Courtyards, parlors, ballrooms and shops in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo, are all floored with incredible tiles. Some are contemporary designs and installations, but I prefer the older weathered tiles that can be seen on the floors of interior porticos of the once opulent, now ramshackle residences. Walking through the streets, I stopped and took a photo of any of the tiles that I could see. Casco itself is on an isthmus beyond the south outlet of the canal. The streets are a mix of pavement, brick and cement. The buildings are in various states of beautiful restoration and hollow, fire-scorched decay and neglect. There is a primal energy and alertness in that part of the city. Police are stationed on nearly every corner, overseeing gaggles of foreign tourists, expat entrepreneurs, drunks, hookers, trannies and squatters. Windblown seeds have lodged themselves in mouldering concrete, and grown into trees and shrubs on old rooflines and balconies. Music, played on huge speakers, blares out of open doorways. Often the residents inside sit under the cool blue light of a single flourescent bulb, watching television through the din.
Found this great little video on how the tiles were made, and just had my mind blown that the company that creates these tiles now is based right here in LA.