When I first entered the world of residential mosaics more than 20 years ago, there was color. It was the very start of the millennium, and folks were wild for stones in creams and tans, blues and greens, rusts and golds. Even browns were not frowned upon. The studio floor at New Ravenna was sprinkled with so many multicolored stone scraps it looked like a parade had just passed through. To paraphrase French artist Paul Cèzanne, “we lived in a rainbow of chaos.” But it wasn’t enough for us…so we added jewel glass to our material offering at New Ravenna for some saturated drama. Not only did we now have a beautifully stacked palette…but we knew exactly how to use it. The outcome? Outrageously fabulous mosaics.
But then came the 20-teens, and it was like a reverse Wizard of Oz reveal. Dorothy opened the door and we were back in black and white. Our riotous rainbow of colors gave way to a new aesthetic of all white, gray, and hints of black. Very classy, very subdued, very neutral. And so it remained for a decade or more, with a few adventurous souls ordering a taupe every now and then. What at first was a conscious design choice to swing the pendulum back towards classic and fresh, after a while morphed into a fear of not making too bold a personal statement with your hard surfaces, lest you not be able to sell later down the road.
And so began our mission to remind people of the joy color can bring! We started with little accents of a bright tone or metal in the monochromatic palettes, then slowly added more and more. It was an “if you build it, they will come” campaign; A Field Tile of Dreams. And then, as our giant leap into the unknown, we launched our Glazed Basalto, the most colorful of colorful gem tones. People approved! Not only did they approve, they flocked to the bold hues. Color finally started its seamless glide back into our spaces.
But it was a gradual climb, until…..
The pandemic rolled us all over. Suddenly, everyone was trapped in these homes that were being kept neutral and classic for some unknown potential homeowner in the future, and we all needed a change. Folks want to live in a space they love, and to make their environments personal, unique, and joyful, (or at the very least into something eye catching to Zoom in front of). And just like that, color poured back into the surfaces landscape. Now we can’t walk through the building here without seeing project after project of saturated joy, and our floors once again are covered with the full spectrum of Carnival style rubble. It is glorious to see.
Welcome back, rainbow of chaos! We missed you.