Italian Mosaic – Steeped in History, Revered in Modern Times

  “You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” –  Giuseppe Verdi

We’re not sure to whom the famed Italian composer offered this proposal, but he would have been the recipient of a more than equitable deal considering the depth of beauty and culture found in Italy. The architecture alone is timeless, brought to life through a variety of mediums including mosaic tile. 

Dating back to 3000 BC, historians point to pieces of terracotta embedded into columns at a temple in Mesopotamia as the first evidence of mosaic tile. However, it wasn’t until the reign of the Roman Empire (27 BC to 476 AD) that the use of mosaic tile was elevated to an art form.  Early on, craftsmen started to use tesserae (uniform pieces of glass and stone) to create geometric patterns in the floors and on the walls of Roman buildings.  Then over time, their techniques improved and evolved to allow for images of people, animals, plants and objects to be imbedded in the designs  – and so mosaic art was born! 

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The fall of the Roman Empire led to the rise of the Byzantium Empire and the spread of Christianity.  To create impressive mosaic artwork for churches and palaces, artisans created “smalti.” This substance using metal oxides was added to glass to create bold and vibrant colors.  Gold and silver leaf was often pressed between two pieces of glass to provide a brilliant and lustrous finish. 

During the Middle Ages, the popularity of this extravagantly beautiful art form declined throughout Europe given the somber atmosphere,  but, not surprisingly, mosaic art continued to flourish in Italy, especially in Venice. New types of glass such as aventurine, crackle and crystal were created and widely used during the Dark Ages through the Italian Renaissance and beyond.   By the late nineteenth century, mosaic tiles were being exported by Italian glassmakers for use in public buildings throughout the world. During that same period, the ornamental style of Art Noveau was gaining traction, and resulted in the demand for architectural elements using mosaic tile to be incorporated into private homes. The popularity of mosaic tile continues in modern times with the TREND Group serving as a major supplier to the architectural and design communities.

Established in the late nineteenth century,  TREND Group’s charming Orsoni Venezia 1888 Foundry still manufactures mosaic in a centuries-old manner. Renowned for superior quality, Orsoni’s traditional gold leaf Aureo and hand-cut enamel tiles are always in great demand and have been used in flagship projects such as the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Basilica San Marco, Westminster Abbey and the Washington National Cathedral. 

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Today, hand-made mosaic produced at TREND Group’s Orsoni Foundry (as well as glass tile made at our Kadi, India production site) can be found in churches, corporate buildings, government installations, commercial enterprises and private homes worldwide.   Our mosaic tiles are stunning and of the utmost quality, but the professionals who use them are the ones who transform them into creative expressions of beauty beyond compare. 

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To help keep the ancient craft of mosaic art alive, our Orsoni Venezia 1888 Foundry offers Master of Mosaic Workshops for artists, designers, architects and creative types interested in learning the theoretical and practical elements.  Private classes, group classes and school tours are also offered to inspire people from all walks of life. Click on the link for more details, https://www.orsoni.com/the-master-in-mosaic-2019-20/, and return to our homepage to access our collections of mosaic tile.   Each piece is unique and exclusive and it’s easy to create your own custom projects.  If you have any questions, we are just a phone call or click away. Contact the TREND Group by clicking on the link to request information, https://trend-group.com/contact.   We look forward to working with you on your next project.