Michael Golden is striving to bring mosaics to the masses.
At Avenue Mosaic, the RISD grad and alumnus of Hastings Tile (he says he got started with a part-time job that turned into a full-time career there) Golden likes to spot emerging trends, match them, and then produce them in quanties.
“By looking at multiple visual sources, I pull things out to see what potential shapes and forms are coming into vogue – and develop that it in the manufacturing process,” he says.
If his work is widely copied, he reasons, then he’s defining the trends in tile design. And if his tiles sell, then he’s successful.
“The sale is the most honest thing that tells you if your design is well received,” he says. “It’s one thing to get some PR for something, but it’s another to sell 50,000 or 100000 of something.”
He’s aiming at the middle level of a three-tier market. At the top are the high-end designer tiles. At the bottom are those produced for big box retailers. The sweet spot for Avenue Mosaic, though, is in between.
“The mid-level at about $20-$25 a square foot – and no more than $40,” he says. “There’s a tremendous absence of creative thought for that part of the market, and that’s what I’m trying to contribute to.”
He works mostly in glass, seeking to infuse movement into its form, color, finish, or material process. His tiles are all original, with an emphasis on blending craft and geometry for popular appeal.
“If it’s pleasing and affordable, you can have a hit,” he says. “If you can sell pallets or containers of your goods, then you know did your job well.”
And he’s working on that too. Most of his sales are currently in the U.S., but he’s begun to branch out to South America and Australia.
Because there are masses down there, and they’ll likely appreciate a good-looking, affordable mosaic.