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GIO Looks at the Handcrafted Tile Trend

With handmade tiles, no two tiles are exactly the same. Irregularity is the hallmark of tiles that have been crafted entirely by hand. Uneven edges and surfaces are the characteristics that make handmade tiles charming and irresistible, adding interest and dimension to spaces. It’s the “perfectly imperfect” in handcrafted tiles that ensures each project is one of a kind.

However, there are downsides to handmade tiles in spite of their innate beauty and charm, especially for commercial applications where easy maintenance and durability are top priorities in the specification of surface solutions. Flooring in commercial spaces is subject to hundreds, if not thousands, of footsteps daily. And walls can suffer nearly as much abuse, if not more, in corridors and elevator banks. Commercial floor and wall tiles must be able to stand up to day-to-day abuses — and look great while doing it. Handmade tiles are typically more “delicate,” and cleaning can be tricky due to their unevenness.

In addition to the potential maintenance and durability issues found with handmade tiles, there is also the expense. They don’t come cheap and can be difficult to source in the very large amounts typically needed for commercial installations.

So how do you get the handcrafted tile look without the hassles? Fortunately, the current trends that embrace all that handmade tile have to offer have compelled tile manufacturers to mass-produce ceramic tile that looks handcrafted while featuring the benefits of manufactured precision that commercial tile specifiers seek out: durability, easy maintenance, availability, and good value.

If you’re looking for manufactured tiles with a handcrafted vibe, GIO’s got you covered with six beautiful tile collections that are hardy enough for the toughest commercial environments.


Our Zellige wall tile collection offers Moroccan tile inspiration in a range of brilliant glazes. Click here to learn more about the Zellige tradition.

GIO Zellige, Suk Black 5 x 5
Zellige, Suk Black 5 x 5


Retro style meets subway tile with our Barista collection. With an antique chic look, this line pays homage to handcrafted tile with a palette of gleaming neutrals.

Barista, Ivory and Dove Grey 4 x12 Bright-
Barista, Ivory and Dove Grey 4 x12 Bright-


Chic meets antique in this modern collection crafted to converge Old World style with fashion-forward finishes. Handmade wall tile comes in a range of beautiful colors plus metallic finishes, crackle finishes, and a 7″ hex.

GIO Handmade, Silver 3x12 Metallic
Handmade, Silver 3×12 Metallic


Argille wall tile offers the look of hand-hewn clay glazed to peak sophistication. The glossy subway tiles are generously sized and offered in a stunning 8-color neutral palette.

GIO Argille, Anthracite 5x10 Wall Tile
Argille, Anthracite 5×10 Wall Tile


Pigment floor and wall tile blends “handmade” and “modern age” with six on-trend hues and a long, lean 2′ x 14″ format.

GIO Pigment, 2x14 Navy (Wall) and Atelier, Bianco 8x40 Rectified (Floor) pigment
Pigment, 2×14 Navy


Naxos wall tile offers the look of subtly beveled handcrafted tiles in six glossy hues and a modern, linear 3′ x 16 size.



GIO Naxos, Grey 3x16 Wall Tile bathroom room scene
Naxos, Grey 3×16

GIO Tile is committed to being at the forefront of commercial design, bringing you only the finest commercial-grade products, hand-picked from global sources based on our focused knowledge of what you need to transform commercial spaces. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!

GIO’s Greatest Product Picks of 2022!

Top 10 in 22 graphic

As this year comes to a close, we’d like to highlight our top 10 products of ’22. Many of these lines launched in 2022, and others are on the list because we feel they are representative of the “best of the best.” As always, feel free to reach out to us for complimentary samples.

Click images to view the product web page.



Marmi Luxe




Statuarietto Blanco




Let us hear about your favorite GIO products! Email us with your feedback and project photos. We’d love to share your ideas and images on our social media profiles.

Thanks for specifying these top 10 products, as well as all GIO tile collections!


We wish you all a happy and healthy new year! We’re so grateful to each and every one of you —for the dedication of our interior designers and for the persistence of our contractors. You have helped make 2022 a phenomenal year! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your commitment to GIO.


Zellige Tile for Commercial Spaces

A Brief History of Zellige Tiles

Zellige (also spelled zellij or zillij and pronounced “zee-LEEJE “) tile is a glossy striking Moroccan tile that has become very trendy in recent years. There are few tiles with as much history and influence as the Moroccan zellige tiles. These shimmery hand-made tiles have been around for thousands of years. Fragments of Zellige tiles have been discovered in Tunisia, possibly dating from the mid-10th to the mid-11th centuries, suggesting the technique may have originated in the western Islamic world in that period.

Zellige-making is considered an art itself, with master artisans passing the skill from generation to generation. Zellige tile training usually begins in childhood, with an average zellige apprenticeship lasting ten years!  The tiles are made meticulously by hand, crafted from unrefined clay found in Fez, Morocco. The artisans press the clay mixture into a square grid and let it dry out. Using a shaping block and hammer, they smooth the tiles and cut them into precise shapes and sizes. They apply enamel glazing by hand and only to the front of the tiles.

Zellige_factory n Fex, Morocco

Zellige Factory in Fex, Morocco

What Makes Authentic Zellige Tiles Tricky For Commercial Spaces

Authentic zellige tiles from Morocco are stunning, but the tiles can be impractical, especially for commercial spaces. Zellige tiles are beautiful because they are hand-cut, but it’s the hand-cut charm that makes it quite challenging to get a flat, even surface with these tiles— some of the edges will protrude rather than lay flush, making the surface difficult to clean. The tiles’ edges are also quite sharp, so the unevenness can cause them to snag things like fabrics or skin when wiping the tiles down.

There’s another installation issue that can be a hurdle, and that’s the grout. All the zellige installation guides instruct not to use a grout joint. The tiles should be butt jointed, with no spacers, right up next to each other. Ideally, there should be no space between the tiles and no visible grout. Getting invisible or nearly invisible grout joints with these irregular tiles requires a skilled installer with specific experience installing zellige tiles. These installation issues can create substantial labor costs.

With inflation looming over every project lately, material costs are a big consideration. Because zellige tiles are one of Morocco’s most valued and recognizable art forms, they are not inexpensive.  Adding even more to the cost, specifiers may want to increase a zellige tile order by 20-25 percent because a number of tiles will have imperfections, ranging from hairline cracks and edge chips to pits and chips throughout the glaze.

For a commercial application, and especially if the glazed tiles will be exposed to moisture, it’s best to seal the tiles to protect the grout and any cracks, crazing, or pits. The tiles will likely need resealing periodically as well.

Getting the Look of Zellige Tiles Without the Problems

Fortunately, ceramic zellige-look tiles are an excellent alternative for getting the amazing look of handmade Zellige tiles without the installation hurdles and higher costs. Our Zellige wall tile offers the look of the timeless handmade tiles at a fraction of the cost. Standard installation procedures apply, so it’s not necessary to hire a zellige expert to install them. These zellige-look ceramic tiles do not require sealing, and clean-up and maintenance are a breeze.


GIO zellige color swatches composition

GIO Tile is committed to being at the forefront of commercial design, bringing you only the finest commercial-grade products, hand-picked from global sources based on our focused knowledge of what you need to transform commercial spaces. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!

Photo Credit: Dan Lundberg, Zellige factory-24116015119, CC BY-SA 2.0