Until recently, mosaic floor and wall designs gained popularity through the return of natural stone. Marble, a relatively softer stone and famous for its stunning luxurious beauty is commonly used for flooring, walls and countertops. Marble is easier to carve than quartzite or granite, and has had a long, rich, cultural significance in our history. Because marble requires quarrying, transporting and fabricating, it has maintained an enduring reputation of elegance and luxury.
Mosaics originated as an ancient artform of putting together small, uniform shapes of pebbles, shells, stones, glass or metal, called “tesserae.” These uniform shapes were meticulously placed together to form patterns or designs and used for decorating floors or walls.
A mosaic was one of the more powerful ways to decorate, as they instantly become the central focal point for a space. Purists know that mosaics are artistic expressions made by ingenious hands and creative minds, but also take time to install. Mosaics have had a significant stylistic, religious, and cultural aspect, and has played an important role throughout human existence, as they have appeared across all cultures.
Mosaic art didn’t make much of an impact in western design until the turn of the century when they began to appear in public and government institutions. At this time, mosaic designs proliferated as pool and bathroom décor trim, floor medallions or as kitchen backsplashes. Still, the popularity that mosaic art once had had lost its original luster. In addition, mosaic tile manufacturing turned to machines that mass produced small cubes or squares of glass and ceramic tile, with little coming from natural stone. Nonetheless, mosaic tiles were less hand-made artistry and more machine-made geometric and art deco patterns.
In addition, marble makes for the perfect medium for hard surfaces. Traditionally, homes favored dimensional tile in 12” x 12” formats, but as designs and trends evolve, interior designers began to incorporate a variety of tile dimensions into flooring and wall designs. It was believed that larger dimensional formats of 12” x 24,” 24” x 48” or 48” x 60” give the illusion of larger space. Marble, also, has been used in shower pans in smaller, dimensional patterns, 1” x 1” or 2” x 2”.
Today’s Interior Designers, however, are seeing the floor as a large piece of canvas and moving away from dimensional field tiles. They love how marble compliments home décor and are now favoring the innovative and abstract designs of marble mosaic tile. Unlike mosaic art, marble mosaic tiles have moved beyond cubes and dimensional shapes to included more soothing artistic shapes. These mosaic tile sheets are then applied together to form a larger, pre-shaped pattern for quick and easy installation. The result is an elegant, mosaic tile suited for flooring or focal walls, and is replacing dimensional tile designs. Thus, a new category for hard surface material has been created. Marble mosaic tiles bring back a more personal and elegant design that appeals to those who seek a unique and personal environment.