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The History of Mosaics and Their Contribution to Architecture

The Benefits of using marble mosaics and their Applications in modern architecture

What are mosaics?

The use of mosaics was considered fashionable in the urban environment of the 1960s and 1970s. This image may seem retro today, but we will see how it hides behind centuries of history.

This style consists of materials (stones, marbles, tiles, etc.) arranged next to each other, sometimes in their natural color and sometimes processed, and placed on a broad surface. When these materials form a particular visage or landscape, they are defined as mosaics, a form of almost perpetual technological decoration with a history of 4,000 years.

Capturing landscapes, visages and even iconographies, requires special skill in processing and installation, making mosaics a demanding field, requiring exceptional techniques. The interior spaces of ancient Greek buildings, Christian churches, etc., have been decorated with mosaics.

During the first decade of 2000, the use of mosaics was avoided since they were considered as outdated aesthetics. In the last few years, however, they have dynamically returned, reviving more and more imaginative applications on walls, in kitchens, bathrooms and exterior spaces.

The history of mosaics and their contribution to architecture

History wants this art style to have been born in ancient Greece, while some argue that its true origin is from the Middle East 9,000 years ago. The creation and development of the technique is, in fact, attributed to several ancient civilizations. The only sure and universal claim is that it has been progressively exploited by everyone, hence, turning the technique into an art form.

The main reason for the use of mosaics was due to their particularly increased durability, a characteristic of the utmost importance of that period. Despite this, the structural specifications of the technique were not the only ones that influenced its continuous exploitation over the centuries. Over time, the technique became an art. In antiquity we find a significant artistic trend developing in both Venice and Greece, and in Lebanon, as well.

Of course, decorating with mosaics continued even after the Roman Empire in Christian-Byzantine architecture, as well as in Indian. Roman mosaics are considered to be the best examples of the art. The craftsmen of that period improved the application processes on walls and floors, thus upgrading the commercial value of the edifice.

Nowadays, we experience the revival of the technique with many architects and decorators from all over the world applying it, as presented below, on floors, in bathrooms, kitchens, but also to other decorative objects, even in the construction of furniture.

What are the basic mosaics materials?

Mosaics are the result of a multilevel processing of different materials and treatments.

In order to construct a mosaic, it takes imagination in the combination of materials that will be utilized, so as to upgrade the space in which it will be integrated. The practical application, so far, has succeeded in outlining five (5) expanded distinct categories of mosaics:

  • From small and large marble fragments to large or small surfaces that require long-lasting durability. Marble, due to its natural beauty, remains one of the most popular choices since it upgrades the spaces in which it is placed, while, at the same time, having a particularly long life span.
  • From small stones either in their natural color or painted. Technique for creating mosaics;
    From clay, combined with other elements, at extremely high temperatures, from which ceramic or porcelain mosaics are created;
  • From clay, combined with other elements, at extremely high temperatures, from which ceramic or porcelain mosaics are created;
  • From pieces of glass which enrich objects, mainly in interiors, e.g., small tables;
  • From wood (parquet), one of the most popular applications of the 60s and 70s in the apartments in urban districts of Greece.

The applications of marble mosaics in modern architecture

The use of mosaics is traditionally a highly creative field for architects and decorators, since the possibilities are so many, with inspiration that stems from the application of the technique over the centuries.

According to an unwritten rule, all fashion trends are getting recycled. In recent years, of course, the trend has come back at a particularly dynamic pace, since the newest style of interior decoration favors the combination of natural and artificial elements. The main goal is to achieve the perfect combination of material within the entire space, offering harmony through the use of the different materials and textures.

When we refer to a combination of natural and artificial materials, the most common choices are those centered on marble. After all, every design project is unique, just like marble itself. Marble has proven to be a material that meets the specifications of designers, architects and decorators, which is why they adopt and propose marble mosaics in many of their projects.

With the help of technology, the production processes of marble mosaics now allow the manufacture of many different geometric designs and in many different dimensions. This gives each designer the ability to incorporate marble mosaics into every decorative style, such as classic, modern, minimalist, industrial, etc.

More specifically, marble mosaics can be found in outdoor and indoor environments, such as shopping malls, hotel lobbies, offices, homes and even furniture. In particular, marble mosaics are applied as wall coverings, in bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, stairs, etc.

The advantages of using marble mosaics

Once a marble mosaic is installed in any space, be it a kitchen, bathroom, wall, etc., it immediately adds a significant aesthetic value. It is a visual interruption that reflects the style of the work, sometimes minimalist and industrial design, while other times colorful and rich. The main advantage of mosaic marble is that it can easily change the atmosphere of the space, offering a feeling of uniqueness and vivacity.

The additional advantages of marble mosaics are naturally associated with the marble material itself. We can therefore reasonably see a number of advantages:

  1. They change the atmosphere of the space
    Nothing compares to the aesthetic of natural materials. In the case of marble mosaics, the unbelievably wide variety of designs, colors, dimensions and treatments, but also the pure radiance that marble exhibits as a material, offers an undeniable beauty, changing and bringing to life the space in which it is installed, thanks to their uniqueness.
  2. They enrich the decor & give visual interest
    Marble mosaics also have the ability to combine with other materials that will show off their characteristics and offer an extremely rich adornment in whatever space they are used.
    Marble mosaics are the element that every designer can use to harmoniously unite decorative elements, enlarge, reduce, enliven or calm a space, adding elegance to the overall appearance of the work, but also unique visual interest.
  3. They have durability & long life
    One of the main characteristics of marble mosaics is their exceptional durability and therefore, their long lifespan. This comes from the very nature of the material, which, depending on the type of marble to be selected and its application, successfully meets the requirements of each application.
  4. Satisfy every design requirement
    The use of high technology in the production of marble mosaics, allows marble suppliers to be flexible and create any shape and design, in any dimension, with one or more combination of materials. The limits for the application of marble mosaics that previously existed have since been exceeded and marble mosaics can now be applied anywhere, meeting the requirements and specifications of each project.
  5. They reflect light
    One of the reasons why many people choose marble mosaics and especially light-colored ones is the natural property of marble to reflect light. The reflective property of marble, as a material, offers a sense of spaciousness and makes indoor spaces look brighter.
  6. They are extremely insulating materials
    Depending on the size of the surface they may cover, marble mosaics can act as highly insulating materials. They manage to remain cool, even under direct sunlight, during the summer, while maintaining the temperature during the winter.
  7. They are environmentally friendly
    Marble mosaics are environmentally friendly, precisely because they come from the environment itself. This is why, as nature’s materials, they differ considerably from other industrial materials that may contain harmful substances.
  8. They add value to the space
    Marble mosaics add value to whatever space they are placed in. This is due both to the value that the marble material adds on its own, as well as to the significant value that mosaics add. Since their historical origins, mosaics have adapted to modern times and largely reflect the personality and character of the space or its owners.

Marble Mosaics in SGI

Stone Group International has the ability to employ an innumerable amount of projects in accordance to the specifications set by each client. Our many years of experience in mining and processing of quarry materials can meet a wide range of technical and aesthetic requirements.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that, tiles and mosaics became a strategic focus and one of our core business activity. Thus, we expanded our annual production by adding two production lines and by opening a brand new factory focused on marble tiles and mosaics.

Browse our tiles and mosaics and find out about our annual production capacity, adapted production capabilities, hi tech industrial equipment, but also the global innovations that we have included in our daily lives.

For more information and plans, browse our catalog.