A pair of high-end, custom-oriented makers of decorative arts for the home have joined together in the ultimate collaboration.
Richmond, Va.-based McKinnon and Harris has been creating yacht-worthy aluminum outdoor furnishings for more than three decades.
Exmore, Va.-based New Ravenna Mosaics has been developing designs in glass and stone for just as long.
So when Will Massie, founder of McKinnon and Harris, challenged Cean Irminger, creative director of New Ravenna to create a bespoke mosaic table top based on an ancient Roman/African design, the creative sparks flew.
“They were asking us to experiment, to see how we could translate a request into a table top,” Irminger says. “He came up with a creative brief.”
The fact that the companies are separated by 150 miles and the Chesapeake Bay made little difference. “They were sending colors and inspiration and we would take renderings and fit the space to his requirements,” she says.
They went back and forth. Eventually, New Ravenna sent a 12-inch-by-12-inch sample to McKinnon and Harris. Once they’d seen the sample and approved its grout, Irminger and her team printed out the pattern they’d chosen, at full scale.
“We hand-chopped the pieces, then tumbled them for a beautiful texture and ancient, organic feel,” she says. “The grout is a little bit dark, so it looks like it’s been walked on for years, and that heightens the feel of antiquity.”
The colors were selected to match the subtleties of McKinnon and Harris’s powder-coated aluminum. “It’s more subtle and less dynamic, with a muted color palette – nothing too bright or eye-catching,” she says. “It matches the colors they offer, but it’s based on traditional Roman mosaics.”
Olive branches work around the side, a shade different from the background, and the two companies carefully hand-picked the rest. “Bianco Antico is the background, there’s Jura Green for olives, Gillo Golden is the ochre color, then Lagus Gold for the branches and the leaves are Verde Luna.”
New Ravenna assembled the mosaic and sent it McKinnon and Harris, where it was incorporated it into their tabletop. “They made it beautifully smooth on top, doing it there on site,” she says. “We were responsible for the manufacturing and they were responsible for the installation of the complete table top.”
Now the table and its mosaic are at home among Massie’s collection of 15th-century classical columns, bases and capitals from Spain, sprinkled throughout his Richmond showroom.
“We worked back and forth for a good while to show people that you can do whatever you want to do,” she says.
Proof of that now sits at the center of the McKinnon and Harris lobby – an inspiration to anyone who enters and takes a seat.