Porcelain tile cladding solves Heritage Brick issue on Camden Housing Estate

The Bourne Estate in Camden lies within the Hatton Garden Conservation area. Accordingly, the recently completed £19 million expansion and improvement project, including two new blocks of mixed tenure homes, had to be built sympathetically to surrounding buildings. A major concern facing the project’s architects was how to replicate the heritage look of the original, glazed bricks, within budget and in compliance with British Standards.

The Bourne Estate Cladding 3

Craven Dunnill, the UK tile specialist, consulted on the project and identified bespoke porcelain tiles as a suitable solution. The company then worked with the Architect and Contractor on the tiles’ specification, sampling, manufacture and installation.

The Bourne Estate Cladding 2Finding a contemporary glazed brick to withstand an external environment and at a viable cost had proved impossible, which is when Craven Dunnill was brought onto the project. The company identified that porcelain tiles would meet all the technical requirements and at a fraction of the price of bricks. It then had to find a source capable of replicating the warm red tones of the original, heritage bricks and the technically demanding production of the nine different shapes of fitting tiles, both integral elements of the project.

Dave Talbot, who headed up the project for Craven Dunnill, explains the company’s approach:

“Our in-depth knowledge of both BSI requirements and porcelain production meant that we were confident that the tiles could be successfully manufactured to meet the demanding, technical specification required for the project.

We work with numerous porcelain manufacturers across Europe and comprehensively understand their production facilities and manufacturing capabilities, so much so that when we first approached the ultimate producer we had to explain to them how their technology could deliver the required tile specifications for this particular project”.

In total, 2,750m² of the brick-shaped field tiles in four customised colours were produced. In addition, and the most complex part of the project, 50,500 specialist fitting tiles were manufactured in the same four colours, including cill and corner designs. In all, the project comprised nine bespoke shapes of tiles and 34 differentiated products, requiring a number of different porcelain tile production processes.


Craven Dunnill attended initial meetings with Matthew Lloyd Architects in July 2014 and first samples were produced for September 2014. Minor amendments were requested and colour samples were signed-off in February 2015. Craven Dunnill then worked on the detailed specification and drawings for the fittings tiles. Deliveries were called-off over an 18-month period for installation by the main contractors Higgins Construction and the project is now completed.