Antique cement tile floors in a Cambodian cafe

Cambodia’s Antique Patterned Cement Tile Floors

Siem Reap old market area sign The Khmer Rouge may have destroyed much of the population and vitality of Cambodia in the 1970’s but the lovely cement tile floors in the old districts lived through it all.

Siem Reap [siəm riəp] in northwest Cambodia is a town adjacent to the Angkor World Heritage Site, location of the world famous ancient Angkor Wat temple complex. The cafes and shops along the streets in the Siem Reap Old Market district reveal an assortment of colorful cement tile floors in age old patterns.

Cambodian Siem Reap market area
Old Siem Reap market area

Antique cement tile floors in a Cambodian cafe
A swirling hand drawn pattern like this is seldom seen in current cement tile production.
Even hardware stores have classic cement tile flooring like this 3 color pattern.
Antique Cement tile in a cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
This cafe’s antique cement tile pattern with fleur-de-lis and berries is a popular pattern today.
The pattern in this cafe tile is reminiscent of medieval clay encaustic tile in pattern and colors.
Antique cubes cement tile
Antique cubes cement tile in typical popular Cambodian colors

Our quest to explore antique cement tile leads to many surprises. Patterns that were popular a long time ago remain strong sellers today. We love discovering beautiful cement tile installations that are still loved and appreciated in unexpected parts of the world. It seems that while cement tiles were once made commercially in Cambodia, now only one workshop may remain.  Known as Kay Vath’s tile factory in Phnom Penh. The factory and shop is on Russian Boulevard, near Teak Thla market but as the article says, his output is small. Now most new cement tiles are imported into Cambodia but the cheap printed ceramic tiles from China predominate due to the very low cost. Cambodia is in a state of recovery still and has a ways to go.

Our trip to Cambodia and neighboring Vietnam was wonderful and led to many excellent cement tile sightings. We’ll be posting photos of them in the next few weeks.