Let’s dive… straight into the heart of Paris. We are in the middle of the nineteenth century. At this time, many Italian mosaicists settle and color the monuments of the capital.
Isidore Odorico and his brother, came all the way from the small Province of Friuli. They are a part of the movement and have decided to move to Tours after leaving their mark at the Opéra Garnier in Paris.
As good entrepreneurs, craftspeople shared the map and spread throughout the far north-west. That is when they migrated a little further west to settle in Rennes as a family.
We are now in 1882. This is the interwar period. The materials used are mainly marble or stone and the orders taken are largely restorations of antique mosaics.
The Odorico brothers eventually responded to orders placed by architects for the dioceses of Ille-et-Vilaine and the Côtes-du-Nord, in line with the great decorations of the late 19th century Marian basilicas: Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseilles, Fourvière in Lyon, etc.
The bulk of their production is made of floor decorations, especially in building entrances or shops.
The indirect technique, acquired in the country, allows craftsmen to prepare 50cm designs from side to side inside the workshop, thus gaining considerable time and reducing costs significantly.
This technique being particularly effective with simple geometric motifs – which, in addition to that, require less cutting of Tessels – one sees appear, with the second generation of mosaicist and the son, also called Isidore Odorico (second of the name), a very Art Deco influence in the colors and the abstract but also geometric expression of Odorico realizations.
But Odorico’s “signature” is not only differentiated by his technical mastery. «Odorico knew how to incorporate small glass pastes into rather sober cement patterns that bring out the colors by playing with the light» explains Philippe Bohuon, assistant to the animator of architecture and heritage of the Rennes Métropole service of art and history.
The construction of villas in the seaside resorts in Brittany and the development of its tourism give a small boost to the development of the business of the Odorico family and other Italian mosaicists.
But there is one factor you may not have thought of: hygiene.
It can be said that the progress of hygienism at the time and the easily washable mosaics (as opposed to traditional wooden flooring) make a pretty good mix