Fantini Mosaici in the Middle East
Global mosaic atelier
From the villages of Morocco to the mountains of Yemen, the Middle East boasts a rich tradition of, and affinity with, handcrafts – including the hand-weaving of silk carpets; the intricate embroidering of exotic flowing kaftans and bisht; handmade filigree jewellery and hand-carved wooden treasure chests, doors and windows; the hand-painted tiles of the inner courtyards and tiles of the Hamman; and miniature paintings and elaborate calligraphy. Middle Easterners have always been drawn to, and have an innate understanding of, the handwork and person-hours that go into creating a mosaic, terrazzo or pebble stone surface.
Opulent Middle Eastern vibes
Even since Domenico Fantini laid his first mosaic floor in Milan in the early 1900s, the brand has held a global vision. The founder's foresight was passed to his son, the firm using the finest materials and techniques from the Romans and Greeks to create unparalleled masterpieces for prestigious properties throughout Italy, Europe and North Africa, before spreading its artistic wings around the world.
One of Fantini’s first overseas projects was the grand Banco di Roma, headquartered in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, which the company undertook in 1940.
For the past six decades, Fantini Mosaici has worked with some of the world's A-list architects and designers, creating one-of-a-kind, timeless flooring, walls and much more for discerning global clients.
Fantini Mosaici is a renowned Italian artisanal firm specializing in creating luxurious handcrafted surfaces in mosaic and terrazzo. Fantini was also one of the first companies in this niche field to work on prestigious projects on the global stage.
Over the years, Fantini’s relationship with the Middle East has blossomed and diversified as the region and its peoples have sought precious handmade mosaic and terrazzo embellishments for mosques, schools, hospitals, homes, boutiques and private residences. As the region has prospered and flourished, so has the desire to incorporate delicate, precious and semi-precious mosaic features in its ever-evolving, increasingly sophisticated environments.
"We have always been a global company with designers, artists and artisans on all continents and we have long enjoyed a special affiliation with this region. Through our diverse initiatives and by being a regular fixture on the regional design agenda, we look forward to playing an even greater role in the appreciation of luxury handcrafted surfaces," says Enrico Fantin, CEO and President, Fantini Mosaici.
Craftsmanship for the world
In 2007, Fantini Mosaici was awarded the prized contract to produce bespoke surfaces of exceptional quality for the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This highly sought-after commission marked a pivotal moment in the history of Fantini Mosaici. The ruling Al Nahyan family entrusted the company with the task of meticulously handcrafting intricate mosaic and marble work, as well as recommending an architect to collaborate on the project.
The mosque features the world's largest hand-cut and hand-placed mosaic Sahan, which covers 17,500 square meters, and has since become a landmark building and significant tourist attraction for the UAE. The complexity and enormity of the project made it a gamechanger for the fourth-generation family-owned Fantini Mosaici, requiring it to set up a dedicated workshop in Abu Dhabi to support the primary production from its base in Italy. This practical investment increased efficiency and enabled a more environmentally sustainable approach.
Decorated with 24-carat gold mosaics befitting royalty
Also in the UAE capital, the main prayer hall and female prayer hall of the Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed The First Mosque, located in the exclusive Al Bateen area, includes exquisite mosaic work in Mirhab marble, enamel and 24-carat gold. The mosaic décor of the mosque is in harmony with its refined proportions and location.
Record-breaking golden artisanal mosaic
The Grand Mosque project led to Fantini Mosaici’s participation in another record-breaking project – the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Mosque in Al Ain that features one of the world's largest domes covered with artisanal mosaic. Craftspeople laid some 40 million pieces of hand-cut mosaic onto the iconic dome, which has an enormous circumference of 80 meters and is 31.3 meters tall.
House of the Nation is lavishly decorated with precious mosaics
In the Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace in the UAE capital, Fantini Mosaic clad 112 domes on five different buildings with more than 18,000 square meters of gold and glass mosaic calligraphy. A further 6,000 square meters of intricately patterned enamel, marble, precious stones and gold were used to decorate walls with geometric and floral patterns. The master craftspeople created a breathtaking and regal setting, demonstrating the power of these tiny tesserae to create a majestic interior from floor to ceiling. The interior was embellished with mosaics based on designs by interior architects Xavier Catron Group and Wilson Associates.
