With the growing popularity of interior design, building, architectural television and blogging comes a greater awareness of design trends and possibilities. Home builders and renovators, as well commercial designers, are seeking to create customised, stand-out features worthy of attention. Feature walls, dramatic lights, bespoke furniture and hand-crafted artworks are all examples of this. But it is also the humble tile that has the power to make a massive impact.

No one knows this better than the team at Tile Space (formerly Heritage Tiles), Auckland-based distributors of porcelain, ceramic, mosaic and decorative wall tiles with more than 200,000m2 of tiles in over 1000 different styles.

Tile Space are stockists of Bisazza, the famous Italian-manufactured glass mosaic tile that architects and designers rely on to provide clients with the wow factor.

Tile Space Bisazza Product Manager Amanda Hellier has seen some of the most incredible applications of Bisazza tiles in her 20 years working in the industry.

“We have made a mosaic of a client’s face in their swimming pool, and at The Sugar Club in Skycity in Auckland, an art deco-like design lines the luxury bathrooms of the Peter Gordon restaurant.

“We recently created a custom Dick Frizzell feature wall for a

“We recently created a custom Dick Frizzell feature wall for a client. The client provided a picture for us to translate into mosaic tile and we supplied a render for approval, with the mosaic arriving from Italy broken into sheets for the tiler to assemble and install on site. It was an easy way to create a completely bespoke look for the client which looks stunning!”

This ability to turn a flat surface into an unexpected tactile, textured surface that plays with light is becoming a popular application for clients, she adds.

Bisazza frequently collaborate with designers and architects to translate textiles into mosaic.

“We collaborate with designers like Tricia Guild, a British designer and founder of Designers Guild – an international home and lifestyle company, to make beautiful big patterned interior walls, such as the Alexandria design.”

Amanda says that in Vicenza, a picturesque Italian town where the Bisazza tile originates from, and where she regularly visits, there are whole public walls covered in artistic mosaics made from Bisazza tiles.

“This kind of creativity on a large scale, including in commercial uses, is common in Europe and becoming that way in Australia. Here in New Zealand, designers and architects are also realising the myriad potential of the tile, and the opportunity it provides to offer clients a bespoke centre-piece specific to them. This might reflect their art collection, their hobbies, or literally be a picture of their family. ”
As Amanda reminds her sales team, ‘we don’t just sell tiles, we sell art’.

Another way in which architects and designers can offer customisation is through custom blending Bisazza tiles and the cutting to fit service from Tile Space. Amanda explains the process.

“If a client likes certain colours from our vast colour palette, the Italian manufacturing plant can blend them together to create a bespoke design, laid out on sheets of mosaics for installation.  For example, after consulting with the client we might blend 25% of a bold green, a yellow and a brown on a 322×322 sheet for a bathroom mosaic to give it a dewy forest spa feel. Or we could create a mosaic interpretation of a client’s favourite artwork, like we did in the Whitford Estate pool room.

The artistic application and blending is possible because Bisazza glass mosaic is made from the highest quality silica sand from the south of France. The sand has an extremely fine grain, so that all of the granules completely dissipate in the heating process, creating the clarity and purity which sets Bisazza mosaic apart. The glass is finished with intense colours, using the best oxides from Canada.

“This extreme focus on quality means that the tile is flawless and clear, and the glass is hardy and watertight. Crucially, water including rainfall, keeps it clean so its sheen and beauty lasts. This also makes it a perfect material for outdoor applications, especially in pools.”

Tiles are no longer simply a covering, but a vehicle for bespoke, beautiful interior and exterior artworks.