Eclectic patterns meet upcycled materials in LIVDEN’s of-the-moment decorative tiles. From going green to the recently launched Painted Sands collection, co-founders Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibbs peel back the layers to LIVDEN’s sustainable story.
LIVDEN co-founders Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibbs in front of tiles from the Luna collection.
Describe the LIVDEN aesthetic.
GS: Modern, innovative and a little bit cheeky!
What gap does LIVDEN fill in the interiors market?
HG: LIVDEN fills the need for sustainable tiles that are playful, innovative and design-friendly. If you think about it, patterned tiles are in almost every house in the country now. We wanted to create an alternative to those tiles currently on the market and introduce a decorative tile that was sustainably produced, made in the USA and chock-full of daring colors designed to light up any interior. I think a common misconception about recycled products is that they have to be neutral in color or a bit boring, but LIVDEN is here to change that narrative.
Where do you source inspiration?
HG: The inspiration behind each collection really starts with the question, ‘Where do we want to see this tile installed?’ We love to imagine how designers or homeowners will use our designs, and we love to create patterns that are specific to certain styles and locations, like a hip cafe in downtown Los Angeles or a California coastal beach bungalow.
Inch Worm tiles in coral from the Sweat Pea collection
GS: We also take a lot of inspiration from our surrounding environments. Living in Southern California, we are so fortunate to have ample access to unappropriated natural land. We spend a lot of time reflecting on the characteristics of these unique ecosystems and translating those qualities into tile designs. With the Painted Sands collection, for example, we took the colors and textures of the American Southwest deserts we grew up with to create a tile collection that pays homage to this special pocket of the country.
What’s the creative process behind a new collection?
HG: The process for creating a new collection really starts with a pen or paint and a piece of paper. While I have some ideas in mind starting a new collection, the process of actually creating the pattern is different each time—I never know exactly where I am going to end up.
Blossom 5 tiles in Champagne Pink from the Poppy collection
Take us inside LIVDEN’s sustainability efforts.
GS: From the start, our biggest priority was working with like-minded companies that shared our passion for and commitment to sustainability. We set out with a specific set of criteria for potential suppliers and spent about half a year researching and assessing available options. Ultimately, we were lucky enough to find two eco-conscious manufacturers, one of which is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. … We believe sustainability is the new sexy. There is something to be said about having a home filled with beautiful materials that impact the planet less and are entirely made by U.S.-based craftsmen. Materials that come from factories where every employee is paid a livable wage and provided benefits, and where environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility are prioritized at every turn—that is what we focus on at LIVDEN, and in our mind, that is standard for high-end products.
What positive impact do you hope LIVDEN has on consumer consumption?
HG: We hope that LIVDEN makes it easy for individuals and industry members to design with sustainability in mind. We’d love to see our product inspire others and lead to a proliferation of sustainable building materials on the market. When we start designing and building with our people and our planet in mind, everybody wins!
Single Flower tiles in charcoal from the Stella collection
HG: Right now, we are focusing on creating new, innovative tile designs and additional eco-friendly tile body options. We currently offer two recycled tile base options—Polar Ice Terrazzo and PaperStone—and would love to expand the different types of sustainable tile bases available for our designs.