Hello! I'm Benedicte 🙂
Bonjour, ça va?
I’m French. From Rouen. I spent 18 years in Los Angeles as a Hollywood wardrobe stylist working in movies , television and commercials. Then I came to Barcelona…
“No! What are you doing with those beautiful tiles?!”
I arrived in Barcelona in 2001. The real estate market was booming and everybody was remodeling their newly acquired apartments.
Part of the remodeling consisted of (and still does!) throwing away design characteristics that look “outdated”.
Beautiful Modernist tiles discarded in the dumpsters!
That includes throwing away the most beautiful tiles you’ve ever seen!
I kept walking through the streets of Barcelona seeing the dumpsters full of antique Modernist hydraulic floors!
I couldn’t believe people were throwing these cultural relics away!
I had to do something. I had to act.
New Sport: “Dumpster Diving”
I began dumpster diving (physically clambering into these dirty, dusty containers!) to rescue the tiles from their certain doom, bringing them back home.
I researched their origins, their design and how they were produced: by applying coloured powdered marble to a base of concrete.
I fell in love with tiles!
Catalan Modernist Movement
Some tiles I rescue are a 150 years old! They’re unique cultural artifacts of the Catalan Modernist movement (which in many ways mirrors Art Nouveau).
Antoni Gaudi is the Modernist’s most famous practitioner and his still unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral is the style’s finest example.
Me, my apartment and hundreds of tiles!
So I started rescuing and collecting these tiles. Soon they were piling up and started taking over my apartment!
Then I had the big Eureka moment idea…
I couldn’t just hoard them in my home.
I had to give them a second life by making something new with them. Something that other people could enjoy. Something that would make people “adopt” the tiles and give them a new home.
Tables, consoles, framed art pieces, coasters, trivets and paper weights
Mesa Bonita was born!
But, it ain’t easy.
I, or my team, have to chisel up to 3 inches of age-hardened cement from the back of the tiles. By hand. With plenty of dust and heat to keep us company!
We don’t stop until each tile is restored to its original beauty.
Then we oxidize or paint the metal frames (which are made for us by local artisans) and we set, grout and finally wax and polish the composition.
But the satisfaction of seeing the beautiful tiles restored and given a new life is deeply rewarding.
Thank you for visiting my website. Thank you for your interest 🙂