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As Flooring

The arbitrary second, placed in alphabetical order, of a series of four pages titled ‘Cairo Tiling As...’, in which instances are shown as architecture, flooring, paving (exterior to Egypt) and wall tiles, with each page of a dedicated nature, with here flooring. Typically, these are of a commercial nature. As such, the Cairo tiling appears, as a design, worldwide, in many forms and artefacts, in varying degrees of frequency, and of which I have collected such a listing found under my ‘Miscellaneous’ page. In short, some instances, as detailed above, are of a much more considerable nature that others, so much so that I consider these are worthy of a dedicated page, to better see the examples, without ‘distractions’. As my collection grows, I may add more categories of a dedicated nature. In short, this series of pages is to be regarded as a ‘fun’ page. For sure, matters of the in situ Cairo tiling are by far the more important. However, I have not been unduly carefree or slapdash in my investigation here, this is still undertaken to my highest standards. If any reader knows of other instances, I would be more than delighted to receive details and include on these pages.

The format for each entry, in which I strive for consistency, is a follows (which has evolved and will likely continue to do so):

1. Beginning with the company name and country, I then discuss the marketing name (if any), such as Penta, or Pentax, or similar, or indeed dissimilar, amid a general discussion. Other matters, such as history, contact, is discussed elsewhere, as a separate entity.

2. Contact with the company for picture permission and background details, with picture/s, if permission has been granted. Typically, if so, I show one or more pictures. Further, the favoured format is in two aspects; first, a picture of the overall scene, to better put the paving in context with the surroundings, and then second, a detailed, close up view of the pentagons, to better view the geometry. However, this ideal is not always realisable; sometimes not both of the ideals are available, with only one or the other picture available. When picture permission is not forthcoming, the picture is omitted, with just a text entry only. However, I do not always receive a reply! Typically, the bigger the company, with branches worldwide, the less inclined they are to reply. In years gone by, upon an initial failure in response, I would try again after a definite break, upon which if no reply was received I would thus give up on the company. However, now, with time running out for me at the age of 60, I limit my enquiries to a single mail. In a sense, although galling to an investigator such as myself, a lack of response is understandable to a degree in that I am not purchasing the tiles; the information is not ‘vital’ in a commercial context! Although that said, I do indeed offer good publicity!

Further, with experience gained on major companies, on occasion I think the better of it, for better or worse, and simply do not bother. If any companies reading this who have not responded, or have not been contacted and would like to correspond, I would be delighted to hear from you! 

3. The year when introduced, if known, into their range, and so establishing a history. As a broad premise, the older the instance the better, although ‘old’ examples are few and far between. Typically, this is generally omitted, especially in a commercial context. In short, knowing this will permit a history of sorts, albeit of a bare minimum. As such, of most interest are older instances, loosely defined. Most of the instances seen are of recent times, in the 2000s. Of a date to define ‘early’, the 1970s, and the earlier the better! 

4. Whether the Cairo connection is made. Is the manufacturer/stockist familiar with the Cairo (city) association? Typically, this is not stated, of which whether the manufacturer is aware is left open-ended and so whether the use of the Cairo tiling is purposeful or accidental, the latter in the sense of a generic pentagon tiling, is thus unknown. However, as the Cairo tiling is indeed a rare named association of a tiling, this, to me at least, gives added interest, and so ideally would be included, even if just mentioned in passing.

5. The geometry. As discussed elsewhere, the geometry can vary, from a pentagon that is a ‘near square’ to a ‘near rectangle’ and everything in between, albeit typically, the instances are of a ‘mid-range’ pentagon. On occasion, such details are to be found in the catalogue.

6. Company background. Some brief details of the company, for general interest.

7. Links to the sightings, typically of the company.

8. Acknowledgements.

The reason for this compilation is threefold, in order of importance:

1. A simple documenting of all instances, for the sake of general interest.

2. Any interested reader who desires a Cairo tiling for their home (wall or floor) can find the nearest stockist with relative ease. Of course, this is also certainly restricted to one’s home country, as otherwise the cost of shipping would be disproportionate as to the project. I make no recommendations here as to the quality of the goods offered.

3. A nod to the ‘mathematical tourist’, who upon visiting any of the towns and cities here may want to pay a visit. For obvious reasons, not all sightings here are visitable, being on private property. Although most have been sufficiently identified for this purpose, I will provide more exact details upon request (if available). In particular, I would like to add to my collection where photo permissions have been refused. Do send me something if seen on your travels!

