An Assemblage

A mosaic is merely an assemblage of tiny elements or small pieces that together form a complete and unified whole image. Normally, these small pieces are made of stones, marble, mirror, glass, and shells, but can be done with any materials (e.g.photographs, bottle caps, bubblegum). According to Wikipedia (and a few matching citations) –  “The earliest known examples of mosaics made of different materials were found at a temple building in Abra, Mesopotamia, and are dated to the second half of 3rd millennium BC.”

(A modern take on mosaics in a Harlequin Patterned wall. The use of only a few silver, white, and grey tones allows this luxe space to still feel minimal. Bisazza Mosaic in Chester White.)

In fact, mosaic tiling has been around for so many thousands of years that an entire nomenclature has been able to develop! The materials and small bits used to create the image are refereed to as Tessera (plural: tesserae) and can sometimes be called an abaciscus (plural abacisci) or abaculus. The original etymology of the terms comes from the Greek and Latin words for “boards”, “cube”, “die”, and “four” – most likely because antique mosaics were only constructed of square components.  There are even specific ways to place tiles – horizontally aligned (Opus regulatum) , in a geometric shape (Opus sec tile), in extremely small patterns usually for jewelry (Micromosaic), grid (Opus regulatum), vertical rows (Opus tessellatum), and finally “crazy pacing” (Opus palladium).

Enough academia! Enough antiquated Latin! The reason mosaics have such specific terminology and such an enduring quality are because of their everlasting beauty! They can show images of ANYTHING and thus can stylistically evolve as easily as an artist can manipulate his/her paints. 

(This yellow damask pattern, midcentury chair, lush carpeting, and ornate chandelier allow this room to transcend any one time period or style while still feeling lighthearted. Bisazza Damasco Oro Giallo)

Mosaics are not relegated to any one particular country but instead have been found in several continents, throughout multiple religions, and spanning decades and cultures (Persian, Christian, Byzantine, Jewish, Arabic, Islamic, Persian, Brazilian, North African, Albanian, Greek, Italian, Roman, Baroque, European – they literally come in countless versions and styles). In a way, mosaics are a peace pipe extended to all cultures – something most peoples share.

“Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at end.” – Alice Paul

(No your screen is not pixelated! This image is not blurry! Those are mosaic tiles! Silhouette Mosaic by Bisazza.)

(Floral meets geometric is unexpected! Morris Oro Giallo Mosaic Design by Bisazza.)

(Most mosaics are designed by architect, artists, and mosaic pioneer – Carlo Dal. Bianco)

(From the Bisazza Design Studio , clouds – comes in two separate patterns.)

(Bisazza floral mosaic)

(Since the mosaic pattern itself is usually extremely colorful, it is probably best to stick to solid furniture and accents. Mosaic Decoration: Morris Oro Giallo by Bisazza)

Bisazza is one of the most authoritative luxury design brands, and a world leader in the production of glass mosaics for the decoration of interiors and exteriors. They have even won an Elle Decoration International Design award for their amazing designs. Bisazza flagship stores are located in the main capitals of design: Barcelona, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Antwerp, Tokyo, and Chicago. I first discovered this store quite by happenstance while I was walking around lost in Milan. It was raining, the streets all blended into a brown color, and the stone buildings were all monotonous. Then, all of a sudden, AHA! Through glass window displays I viewed bright reds, mosaic sculptures of trapeze artists, patterned walls, and shimmering mirrors. It piqued my interest from the street level, and continues to do so via the Internet. They believe in the future of contemporary art and mosaics so much that they even set up a foundation to display and collect latest forms! Buono! Bello!

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a User Experience Designer at Berya LLC. In her spare time she can be found soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in Philly with her cat, Cagney, partner, Michael, and son, Josiah.