Mosaic Tile Feature Wall

July 11, 2011 — 9 Comments

Sometimes called the ‘mosaic city’, Ravenna, Italy  is renown for the beautiful 5th and 6th century mosaics that adorn the walls of its churches and monuments. Fast forward some 1500 years or so and that’s where this story begins.

Italian mosaic artist Anna Fietta was born in Ravenna and has been surrounded by mosaic art most of her life. She studied Antique History at the Universita di Bologna with an archaeological specialization, and then spent the first decade out of school restoring many archaeological collections around Italy. In 1998, Anna came back home to Ravenna, started her family, and she decided that she wanted to change the direction of her work and settle down. After noticing that there weren’t any modern mosaic studio’s in Ravenna, Anna decided to make that the focus of her work.

Anna’s grandfather’s share an antique shop and through it she started selling very small objects decorated with mosaic tiles, tiles that she had purchased from the local mosaic school students. She soon experienced great success and started to create and sell her own collection of glass tiles, along with the materials one would need to create their own mosaics. In 2009, Anna won a public competition to create mosaic street signs for 21 identified streets of importance in the City of Ravenna (there are now 24), which in a city known for their mosaics, was significant.

I have come to know Anna and her work because the clients we have for the modern infill project discovered Anna and her work while traveling and decided that they wanted to find a place in their new home for her work. There are three locations in our project that will have large installations of Anna’s work – the master bathroom, the fireplace surround in the Great room, and one at the Roof terrace. The mosaic below is a sample we just received for one of those installations.


Sample of hand cut Mosaic Wall

This sample is 18″ x 14″ in size, it’s only a small portion of the entire installation, and was sent in for general approval. It is titled ‘Starry Night’ and is mostly blue in color – but you can see from the sample that there will be many other colors mixed in. The silver/gold orb to the upper right, and the white/silver orb to the bottom left, have a 3-dimensional quality to them and actually protrude out from the surface of the wall. The location for this mosaic is going to be on the observation level of the roof terrace and will be somewhat visible from the street level.


Mosaic Wall - Tile in Context

I generated this quick graphic to help convey the overall size of the sample versus the finished product although the location I put the sample isn’t necessarily where it will reside. The roof terrace location is actually the smallest of the three mosaic’s that Anna is doing for us and it will take three months to get it finished. The finished product will be approximately 5′ tall by 11′ wide.


Modern House Deck Mosaic

This is another contextual shot showing the location of the finished product – I have indicated the final location as a white plane and you can see the rectangle of the sample in place. The manner in which these mosaics will come to us is in much larger numbered panels. Originally Anna was going to come from Italy and install these herself but the timing couldn’t be worked out quite right. As a result, she will send the panels over, numbered and sequenced, and the contractor will install them. To help mask the location of the seams, Anna will come over in early 2012 and hand-stitch pieces of tile into place to bring the entire mosaic to completion.

We are all very excited to see the finished product and think that the organic patterns and vibrant colors of the work will set off magnificently with the architecture of the home. I have had a lot of fun with the correspondence between Anna and myself – her English is very good but I still make occasional use of Google translator when sending her emails and drawings.

Getting the opportunity to hire an artist to make a piece for any home is always special; having three of these pieces in a single project is an embarrassment of riches. You can be sure that I will come back and give you an update as these mosaic pieces come to life in their new home.




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  • That is an impressive and beautiful sample. That will be quite the home. I might want to move in. And who is that man lurking on the deck in your graphic? Is he going to steal the sample? Keep an eye on him. Why are you using the translator – are you learning English?

  • Andrew Boimila

    I have never been a huge fan of mosaic tile. Possibly because all I can see are those ugly nativity scenes behind most cook tops. However I really like “Starry Night” and think that the deep blues are a nice contrast to the exterior, while at the same time tying it together with the whites and silvers. 

    Nice work!

  • Stephen Lin

    That looks great, Bob! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    • Thanks Stephen – as soon as some of the panels start arriving from Italy, I put up some more images. I expect that to happen sometime in October.

    • Thanks Stephen – as soon as some of the panels start arriving from Italy, I put up some more images. I expect that to happen sometime in October.

  • lisa league

    Hi Bob, this is great,  I look forward to seeing the progress on the this project.

    • Thanks Lisa! I can’t convey how nice the sample we received looks – the picture doesn’t do it proper justice. I know there will be at least 2 other posts featuring the other mosaic  locations on this project. The sheer size of them alone is very powerful but what the sample can’t convey is that the amount of effort and skill that goes into making something like this.

      They are simply amazing.