For those who are intending a home DIY project, or indeed, of just general interest, note that floor and wall tiles are not interchangeable, as previously, I believe, I once thought. There are important differences; indeed, there is a whole lot more to this than I thought! has compiled a good, succinct guide, of which I excerpt below:

What's the Difference between Floor Tiles and Wall Tiles?

Tiles intended only for use as wall tiles are often lighter and thinner than floor tiles.

The glazes used in the manufacture of a wall tile are also different to those used for floor tiles, and are not designed to resist abrasive forces from foot traffic.

Different tiles can be made from different types of clay and different types of glaze. Tiles produced exclusively for walls are inherently not intended to be load bearing.

Floor tiles can of course be installed on a wall; however, they will still be referred to as "floor tiles". Many of our 30 x 60 tiles, for example, are floor tiles, but more often than not they're installed on bathroom walls. But they are still referred to as floor tiles.

Who Decides Which are Which?

An independent rating system classifies ceramic and porcelain tiles according to their strength and durability. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating (PEI rating) of tiles is a measure of how much wear and tear a tile can take:

Group 0: These tiles are unrated, and are only suitable for use on walls.

Group I: These tiles are suitable only for areas of very light traffic, where shoes are unlikely to be used, such as an upstairs’ ensuite. The surface of the tile could be easily marked or scratched by only a small amount of harsh treatment.

Group II: Areas of the home which are not exposed to the highest levels of traffic, or not likely to come into contact with significant quantities of dirt or other abrasive materials. So the hall and kitchen would not qualify here, but a living room and bathroom would.

Group III: Any residential area, or indeed some light commercial areas, where the presence of abrasive dirt etc. is not excessive.

Group IV: Any residential area, commercial areas such as restaurants, exhibition areas, hotel rooms, showrooms, where there may be significant traffic.

Group V: Substantial or very heavy traffic, such as shopping centres, commercial entrances, hotel lobbies, and industrial workplaces. Theses tile are generally more expensive than tiles in the other categories.

Any tile that is unrated or fails to qualify for even a Class I rating is referred to as a “wall tile”. Wall tiles must only be used on walls. Floor tiles (any tiles that have achieved a Class I – Class V rating) are made from materials that are suitable for installing on the floor. The glaze is super durable, and they're up to 20% heavier than wall tiles.

In summary: Wall tiles are suitable for walls only - floor tiles can go on either.

The Difference between Wall and Floor Tiles, and Style:

Due to the impervious or vitreous nature of ceramic and porcelain tiles, and the hardened glaze which is usually fired onto their top surface, tiles are normally found in bathrooms, wet-rooms, and kitchens. At a minimum, hand-basins and the area around bathtubs should have a tiled backsplash of wall tiles. This is to prevent water damage to painted plaster surfaces in a home.

Many styles of wall tiles are presented with a high gloss finish. Due to the slip risk, it’s less common to find high gloss tiles on bathroom floors.

It’s more common to find wall tiles with decorative embellishments than is the case for floor tiles. Coloured bands, trims, borders, and listellos (often featuring mosaics) are sometimes embedded within wall tile installations. The mosaics might contain a blend of small pieces of polished travertine, mother of pearl, glass, and brushed aluminium. The purpose is purely decorative, and to eliminate any visual monotony of a large, unicolour wall. This looks great in an expensive installation with floor-to-ceiling tiling.

The Listing

The countries include: China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany (3), India, Italy (2), Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, United Kingdom (2) and United States.

China, Quanzhou Fujian, of Fansolic Company

Fansolic, a subsidiary of Newstar Stone, is a major China company who describe themselves as supplying stone materials, of all types, from all around the world. They have an extensive website, in English. They market the Cairo tiling in a variety of formats, such as wall and floor tiles (along with other uses), in marble, simply titled ‘pentagon’. There are four versions, albeit of a like nature. Although not stated explicitly, it seems the Cairo tiling was introduced into their range beginning in 2013, with further additions in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

No mention of the connection as to the Cairo association is made on the site, and so whether the use of the Cairo tiling is purposeful or accidental, the latter in the sense of a generic pentagon tiling is unknown. Likely they are unaware of this association.

I did not contact the company, judged that they would likely not respond, fairly or unfairly, judged a major foreign conglomerate, with a subsidiary company, with no obvious point of contact of a non-commercial query.  

