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December 5, 2019
The city of Milwaukie, Oregon, opened a new plaza last month with two 30-foot-long salmon mosaics that are more than eye candy — they are part of the plaza's structural concrete slab.
Snohomish-based Belarde Co., the project's concrete subcontractor, used the LithoMosaic process to install the salmon and several accent “logs.”
Chris Klemaske, a decorative concrete specialist with Belarde, said the plaza design started with a sandblasted fish element, but developed into “something more fun” using mosaics and colored Lithocrete, an architectural concrete product.
The LithoMosaic process starts with the artist laying out a pattern in the studio upside down on a mesh material. Once the pieces are assembled and glued to the mesh, the assembly is moved to the site for installation.
Klemaske said the mesh and mosaics are inverted and placed into fresh Lithocrete and then the mesh is removed. “It's not a simple pour,” she said. “It's a little like concrete surgery.”
Installation of the artwork is done in one step, with no mortar, grout or touch-up needed.
For the Milwaukie plaza, Amanda Elizabeth Mosaics was the artist and ESA's Portland office was the landscape architect. Granite Construction was the general contractor.
The 4,000-square-foot plaza connects the Southeast Adams walkway with Dogwood Park and is being used for special events. Next year, the city will move its farmers market to the new space.