The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has secured one of the most prestigious contracts in its 36-year history.

The company, based at Alne, near Easingwold, is supplying over 20,000 specially manufactured bricks for a brand-new hotel in the heart of Martigny, one of Switzerland’s most historic towns.

The contract is worth £33,000 and is a resounding endorsement of York Handmade’s decision to invest £1.5m in brand-new machinery earlier this year.

Lo Dze is situated 30 metres from the main square. It consists of two separate buildings around a central courtyard which is open to the public. Above ground it comprises Borsari, a boutique hotel with 51 rooms and the Kitchen 180 (Lo Dze is exactly 180 km away from the very centre of the Roman cities of Lyon, Milan and Zürich), which services the wine bar, restaurant and the café, the courtyard and terraces.

Lo Dze also features vast underground Roman baths, Les Bains Publics, in the space that was formerly Les Caves Orsat, a 19th Century winery.

John Cretton, of QDS Leisure, who are masterminding this project, explained why he chose York Handmade to supply the bricks.

“I was looking for a brick that was handmade with the right colours and the right size. The massive nature of the architecture, one side of the street facade is windowless apart from a half-moon opening on the ground floor, meant that the brick had to be visually strong. Overall, it was a winning combination of colour, form, texture and cost.

John continued: “Martigny was an important Roman town, the last town to the north built by the legionary architects. It had three Roman bath houses. We have built the fourth. Interestingly, pottery and other remains from Roman Britain has been found in Martigny.

He added: “The concept for the hotel was first developed over 10 years ago. Construction began in 2021 and it will officially open this September.”
David Armitage, the chairman of York Handmade, who are now the country’s leading small independent brickmaker, commented: “This is a very prestigious project for us, especially in the context of these challenging economic times. It has been a tremendous boost for our factory and a great honour to contribute to a pioneering and innovative development in such an historic town.

“This is a crucial year for us at York Handmade. We have invested £1.5 million in brand-new machinery which has transformed how we make our bricks. Over the years, we have undertaken significant technological improvements, culminating in this overhaul and renewal of our manufacturing process, which has speeded up production, facilitated two brand-new products and increased efficiency.

“This has proved to be a transformational move, by far the biggest and most significant in our history. Our revolutionary new manufacturing line combine three different types of brick - the Handmade Style, as currently produced, together with Water Struck and Pressed Bricks.

“For this very special project, we are supplying 327x102x50mm Hunsingore Blend bricks, which will be cut into brick slips. They will help to make the new hotel visually stunning and blend in seamlessly with the other historic buildings in the town.”