Company Background

Fansolic is a brand company belong to Newstar stone, in Quanzhou Fujian, China, with a history of more than 20 years. They are the fastest developing stone enterprises in China, exporting stone, quarry mining, processing, manufacturing and project construction. Their main markets are the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Czech Republic, of Karlovy Vary

A curious sighting that came about in the most fortuitous circumstances is that of Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad, at Trziste 17, as reported to me by a correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous beyond the pseudonym ‘Demik’. He told me:

While recently on a short holiday in Karlovy Vary, the door of Trziste 17 opened as I was walking by, and I had a vague impression that I might have glimpsed 'krakelingen' [an applecore tiling] on the floor. Later on, after a considerable effort to overcome my natural shyness, I dared ring the bell of Trziste 17, I was allowed in, even though it did of course at once become obvious that I had been mistaken about the 'krakelingen' - using a weird combination of German, English and signing, I *think* I got the permission of the person (male) at the reception desk for taking photographs.

Karlovy Vary (population 48,000, of 2019) or Carlsbad German: Karlsbad is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, about 81 miles west of Prague.

However, many aspects here remain unresolved. First, the pictures are in general lacking in resolution, so making for inconvenient analysis. The exact nature of the building is unclear. The tiles are small in scale, as evinced by observing the photographer’s shoes. As such, the tiles resemble that of Villeroy and Boch, at the Hamburg Musikhalle, but whether this is indeed so is unclear. How old these are is open to speculation,  with blemishes of uncertain origin they are not obviously new. My correspondent took the photo in 2013.

Does anyone know anything more as to this sighting?

© 'Demik', Showing the scale, left; detail, right

© 'Demik', Context 1, left; Context 2, right

Egypt, Cairo, Women and Memory Forum

A most interesting sighting is at Women and Memory Forum, 12 Suleiman Abaza Street, Mohandiseen, Cairo. This is at the entrance to the building, of a more-or-less semicircular recessed entrance, having a diameter of about 3 meters. As such, this is unique sighting as a Cairo tiling flooring in Cairo itself. However, background details are infuriatingly lacking, with nothing known as to the instigation itself, and the all-important when. My Cairene investigator, Gregg De Young, personally visited the building and spoke briefly with the woman in charge who told him that there were no other tiles like the Cairo tiling were present in their premises, but no other details were forthcoming. Two mails to the Forum went unanswered. It is not known when the edifice was built. The Women and Memory Forum was founded in 1997. (The members are women academics, researchers and activists, trying to improve the weak position of Arab women in their culture.) Whether this was an occupation of an existing building or a new (1997) build is unclear. 

An open question is the order; which was first, the flooring or the street paving? Almost certainly, the street paving inspired the flooring; it hardly seems credible that a one-off flooring, never to be seen again, was first. Undoubtedly, the project here was of major undertaking, in both the forming of so many tiles (of at least a thousand) and the work involved in then laying them. Open questions abound. This being so, speculation is necessary in order.

1. Reason for Instigation. Simply stated, the reason is unknown. Possibly, this was installed by an enthusiast of the street paving. 

2. The date. This is essentially unknown. The first account on this was by Greg Niemeyer, of the US, who told me that he saw this in 2008. Possibly this is much older, but whether this is 20, 30 or more years is pure speculation.

3. Who manufactured the tiles? Was this one of the major companies, such as the Nile company (responsible for the street paving) or another? Or was it even more of a homespun affair, by an individual, with presumably a liking for the design, likely inspired by the street paving?

4. A one-off? It would appear to be so. No other instances have been found. 

Some observations:

1. Colouring. Five colours are used; black, white, yellow, reddish-brown, blue. Curiously, black, white, yellow, reddish-brown are commonly used as colours for the larger single pentagon. However, there has never been an instance of blue. Note that the colouring ‘arrangement’ is arbitrary.

2. Type of Pentagon. Of note is that the tiles are exactly of the same type of pentagon as of the street pavings (with the same collinearity feature), but are of a much smaller scale, with tiles of about 3-4 inch sides.

As ever, I would be indebted to any reader who can provide more detail here. Nothing is too small. To mention Speculation and any thoughts as to how to progress the matter is welcome.

© Gregg De Young. General scene, left; detail, right


Greg Niemeyer, for clarifying his initial brief account and single detailed picture on his webpage.

Gregg De Young, for his personal visit to the forum, more pictures and query.

