Square-Shaped Treasures Made of Glass
5 Minute Read
If the only thing you think of is old Venetian art when someone mentions mosaics, you don't know how imaginatively these little glass squares can be used. The tesseras of the Italian glass mosaic producer Bisazza are not only used to equip modern wellness temples, but artists and designers also use these squares for their products and projects.
The Bergamo Airport: The visitor hardly sets one foot on Italian soil without standing on glass parquet. A mosaic map made of countless precious glass stones shows the geographic region of Venetia, the region between the Dolomites and the plain in the Po River between Lake Garda and the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Bisazza is the producer of these colorful glass mosaics from the area of Vicenza and he demonstrates one of the many ways his products can be used by welcoming all new arrivals with this friendly floor map.
Wellness temples and mosaic maps
The company was set up in 1956 and it hails from the Italian art industry where it only manufactured glass mosaics for outdoor walls and floors. It was only in the mid-80's that Bisazza started developing glass mosaics for indoors to constantly expand his expertise and visibility in designing public and private swimming pools, baths and wellness zones. Internationally known hotels such as the Ritz Carlton in Berlin or the Hamburg-based Dorint Hotel had their wellness zones equipped with Bisazza mosaics and even athletic celebrities and stars of the entertainment world love the Italian art of the mosaic. The singer Cher and formula 1 pilot Ralf Schumacher relax on these beautiful glass squares in their private homes. The specialty of this Italian enterprise is working aventurine, an artificial semi-precious stone developed in 17th-century Venice that lends Bisazza's precious "le gemme" tesseras their irresistibly copper color tone. This aventurine is pulverized to a fine dust and added and stirred into the liquid glass mass. That means that you can see every movement of the finished stones mixed with the precious stone compound so that no one stone resembles the other.
Renato Bisazza, who is the founder of the company and a cognoscento of old Venetian mosaics, his children as well as the present owners Piero and Rosella Bisazza had two goals when advancing their company. They wanted to revitalize and preserve the techniques hailing from the old Venetian mosaic tradition while facilitating technological progress. A case in point is the interesting graphic projects that can be launched these days thanks to new techniques they ushered in. An image processing program devised by Bisazza specifically for this purpose enables them to transform any image or photograph into a wall or floor mosaic. The image is decoded by linking each color tone to the mosaic color number. The mosaics are assembled completely manually by allocating each and every stone to its place and assigning them to numbered sheets of paper. You can discover some examples of this unbelievably intricate art of laying stones in public squares as an embodiment of the present-day zeitgeist with feeling for art as was once the church's calling. Several underground stops in London, Naples and Hong Kong are laid out with large-area wall pictures from this Italian producer.
Moroccan mosques and jewelry stars
Of all of the different kinds of mosaics, be they made of ceramics, stone or shells, the glass mosaic is surely the most glittery. That's why it is not surprising that Bisazza has developed his own jewelry collection shortly before the 50th anniversary of the company with his most precious stones, the Oro mosaics (oro means gold). The gold mosaic is still produced today completely by hand according to the old Venetian tradition. Each stone consists of a foil of 24-karat gold (yellow or white) that is melted between two layers of glass and then cut into the square shape by hand. "Astri" (stars) is what the first of 13 models of Bisazza's jewelry collection is called. There are also necklaces, cuff links and rings with these valuable stones set in silver. But "Oro" has been used for higher-profile projects than jewelry. They include a wide variety of domes of mosques and palaces in the Arab world that the glittering glass tiles from Italian workshop adorn.
Bisazza and art
Bisazza has reserved a specific place in his work for promoting art since the time when the Italian designers Piero Dorazio and the mosaic producer Bisazza did their first artistic work together in 1989. His company looks upon the wide variety of work they do with reputable and up-and-coming designers, architects and artists as a way of reviving the traditional craft of producing mosaics while continually reinterpreting the art of the mosaic. They collect all types of objects created in this manner such as furniture, wall and floor designs, bath and pool furnishings in their "Collezione Bisazza", a foundation especially created for this purpose. A prime example is the Dutch designer Marcel Wanders who created a collection of exclusive limited furnishings for the Amsterdam-based Hotel Lute Suite including tables, a wall panel and a sculpture, all of which are completely lined in a flower pattern with Bisazza's glass mosaic. The German architect Jurgen Mayer H. was able to elicit another aspect from the mosaic by coating shapes made of polyurethane foam with these little glass squares for his "soft mosaic collection". He thus created four different seating elements transforming seemingly hard glass into pliable objects. But we shouldn't forget the works of the Italian designer Alessandro Mendini that have made people sit up and take notice in the Casino of Arosa in Switzerland, the Groninger Museum in Holland, the Louisiana Museum in Denmark and several underground stops in the City of Naples.
by Christel Trimborn
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