Pepe&Con’s new Mosaico Digitale offers a new kind of material for architects and designers. One of its creators, Salvatore Pepe, talks to World Cruise industry Review about revolutionising the world of decoration and interior design.

Since October 2008, Pepe&Con has brought to the fore the ancient art of mosaic. Mosaico Digitale combines traditional techniques with the most up-to-date digital technologies, enabling architects and artists to create an endless number of shapes and colours.

The process for creating this distinctive product was born of Salvatore Pepe and Mario Coniglio’s knowledge of materials and architecture as well as their ten years’ experience of resin manufacture and digital print.

The company produces 100% customisable mosaics of any dimension, starting from a digital image chosen by the customer and processed by exclusive software designed by Pepe&Con. In this way, the company offers the possibility to enhance any type of environment.

The Mosaico Digitale system is characterised by a technological process that decomposes the initial digital image and prints it on resin film tiles or ‘plugs’ of a minimum size of 2×2cm. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, the plugs reconstruct the initial image.

The resin film suits perfectly the texture of walls, corners and bends that could not support a traditional mosaic.

Can you tell us what distinguishes Mosaico Digitale as a material, and describe some of its core features?

Salvatore Pepe: Mosaico Digitale is all about the transition from the traditional mosaic made of stone, ceramic and glass to the use of resin, a flexible and light material that suits all kinds of surface and materials. It can break pictures into plugs of any size that will afterwards reconstruct the initial picture, once applied to the surface to be coated.

The beauty and uniqueness of the mosaic, combined with the lightness of resin, afford unique expressions as well as endless potential interpretations. While light, the product is solid, designed to resist wear caused by time, atmosphere and ultraviolet rays. It’s also waterproof and fireproof.

Could you tell us how the process works?

It starts with the acquisition of the pictures, which have to be developed through the software, which estimates the number of plugs necessary to realise the coating requested. Then, the pictures are broken and pigmented onto the plugs and each plug is numbered to allow the fitters to easily and quickly place it in the right position.

What potential does it offer architects and designers?

Mosaico Digitale allows architects and designers to overcome all the difficulties associated with the traditional mosaic, without compromising the result. In the past, with traditional products, the designer had to restrict his creativity to the materials available on the market. But now, with Mosaico Digitale, the architect can become an artist, personally choosing each picture to create. Thanks to the production process, you have a 360° freedom with no limits.

In addition to freedom of design and subject matter, you also have the opportunity to experiment with shape. Unlike the tiles of a traditional mosaic, the plugs can be of any size, regular or irregular. The polishing and consistency of the plugs are also customisable, and can be more rigid or smooth according to the crystallisation that occurs during production. The elasticity of resin perfectly suits parquets and environmental coatings in buildings such as hospitals, spas, nurseries and schools.

Moreover, the plugs can be adorned with components such as Swarovski crystals, coffee beans, sand, wheat and gold. Thus, it enables endless creative solutions and meets with any kind of stylistic and design needs. Since resin plugs are ductile, Mosaico Digitale fits perfectly and easily to any texture and surface shape, including corners and curves.

Born of a burst of creativity and imagination, Mosaico Digitale interprets the environment in a personal and unique way, according to the architect’s or designer’s needs and personality; the only limit is the imagination.

How important is it to work with architects and designers?

For Pepe&Con, working hand in hand with architects is fundamental. Each designer offers their own interpretation and suggests an alchemy of colours and shapes. Thanks to Mosaico Digitale, the design rules to which the architect usually has to conform are now altered.

Can the material help to reduce costs?

The lightness and functionality of the material certainly helps reduce costs, as well as making logistics much easier. Indeed, Mosaico Digitale can be dispatched directly to the construction site through express mail and does not need to be stored in a warehouse. Furthermore, its use is straightforward, as the product can be applied by any paver with a standard cement adhesive for tiles and does not require the intervention of mosaic professionals.

What kinds of things could the material be used for?

The potential applications are endless. The mosaics can be set up in swimming pools without any risk regarding impermeability or atmospheric damage, or on false ceilings, as they are light and stable, or even in kitchens to replace the traditional tile. They can also be used in train stations, undergrounds, dockyards and public buildings.

Mosaico Digitale revolutionises the world of interior design, offering a new and ideal product with which to embellish hotel receptions, swimming pools, churches and bathrooms. We can create photographic and pictorial subjects of any shape and dimension, equally suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces. Mosaico Digitale allows you to live out your fantasy, to find a peaceful and comfortable environment in which to display your identity and transmit your feelings, without restrictions.

What companies have you worked with?

This product’s success has been consolidated by profitable cooperation with architects and companies including Costa Group, Roberto Semprini, Maurizio Favetta, Alberto Apostoli, Gianni Veneziano and Karim Rashid.