RESOURCES

Innovation in Bricks for Sustainable Building 

a brick house using look a like recycled bricks with a pool in the foreground of the image. The bricks are called Maclaren bricks and they are from Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers and they have a mixture of brown, red, blue, white bricks
Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers are crafted with a mixture of tradition, Innovation and sustainability.

The Legacy of Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers

Nestled in the heart of Littlehampton, South Australia, the story of Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers is one of heritage, innovation, and a commitment to sustainable craftsmanship. Established in 1892, this family-owned business spans over a century, a testament to their unwavering dedication to producing top-quality bricks and pavers. What sets Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers apart is the exceptional products they create and the intricate blend of tradition, sustainable practices, and forward-thinking that shapes their journey.

A glimpse into the past of the brick industry

With a rich history spanning more than three generations, Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers has evolved from its origins in firebrick production to become a distinguished boutique brick manufacturer of premium clay bricks and pavers. With over 130 years of history, this longevity echoes in the timeless quality of their products, offering architects, landscape architects, and building designers the foundation to create structures that stand the test of time.

As with Littlehampton Brick and Pavers, the brick industry has changed over time. Even the number of brickworks still manufacturing bricks has changed. “To give you an idea, there were 100 or so brickworks in Australia in 1980, now that’s been peeled back to maybe only 15”, says Renato Novi, Marketing and Operations Manager at Littlehampton. To stay alive in the industry requires an ability to continually innovate and stay abreast of processes, designs and sustainability measures from around the world, not just within Australia. 

The artisanal process of brickmaking

At the heart of Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers production lies the age-old process of creating bricks and pavers. In a world where large-scale manufacturing often dominates, Littlehampton stands apart with its batch kiln production. “We still make our bricks and pavers using a batch kiln,” reveals National Sales Manager, Wayne Hunter, “The beauty of a batch kiln is its flexibility. We can make new products, continue to make old products or we can design new stuff”. This traditional approach offers them unparalleled flexibility and agility to innovate, allowing for the creation of unique products and bespoke textures.

stairs of concrete leading up to a brick wall of cream and tan bricks on the right and a corridor on the left with a garden around it
Blush Bricks

Sculpting excellence amongst brickmaking peers

The art of brickmaking at Littlehampton remains an intricate process, a blend of tradition and innovation. “Making a clay product is almost like baking an artisan loaf of bread,” explains Wayne. The ingredients are carefully sourced from exceptional clays and shales that come together in a state-of-the-art mixer, and the resulting mixture is extruded into clay logs that are cut and shaped into bricks and pavers.

If the quality is not in the ingredients the outcome of the product is substandard. We rely on making the best quality product that we can make. Our size and the quality of the local materials we have access to allow us to do this. And that might not always be the cheapest product in the market but it is the best” says Wayne.

Designing dreams with boutique bricks

Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers isn’t just a manufacturer of bricks and pavers; it’s a collaborator in architectural visions. Their bespoke textures, colours, and finishes have garnered a reputation that architects and designers embrace. “We’re known as a first choice for architects and designers due to the unique range of products and ability to customise colours, styles, and crafting special shapes for projects,” says Mark. This empowers architects to turn their concepts into tangible realities.

 

Sustainability: Creating a sustainable building product of the future

Central to Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers’ ethos is a steadfast commitment to environmental responsibility. But it’s not just a claim; it’s a practice deeply woven into their processes. As a 100% Australian family-owned company, making 100% Australian-made products, Littlehampton knows it has a responsibility to meet the expectations of sustainability that its buyers demand.

Recycled and refined oil to fuel kilns

The company uses recycled waste oil, refining discarded resources like cooking oil to fire their kilns. “We use only recycled oil to fire our kilns,” Wayne reveals. This approach not only reduces waste but also mitigates the need for fossil fuels..

Harnessing the Australian sun with solar panels to run their plant

Solar energy also finds its place in their sustainable journey. Since 2017 Littlehampton has been investing in renewable energy to run its brickworks plant. The company utilises solar energy to power its factory, contributing to a cleaner and greener production process. “Today we have over 300 solar panels on our roof to power our day-to-day manufacturing plant” asserts Wayne.

Little to no waste of products

Intriguingly, their sustainability extends beyond energy sources. “We don’t waste anything in the production of our bricks and pavers,” says Wayne. Any off-cuts during production are re-crushed and recycled to create new products, ensuring minimal waste in their operations.

