Chelsea Recreation Center

The Daily Plant : Thursday, September 25, 2003


Bisazza, a major Italian tile manufacturer, has just given New Yorkers one more reason to look forward to the upcoming opening of the Chelsea Recreation Center, the City’s brand-new recreation center. The world’s premier manufacturer of glass mosaic tiles has generously donated five hand-crafted aquatic-theme murals. This week, installation of these colorful murals began on the walls of the center’s swimming pool area.

Each mural contains approximately 175,000 hand-placed mosaic tessarae. Bisazza first manufactured these 10mm (3/8") glass mosaic tiles in Italy. After, the tiles were shipped to Bisazza North America in Miami, where proprietary computer software took marine life photographs taken by Japanese photographer Tsuneo Nakamura and swapped pixels for tiles. The tiles were then placed on the murals onto sheets measuring approximately one square-foot each. Starting this week, crews have carefully begun placing the mosaics onto the walls of the center.

"To see them in real life, under the pool’s skylights, they’re such wonderful, living colorful murals," said Parks & Recreation Director of Architecture Vincent J. Colangelo. "We appreciate all of the efforts made by the Italian Trade Commission and are looking forward to partnering with them on future projects."

The partnership between Bisazza and Parks & Recreation was established thanks to a fortuitous meeting in October 2002 between Parks & Recreation’s Art and Antiquities Director Jonathan Kuhn and the Italian Trade Commission’s New York Office. The Italian Trade Commission (Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero) is an Italian government agency that promotes and markets Italian products around the world. Thanks to the commission’s assistance, the project was linked to manufacturer Bisazza, which created and generously donated the tiles to the City. Bisazza’s previous major projects in New York City include a constellation mosaic at The Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space and a tableau wall at The Trump World Tower at United Nations Plaza.

When it opens later this year, Parks & Recreation’s $17.5 million state-of-the-art recreational facility will span six floors and include a swimming pool, full-court basketball court, locker rooms, arts and crafts space, a café, gymnasium, and weightlifting and aerobics areas. The 56,500 square-foot center will also include pre-school classrooms, a concession space, and a computer lab. The Chelsea Recreation Center, originally started in the 1970s, has been designed by the architecture firm Koutsomitis Architects, P.C. and is being built by the NYC Department of Design and Construction.

In the United States, the Italian Trade Commission has five offices located in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, each devoted to assisting Italian and American companies in establishing commercial relationships. For more information about the work they do, visit their website at


"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Horace Mann


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