoy your tiles for a long time.

Discover the Malibu Tilework

The Malibu relief tiles are not only the result of years of craftsmanship, but also the tribute of one of the most characteristic and well known tile work in the U.S. You can shop and order samples of these pieces in the digital store. You can also take a look at all our relief tiles by clicking here.