Germany, Hamburg Music Hall

A most interesting sighting, of undoubted historical significance, is that of the foyer at Laeiszhalle Musikhalle (music hall), Hamburg, Germany. Hall. This sighting is of note due to the likely, in relative terms, old age of the tiling, of slightly over 100 years, likely (but not necessarily) dating from 1904-1908, when the hall was built, although this has not been confirmed, but rather is informed supposition. Harald Riege (with mathematics interest), who reported this sighting to Jürgen Köller’s mathematics site (which is where I first became aware of this sighting) has been visiting the hall for 50 years and has always been familiar with it. Although this does not conclusively date the flooring as from the turn of the 20th century (as it could have been installed close to his first visit), he tells me that he is convinced that this is indeed the date of installation. Support for this conjecture is that the music hall was not damaged (and so not needed repairs) during World War 2. If so, then this sighting is of significance; this is one of the earliest dates I have of the tiling, as either a mathematical entity or a physical structure, the latter as here.

As can be seen, the tiles here are noticeably of a small scale; compare Riege’s shoes with the tiles. The sides are no more than an inch or so in length. Further, the colouring arrangement, in different shades of blue, has no apparent structure. This is curious in itself. Quite how many different shades of blue there are is unclear. There appears to be at least three, and possibly four.

Upon a request by myself for further research by Riege as to the tile background, the company and location of the manufacturer have been determined, namely Villeroy & Boch at Mettlach, near Saarbrucken, Germany. Villeroy & Boch are a major tile company, with a beginning as far back as 1748, and grew to be a worldwide enterprise and are active to the present day. Pleasingly, they have a substantial archive, albeit not all online, of which it is possible to visit and research. Upon visiting the company website for further background information there can be seen to be a pattern book. Upon contacting the company archivist, Agnes Mueller (and who has been most helpful), to see if the tiling was included there, it indeed was! She told me in two emails:
4 June 2012

Enclosed please find a copy from our sample catalogue of those days. It is undated and we are proceeding on the assumption that it refers to the years between 1900 and 1920.

The pentagonal tiles are unvarnished stoneware tiles which were produced in polychromatic compositions. As the tiles are skid-proof, they are specially suited for entrance-halls.

11 June 2012

The sample catalog consists of sample cards which are fit together. Therefore unfortunately there is no cover of the catalog. We can't give you any further information as to the designer of the tiles, either.

However, there is no person credited with the design or any further background details such as the all-important date of instigation and geometry. And so for now at least my inquiries here have come to an end. However, this is not to say that the tiles may not have been manufactured considerably earlier, as the Villeroy & Boch company has a long history, and so perhaps there may yet be more earlier findings. Would any interested reader of this be interested in visiting the archive in person and see if there is anything more here? 


Villeroy and Bosch:

A stunning 3D virtual tour panorama video of it is at:

On the opening page, scroll a little to the right, and the tiling comes into view. Also, there’s a drop-down box; selecting 1. Tropppe Grober Saal and 30 Klassenhalle gives an apparent different location from the foyer here.  

Although much of the background has been established, there is still more to do, especially with the date. Does anyone know of a dated picture? This must surely exist, but finding it is difficult, even with all the modern-day aids of searching newspapers and journals. I would also like to put a name to the designer, as well as establish the geometry.

© Harald Riege, Detail, left;  © Harald Riege, Foyer, right

© Harald Riege, Hamburg Musik Hall Exterior, left; Villeroy & Bosch logo, right

© Villeroy & Boch, Unternehmensarchiv, Catalogue, left; © Harald Riege, Reverse of Single Tile, right


Harald Riege, for more pictures of the sighting, and many investigations thereof.

Agnes Mueller, of the Villeroy and Bosch archive, for much helpful detail.

Jürgen Köller, for aid in a generalised sense.

Germany, Heidelberg Castle

A most interesting sighting, of undoubted historical significance, is that of a room at Heidelberg Castle, Germany, possibly of around 100 years old, but more likely of around 50 years. The dates are under investigation. I first became aware of this sighting in 2012 in a report by the mathematician Leon van den Broek of the Netherlands, who on his website showed an exercise concerning pentagons tiles, illustrated with a drawn Cairo tiling of the sighting but not a photo, said to be from Heidelberg:

Floors consisting of pentagon tiles are rare. I happened to see such a floor in the palace of the elector in Heidelberg (Germany). The tiles have been there for ages, so the edges were not exactly straight anymore, nor did they fit together. … The tiles in the Heidelberg floor have five equally long sides. This is only true for a unique value of a.

Upon following this up with him with two emails he was less certain as to specifics:

8 February 2012 email
I'am afraid that I cannot help you very much. I visited the german city of Heidelberg a long time ago. Unfortunately I didn't make pictures of the tilings. The name of the palace is (in german language): Heidelberger Schloss. It is very famous; there is much information about it on the Internet. It has been destroyed about 1650. So I suppose that the floor is (much) older than 1650. I looked on the German Internet, but I didn't found pictures. I wish you success in your investigations.

