Chettinad Handmade tiles

April 15, 2015 by in category Blog with 7 and 5

For many years, I have been enticed by the beauty of old Chettinad homes. Not just the grandeur, but its all the intricate details in every nook and corner of the buildings that made me fall in love with this architecture. From the painted glass windows to teak pillars, to carved rosewood doors and most of all the colorful floor tile patterns made me wonder how these once successful business men who traded with all the flourishing civilizations of Greece, Rome, Belgium, Italy in Europe and all over south east Asia, had this wonderful taste in design selection.

Very recently I was in the chettinad heartland to witness the process involved in creating these classic Tiles. I had the privilege to interact with the people from the region who for over 3 generations have been hand-making these beautiful floor tiles.


Veteran artist Sathyanarayanan has passed on his experience in this great tradition to several young workers and still at the age of 70 continues to come in to work every single day. Amidst his busy work schedule he was so kind to explain me each and every step involved in this process. Alongside his photo is my attempt to depict the same.

Aegam_Chettinad_Tile_ArtisanAegam_Chennai Interior Design_Process

Unlike ceramic tiles that are made with fire burnt clay, these Chettinad tiles are made only from the local sand and set using concrete backing. It was here where this process of using glass plates to create the glossy glazing on the top of the tiles was pioneered. They create onsite custom brass stencils for any kind of patterns for the floor tiles.  Take a look at the colorful work of art at the end of the making process:


These tiles are then set in water to cure for about 10 to 14 days.  Then they are ready to add the touch of elegance and traditional beauty to any space! Aegam loves to stay true to its roots and use the work of local artisans in every possible way. We would be super happy to get these beauties to adorn our clients floors . Let us know if you wish to have one of a kind pattern, custom made for your space!


  • Ram N
    on April 28, 2015 Reply

    Love the illustration in explaining the process… Aathangudi tiles adorn two rooms in my home.

    • Author
      Sudha Seenivasan
      on April 28, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Ram! The choice sure says something about your love for local craftmanship! Would love to see some pics of your rooms..

  • victor zammit
    on November 1, 2015 Reply

    hi we are from malta do u ship

  • sarath
    on August 5, 2016 Reply

    i would like to visit the same manufacturing unit, Maam can u please provide the address.

    • Author
      Sudha Seenivasan
      on August 17, 2016 Reply

      Hi Sarath, if you visit Karaikudi in Tamilnadu you will find a cluster of these manufacturing units. Its a small town and you wouldn’t have trouble finding one, there are many small-scale industries doing these traditional tile work.

  • Karthik
    on August 24, 2016 Reply

    Hi Sudha, Would like to know the quality of these tiles. I am reading in lot of sites that the color and the chip would come off quickly. Do you have any contact where they make quality tiles?

    • Author
      Sudha Seenivasan
      on September 4, 2016 Reply

      Karthik, thank you for your question.

      We visited the Selva industries tile makers factory at Athangudi. Here is the link We spoke to the thrid generation owner of the production house to understand the tile making process and the history. You may get in touch with him or visit the location and enquire about the quality and maintenance of their tiles from them directly.

      Good luck!
      Team Aegam

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