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Specifying Mosaic for Interior Design

A guide to getting the most from using bespoke mosaic works for Interior Designers.

Mosaic is an extremely versatile and creative medium that offers the designer the power of colour, texture, pattern, story and identity to your palette. This article is a guide for interior designers, architects and design professionals planning on using mosaic in your designs.

So we will look at the seven top questions designers have when considering using mosaic within an interior design scheme:-

  • What is mosaic?
  • What can mosaic bring to benefit my clients?
  • How can I best use mosaic for my interior design scheme?
  • Where do I find the right Mosaic Artist?
  • How do I timetable a mosaic into my schedule and how much might it cost?
  • What information do I need to tell the Mosaic Artist?
  • What can I expect from a mosaic artist?
Black and White Marble Floor
Classical Style – Black and White marble pool mosaic by Gary Drostle

What is mosaic?

Mosaic art has been used for thousands of years to bring unique identity to interiors. It’s origins date back to ancient Mesopotamia and grew as an art form through ancient Greece, reaching great heights during the Roman Empire. Still today we can see amazing examples of the luxury floors that decorated Roman villas across Europe. Other inspiring examples of mosaic art exist in Mesoamerican, Asian and Arab cultures. After the Roman era in Europe mosaic art flourished into the Byzantine period and again in the nineteenth century.

This highly skilled craft of cutting and placing small cubes of glass, marble or ceramic to form an overall design can give you a truly bespoke solution for the most discerning of clients.

What can mosaic bring to benefit my clients?

When fully incorporated into an overall design scheme mosaic offers you a powerful medium to add to your design palette. By using mosaic in your interior design you can add qualities of:–

Colour selection at the glass factory

Beautiful Colours – Whether it’s classic marbles, rich glasses or glazed and unglazed ceramic the mosaic tesserae come in a wide range of colours to suit any design scheme. For the ultimate colour palette consider hand made Venetian Glass Smalti which has a vast colour range including pure golds and silvers.

Smalti laid at angle

Light and Texture – Often overlooked as a quality, light and texture play an important part in mosaic and can be manipulated by the mosaic artist to achieve many effects from the glass like polish of a marble floor to highly textured surfaces of offset and rough hewn tesserae.

Redwood Forest Trail Mosaic photo by Emily Hagopian Photography

Durability and Quality – The origins of mosaic are that of an architectural medium. Mosaics can be constructed for floors and walls, inside and out complying with all the rigours of impact, frost and slip resistance. The skill of the mosaic maker is evident in the resulting detail and quality of the cut and placement of the tesserae.

Pargetting floral border

Pattern – At the core of mosaic making is pattern. Whether it is the simple repetition of the cube or complex patterns of Arabic Geometry.

Fruits de mer mosaic

Story and Identity – In addition to all the material qualities mosaic can deliver it also has the important ability to tell a story or convey an identity in its design. If your client has a particular identity or story they want to convey mosaic can solve that. Telling a story can range from a simple piece of text or a Coat of Arms to pictorial images and thematic references.

How can I incorporate mosaic into my design scheme?

The exciting thing about using bespoke mosaic in your design proposal is it allows you to be completely creative. You can safely use mosaic on the floor, wall, ceiling or even across three dimensional surfaces and sculptural forms. Using mosaic in interior design will increase what you have to offer those clients who are looking for something completely unique.

If you work together with an experienced mosaic artist you can design the mosaic yourself, or simply give an indication and mood board for your mosaic artist to follow. Many mosaic artists will happily draw up two or three variant designs for you and your client to choose from.

Artist Gary Drostle in the studio
Gary Drostle working on a mosaic in the studio using handmade fine Venetian enamel glass plate.

Where do I find the right mosaic artist?

Luckily for you, you have landed here on the site of one of the leading mosaic artists able to undertake large and small scale works from design to fabrication and installation around the world. (you are welcome to contact us here).

Of course there are many other mosaic artists out there each with their own individual style and level of ability. Look around the internet for an artists whose work you like and you think will fit with your project (Instagram and Pinterest are great places to see the variety of work).

A good starting point for searching out other mosaic artists is to look at the National Associations in your country, here are a few of the main ones:-

United Kingdom – The British Association for Modern Mosaic
United States of America – Society of American Mosaic Artists
Germany – Deutsche Organisation Für Mosaïkkunst
International Association – Associazione Internazionale Mosaicisti Contemporanei 

When approaching a new mosaic artist here are a couple of questions you might like to ask:-

  1. Which materials and styles are you experienced working with?
  2. Can you show me some examples of your work at a similar scale and setting?
  3. Does your cost include installation?
  4. Can you deliver my project on the required timetable?
  5. Can you offer design options?
  6. Do you have the required insurance and health and safety procedures?
A porcelain floor mosaic inspired by the textile factory that used to occupy the site.

How do I timetable a mosaic into my schedule and how much might it cost?

Mosaic art is very labour intensive, this means the cost can be high and the timetable long, so early planning will help enormously.

Timetables – Whilst a small panel mosaic can be produced in a matter of weeks, large wall or floor mosaics can take months to complete. The average cycle for a project at Drostle Public Arts is three months but larger works can take much longer. It’s important therefore to contact your mosaic artist at the earliest stage. They can guide you in the expected timetable. Handmade mosaic is steady and slow work, this is what makes it special.

Budgets – Many hours of work and a high level of skill means that mosaic artworks are a high value item and should be treated as such. All hand made craftsmanship makes these works unique and expensive. A typical mosaic budget for Drostle Public Arts will be in the region of GBP 3000.00 per m2 though design complexity, material and location can add to the cost.
Due to the time and costs involved we usually require payment in stages – 50% on contract agreement, 30% on completion of fabrication and 20% after installation.

We are happy to provide budget quotations for your project just contact us here.
Installing th Butterfly Fern Glade panel
Installation of a mosaic panel by Drostle Public Arts, set into specially formed terrazzo for Stanford Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Palo Alto, CA

What information do I need to tell the Mosaic Artist?

The more information you can provide the mosaic maker the better. In order to get started its a good idea to provide the following information:-

  • Dimensions of the proposed work
  • A theme, mood board or written description of what you are looking for.
  • An indication of the area where the mosaic will go including specific (floor, wall, pool, interior or exterior?) and general (area and country?)
View of River of Life Mosaic
View of River of Life Mosaic – Mosaic by Gary Drostle, photo RDGUSA

What can I expect from a mosaic artist?

Looking at your chosen mosaic artists previous work will give you a good indication of the quality of mosaic to expect. Although I, and I am sure most mosaic artists strive to always make the next work better.

You should also expect:-

  • A clear quotation for your project along with an expected timetable
  • Original designs or commissioned designs that have clear copyright approval
  • Fabrication of your mosaic using suitable materials and in an agreed style
  • Installation of your mosaic in a professional manner with due regard to health and safety, the site, any other people on site.

Gary Drostle and Drostle Public Arts

We have been creating unique and bespoke mosaic art for over thirty years. Our experience of creating mosaics large and small means that you can have confidence that your mosaic will be of the highest quality. We believe in working closely with our clients and other design professionals and contractors to ensure that the highest expectations are met and exceeded throughout the commissioning process.


Feel free to give Gary a call to discuss your project requirements: +447719529520
or email him at gary@drostle.com

Drostle Public Arts

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Posted: July 5, 2020

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