To gain deeper insight into this 265-year-old family company, we must cast our gaze to the floor. In the middle of the 19th century, the innovative and far-sighted Eugen Boch had the revolutionary idea of creating an industrially manufactured floor covering, based on Roman floor mosaics, which was to be both attractive and offer good value for money.
What began as five-by-five centimeters rhombi were gradually developed into tiles of varying sizes and outstanding quality. These became the “Mettlach tiles,” which could then be produced on an industrial scale in the large Mettlach factory. The robust and beautifully designed tiles were an unparalleled success; many attempted to copy them. However, no one succeeded in mastering the high quality of the original.
The Mettlach Tiles have their own rich history. In 1899, Russian Tsar Nicholas II traveled in splendor in a royal train cabin – fitted with robust, blue and white Mettlach tiles – to Germany. The tiles were even laid at the feet of aristocracy and nobility on the legendary Titanic, during the luxury ship’s maiden voyage. Fragments of these tiles were rescued from the depths of the ocean, as their story wasn’t yet over.
Some of the original tiles can even be found today, in many historic, well-known locations. For example, on the floor of the Cologne Cathedral and on the walls of the Holland Tunnel, the link between Manhattan island and New Jersey. With these tiles and other developments, Villeroy & Boch has succeeded in creating styles and entire room designs, as well as outstanding products – a whole other story in itself.