The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.

This past weekend, I visited one of the most amazing group of buildings I've ever seen. Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, these buildings are inventive, quirky and beautiful; I'll start with the Moravian Pottery and Tile works.Known as the home of 'Mercer Tiles', the factory was booming in the early 20th century producing arts and crafts handmade tile for fireplace surrounds, floors and anywhere you could imagine. I blogged about the tiles and you can read some of their interesting history and places they've been used, such as in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in my post HERE.The founder, Henry Chapman Mercer, was an amateur architect, intellectual and artist obsessed with castles and poured concrete. He created 3 amazing buildings: the tile factory seen here, his home, Fonthill (on the same grounds as the factory that I'll feature later this week), and the Mercer Museum in nearby Doylestown which houses his collection of American tools.Parts of the factory remind me of an ancient cloister, others of a small cathedral and yet from other angles it appears as an ancient aztec villa. Of course, the Moravian tiles are prominently featured throughout on the roof and as decorative features.Notice the random assortment of windows above the wisteria. Some are panes of glass cast directly into the concrete (more on that later this week) while others are more traditional wood windows.
Some closeups of the gorgeous tileswork. So colorful!This tile proclaims Chapman's motto "Plus Ultra", Latin for more beyond. It's seen throughout the estate.

I loved the embedded tiles and random windows. Chapman believed in the architectural forms of the past but used in a more modern vein: a belief I can get behind! He used lots of large windows for natural sunlight, seperating these 'castles' from their dark inspirations. I think this is especially important in a factory where people are working day in and day out.
I hope this whetted your appetite for the next 2 AMAZING tours and hope they inspire you as they have inspired me!
The tile works is still up for business and produces amazing tile for flooring, backsplashes, fireplaces and other installations. I wasn't able to find their website or a catalog online, but as soon as I do I'll make sure to post it here.

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