21 Nov 2022 /


Nolla ceramic tiles are characterized by compositions of small, coloured pieces that form incredible designs, present on floors, façades and even furniture.  They are produced from a high-performance material inspired by English products and technologies of the second half of the nineteenth century and are characterized by monochromatic tesserae that are laid in infinite geometric and figurative combinations. The clay was through-body dyed and its manufacturing process made the ceramic highly resistant to breakage and wear.

Its origins date from 1860, when Miguel Nolla purchased a traditional Valencian farmhouse located in the midst of the market gardens of Meliana (Valencia) and built beside it what would be his high-quality ceramics factory. Thus, Nolla ceramic was born.

Nolla’s farmhouse gradually turned into a mansion in which its prosperous proprietor would play host to his potential, and no less prosperous, clients: Russian Tsars of the Romanov dynasty or monarchs such as Alfonso XII and Amadeo of Savoy. 

All those who had high purchasing power and influence passed through the house and stepped on its floors. Many members of European high society of the era were received here when they visited the manor, the walls and floors of which were covered by its owner with the best examples of his product, converting the farmhouse into an authentic showroom for the pieces he sold. 

All the original Nolla production came from Meliana and it became one of the foremost decorative elements of Spanish modernism. 

All the original Nolla production came from Meliana and it became one of the foremost decorative elements of Spanish modernism. 

Nolla ceramics were marketed all around the world until the nineteen-sixties. After changing hands several times and being abandoned for decades, in 2020 the Palacete Nolla was renovated by the architectural studio ARAE Patrimonio y Restauración. The Local Authority of Meliana, which currently owns the building and is behind its renovation, allows this space, full of history, to be visited free of charge.

In honour of their Valencian origin, Nolla mosaics decorate relevant institutions in the city such as the City Hall, the Teatro Principal, the Post Office building, the Exhibition Palace and the Central Market, as well as numerous façades in the Cabanyal neighbourhood. 

Nolla ceramics were exported around the world and therefore it is still possible to find magnificent examples of these ceramic carpets, with original multicolour designs, from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Cuba, though capital cities such as Lisbon and Moscow.

The Nolla Ceramics Research and Dissemination Centre (CIDCeN) has several original catalogues from the era and a selection of pieces, designs and patterns which it makes available to master restorers such as Salvador Escrivá. 

This organization, founded in 2015, contributes to corroborating the authenticity of the tiles and to providing advice on their recovery and conservation. The NollaMap project, by the Nolla Ceramics Research and Dissemination Centre, is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport and World Design Capital Valencia 2022. Its purpose is to produce a real map of places where authentic pieces of Nolla ceramic are located in order to be able to safeguard and conserve them.


Photographs: Visit Valencia, Casa Burés and NollaMap.