tag archives: mosaics

 

do you believe in coincidence?  or, in connectivity?  such as, six degrees of separation, the theory that social distance is composed of six or fewer social network connections?

 

consider the following connections:

connection number one (numero uno):  a book

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano), an outstanding book about 20th century milanese architecture.  featuring the entrances of 144 residential buildings built during the 1920’s through the 1970’s.

 

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz

photo via taschen

 

connection number two (numero due):  two windows

i discovered entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) while researching leaded glass window designs for an innerspace interior design project.

most of the buildings in the book were designed by renowned architects, including giovanni muzio (1893-1982), giuseppe martinenghi (1894-1970), piero portaluppi (1888-1967), or giovanni (gio) ponti (1891-1979).  most of the entrances retain their original materials, fittings, and artwork, designed by the architects.  or, by industrial designers, such as angelo mangiarotti (1921-2012) or vico magistretti (1920-2006).  or, by artists, such as lucio fontana (1899-1968) or gio pomodoro (1930-2002).  most of their designs were fabricated by local artisans using local materials, including glass, stone, mosaics, ceramics, or metal.  and, most of the entrances retain their original lighting fixtures.  lighting designers or manufacturers include artimede, fontana arte, gino sarfatti (1912-1985), stilnovo, or venini.

the book could be considered a reference for 20th century italian design.  not only, because of the visually stunning photography.  but also, because of the captions, which document the location; the date; the architect, designer, or artist; and the materials, fittings, or artworks.  the index even includes a map.

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) is the most outstanding design book that i have discovered recently.

the book became the inspiration for the window designs.  and, the inspiration for a walking tour of entryways the next time that my husband, bob, and i visit milan.

in addition to considering many inspirations from the book, my clients and i considered the artistic and technical expertise of theodore ellison designs, who is now developing the design concepts and the technical drawings.  and then, constructing the leaded glass windows.

 

via mario giuriati 5 | designed by giovanni muzio | 1930-1931

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 10

photography by delfino sisto legnani

 

conceptual leaded glass window design | lisa walsh | innerspace

 

viale regina giovanna 32 | designed by giuseppe martinenghi | 1936-1938

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | pages 48-49

photography by matthew billings

 

conceptual leaded glass window design | lisa walsh | innerspace

 

via raimondo franchetti 3 | designed by domenico poloni | 1937-1939

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | pages 134-135

photography by paola pansini

 

conceptual leaded glass window design | lisa walsh | innerspace

 

connection number three (numero tre):  a handbag

as promoted on instagram.  one of the book’s photographers, delfino sisto legnani, also collaborates with milanese luxury leather brand, valextra.  their latest collaboration is a limited edition collection for valextra x extramilano.  eleven variations of iconic valextra handbags, inspired by entryways of milan (ingressi di milano).

 

corso sempione 33 | palazzo ina | designed by piero bottoni | 1953-1957

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | pages 276-277

photography by delfino sisto legnani via valextra

 

valextra x extramilano | tric trac bag

photo credit valextra

 

via plinio 54

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 80

photography by delfino sisto legnani via valextra

 

valextra x extramilano | brera top handle medium bag

photo credit valextra

 

corso italia 9 | designed by gio ponti | 1934

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 264

photography by delfino sisto legnani via valextra

 

valextra x extramilano | series s mini bag

photo credit valextra

 

via morozzo della rocco 10 | designed by mario ugge | 1935-1937

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 362

photography by delfino sisto legnani

 

valextra x extramilano | iside medium bag

photo credit valextra

 

via privata cesare mangili 6 | ca’ brutta | designed by giovanni muzio, pier fausto barelli, and vittorino colonnese | 1919-1923

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 215

photography by delfino sisto legnani

 

valextra x extramilano | iside mini bag

photo credit valextra

 

via amatore sciesa 24

entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) | edited and directed by karl kobitz | page 233

photography by delfino sisto legnani

 

valextra x extramilano | iside medium bag

photo credit valextra

 

valextra is one of my favorite italian brands.  i love shopping with martina at the valextra flagship boutique on via manzoni in milan.  i especially love their white (pergamena) handbags.

i am now looking forward to the arrival of my new entryways of milan (ingressi di milano) inspired iside bag.

from this:

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near carrara, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

to this:

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statuario marble | master bathroom | miami, FL | interior design by sand studios

photo credits ken hayden and ken hayden via luxesource

during our recent vacation, we planned to visit the sites of some of the marble quarries in the apuan alps, near carrara, italy, on the way from the airport in florence to the beach in forte dei marmi.  but, rain was forecast for the next day.  so, we decided to spend the sunny day at the beach, instead.

we drove through the town of carrara to the roman bridge near miseglia the next afternoon, after it stopped raining.

don’t the marble quarries look interesting?

 you may be familiar with the famous mosaic tile floor of ten female athletes, nicknamed the ‘bikini girls’, from the villa romana del casale, a 4th century roman villa located near piazza armerina in central sicily.*

mosaic tile floor | room of girls in bikinis (sala ragazze in bikini) | room 30
villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

photo credit wtfarthistory.com

the villa romana del casale is the most impressive archaeological site that my husband, bob, and i have ever visited.

