Designer    People 13 Dec 2017

We spoke to James Arkell, Founder of Techtile, about his projects, ethos and career success

James Arkell founded Techtile in 2011 because he saw a need for a tile supplier that was a bit different. Knowing the importance of tiles that are functional and fit for their purpose, he also understood the potential certain tiles have to lift a room, transform a space, and deliver the wow factor that designers and architects are always searching for.

What is your job role and what made you choose a career in design?
I founded Techtile five years ago. I spent ten years prior working within the construction industry and have a total of ten years working with tiles, architects and interior designers on various projects. I enjoy the design and creativity. I also enjoy problem-solving, so meeting the design requirements of leading designers and architects.

What is the best part of your job?
Definitely being hands-on with the products. Anything to do with discussing the different styles and aesthetics of tiles.

What is the toughest part of your job?
I would have to say the admin. I much prefer to look at the bigger picture than the finer details of day-to-day.

Which designer/product/ building most inspiresyour work and why?
I like a mixture of buildings
but normally those on a grand scale. Historic buildings such as Kings College in London have a real atmosphere about them. Modern buildings such as the Shard (designed by Renzo Piano) offer a modern touch to the London landscape.

What have you been your favourite projects so far?
A recent project that stands out is new offices for Transport for London at Stratford. I worked in partnership with designers TP Bennett and Lendlease (the main contractor) to meet a specific brief of colours and sizes required. We proposed and supplied a bespoke option of wood effect and cement effect tiles to create a herringbone floor with adjacent regular tiling. The floor needed to be fully modular (grout joints lining through the tiling).

The solution was from two different factories which
was necessary but made it more complicated. Also, the client was insistent on a high slip rating (PTV36+) which added to the difficulty in sourcing the correct tiles.

Who or what inspires you?

Personal and business success. Business people such as Alan Sugar, James Caan and Richard Branson. They’re all self-made, coming from little to build successful businesses. To me, they are the epitome of entrepreneurs.

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