What is Real Mosaic & why is it special?

Mosaic is the harmonious and organic arrangement of various small, imprecise hand cut pieces of stone or glass. Using the same techniques as the Romans nearly 2000 years ago, every piece is rhythmically placed by the hand and eye of each craftsman. Through this ancient and living tradition, the uniquely enduring qualities of mosaic adapt well to a wide range of modern day applications. All the materials are cut and employed in the workshop.

Gaps or negative spaces are as integral to mosaic as silences are to a piece of music. A careful look at any Roman or Byzantine work confirms and reveals the dynamic tension that animates each piece. It is in this quality alone, unlike zellige or tiling, that the idea of mosaic is expressed.

How is Real Mosaic made?

There are two methods; The "indirect method" is used for large floor and wall pieces and made in sections like heavy wallpaper. It is made upside down in the studio and then delivered anywhere in the world for on site installation into cement. The "direct method" is suited to sculptured surfaces, such as fountains, columns and jardinieres. These, as well as mosaic tables, The Squaring of the Circle and other wall pieces are delivered finished.

The "direct method " is used on sculptured surfaces , for example fountains, columns and jardinieres. These items, as well as mosaic tables, the Squaring of the Circle and other wall pieces are delivered finished.

What materials and colours are used?

Mostly marble and stone in natural colours as well as some “faux” marble (Silestone). Among our specialities is mirror and Smalti glass, which has been made in Venice since the Byzantines first lifted Roman mosaics off the floor into the domed celings of churches. This is available in a wide range of colours including twenty varied colours of 24 carat gold glass.

The Studio and The Team?

To make mosaics on this scale Real Mosaic has a studio/workshop in Tangiers. This is where most mosaics are put together from Emma’s drawings by the team of young Moroccans, who have all been trained by Stephen in the techniques of Roman Mosaic over the past nine years, Their hard work, patience and considerable skill ensures delivery of beautiful mosaics.

How is it installed?

A mosaic rug up to approx 1.50m x 1.00m is made, delivered and installed in one section. The piece is created upside-down and turned over into wet cement in the exact space (2.5 -3cms depth) provided by the client. Larger floors made in manageable sections are stitched seamlessly together on site by technicians, Stephen and Sam. The resulting mosaic appears to have been laid by hand in situ piece by piece. Border mosaics, cabochons and small medallions may be easily laid by a good tiler.

How to choose and order a Real Mosaic?

When possible we recommend a visit to Gaucin and Casa Mosaica. Here visitors can see the abundant variety of mosaics on display and also talk with Stephen or Emma. Designs may either be suggested or supplied by a client's architect or designer. A quotation then follows and in some cases sketches and paintings are made.

Visits though are not always necessary;: in 2006 Real Mosaic completed a mosaic for a client in the USA who sent his design by e-mail. The whole design and commission process was completed by e-mail and just one telephone call. The resulting mosaic was then crated and shipped to Georgia, where Stephen and an assistant personally installed the mosaic "Commedia dell'arte" (see special commissions).

How long does it take to make? What does it cost?

Endless man-hours go into every Real Mosaic as it is made entirely by hand. Each tesserae or stone is cut at least six times using a traditional hammer and anvil to form a small cube, it may be cut again to form a triangle or other shape. In one square meter of mosaic there can be 9,000 tesserae cut 6 times each which adds up to 54,000 hammer cuts.

Most mosaics are made to order. There are some finished mosaics on our "In stock page". Please contact us at an early stage of your building project, to co-ordinate timing.

Prices begin at €1,500 per square metre, excluding design, delivery and installation. These may rise depending on complexity and materials.

Please contact us for further information.

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