custom mosaic

custom mosaic

An interesting medium, mosaic tiles offer a varied range of designs, shapes, colors and textures making it an excellent choice to underscore almost any feature of design…in great detail! This commentary segment takes us on a visual journey into the art of mosaics, from concept to reality!

Imagine for a moment that you are mulling over the thought of incorporating mosaic tiles into the design of your new swimming pool or spa. I’m quite sure I can guess what you envisioned when you thought of the words mosaic tiles! It’s not uncommon for most to have a mental image like that of small square pieces of glass, ceramic or marble and rightfully so, as this has summed up the definition of mosaic tiles for centuries……but what if you were considering mosaic tiles with a style and technique beyond the boundaries of the status quo?

As designers, we are faced with such requests often. Consider some of the directives we’ve received from yacht owners regarding the swimming pools & spas we’ve designed for them: “we would like our pool to be a work of art”. “I would like to have mosaics, but not the kind you typically see”. “We feel the pool should be the crowning jewel of the Sun Deck”.

After receiving our 1st directive for such a spectacular approach to mosaics, the hunt was on, scouring the globe for the perfect fit between design intent and manufacturing. Fortunately for us, we were successful in locating the perfect fit by means of an incredible mosaic manufacturer out of the UK.

Follow along with us as we unfold the very creative process of working in mosaics from the absolute start…

The Design Process:

Initial Concept

This image depicts the design concept of a spa on the sundeck of a 50 meter yacht which is expressed in a very rough, free-hand sketch, an incredible tool allowing me to quickly process the cascade of ideas coming to mind during the incredibly creative conceptual process….to me, I liken the process to capturing lightning in a bottle as thoughts can exit your mind as quickly as they enter, therefore speed in articulating a thought is key. This presentation technique is the very 1st step taken in composing thoughts and ideas into a comprehensive visual which is highly effective in setting the cornerstone of the design objective. Once a visual is produced, it opens a broad horizon for discussion. In this case, we will focus on the detail of mosaics!

Color Renderings & Story Board

Once the idea of the mosaic is defined, for this project the theme was that of “fractured ice shards” in tones of blue and aqua….a very fitting application for a spa that would be enjoyed primarily in the summer heat of the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Renderings and storyboards are produced to better understand and visualize the finished product. With the theme confirmed, next is the application. In this case, the application of the creative mosaic is limited to the surface behind the waterfall and the interior of the spa itself. All other surfaces were specified to be that of a conventional mosaic which yields visual authority to the creative mosaic surfaces. When incorporating such an intensely detailed element into a design, according to the old adage….a little goes a long way!

Once the initial design is approved, such as presented in the 2 images shown above, photo realistic images are produced, offering the client a real-life representation of the final product. The image above focuses primarily on the spa, however, as the entire sundeck is custom designed for this project, the virtual images serves multiple purposes in gaining client approvals for other elements of design on the sundeck.

Image showing an actual glazed sample of the mosaic, which is produced in advance of production to represent the design, color, texture and scale of the mosaic pieces.

The Art of Manufacturing:

In the factory the process follows some pretty interesting steps. Shown are artisans hand carving the approved design into the raw clay. This image shows the intensive detailing that goes into these very special mosaics.

A Birdseye view of the mosaic components. The individual pieces are carved and the design is aligned with, and continues on to all adjacent surfaces which achieves a tailored, wrapped look.

Skilled and creative artists hand paint the raw product prior to the firing of the pieces.

Detail of mosaic showing cool tones of blue and aqua……

In the workshop, mosaic pieces are laid out in true formation which serves as pre-fitment, ensuring a tight and fitted installation. The process serves well for quality control purposes.

Fitment in the factory of all components of the installation.


Fitment in the factory for yet another marine project…

Onboard installation in process showing a bar top…a companion to the custom spa (completed images shown below).

Seashell motif in sunny shades of yellow befitting the design specification of another yacht project (completed image shown below)

The End Results:

The stunning results are evident by means of these images depicting the finished product…which, as requested by the owners are indeed “works of art”, “crowning jewels” and “mosaics that are indeed NOT typical”.

Mission accomplished!

Recipient of the World Superyacht Awards, Showboats International Design Awards and several nominations in the coveted International Superyacht Society Awards for Design Excellence.

Patrick Knowles Designs © 2019. Website designed by Mugsy PR.