From afar, this bird's eye view of Johannesburg looks like a satellite snapshot. But it's not—it's actually a massive, meticulously created mosaic. It contains thousands of fragments of stone and tile, but together, they look amazingly photorealistic.
Conceived by South African artists Gerhard Marx and Sam Nhlengethwa in collaboration with Spier Architectural Arts, Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg is made of 56 flat panels that each hold a bird's eye view of the capital. Each panel is made from tiles of different sizes, creating a sense of depth—they almost seem to leap out at you. The buildings and roads and flora and fauna you see when you overlook this vision of Joburg are made from pieces of natural stone including marble, travertine, red brick, ceramics, and Venetian smalti glass.
It took a long time to piece together such a massive scene—seven professional mosaic artists and nine apprentices worked on it for five months. And the finished product is massive. It weighs about three freaking tons. It is made from rocks, of course, which means it must be built on a very sturdy framework. The mosaic was presented last month at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair, and you can imagine that you'd want to spend hours looking at it from far away, and close up, and back again, over and over. [Colossal]