Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

Magical Myaamia

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

Little Havana in Southern Florida is perhaps the most well known district for Cuban exiles in the entire world.  Characterized by lively street life, charming restaurants and upbeat music, in 2017 Little Havana was declared a USA national treasure.

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

Recently, a mosaic treasure has been added to the neighbourhood at an unlikely location: TD Bank.  This financial establishment enjoys a prominent central location.  To blend in with the community’s look, an outdoor bank patio has been constructed that includes a highly colourful floor mosaic.   Even more attention-grabbing is the fact that this mosaic masterpiece was created using hi-tech, state-of-the-art, robots.

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

Christina Sprows, an architect working for Enterprise Real Estate for TD Bank, explains.  “The bank owned the property but, downsizing the building to a 2,500 sq. ft facility, left a large empty lot on the premises.  Little Havana city officials recommended building a trellis area as a parkway.  The committee knew what they wanted to do so, and a request for a proposal was immediately sent out to local artists.  That’s when they met Santos E Mendez.”

The tender document outlined that the main concept was to maintain the culture of the area, but that the parkway artwork needed to be put together using durable material that could stand up to the rain/wind/heat of Miami.  In addition, all creative efforts had to be co-ordinated with civil engineers.  This included landscaping, lighting, and much more.  The pathway was to connect the street to bank and had to be emblematic of the Little Havana Community and how it is inspired by its Cuban culture.

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

Ultimately, the mosaic produced was based upon Myaamia, an original painting by Mendez.  Myaamia is a Native American Algonquian language spoken by the Seminole Indians, that translates to friends.  Mendez’s artwork, created specifically for this site, reflects harmony and friendship among all living creatures.

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

To convert Mendez’s concept to reality, the project team turned to Artaic; a firm that has achieved almost cult status by creating architecturally-compelling mosaics using its proprietary robotic production system.  Artaic needed to perfectly match the artist’s colour selections perfectly …  and, Mendez insisted on approving every single mosaic tile chosen.

Santos Mendez's Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida
Santos Mendez’s Myaamia mural at TD Bank, Little Havana, Florida

The project was shipped from Artaic’s factory in Boston, Massachusetts, as a pre-fitted, ready to install kit of one square foot sheets.  Professional Flooring Contractors of Coral Springs, Florida, completed the installation… and, it was very easy to do with the templates Artaic provided,” explains Sprows. “I loved the idea that the tile used was sintered glass made from 100% recycled car windshields.”

Sharon Carlson of Professional Flooring Contractors adds: “We worked side-by-side with Steve Price of Bostik in creating just the right prescription for this type of installation.  As an installer, it is very important to have the right installation materials for the job, which is why we worked directly with the manufacturer.  Steve basically wrote the script for this.”

“Mother Nature was the only issue that we had with the installation of the glass mosaics.  She was responsible for the only downtime that we had with installing the products,” continued Carlson.

The mural spans 730.9 sq. ft, incorporating 404,800 individually placed tiles in 24 colours that Mendez hand-selected from a palette of 129.  With its revolutionary manufacturing speed, Artaic is capable of producing a project of this size in one to two weeks.  The sintered glass mosaics were installed using Bostik’s Reflex Ultra-Premium polymer-modified adhesive and Bostik’s Diamond Dimension RapidCure grout.

“It was so easy for my art to be transcribed into something so large…without losing any details,” says Mendez.  “We went from canvas, to computer, to paper, to glass mosaic to perfect installation.  We never lost any perspective of the project.

The mosaic allows visitors to walk around the entire perimeter and the images seem to move with the viewer, as per the artist’s intention.

https://artaic.com  http://www.bostik.com

A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, April 2017.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s