Energy radiating natural artistic flooring
In Dubai, Fantini Mosaici has created soothing and therapeutic interiors in mosaic for the Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital; a refreshing fountain for the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex; contemporary abstract designs in primary colors; as well as numerous private swimming pools and residential villas.
Palazzo Versace Hotel and Resort Lobby Image
Luxurious surfaces fit for a fashion king
One of Fantini's most extensive projects in Dubai is the Palazzo Versace Hotel and Resort, whose main attraction is a 300-square meter floor made from artistic mosaic that provides an elegant setting for guests to mix and mingle in, and which is wrapped in some of the world's finest mosaic work. Throughout the ornate Palladian-style five-star hotel, from the spa to the restaurant, and from the guest rooms to secret outdoor nooks, Fantini Mosaici has set its métier in marble, in stone, in mosaic terrazzo or naturally formed pebble stone.
Fine examples of Fantini's handcraft and expertise throughout the region are found in schools, churches and malls.
Mosaic masterpieces for royals
For decades, Fantini Mosaici has been involved with the crafting of numerous mosaic and terrazzo projects for the government, and private commissions from members of the Saud royal family throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
One of the company’s high-profile projects in the Kingdom is the prestigious Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center (SCITECH) in Khobar, where it created magnificent terrazzo surfaces.
Recently, the firm has been extremely active in decorating sumptuous enormous palaces for royalty with exquisite hand-crafted mosaics in the royal enclaves close to the mega NEOM projects in Tabuk province. This includes private spas and outdoor pools on the pool decks of two palaces in one of the compounds of eight palaces that includes its own private airport!
In the Saudi capital, Fantini Mosaici has created mosaic masterpieces for numerous palaces and über-luxurious residence, where the last mosaic tessera has just been placed in a custom-built garden pavilion for a VIP client.
Diners in the iconic British seafood restaurant Scott’s of Mayfair – situated in the exclusive Via Riyadh shopping complex – can savour Fantini’s artisanal work, including the complex peacock pattern around the mocktail bar area.
Meanwhile, shoppers in the new Cartier boutique in Riyadh will also experience a fine example of Fantini’s unique hand-made mosaic work which adds to the boutique’s refined and rich ambiance.
In the Sultanate of Oman, Fantini’s artistic savoire-faire is enjoyed by worshipers in Muscat’s Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque. The domes are skilfully decorated with marble, enamel and 24-carat gold mosaic tesserae, as are the main 1,600-square meter prayer hall and the ablution areas.
Similarly, in Qatar, the master artisans are regularly seen on major sites, painstakingly laying ornate mosaic tesserae, including at the Al Wajbah Palace and numerous private palaces and private wellness centers.
New Presidential Palace, New Capital Cairo
A new era of Egypt’s rich past brought to life through stunning mosaic murals
A glimpse into the rich and captivating history of Egypt is being set in mosaic within the upcoming Presidential Palace Complex, under development in Cairo’s New Capital. Master craftspeople are currently installing thousands of meticulously cut and individually placed mosaic tesserae. These stunning panels depict scenes from ancient Egyptian times and are the result of months of work by a team of highly skilled mosaicists.
A solid blend of rare marble in modern Cairo
Many modern stately homes in the Egyptian capital, on the banks of the river Nile, have been tastefully enhanced with rare marble and mosaics.
Over the decades, Fantini has supported arts, educational and charitable programs, including creating mosaic tables to raise funds for Lebanon and organizing the 'Designed for Sharing' charity/design initiative, which featured an exhibition in d3 during Dubai Design Week 2020. The company has also collaborated on many Louis Vuitton and Hermès boutiques.
Traditional stone techniques meet modern digital technologies.
"Finding new and innovative ways to use these centuries-old heritage techniques to create timeless interiors for today and tomorrow has always been one of our strengths. With examples including using computer chips in terrazzo rather than chips of marble, we dare to think out of the box and keep our materials ahead of the curve," Enrico Fantin says.
In 2022, Fantini Mosaici sponsored the ‘Thru’ archi-art installatio, which stood at the entrance to Downtown Design. This year (2023), collaborating again with AB+AC Architects, Fantini Mosaici is sponsoring and creating an experiential structure, 'Carved in the Now, ' featuring the unusual use of hand-cut mosaics, mirrors and lights that forms an integral part of the Main Entrance Hall experience.
Looking forward to 2024, following the success of its participation in Saudi Design Week, Fantini Mosaici will actively be part of the incredibly fast-growing design and development scene in the Kingdom.