30 August 2010

A custom mosaic of my very own, courtesy of Trend USA

Trend USA, an Italian mosaic producer with offices around the world, announced a new process for making mosaics recently. It's something they're calling an elaboration, and to achieve it they use proprietary CAD-based software to assign colors and patterns to replicate in mosaic form photos, fabrics or other works of art.

Sometimes it's easier to show than to explain. So here's an image of a fabric.


And here's its elaboration as a Trend USA mosaic.


It's been assigned a different color way of course, but notice too that it's made with cut mosaic pieces. That's an ancient process for achieving rounded shapes called tessellatum tesserae. The same proces is sometimes called a cut mosaic. In addition to tessellatum tesserae, Trend USA's new process can be used to create mosaics using whole 3/8", 5/8" and 3/4" mosaic tiles as well.

In the example below, there's a photo in the top right corner. Below it are the full image of the photo as a mosaic created in 5/8" tiles and then there's a detail of the mosaic. I'm uploading these photos today in high resolution. Click on them and you'll see the detail. It's a small price to pay for the slower loading times.


Trend USA asked me to submit a photograph of my own to use as an example of this process. Trend USA is represented by a friend of mine and she's well aware of my near obsession with Fibonacci Sequences and she suggested that I submit an artistic example of one to use for my custom mosaic.

My favorite video of the last year is Nature by Numbers, a short film by Cristóbal Vila that uses three examples of natural geometry.





I have a still from Vila's film and so I sent this image to Samara Gould, Trend's Artistic Design Consultant. I wanted to test this new process, so I picked an image specifically because I thought it would be a challenge. The transparent wings alone would make me sweat if I were Samara. She accepted my image without hesitation. In fact, she was excited to give it a go.


I told her that I would love to see that dragonfly elaborated as a mosaic in a size somewhere around 10 feet wide by five feet tall.

Samara used 3/8" tiles and by using that smaller size, she created a mosaic that would be readable from four feet away. That's pretty good for something this large.



If I were to buy this dragonfly mosaic, it would come to me in sheets 28 tiles wide by 28 tiles tall and all my installer would have to do is take the sheets out of a box and attach them to my wall. That's pretty slick.

In addition to Trend USA's new custom program, they have pioneered the use of recycled glass in glass tile and their products have recycled content percentages that range from 55% to 78%. You can read more about the company and their commitment to sustainable practices on their website here.

I've seen many custom mosaic services that use a computer to assign colors and patterns before, but I've never seen one that results in this level of detail and clarity. A process such as this is yet another reason to keep an eye on Trend USA and Trend Worldwide. Thank you Samara and thank you Trend.

29 comments:

  1. Thank Brian, I can't wait to use this process for real.

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  2. Thank you so much! It was a pleasure working with you and I hope to create more elaborations for you in the near future!

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  3. As it turns out I am going through this same process myself at the moment with Trend - seems like I am always riding your coat tails Paul.

    I have done this art-to-mosaic-tile process one time before so it will be interesting to see how the process differs.

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  4. Thanks for all of your help with this project Samara, it looks terrific and I am beyond impressed with your process.

    Bob: Meet Samara, the comment above yours. She's the creative engine of this process. Now I want to see what you have going on Bob.

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  5. Beautiful! This is a great example of technology improving on historical technique. I don't think it happens very often.

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  6. Something about making a mosaic interpretation of a dragonfly's eye seems so appropriate... the tiny repetitions fitted tightly into a matrix of sight. The metaphor repeats itself in the viewer's retina - reality mirrored. Which one is the truth?

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  7. Pam: Oh it happens all the time. I don't care if I never hand draw a perspective for the rest of my life!

    Rich: That is a good point to ponder. The truth is in the eyes of the one who sees. In this case I mean that literally.

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  8. That's is just incredible. Imagine the neat things one could mosaic-ize! You know some kook's going to want you to do a photo of their dog for the backsplash in their faux Tuscan-style kitchen.

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  9. Better their dog than their "pet" chickens.

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  10. I'm really surprised that you didn't use a picture of those big yellow spiders you love so much!

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  11. I was so distracted by JoAnn's mention of Fibonacci Sequences that it never occurred to me. That would make a terrific mosaic. Besides, I have a spider story for later on this week.

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  12. Paul, only you can tell me stories about spiders and show pictures of them without me getting creeped the fuck out over them. I don't know how you do it, but it's awesome. :)

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  13. Thanks! This next one is a personal tale of pathos and high adventure. I may succeed in creeping you out this time.

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  14. Eric Harrington30 August, 2010 15:38

    I recently had a custom mosaic made for one of my interiors using pretty much the same process. I went with a Boston company called Artaic. They were great to work with and incredibly fast.

    What sort of lead time are we looking at for the Trend mosaic?

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  15. Eric Harrington30 August, 2010 15:40

    Oh Yeah, If interested, you can check out Artaic here:

    www.artaic.com

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  16. That is wicked cool!
    (My New England roots are showing.)
    Kathy

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  17. Very cool! I love the challenge image you selected to test Trend USA's prowess in translating an image to a mosaic design. I'm impressed.

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  18. Hi Eric, The lead time depends on the intricacy of the design, but for something like the dragonfly, which is 10'x5' in 3/8" tile, it would take 6 to 8 weeks from when the order is placed. If we were to use a larger tile, such as 5/8” or 3/4” the lead time would be shorter, 3-5 weeks.

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  19. Very cool, I'm ever so impressed! Thanks for sharing that one Paul

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  20. If I were a little closer I'd consider the chicken mosaic :-)

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  21. Eric: Thanks for the heads up.

    Kathy: New England roots are perfectly OK around here any time.

    Bill: I think Trend needs somebody in LA to show this process tot he fine folks on the west coast...

    V: Has JoAnn talked to you about this for Modenus?

    Chookie: Keep those birds on your side of the world please!

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  22. What a great choice, Paul! That would look amazing in a solarium or conservatory.

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  23. I want it in my bathroom. But I have a bug thing.

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  24. Extremely impressive process.
    Thanks for the introduction to it. -Brenda-

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  25. I want to have one done for real now...

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  26. "Bill: I think Trend needs somebody in LA to show this process tot he fine folks on the west coast..."

    We work with designers/customers throughout North America. Send me your contact info and I will direct our LA Sales rep your way!

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  27. Samara: Bill is THE tile source in the 90210.

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  28. Such a wonderful testament to tile, technology and your creative vision, Paul. Thank you for sharing what you learned and your complete delight with the process.....

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