unesco describes the mosaics from the villa romana del casale as:

‘the finest mosaics in situ anywhere in the roman world.’

the mosaics are exceptional not only for their quality, but also for their quantity.  a spectacular mosaic tile floor, called the ambulatory of the great hunt, covers the 200 foot (60 meter) long passageway that connects the reception, private, and utility areas of the villa romana del casale.  the mosaics depict the capture and transport of ferocious and exotic animals to rome for the hunts that preceded gladiator events.

mosaic tile floor | hall of the great hunt (corridoio della grande caccia) | room 28
villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

photo credits unesco and lisa walsh | innerspace

the mosaics are so exceptional, and the villa romana del casale is so large, that some scholars speculate that it could have been an imperial commission.**  so far, 46 rooms, totaling 43000 square feet (4000 square meters), have been excavated.

the prevalent opinion among scholars and art historians is that the villa romana del casale was built during the 4th century, between 327 and 357.***  and, that both the building and the decoration, which also includes interior and exterior frescos, are from the late roman period.

yet, some art historians have noted stylistic differences between the mosaic tile floors.

mythological or allegorical scenes, like the poet arion surrounded by sea creatures in the chamber of arion (room 37), are more naturalistic than domestic or genre scenes, like the fishermen in the hall of cupids fishing (room 24).  could they have been designed by the same people?

 mosaic tile floor | chamber of arion (diaeta di arione) | room 37

villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

mosaic tile floor | atrium of cupids fishing (atrio delgi amorini pescatori) | room 24

villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

 photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

in addition, the mosaic tile floors in the triclinium (room 36) look different than the floors in the rest of the residence.  could they have been installed later?  maybe.

some scholars argue that the villa could have been constructed in phases:  1.  the rectangular peristyle (rooms 11-31, 35, 37-46)  2.  the bath complex (rooms 3-10)  3.  the entrance (rooms 1-2) and the oval peristyle (rooms 32-34, 36)****

floor plan | villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

photo credit lasiciliainrete.it

could that explain why the ‘bikini girls’ were installed over a geometric patterned mosaic tile floor?  the room of girls in bikinis (room 30) is located adjacent to the oval peristyle.  could the ‘bikini girls’ have been part of the final expansion?

geometric mosaic tile floor | under the room of girls in bikinis (sala ragazze in bikini) | room 30
villa romana del casale | 4th century | piazza armerina, sicily

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

as an interior designer, i am less interested in the ‘bikini girls’ and more interested in the geometric patterns.  the geometric patterns are a textile designer’s dream!

cubicle of fruit (cubicolo della frutta) | room 45


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duralee|highland court | lalique rayon/silk fabric | 800249H-720


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martyn lawrence bullard | mamounia linen fabric | MLB2314

medallions

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photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace, duralee|highland court and martyn lawrence bullard
cubicle of cupid and psyche (cubicolo della scena erotica) | room 46

 

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did you notice the fresco remnants on the wall?

holland & sherry | ringlet linen/wool fabric | DE11843

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kelly wearstler|groundworks | ombre maze viscose/linen fabric | GWF-2806.416

medallions

 

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 photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace,holland & sherry and kelly wearstler|groundworks

the field patterns and borders in the utility rooms are as interesting as the mosaic tile floors in the master’s apartments.

utility room (sala mosaico a ottagoni) | room 26

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photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

utility room (sala mosaico a quadrati) | room 27

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photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

what textiles (or trim) could you design from the mosaic patterns?

footnotes

*sicily became the first roman province in 227 BCE, and remained part of the roman empire until 395 CE.

**some scholars think that the villa romana del casale was commissioned by emperor maximanus (r. 286-305) or his son, maxentius (r. 306-312), between 290 and 312.  villaromanadelcasale.it

***the gymnasium mosaics (room 15), which feature the circus maximus in rome, could indicate that the villa romana del casale was built between 327 and 357.  emperor augustus (r. 31 BCE-14 CE) installed an obelisk in the center of the circus maximus in 10 CE.  in 327, the obelisk was moved to the perimeter of the circus maximus to make room for a larger obelisk, which was installed by emperor constantius II (r. 337-361) in 357.  the villa romana del casale gymnasium mosaics only have one obelisk, which is located on the perimeter of the circus maximus.  so, some scholars believe that the villa romana del casale was built between 327 and 357 CE.  villaromanadelcasale.it

****the floor plan of the villa romana del casale is unusual because the orientation of the the rectangular peristyle (rooms 11-31, 35, 37-46) and the oval peristyle (rooms 32-34, 36) are not axial.  a coin, dating to 355-361, was found in the west wall of the foundation of the oval peristyle.  so, some scholars believe that that the oval peristyle was built later than the rectangular peristyle or the bath complex.  villaromanadelcasale.it

click here or here for more information about the villa romana del casale.