In 2009 graphic designer and photographer, Nick Hand, cycled 4,541 miles around the entire British coastline. And in 2010 he cycled 1,783 miles around the entire Irish coastline. What do these journeys circumnavigating two countries have to do with the idea of unique design? Nick would stop on his journey to meet the artisans, anyone, in his opinion “who makes their living from a specific skill and spends their time doing what they are really passionate about.” These are the makers whose infectious love of craft is creating lives that reflect their passion and pride.
Almost everything in our homes can be created by an artisan, and from antiquity, it remains one of the most enduring ways to reflect our own unique sensibilities. From the weavers who make blankets to ceramicists who create tableware, wood workers, mosaicists, glass blowers and blacksmiths have the ability to turn personal dreams into reality.
At New Ravenna where every mosaic is hand crafted, customization is a distinctive feature. Speaking about bespoke mosaics, Cean Irminger, Creative Director at New Ravenna, says: “ If you can imagine it, we can create it. Our custom mosaics are as individual as people’s lives, from the illustration of a beloved folktale, to immortalizing indigenous feathers! It is a revelation to many people that the functional and durable surfaces in their homes can become a personal expression of great beauty and texture.
“There is a tendency to lump mosaics under the heading of hard surfaces, which is a disservice to the inherent uniqueness that comes from a handcrafted product. Every single tesserais hand shaped and placed, and creates a work as unique as the craftsman that created it. My opinion is that mosaics are more in the realm of one of a kind art pieces than mass produced tile, the rare medium that can both be on the floors and in the exhibit of a museum at the same time!”
When designer Geraldine Eisenberg was creating her own master bath, she asked New Ravenna to help her realize her fantasy mosaic. Delicate aspen leaves in 24k gold twine around aspen limbs and embrace her walls. She says of the experience: “A room that has been conceptualised and fully realised as one’s unique vision becomes more than simply a living space. It’s rather more like a personal sanctuary that will continue to delight and refresh you visually, and even spiritually. It’s pure enchantment. The emotion and logic of the chosen materials, colors and forms will always be yours, and only yours…which means of course that you are truly ‘at home’.”
Unique design can also be created from a quiet gesture. It can be as simple as an evocative photograph of your favorite city, or a collection of your grandmother’s precious teacups. Unique design is idiosyncratic; it reveals our distinct preferences and unconventional experiences. And the best part of unique design? As a personal reflection of our lives, it is never wrong.
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