News

Gibraltar Tiles Focus of New Products at Heritage Trust Shop

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is excited to launch the first in a new product range of Placemats and Coasters focusing on elements of Gibraltar’s architectural heritage. Working with local artist Beatrice Garcia, the project has focused on the tiles typically found within Gibraltar’s entrance doorways, or portónes.

An often under-appreciated element of our townscape, these doorways are traditionally decorated with colourful tiles that give a pop of colour in an otherwise dark entrance.

The use of the tiles is functional in keeping the entranceways clean and presentable but their use over the centuries have led to a rich collection of tile types, styles and periods in Gibraltar’s old town which adds to our unique character.

With modernisation and refurbishment of buildings these tiles are often removed in favour of a plainer tile or render, the result being that we are slowly losing this element of our urban heritage. 

We hope that by celebrating these mini-artworks, we start to raise awareness amongst residents and landlords to appreciate and restore these.

Beatrice Garcia said “These tiles are a beautiful part of our architectural vernacular and I was excited to collaborate with the Heritage Trust in promoting their conservation. 

The overall style of the project is modern. Often you see a lot of tile pattern merchandise which show a small tile incorporated into a repeating pattern. We wanted to do something a bit different so purposefully decided to enlarge the tiles I was painting to highlight some of the dramatic and often unnoticed details of these tiles. Where possible we tried to keep the colours of the tiles as close to the originals whilst also making sure they looked cohesive as a set of 4”.

Claire Montado said “There is an increasing appreciation for the craftsmanship and uniqueness of these features. In recent years we have seen some beautiful building restorations that have retained and restored traditional entranceways and their features which go beyond tiles to the metalwork, stucco or decorative plasters, even stained-glass in some. With some feature lighting these elements really stand out as a unique piece of our Gibraltarian architecture. We hope that by celebrating them in this way, more will appreciate the uniqueness of what they may have and undertake to care for them.”

These sets of placemats and coasters focus on tiles from buildings in Parliament Lane, Irish Town and Main Street and are available in sets of 4. Made of a high quality melamine with a cork backing, they are heat resistant up to 145°C. They are sure to add a touch of Gibraltarian colour to any dining table and provide a talking point about something so uniquely Gibraltarian. There is also a set of glass magnets available.

The items are available for purchase from the Heritage Trust Shop in John Mackintosh Square. All proceeds from sales go towards the work of the Trust to protect and promote Gibraltar’s heritage.

To find out more about the tile project and how it came together, you can listen to the latest Gibraltar Heritage Podcast, available on popular podcast platforms or on the Trust’s website. https://gibraltarheritagetrustpodcast.buzzsprout.com/1793507/11177481-episode-10-gibraltar-tile-project

To see more of Beatrice’s work, you can follow her on her social media channel Insta: @itsbeaagarcia or Website: beatricegarcia.com