How Designer Caroline Beaupere and Mosaics Company New Ravenna Create Mass-Produced Craft
Although it was founded 27 years ago, Virginia manufacturer New Ravenna fabricates most of its stone and glass mosaics like a centuries-old guild would have—hand-cut by a team of more than 100 local artisans.
That slow-craft process is underscored by its latest collaboration with French-born Caroline Beaupere, a New York-based designer with a love of whimsical colors and patterns and hand-drawn designs.
Like the interiors Beaupere creates at her namesake firm her Liliane collection of nine mosaics featuring stone, marble, brass, aluminum and gold, are distinguished by the details of her childhood home. “I spent all my summers on the French Riviera. The collection is a journey through its most beautiful gardens and an homage to its light and vegetation,” says Beaupere.
The collection’s Monaco mosaic can feature brass and marble or glass (left). Beaupere’s CAD drawing for Monaco (right)
Developing the handmade mosaic motifs with that aesthetic was rewarding for her, because the process always began with her handmade drawings, abstract interpretations of those Rivieria-inspired elements sketched in black and white. “Once we find the perfect scale for her pattern we will print it out full scale to use as a canvas, and begin to combine the various material chips,” says the manufacturer’s creative director Cean Irminger.
Decisions they make simultaneously include whether to use multiple finishes, within the mosaic, which can add contrasting texture, and when certain patterns might be elevated by the inclusion of precious natural elements such as 24K gold or shell.
Glass samples are considered against a scale representation of a CAD drawing of Beaupere’s sketch for Beatrice (left). The original drawing with notes (right)
Like many manufacturer-designer collaborations, this one brings Beaupere’s unique style to the tile maker, and New Ravenna, in turn, is providing a new audience and broader reach for Beaupere’s designs. While the company specializes in custom artistic mosaics, it is still a manufacturer that must ensure a certain level of consistency regardless of the intricacy of the process. “It's my job to steer the designer towards stone or glass when necessary, choices that can capture the essence of a palette, but also help it withstand our mosaic and waterjet cutting processes,” Irminger explains. “Everything else—the overall style of the design—is completely Caroline’s.”
A Liliane mosaic in Maséna (left). The mosaic in Monaco Floral (right).
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