Sep 22, 2014

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The Legacy of Vinyl Wallcovering

From dominion to domesticity, the archaeological record of Roman urban planning shows the lasting connection between economics and art. Mosaic wall decoration marks the beginnings of a truly Western interior design field. Wall decorations mark the emergence of a Culture of Wealth during this period. With the introduction of wall mosaics, common citizens had at their disposal the materials to incorporate aspects of Roman imperial rule as aesthetics in their homes.

If Rome was at every corner of the Western world, the preeminence of such a geo-political topography is also found in the occurrence of Mediterranean, mythological iconography in artistic production. Sea life elements from the Peninsula that appear in Northern European mosaic pavements and walls offer tribute to a sovereign Republic. Installed in both private and public domains, fourth century Roman mosaics established an alternative to fresco painting in wall design.

The Bath House at the Roman Villa Rudston in the UK is an example of the widely employed use of mosaic interiors in the Northern regions of the Roman Empire. Comprised of a marine design with Oceanus, the Rudston design is similar to those found in Ostia dating to 200A.D. The precursor to vinyl wallcovering, washable wall mosaic wall decorations exceeded the longevity and beauty of painted frescoes in perpetuity.
Origination of distinctly Roman subject matter is also observed in the polychrome composition installed in the third century villas at Ancona and Baccano, Italy. Villa architecture is extensive from this period, and important to this discussion are the second through fourth style fresco paintings survived at Pompeii through volcanic eruption. Like fresco paintings, mosaics were common to Roman construction during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

Art historians and archaeologists who engaged in debates over the architectural record from the Roman Period are met with the challenge of historical materialism, and in particular, the significance of a ‘wealth’ as a design for living. This record is ample proof of the economic investment by Roman citizens in durable craft and well thought out urban planning.

Durable Vinyl Wallcovering

The legacy and cultural transmission of Imperial Roman expansion left a lasting and durable record of the Ancient Republic’s vast creative production in architectural craftsmanship and interior design. Vinyl wallcovering continues the tradition of washable, wall decoration first conceived in the beauty of mosaics.

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