This installment of our “New Hive Highlight” series features Mercury Mosaics, a local tile shop in Minneapolis that crafts beautiful ceramic tiles made by local artisans. We worked with Mercury Mosaics to create a handmade backsplash for our café.

Mercury Mosaics is owned by Mercedes Austin, who started the company in her art studio. The driving force behind Mercury Mosaics is a steadfast conviction: an artist shouldn’t have to starve to create their masterworks.

We connected with Mercedes to learn more about her company, office space design trends and being a purpose-driven business.

Can you describe your company and what you do best?

Mercury Mosaics is like a bakery for tile. We’re a Minnesota-born maker and have been crafting mosaics composed of our handmade tile for twenty years. We’re best at bold geometry expressed in our signature blends and patterns. Our hand-glazed colors have been waking up walls from the beginning of this journey. From your neighbor’s home next door to the hottest entrepreneur breaking out in Brooklyn to innovative workplaces like Beehive — there we are: buzzing in the background.

What trends in office space design have you seen in the last few years?

Trends we’re seeing are workplaces with color, local materials, innovative and adaptive use, and thoughtfulness. The onset of co-working spaces, the pandemic lockdown and now the shift in our relationship with the workplace have transformed office spaces in the last few years. Including Mercury’s office, we’re curating spaces with intention at a level we’ve never seen before. In turn, our clients and their designer and architect partners prioritize special flexibility in the use and aesthetics in these spaces.

In what ways can tile transform a space and make it more joyful and inspiring?

Tile is a fascinating tool for transforming a space. The way we’re manufacturing it is a balance between art and function, and thus it becomes a piece of functional art. You have the utility of the ceramic material to protect the surface it’s bonded to, while at the same time traces of the maker that created it with the subtle imperfections of the clay body and glaze application. With intentional color and layout, tile has the ability to elevate the mood of a space.

Beehive is a small B Corp and WBENC certified business. We love supporting other small, women-owned and purpose-driven businesses. How does Mercury Mosaics make a positive impact on women, your community, your employees or justice, equity, diversity and inclusion?

I respect the values Beehive holds and share in being led by purpose. Mercury Mosaics’ mission is to enhance the world one handmade tile at a time. It’s important to us to uplift our community through collaboration. Over the last 12 years, we’ve championed small businesses in Minnesota through our community program.

With increased intentionality in the last few years, we have partnered with entrepreneurs we’d like to see more of in our local community. I firmly believe business has the power to do well by doing good and that is why we have forged authentic relationships with the powerhouses behind: Lip Esteem (Tameka Jones), Taste of Rondo (Charles and Kasara Carter), the Dripping Root (Catiesha Pierson), the Get Down Coffee Company (Houston White) and, most recently, Tap-In (Christopher Webley).

We’re thrilled to have partnerships with business owners like Mercedes who share in our purpose-driven approach to business, and we can’t wait to see the way the tile from Mercury Mosaics brings our space to life.

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