With a commitment to raw materials, natural pigments and fine craftsmanship, Bert & May has become a name synonymous with a simple and elegant aesthetic.
The business began life in Spain as a reclaimed tile company founded by Lee Thornley, a former barrister who moved from London in 2004. The company has since evolved into a specialist supplier of handmade artisan tiles, engineered wood, natural pigment paints, and most recently, furniture, bathroom fittings and kitchens.
After opening his award-winning hotel, Casa La Siesta in Andalucia in Spain in 2008, Thornley found the architectural salvage he had sourced for the hotel was much in demand from interior architects and designers, and from here a new project was born. Thornley discovered his natural talent for discovering beautiful old materials and also sourced antique railings, doors, staircases, wood, and reclaimed tiles for the hotel while travelling around Spain.
What started as an online venture selling reclamation then took on a new life in 2010 when Thornley met Juan Menacho, owner of a small, artisan family business making encaustic tiles using traditional handmade techniques. The pair decided the future lay in making their own vintage-inspired designs, so the family factory was reopened and production began. Just a few years in, the workshop has expanded to four machines and eight staff to meet ever-increasing demand.
Rebranded and officially launched as Bert & May in September 2013, the company has since gone on to produce an extensive collection of distinctive graphic and geometric tiles, as well as engineered wood, made in Yorkshire. In September 2013, Bert & May opened their first London showroom and retail space in Vyner Street in Bethnal Green, where the full collection is available as well as a complete design service.
New for 2016, Bert & May has used its know-how and love of raw materials to collaborate with designers and architects to create bespoke kitchens and bathrooms. Glazed tiles, made in Stoke-on-Trent, still using only natural pigments, are now also available, as well as a new range of interiors paints.
Kitchen units and worktops designed by Red Deer Architects for Bert & May have just launched. Materials include cast concrete, aged brass and marble, as well as engineered wood, and are available in a variety of finishes and designs.
Bathroom fittings such as solid brass taps and showerheads and cast concrete basins have been designed by Studio Ore. A range of simple timber furniture, including tables and chairs, has been designed by Jan Hendzel.