Joel Cánovas uses Instagram to document his passion for rescuing discarded tiles as part of his one-man mission to salvage a century of Catalan heritage

Joel Cánovas was sipping a beer on a patio in Barcelona when a piece of rubbish caught his eye. A section of hydraulic cement tile – the once-ubiquitous flooring material used in homes around the city for a century or so from the mid-1800s – had been discarded during a home renovation.

Cánovas picked up the tile, and a passion was born. Spotting tiles in dumpsters throughout Barcelona, Cánovas soon began to document his discoveries on Instagram as The Tile Hunter (@i_rescue_tiles).

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