Thursday Salute to Originals: Spraypainted Tiles

Tiles, at least the kind stocked in piles at big box home improvement stores, really aren’t all that thrilling. The initial excitement comes when you’re picking out tile designs and textures and, of course, the first month or so after the installation… then the appeal wears off, and the tiles become normalized within a space, just another surface to be walked upon. That’s why this week, we want to introduce you to a true original that takes tile from an ignored underfoot material into the realm of installation art : meet Javier de Riba.

This artist takes tiles out of the realm of home improvement and ensures that it never gets ignored again. He actually spraypaints faux tiles onto the floors and ground both outside and inside of squalid, abandoned buildings. The results? Astonishingly indistinguishable from real tile flooring, and usually with a whole lot more vibrance!

De Riba is a Catalan designer from Barcelona. Each of his designs is made from just spraypaint and stencils. The tiles boldly stand out from the ruined buildings with their vibrant colors and striking geometric designs, whether it is a large or small work and regardless of the location. His artworks are meant to give the old buildings a new life and purpose.

A typical process for creating one of de Riba’s installations looks a bit like this:

  1. Measuring (and clearing out, if necessary) the space for the artwork
  2. Painting the whole space to covered with the spray-tiles
  3. Working layer by layer with his stencils to perfectly fill the space with the design
  4. Feasting his eyes upon his achieved greatness at the time of completion


Today, we’re saluting Javier de Riba for reimagining the traditional art form of graffiti and using it breathe new life into old places. Using hand techniques to suggest something manmade and geometric requires an enormous amount of precision and skill in the field; we salute your painstaking attention to detail!

Sources: Javier de Riba, Design Boom, Bored PandaThis is Colossal