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Set with stars

The inside surface of a 14-metre dome in the Middle East was an excellent planetarium-like setting for Craig Bragdy’s night sky mural, commissioned twenty five years ago.

Striking images of the twelve zodiac constellations dominate the design, all represented in captivating detail and eye-catching colour.

Sharjah Souk dome 1
The Museum of Islamic Civilization in Sharjah Souk, a significant tourist landmark in the region, and the first of its kind in the UAE.
His Highness the ruler attends the opening formalities under the dome at Sharjah Souk
His Highness the ruler attends the opening formalities under the dome at Sharjah Souk


handmade-mosaic-zodiac-muralSurrounding the zodiac characters are dozens of constellations from the celestial sphere, each accruately mapped out by their familiar line patterns, forming glittering geometric shapes. The stars sparkle like sequins against a majesterial background of interstellar cloud and deep space. Clever use of colour and mosaic, working with the concave surface, creates the same awesome sense of depth you experience if you stare up at the night sky. A quarter of a century later, the mural still glimmers like new within the dome of what is now a museum of Islamic heritage. As well as continuing to please visitors all these years later, the design has also directly influenced other projects.

zodiac swimmingpool design

Craig Bragdy has managed to evoke the wondrous beauty of the cosmos in several swimming pool designs. In one pool, the twelve signs of the zodiac were once again the central theme, each a combination of expertly cut and glazed handmade tiles set against a mosaic background. The effect is a feeling of swimming among the stars, as well as having a wonderfully tactile sensation underfoot. Other features can be introduced to complement and enhance the astral theme. Lighting, precisely fitted within the design and using state-of-the-art fibre optics, can add a luminous vitality to a cosmic scene. Finer detail, such as a sprinkle of star-dust down the steps or a refulgent supernova to embellish an underwater bar stool, can further the suggestion of the galactic. It is one theme among many that Craig Bragdy has embraced, but this one, it might be said, is out of this world.

zodiac swimming pool3