We speak with Australian luxury tile brand Klay to uncover the design nuances that create aesthetic cohesion and durability while offering seamless maintenance in the realm of premium poolscapes.

Crafting the perfect pool oasis involves careful consideration of every design element, and one pivotal aspect that influences the overall aesthetic is the choice of pool tiles.

Beyond their functional role in maintaining water quality and safety, pool tiles serve as a canvas for creative expression, contributing to the visual allure of the landscaping and outdoor entertaining area of a home. The selection of the perfect pool tile involves a balance between form and function, where considerations for colour, pattern, texture, and finish converge to create a harmonious and inviting outdoor environment.

In this interview, we asked Klay general manager David Marks what he feels are key elements that define a pool’s visual identity, how tile design and materiality can elevate the overall appeal of a pool and the origins of Klay as a premium European pool tile brand.

Produced in partnership with Klay

Forever Home by Biasol | Klay tiles | est living

Beneath the Surface | Modern Pool Tile Design
Klay Amano – Ice Blue

Forever Home designed by Biasol, landscaping designed by Franklin Landscape & Design featuring Klay pool tiles in
Amano Ice Blue | Photography by Armelle Habib

What was the catalyst for entering into the Australian market as a luxury, European pool tile brand? And how has your product offering diversified over the years?

David: We felt the ceramic pool tiles on the market were fairly generic and not great quality, so there was room for some premium quality and design-led product. At Klay, we have evolved our product offering to incorporate a variety of colour palettes allowing for creative expression and the ability to establish a specific aesthetic.

We also focus on texture, pattern, and finish given that pool tiles can add depth and visual interest to a pool surface. Whether opting for a smooth, glassy-inspired surface, or a textured stone-look aesthetic, the choice contributes to the tactile and visual experience of the pool. While design is paramount, practical considerations also come into play when we are adding to our range of products. Choosing durable and low-maintenance pool tiles ensures that the aesthetic appeal is sustained over time, minimising the need for replacements or repairs.

Why do you believe your range of residential tiles appeals to our leading Australian design community?

Design trends take time to build momentum when it comes to landscaping and the poolscape space, which is understandable as most people design and build a pool for a lifetime and so, in that sense, we feel that pool tiles need to be able to stand the test of time. As a premium brand in the design industry, our team at Klay keep an eye on movements surrounding architecture so that we can align our product collections to help achieve the overarching design intent of a home and its surrounding landscaping.

Forever home by Biasol | Klay tiles | est living
Forever home by Biasol | Klay tiles | est living

In your opinion, what key elements should be considered when selecting pool tile designs to complement a home’s landscape and architecture?

David: The right pool tiles contribute to the visual allure of a pool area, but also to the overall cohesiveness of an outdoor environment. Thoughtful consideration of design elements ensures that the pool becomes a focal point within the larger landscape.

Personally, I feel that it’s essential to understand what water colour a customer would like to achieve. This hue can be created from a combination of the tile colour and grout, the water depth, and the pool surrounds including pavers and planting. The reflective properties of certain pool tiles can enhance the play of natural and artificial light, creating captivating visual effects. A thoughtful tile choice can maximise the impact of lighting, transforming the pool area into a dynamic and inviting space during the day and night.

What are some of Klay Tiles’ most popular pool tiles?

David: Our Amano Ice Blue pool tiles are without a doubt our most popular pool tile. This product creates the most spectacular colour once submerged. They are made in Germany, Amano, and feature a subtle, undulating, and glassy surface finish with reflective properties. 

Biscyane by Kate Walker Design | Klay tiles | est living

Beneath the Surface | Modern Pool Tile Design
Klay Amano – Ice Blue

Biscayne Home designed by KWD, landscaping designed by Plume Studio featuring Klay pool tiles in
Amano Ice Blue | Photography by Armelle Habib

How is materiality considered at Klay Tiles?

David: We are focused on quality, durability, and longevity with everything we import and distribute – this means understanding our supply chains, for example, our German manufacturer has been making ceramics for 260 years, and they use their own clay pits which are located close to the factory. They are a company that prides themselves on only sourcing the best quality raw ingredients – not surprisingly this results in better, longer-lasting, easier-to-maintain tiles.

Are there recent innovations or emerging materials in pool tile design that you find particularly exciting or noteworthy?

The team at our German factory, Agrob Buchtal have developed a stain-resistant, easy-clean tile known as Hytect Surface, which is standard for almost every pool tile they produce. The technology means that if you want to go for an unglazed stone aesthetic like our Ascona or Area Pro tile collections, you don’t need to worry about regular cleaning – particularly on the water line which is most susceptible to buildup. This latest innovation makes for a product that is easy to maintain and easy to enjoy.  

Biscyane by Kate Walker Design | Klay tiles | est living
Biscyane by Kate Walker Design | Klay tiles | est living
Biscyane by Kate Walker Design | Klay tiles | est living

What’s on the horizon for Klay, are there any new collections that designers look forward to in 2024?

David: We are really excited about our new Ascona series of pool tiles. Characterised by its calming natural stone texture, the Ascona Mosaic series is offered with high slip resistance and an antibacterial surface finish, making it suitable for a number of different settings and applications including in and around swimming pools.

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