8 March 2012 email:

I am sure that the tiling was there in 2001.

Maybe it is the best idea to address your question to the castle itself:

It is a long time ago that I visited the castle, so my memory is not  reliable. I am not sure that the five sides were exactly of equal length, I am not sure about the colour, I am not sure about the floor and the kind of the room. But I am sure it was a big room. I saw the tiling during a guided tour.  It seems to me a very old tiling. So I think it is impossible that the tiling has been removed. Unfortunately I can not help you much. Good luck with your investigations.

(Sadly, Leon is no longer with us, he died age 66 in 2013). Here matters rested a while, of which despite web searching I could not find a picture. However, subsequently, in 2017, this sighting has been confirmed by a fellow enthusiast of the Cairo tiling, Ulrich Seidel, who visited and sent pictures. As such, this is not easily found upon a casual visit to the castle! Apparently, a guided tour is required to see the room it is in, as normally it is locked and out of bounds. Further, it is not normally permissible to photo; special permission was granted to Ulrich for this, hence the previous lack of pictures on the web. As can be seen by the pictures, much of Leon’s account was mistaken, the tiles are clearly not equilateral, and do not appear obviously old. As to the tiling itself, the tiles are made of marble and appears to quite new; certainly, there is no obvious sign of great age as might have been expected, given the Castle’s history, dating back to before 1214, but with considerable rebuilds since. The latest is reconstruction was done from 1897 to 1900 by Karl Schäfer and it is likely this room was built then, with the tiles later installed, perhaps some 50 years later. Investigations are ongoing as to this matter.

© Ulrich Seidel. General scene, left; detail, right


Leon van den Broek, for clarifying his account.

Ulrich Seidel, for much investigation and pictures.

Germany, 'German School', Not Stated

A most interesting sighting, of possible historical significance, is that of an unnamed and unknown town or city at a school in Germany, of 1955. This was reported by A. P. Rollett: ‘A Pentagonal Tessellation’, in The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 39, No. 329 (Sep. 1955) page 209, note 2530, with a line drawing of a Cairo tiling. However, this is of a somewhat vague nature as to specifics:

My colleague Mr. R. C. Lyness noticed this [Cairo tiling] pattern on the floor of a school in Germany.

No other detail was given. Needless to say, given the paucity of detail, searching for this sighting is fraught with difficulty.  It is not possible to contact to either man; Rollet (born?-1968) and Lyness (1909-1997) have both since died.

Upon research (detailed below), R. C. Lyness was a distinguished mathematician, of ‘Lyness Cycles’ fame, and was a Head of Mathematics at Bristol Grammar School, before becoming a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools, and so it is possible that he did indeed see this at a school in connection with his role as an inspector, rather than a university post, as I originally thought this might refer to. There is seemingly little detail on Lyness himself; the background details above are taken from Jonny Griffiths’ thesis, on ‘Lyness Cycles, Elliptic Curves, and Hikorski Triples’. Upon asking him if he has any more to say on Lyness, he could not add to the story; the documents that Bristol Grammar School supplied were merely a CV and a yearbook; no maths at all. Another name mentioned in the thesis is Bob Burn and who actually met Lyness, but he too could not help me out either.

Although it’s decidedly a long shot with the passage of time, to say the least, does anyone know which school or town in Germany Lyness is referring to here? Or indeed, have anything to add, no matter how small, that might aid the inquiry?

India, Rajasthan, of Rajdhani Marble & Tiles Company

Rajdhani Marble & Tiles, of Vishwakarma Industrial Area, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, describe themselves as a manufacturer and supplier of ‘Sand Stone, Lime Stone, Tiles & Slab, Marble & Granite, Elevation Stone’. They market the Cairo tiling as marble stone in two varieties, ‘white pentagon’ and ‘small pentagon’, stated as dual-purpose floor and wall tiles. This is marketed on IndiaMART, India's largest online marketplace. Each page has the a bare minimum of detail, restricted to product detail and commercial matters. It is unknown when the Cairo tiling was introduced into their range.

Upon an August 2019 request for background detail of the reasons for the choice of tile and photo permissions, they did not respond.

No mention of the connection as to the Cairo association is made on the site, and so whether the use of the Cairo tiling is purposeful or accidental, the latter in the sense of a generic pentagon tiling is unknown. Likely they are unaware of this association.

