Inspired by the English industry, this product was recognised for its innovation and it managed to surpass the models on which it was based. All its production originates in the town of Meliana (Valencia), where the businessman Miguel Nolla founded the company in 1860, and in the 19th century it became one of the most prominent decorative elements of Spanish modernist architecture. In Barcelona, these pieces can be seen not only in the Casa Batlló, but also in other emblematic buildings of the Eixample neighbourhood such as the Casa Burés. On their route across Spain, the tiles covered the floors of places such as the Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander, the church of Santa Ana in Triana and the Palacio de Villagonzalo in Madrid. In honour of their origin, Nolla mosaics can be found in relevant Valencian institutions such as the City Hall, the Teatro Principal, the Post Office building, the Exhibition Palace, the Central Market, as well as numerous façades of the Cabanyal neighbourhood.
“The Nolla Mosaic was one of the driving forces of the Spanish industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century,” emphasised Xavier Laumain, an architect with expertise in heritage and president of the CIDCeN. “With its characteristic design and artisanal know-how, it was able to cross every border.” The tiles were exported all around the world which is why magnificent examples of these ceramic carpets with their original multicolour designs can still be found from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Cuba, through capital cities such as Lisbon and Moscow. “These tesserae, laid piece by piece by skilled ‘mosaiqueros’, were especially present in Spain, of course, but also in all the territories that had trading relationships with our country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” explained Ángela López and Vanesa García, joint directors of the project.