Penrose tile floors

Craft & Design Science
Penrose tile floors
RogerPenroseTileTAMU2010 (Custom).jpg

Sir Roger Penrose, himself, standing on a Penrose tiling at Texas A&M University.

Penrose tilings (Wikipedia), named for British mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who investigated them in the 1970s, are interestingly “aperiodic,” or, simply put, do not repeat themselves no matter how far you extend the pattern. All Penrose tilings are aperiodic, but not all aperiodic tilings are Penrose tilings.

Lots of bright creative folks have installed custom Penrose tile floors. Here’s a selection of a few of my faves from around the web. I couldn’t find anybody selling pre-cut Penrose prototiles, so it looks like anybody who wants to do it themselves has to cut their own. At least until some motivated entrepreneur comes along…

Meredith College (Custom).jpg

The atrium floor at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.

Greg Kuperberg UCDAVIS (Custom).jpg

One of three mathematically curious tiled floors in the home of UC-Davis professor Greg Kuperberg. Note that this floor is actually not a Penrose tiling per se. “Rather,” Dr. Kuperberg writes, “it’s a Penrose-like tiling discovered by Robert Ammann.”

Eric Osman (Custom).jpg

Shower floor by Eric Osman of Portland, OR.

Colin McNamara Boise Idaho (Custom).jpg

Bathroom floor by Alex Feldman of Boise, OH. Photo by Colin McNamara.


Chemistry building floor at the University of Western Australia.

Did I miss a good one? Let me know, below!


10 thoughts on “Penrose tile floors

  1. says:

    This is second-hand (via several forums), but apparently Penrose won’t allow anyone to sell tiles in these shapes without paying licensing fees. Supposedly he sued Kimberly-Clarke because a line of their quilted toilet paper used the tiling pattern (according to the Straight Dope Message Boards).

    I guess he doesn’t mind if you make them yourself judging from the look on his face in the first picture.

    Anyone have a CNC water-jet tile cutter laying around?

  2. Gav says:

    “At least until some motivated entrepreneur comes along…”
    The penrose tiles are pretty cool, but I’d wager that the reason why you can’t find them easily in products is that Penrose has sued people in the past for including them in (of all things) toilet paper:

    Think I’ll go lasercut some tiles and enjoy acrylic rebellion… :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    This will ensure that the Bolton community that we service can have
    peace of mind knowing that they can count on us for any roofing job.
    Roofers Bolton

  4. Timothy Kukulski says:

    here’s the best one I’ve seen:

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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