Company Background

Rajdhani Marble & Tiles, under the leadership of Mr  Mohan Kumawat, the CEO, began in 2013. They can be described as a small business, employing 11-25 people. There is little other detail.

Morocco, Tangier, of MOSAIC factory

The MOSAIC factory company, of Tangier, Morocco (with showrooms in Paris, London, Málaga and Madrid), under the brand name Mosaic del Sur, manufactures and sells a range of tiles, of encaustic cement, Granito, Terrazzo and Zellige, of over 500 designs. The company was established in 2002. The instigation and reason for the selection of the Cairo tiling are unknown; I have not been able to find any reference to the Cairo tiling on the company's site.

Tangier (population 947,000, of 2017) is a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar, has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. It is also an important city with a long history. In the early twentieth century, it was regarded as an international city and was known for attracting European and American diplomats and spies.


Norway, Tromsø, at Clarion Hotel, The Edge

A most astonishing sighting is at the Clarion Hotel, The Edge, Tromsø, Norway, with no less than four different appearances, of flooring, paving, ceiling panels, and carpeting! One could even stretch this to a fifth; even the planters are of a Cairo pentagon! Needless to say, this is the most extensive usage at a single site (although dual sightings are known, at First Base Pizzeria). The circumstances behind such a quadruple use have yet to be determined; it can hardly be coincidental!

Tromsø (population 71,000, of 2014), is a city in northern Norway, is a major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle. It’s famed as a viewing point for colourful Northern Lights that sometime light up the nighttime sky. It is described, as one of many other towns and cities, as ‘Paris of the North’.

Clarion appears to be a major name in the hotel business, with branches worldwide, under the umbrella of Choice Hotels. The hotel is a recently opened conference and business centre, of 2014. The hotel is the largest conference hotel in Tromsø. The 12-storey building has 290 hotel rooms and meeting rooms for up to 1000 people.

Here, I discuss as flooring, with the other usages described elsewhere. As such, nothing is known as to the installation of the flooring in the lobby. Two pictures show the tiles at an angle, of which although taken at a reasonable elevation (and not an raking angle), of which I know from previous experience is still fraught with difficulty in determining the angles by purely visual means, and so I thus reserve judgement on this. The pentagons can be seen to be subdivided in a curious way, into what appears to be a series of triangles and kites, although the pictures are not clear here as to be sure as to specifics. The material of the floor is unclear, it could be wood or linoleum, or other.


Italy (1 of 2), Faenza, of Gigacer Ceramics Company

Gigacer, a major Italian ceramics company based in Faenza (of historical significance as to pottery, detailed below), has used the Cairo tiling in two ways, as flooring and wall coverings. (As this is a dual-aspect sighting, the latter discussed on the ‘As Wall Covering’ page.) These are marketed under the ‘Argilla’ range. The instigation and reason for the selection of the Cairo tiling are unknown. Likely, this is ‘modern’, loosely defined; I have seen these marked at a presumed trade fair, of 2015, and appears to have been launched in 2016. The tiles are made from quartz.

I have not been able to find any reference to the Cairo tiling on the company's site, or on related architecture sites, where they feature quite heavily. However, the angles 123° (2), 90° (2), and 114° are indeed given, as well as the lengths, with a base of 490mm, and sides of 842mm.

Company details, from their website:

Gigacer was born in Faenza, the cradle of ceramics and cutting edge of industrial and crafting production technology in ceramic materials.

This territory contains the right environment and skills necessary to develop an innovative project in this industry, following the most strict regulations on quality and environment preservation.

Experience and technological innovation merge into a new way of producing ceramic tiles: flexible, with high quality and oriented to satisfy an everyday more demanding market.

This is our mission, the mission of a modern and innovative company, definitely Made in Faenza.

Faenza details, from Wikipedia:

Faenza is an Italian city and comune, in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, situated 50 kilometres southeast of Bologna. Faenza is home to a historical manufacture of majolica-ware glazed earthenware pottery, known from the name of the town as faience.

General scene in room, left; Trade display, right

Italy (2 of 2), Fiorano Modenese, of Verde1999 Company

Verde1999, a major Italian ceramics company based in Fiorano Modenese, Sassuolo (a famed region in ceramics), has used the Cairo tiling as flooring in their ‘Lava’ range, titled ‘Pentagono’. It is available in four colours.

As such, I have not been able to find much detail as to the company background on their website. Presumably, from their name, the company was formed in 1999, but beyond that, I cannot say more!

