Maximalist designer Sasha Bikoff, known for her flamboyant out-there designs, has collaborated with luxury mosaic tile makers New Ravenna on an American-inspired collection of seven handcrafted tile designs.
New Ravenna gave Sasha carte blanche to design a collection entirely from her imagination. Their role was to interpret her designs into hand crafted stone mosaics. When Sasha started thinking about tile and the role it plays in providing a sense of place, she realised that America had no tile to call its own.
According to Bikoff, “Tile is a cultural emblem that represents a country’s aesthetic. There are unlimited beautiful tiles that feel Italian, Delft, Portuguese, Spanish. America’s history is younger and the culture has a more relaxed vibe. I’d like to define that through tile.” So, she decided to create a distinctly American tile, incorporating influences from across history. Called 'The New World' in homage to the onetime name for America by its newcomers, the collection is inspired by all things America, the result of a fascination with tile from other parts of the world.
First, she considered the exploration of 'the new world' by Europeans, poring over a copy of Joan Bleau's Atlas Maior, an expansive 17th century volume of illustrated cartography. This inspired the 44" x 80" Atlas Maior mural, a charming rendition of Baroque geography, animated with sea serpents, full masted galleons, and frolicking dolphins. To simulate the ageing of a crinkled antique map, New Ravenna’s design team applied a honed finish to the 12 different stones, and selected a darker grout to finish the piece.
To complement the map of the Earth, Bikoff also developed a mural based on Dutch cartographer Ptolemy's 'systems of the world' cosmic map. Ptolemy’s Cosmos map illustrates the universe, from terrestrial to celestial, and astrological, all using 13 colours of stone, accented with brushed brass.
The maps look striking on floors and make eye-catching murals, too. Just imagine having a kitchen splash-back or tiled shower that can subtly teach your kids geography and astrology?
For the collection's smaller pieces, the designer looked to different textile traditions across America.
Bikoff researched vintage bandanas as the archetypical American textile. The result is the American bandana print in two versions: East Coast and West Coast.
Grout lines are equally as important to the design as the paisleys, mimicking a cloth that has permanent creases from being worn and folded hundreds of times. Bikoff and New Ravenna chose a honed background for the Bandanas to give the allure of softened cotton.
Turning a textile into a tile has a certain playfulness to it. The bandana-inspired tiles and borders would look great in hallways, or even going up the stairs.
Bikoff also designed three lace patterns. "I started thinking about all the women who came to America and the crafts they brought," says Bikoff. The three types of lace—Point d’Angleterre Lace, Queen Mary’s Lace, and Swiss Dot Lace—are meant to symbolise the traditions these women imported to the U.S.
All mosaics in The New World collection can be installed on walls and floors, indoors and out.
New Ravenna is available in the UK and internationally.