The hand-grading system ensures that only the highest quality bricks and pavers are selected for use. Anything not selected as first class quality is labelled as seconds and sold accordingly. This ensures clients get a quality product consistent in size, and waste is minimised.

Longevity of the lifecycle of clay bricks and pavers

The lifecycle of Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers is determined by history. Clay products of ancient times are still being uncovered today, some 2000 years later. Hard-fired quality clay bricks and pavers have been designed to stand the test of time. They will withstand hundreds of years of wear and tear without sacrificing their colour or texture – meaning the carbon footprint over their lifetime is incredibly low.

Locally sourced and locally made

Many architects and designers are looking for building products in Australia with a European look. Importing these products leave oversized carbon footprints to reach the Australian market.

Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers are 100% produced in Australia, using only the best minerals and clays local to them.

a modern house with a protruding window over a pool. Houseis built with bricks that are creamy tan colour and called Light Earth by Littlehampton Bricks
Light Earth Bricks - Littlehampton Bricks

Forging Ahead

As Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers tread into the future, their commitment to sustainability and design innovation remains unshaken. With an agility that stems from their boutique nature, they continue to adapt and thrive. Collaborations with architects and designers breathe life into new products like the “Blush” brick, a testament to their ongoing evolution.

Due to the roots of Littlehampton being over a century old, they have always been involved in the creation of heritage bricks and special shapes. Heritage architects rely on Littlehampton to replicate many of the profiles featured in external walls and fences of heritage homes and buildings in Australia. These profile shapes give architects, landscape architects and designers more confidence to move forward with projects that may need these special shapes.

A Lasting Impression with Natural Clay

Beyond craftsmanship and sustainability, Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers leave an indelible mark on projects large and small. Their bricks and pavers grace landmarks such as Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney and Disneyland in Shanghai, China. The durability of their products, resistance to colour fading, and adaptability to diverse architectural styles position them as a cornerstone for both small and large-scale projects.

Innovation at Littlehampton has led to many new designs. Recently their glazed brick range hit the market and has been widely accepted amongst builders and designers, especially for feature walls that have structural integrity.

 

Another new range from Littlehampton is the long brick, Milan range. This European-style brick is 320mm in length by 50mm high and has been researched and developed at Littlehampton to ensure the highest level of quality. This level of quality extends to match what the rest of the world is also creating. “We are never really looking at what is happening in Australia, we are always looking to what is the best in the world and how we can create something better,” says Renato

Littlehampton is passionate about constantly evolving and innovating new ideas. “The trends in brick design are led by the architectural community, but we like to keep an eye on what’s happening worldwide and try to start new trends here in Australia, we have great resources and some of the best clays in the world so we will just keep coming up with new ideas” adds Renato.

The “long brick look” has undeniably been a trend amongst architects and designers in Australia for several years now. Make no mistake, these bricks have been through rigorous research and design phases ensuring they are super straight and as lightweight as possible. Littlehampton wanted to craft a long brick, here in Australia for several reasons. These included:

 

       Improve the affordability of building with Long Bricks. Using Australian-made bricks will always be a more affordable and sustainable solution than importing from Europe.

 

      To reflect popular colours used in Australia. The 4 released Milan Long Bricks come in subtle, warm shades of grey, reminiscent of the colours of our Australian Gums. Luna Grey gives off bright tones similar to our Scribbly Gum Trees. The Naked Grey Long Brick shares the properties of the Grey Gum with its slight bands of blended darker grey. Blue Grey obviously shares its characteristics with the popular Blue Gum Eucalyptus with its blueish-grey-coloured tones. And the Shadow Grey Long Brick has darker tones and textures similar to the Flowering Red Gum.

 

      To give Australian architects, designers and landscape architects the freedom to design projects that match what the rest of the world is achieving, in our own backyard.

A modern house with a pool out the front. Glass bifold doors leading out to the pool and the house is made from light coloured bricks
New Ash Bricks - Littlehampton Bricks

Crafting Timeless Narratives with Bricks

In the labyrinth of architectural ingenuity, Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers have not only shaped grand designs but their bricks and pavers are the silent storytellers in the tapestry of construction. Their journey, rooted in history, fueled by sustainability, and adorned with innovation, continues to pave the way for structures that stand the test of time, bearing witness to a family legacy devoted to excellence and environmental consciousness.

 

MD Brick is the NSW distributor of Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers. If you would like to know more about these boutique bricks and pavers please contact us at 1300 884 363 or email us at sales@mdbrick.com.au

You can download the Littlehampton Bricks and Pavers brochures here.