Details of the tiling can be found in their catalogue, at the end of the page:

A mail for background detail and photo permissions went unanswered.

Japan, Nagoya

Nagoya, Ceramics Hall

Caption detail: In the interior, too, the tiles that are finely compacted on the floor and the stair waist wall are a masterpiece, especially the pentagonal "diamond" lined up neatly on the entrance floor is valuable.

City Details: Nagoya is the largest city in the Chūbu region of Japan. It is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, with a population of  2.28 million (of 2015)

Malaysia, Guocera Company

From their website:

With nearly 50 years of manufacturing experience, Guocera is the tile brand of choice in over 50 countries from the America and Europe to the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Guocera is one of Malaysia’s largest manufacturers and exporter of tiles.

Pakistan, Karachi, of AFinishes Company

AFinishes was founded in Karachi, Pakistan, of 2016. The company facilitates its clientele with the creation of unique collections of concrete tile designs, offering colour, pattern and style to one’s space. Their product range includes cladding, wall panels and floor tiles. Of particular interest is their floor tiles, in handcrafted concrete, with a range titled ‘Penta’. This is simply of a mono-coloured grey concrete, without any further decoration.

© AFinishes


Shabbir Anjarwala, Managing Director of AFinishes, for photo permissions.

Poland, Szczecin, by Huguet Tiles, of Mallorca, Spain
Installed at the Polish city of  Szczecin of a newly built philharmonic orchestra, 2014. As such, this instance is a collaboration between two Spanish concerns, Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga, architects, of Barcelona, Spain, and Huguent tile company, of Mallorca. In short, Borrozzi and Veiga did the designing, whilst Huguet the manufacturing. This project was for the Szczecin Philharmonic building, of 2014, in Poland, and was nominated in the five finalists (out of 40 entries) of the 2015 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Mies van der Rohe Award. Szczecin is located near the Baltic Sea and the German border, is a major seaport, and Poland's seventh-largest city.

Oddly, the architects seem contactable!

© Manena Huguet General scene, left; detail, right


With thanks to Manena Huguet for picture permissions.

South Africa, Flooring and Wall, at First Base Pizzeria, Cape TownSouth Africa
Another, so far unique instance, at least in combination, is that of flooring and wall tiles from First Base Pizzeria, of the Paddocks Shopping Centre, Cape TownSouth Africa. This is a splendid sight indeed, of a multiple six-colouring, albeit without any apparent structure and appears to be of a modern-day installation, of 2016. This was designed by Inhouse Brand Architects, although the story behind its installation is unknown. Disappointingly, upon asking for picture permission and more details the architects did not respond, as well as a request to the (independent) photographer, Riaan West, hence the lack of pictures and more exact detail.

United Kingdom, 1950s Style? Natural Floors
A most interesting historical sighting, and in a ‘foreign’ context, is a sighting as a flooring, in the UK, of c. 1950s. However, details here are a little sketchy. A picture was posted on Natural Floors NW (North West) Limited website (and Facebook page) with an intriguing reference to the Cairo tiling in a bathroom of the 1950s:
However, upon correspondence with the company, the picture as shown is not the original flooring but is rather a modern-day recreation as best as is possible. Furthermore, the attributed date (the 1950s), is the best guess, from the age of the house and the material used, with printed tile effect linoleum. I quote excerpts from the company emails:
(Mail 1, 19 October 2015)
We had a customer buy a house built in the 1950's & in the bathroom was a printed tile effect linoleum, printed lino was a very popular floor covering in the UK from as early as the 1930's but the early ones were quite often floral patterns. As this house was from the 50's we assume the lino was of the same period. No one makes a printed lino anymore, (Vinyl is not lino!) so we made the [modern day] pattern by hand cutting sheet linoleum in 4 colours using Forbo Walton Linoleum as this was the closest we could get to the original colours.
(Mail 2, 20 October 2015)
We assume it is a 1950's pattern as this type of patterned linoleum was not made much beyond the 50's. Once vinyl became popular Marmoleum was used mainly in commercial locations. It is only now becoming popular again as a domestic flooring….
However, much still remains unknown here. Despite extensive web searching, who manufactured the vinyl, and what date these were installed is not known for certain, although 1950s does indeed seem a distinct possibility. Can anyone shed any more light on these background matters? Or indeed, have anything else to say on this?

