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This month, the spotlight shines on Mallorcan-manufactured hydraulic floor tiles and terrazzo items. With a 90-year history deeply rooted in Mallorcan tradition and three generations at the helm, there has been significant evolution since its inception. We succeeded in having a conversation with Biel Huguet, the grandson of the founder and the current HUGUET leader.

How long have you been active on the island?
My grandfather set up the factory in 1933. And my father continued it. When he died in 1996, I took over the company. At first, I had a partner, but since 2008, I have been running it alone.

What makes your tiles so special and popular?
Cement tiles and terrazzo pieces are products with a great tradition in Mallorca. In the past, they worked very well, but with the tourist boom of the 1960s and the great growth that it brought, it caused all traditional architecture to be set aside for various reasons. In the 90s, more and more people began to look for something more and to value, again, all the good things that traditional architecture had. We recovered production because we believe in handmade, authentic, unique, customisable things, and we like that they age so well. And apart from promoting these values, we have worked to update the products, both technically and aesthetically. Innovation, derived from tradition, has been our main engine.

Campos Mallorca

Huguet tiles in Campos.

How do you come up with the new designs?
Our new designs come in two ways. On one hand, we always offer the possibility of creating exclusive pieces, even if it’s just one tile. This allows anyone to design what they want for their project. This generates many designs, which, in most cases, we make available to other people who want to use them. We put our craft at the disposal of those who share our values and want to create unique architecture.
Other times, we create collections from scratch with designers and architects that we like and with whom we share the same understanding of architecture and design.

How did you gain clients from abroad?
The truth is that today it is much easier than in the past to be in contact with people from all over the world. The internet and social networks are wonderful in this sense. Meeting people and staying in touch is very simple. On the other hand, we share values with many people, even if we come from different cultures. All of this makes it possible that, in this way, we can jointly impose a richer and more diverse world.

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Huguet bathroom in Santa Maria.

Which is your best-selling product?
We have many products, from tiles to washbasins to sinks or furniture. There is a lot of diversity and many styles. What’s important is people who value handmade, unique things. When you touch them, you feel they are authentic. That is the common thread—the product—that people who trust us, like the most. And designs that never go out of style—that is the most important thing.

What is your most prestigious project?
It's hard to say which one. On one hand, it was very important to make special pieces in 2003 for the Forum building by Herzog & de Meuron; it was a significant step to move from traditional materials to contemporary ones. It was also essential to create all the tiles for José Andrés' restaurant in Washington in 2010, when the Obamas used to visit him often. Being able to "be there" was another crucial step. Later, in 2014, we were able to complete most of the finishes for the Szczecin Philharmonic by Barozzi Veiga, which won the Mies van der Rohe award. The fact that craftsmanship could be part of the best contemporary architecture in Europe was another crucial moment.

Do you see any new trends for next year?
I believe that at this moment, the 'human scale' of things is the most important. We have a lot of technology and many new materials that are very useful for many things, but we need, more than ever, the warmth of humans in every sense. What you touch, what you see, the story behind it, the beauty, the sustainability of these materials that age so well...

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Huguet floor in Santa Maria.




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