Since 1994, California Pottery & Tile Works (CalPot) has kept alive the tradition and beauty of early 20th century tile-making to meet the needs of today’s architectural, design, and building industries. Historical tile restoration is a specialty.
“We like to be known as the Los Angeles manufacturer that has revived an old art form while also making it a modern art form,” said Desmond McLean, CalPot co-owner with his brother Sean.
CalPot’s Los Angeles studio-factory allows for its efficient production of large and small commercial, civic, hospitality, and residential custom projects.
The company is not only known as the go-to source for classic tile reproductions, but particularly for its ability to custom design, shape, bend and hand-glaze tiles to fit any project.
Simply, no two tiles are alike for many CalPot architectural projects.
“We’re not shy of doing anything where creativity is concerned,” Desmond explained.
CalPot’s studio artists work with architects and interior designers to create their original drawings and sketches in clay and glaze. That customization ability has attracted clients such as Disney, UC Irvine, Urth Caffé, Santa Barbara Zoo and La Cumbre Plaza, the Camarillo Public Library, public art mural projects, and several more.
Many clients get inspired by examining CalPot’s extensive library chronicling eras of architectural design. CalPot’s own tile offerings – including florals produced by the historic Malibu and Catalina pottery companies as well as Persian, Islamic, Saracen, Spanish Colonial, Mayan designs – are reinterpreted by staff artists and glaze-painters to meet exact color and size specifications of any tile project.
CalPot created TilePainter™ 2.0, an online application that allows homeowners, interior designers and architects to design custom projects from their own computers. Users select designs from its California Pottery Collection and choose from a rainbow of glaze colors.
CalPot began as a construction company Sean McLean founded that was increasingly commissioned for architectural restorations, including tile projects for which he outsourced many processes.
Growing demand for tile projects led to bringing all those processes in-house to concentrate solely on design and production.
It’s a decision that changed the McLean brothers’ lives.
Sean said his favorite part of the job is “seeing the end result of what we’ve produced when we open up the kilns in the morning. You open a kiln and you’re going to see something beautiful every morning.”