Edgard Chaya is the driving force at BlattChaya, a company, it has been said, is behind the revival of traditional colored cement tiles in Lebanon. Having supposedly retired after a long and successful career in finance, Edgard kept busy tending to his organic vegetable garden and occasionally sailing out onto the Mediterranean to his favorite fishing spot. This fairytale retirement would not last very long as he inadvertently stumbled upon a small box that would eventually lead him to rediscover a dormant family business that he previously knew very little about.
BlattChaya was initially founded in 1881, operated through three generations, and had closed down sometime in the 1940’s. Edgard grew fascinated by what he learned as it ignited in him memories of his ancestors. Being an accomplished handyman, it was only natural for him to research the process and techniques of this long forgotten art form. It took an old man’s patience, persistence and perseverance, with a good 6 year dose of trial and error, to successfully lead Edgard Chaya to produce tiles exactly as his grandfather used to. Using the same traditional ingredients, natural colors and hand motions, what had started out as a hobby, quickly caught the interest of friends and acquaintances, architects and restoration experts alike. Such stories rarely stay secret for very long, and through word of mouth, demand for traditional colored cement tiles picked up. No one ever imagined, that some 60 odd years after the last tiles had come off the press, BlattChaya would start production again.
Thanks to the passion of Edgard Chaya, and his insistence on using the time honored attention to detail through his grandfather’s exact same hand movements, BlattChaya has grown to become a purveyor of traditional colored cement tiles in Lebanon, and indeed, the world. As he had wanted from the very start, he has finally persuaded his daughter Caline and son Karim to join him, not so much so as to return to his garden, but rather to ensure they keep BlattChaya running, and one day pass the secrets on to the next generation. Rumor has it, that local fisherman returning at dawn, have seen the glow of his pipe as he was heading out.