Conservation Mosaics


Conservation Mosaics

Looks like Gaudi’s art… beautiful mosaics!

Thank you for noticing. These works of art are not only beautiful but are instructive and empowering.

Elicon House (a.k.a. Ecological Living & Conservation House) is full of interesting conservation* mosaics made by our staff. Mosaic art is a unique art form made popular in the 20th century by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain.

Eco-renovation at Elicon House began in 2007. As a way to utilize excess ceramic tiles from the renovation work, we came up with the idea of mosaic art.

Here are the colorful mosaics that you can spot and find around Elicon House that speak of the practice of environmental conservation:

  • The ‘Tree of Life’ mosaic
  • The ‘5R Transition Model’ mosaic of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Restore
  • The ‘Four Stages of Permaculture Design’ mosaic: Observe, Discover, Imagine, Create
  • The ‘Marine Biodiversity’ mosaic
  • The ‘Permaculture Principles’ mosaic
  • The ‘Urban Grassland’ wrap mosaic

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Mosaic art shows us that meaningless fragments of tiles when brought together can be a powerful medium to capture a moment, message, idea, view, zeitgeist or experience. We at Elicon have designated these mosaics as eco-animators to teach and inspire our guests about the message of Conservation – that every living creature must be protected because each plays a crucial role in keeping the richness of the biodiversity that sustains life on Earth.

* Conservation is the practice of preserving (protecting from harm or loss) and restoring natural biodiversity (huge variety of life forms).


Tree of Life Mosaic, Elicon Cafe, Cebu


There is a popular mosaic in the city of Cebu.

It can be found at Elicon Cafe, at the corner of P. del Rosario St.
It is a tile mosaic depicting the Tree of Life.
What is a mosaic?
It is an artistic pattern,
created using small pieces of tiles, glass or other found materials.
It can be glued or cemented.
Each piece is pasted individually.
It is a tedious process,
but it is worth all the time and effort.
The Tree of Life Mosaic at Elicon Cafe is a tile mosaic.
It was designed by Joel Lee, Permaculture teacher and designer.
It was made with the assistance of the staff at Elicon Cafe,
under its Cultivating Self-Reliance Program,
called Learn & Earn.
Our staff learned a new skill,
that of mosaic making,
which is an ancient form of art / craft
and earned as well.
The Tree of Life Mosaic,
is a symbol of how trees support life…
It is the sun and the rain that give life to the tree,
but the tree gives life to many living organisms.
The tree gives off oxygen
so we can breathe.
Its crown gives shelter:
to birds, fireflies & other animals.
It bears fruit for animals to eat.
Fruits have seeds,
which birds love to deposit with their dung,
The dung falls to the ground,
ready to regenerate the earth,
generously providing for our future.
It gives us timber,
so we can build our homes,
Its branches give us firewood,
so we can cook our meals
and warm our abodes.
Its roots hold water,
silent storing it for us,
giving it freely when we need it.
It keeps the soil from eroding,
preventing floods,
so we are safe in our homes.
The Tree of Life Mosaic,
reminds us of a gift,
that trees are to be valued,
protected and sanctified.
A humble sign of God’s love for us.
We should have a yearly celebration for the Tree of Life.
Kiss each tree and wipe it with our handkerchiefs,
(the way we fanatically act towards religious icons)
to remind us of its miraculous powers,
that of  daily providing us with
water, shelter, sustenance, and  protection…
our staff installing the tiles


joel lee, mosaic designer
students like to hang out under this tree