© Natural Floors

United Kingdom, Glasgow, of the Glasgow Physics Laboratory

A most interesting sighting, of possible historical significance, is that of an account at the Glasgow Physics Laboratory, United Kingdom. This was by Charles Frank (1911-1998), a noted scientist, known for his work in the study of crystals. In a preface to The Kelvin Problem by Denis Weaire, he says:

‘A floor in the Glasgow physics lab also shows this [pentagonal] pattern, or used to’.

It could be a quite significant historical finding, in that the lab was built in 1907, although exactly when this was installed is unclear. Inevitably, matters or research are hindered by many subsequent changes to the building. As here and elsewhere, nothing seemingly lasts more than a few years as tastes change, rather than the strict need to replace! Likely it has been torn down for no good reason. Despite extensive online searching (notably in ‘The Glasgow Story)’, and with the university authorities, I have not been able to find a picture of this tiling. Matters are not helped in searching in that dates for Frank’s sighting are not given as well as name changes and extensions to the building over the years. Further, I have not been able to find any connection with Glasgow as to how Frank saw this; the city is not mentioned in his obituary. Franks and his associates have sadly passed away, so I cannot ask him. It could have been installed from when the lab was first built (1906) up to the date of publication of the book (1997)! 

On matters of Charles Frank especially, the circumstances (and all-important date) of his visit to the physics lab is not known. He has no academic connection to Glasgow, his main university being Bristol (hundreds of miles away). The only documented connection to Scotland is of an external examiner role at Aberdeen University (again, many miles away). The preface mentions a collaboration of sorts on pentagonal tiling with John Kasper, although the exact nature is not made clear. Searching for joint papers, this would appear to refer to articles in Acta Crystallographica, although there is nothing on Glasgow or indeed the Cairo tiling.

Does anyone know of this sighting or have any photos showing the pentagonal tiling, or could shed light on the query in other ways?


Emma Yan, Glasgow University Duty Archivist

United States, Daniel Ogassian

Daniel Ogassian is a Los Angeles-based artisan turned industrial designer. His work, which he began developing after obtaining his MFA and refining his prototyping at Art Center College of Design, spans free-standing furniture, ceramic and concrete tiles, outsized surfaces, and outdoor ‘vessels’ for plants and water features. Among the 16-tile range is two forms of the Cairo tiling, titled as ‘penta’ and ‘penta flora’. Simply stated, the former is a tile without any interior decoration, whilst the latter has a symmetrical floral design. These are for both wall and floor coverings. More technical details are available at:

The tiles are available from Ann Sacks of the US, of interior design products, notably tiles and mosaics.

© Daniel Ogassian

Created as 'As Flooring' 4 April 2019.
A newly formed dedicated page 'As Flooring' as of 4 April 2019, the category now judged to have sufficient instances to form a dedicated page, with some material already on the Cairo pages elsewhere. Now titled 'As Flooring' as part of a new themed series of the 'Cairo Tiling As...' instances. 
Malaysia. Guocera Company, of Malaysia text and link added 3 June 2019
Poland, Szczecin, Philharmonic Orchestra, by Huguet Tiles added 1 July 2019, removing pictures from existing ceramics page, out of favour (and now deleted), with new text of this update.
US. Daniel Ogassian added 3 July 2019
Germany. Hamburg Musik Halle added 4 July 2019. Previously discussed as 'Foreign Cairos, now judged better placed as flooring. Text extensively rewritten and expanded.
Germany. Heidelberg Castle added 5 July 2019. Previously discussed as 'Foreign Cairos' (without pictures) pre Ulrich Seidel findings. Text wholly rewritten, with pictures.
Germany. School (R. C. Lyness) added 8 July 2019. Previously discussed as 'Foreign Cairos' with revised and slightly expanded text.
Egypt. Well Women and Memory Forum text and pictures added 9 July 2019. Previously discussed as 'In Situ Oddments', now outdated. Text wholly rewritten.
Norway, Tromsø, Clarion Hotel text and pictures added 16 July 2019. Not previously discussed or pictured as such as a flooring (although I was familiar with it).
United Kingdom. Glasgow Physics Laboratory, text and image of quote added 18 July 2019.
Czech Republic. 17 Trieste. Text and four images added 19 July 2019.
Italy, of Gigacer company, Argilla range added 22 July 2019.
Morocco, Tangier, MOSAIC company, Sur del Mur range added 23 July 2019.
Pakistan, AFinishes text and image added 7 August 2019.

Italy, Fiorano Modenese, of Verde1999 Company text added 8 August 2019.

India, Rajastan, Rajdhani Marble & Tiles, text and links added 22 August 2019.

China, Fansolic text and links added 23 August 2019.