This stone inset was just completed and it came out great. Natural stone is cut into small pieces called tesserae. Each piece is then hand clipped with special tools to form the inset image. The choice of just one single dragonfly on the entire wall was meant to act as an architectural allegory. Tom Porter has a nice definition:
An allegory is a story where figures, in the form of humans, animals or super humans (gods and fantasy figures) are used to illustrate abstract concepts, qualities and situations. Showing one thing and meaning another, allegory is a mode of representation, usually naturalistic, that uses the veneer of one narrative to disguise the deeper meaning of another. Usually referring to some outstanding quality or exceptional situation, allegorical meaning remains hidden. Therefore, like illusion, allegory is elusive; it is a palimpsest that awaits its inner message to be disclosed and decoded.
An allegory can convey a message with moral overtones; allegory personifies the values of a culture that create it. The combination of the historical figure with symbolic object produces an abstract statement. For example the winged female form is the generally understood representation of victory and peace, the blindfolded female figure holding a sword in one hand and a scale in another represents justice, and the Statue of Liberty, carrying a torch for freedom to light the way, extends the hand of friendship to the displaced. These robed women are not merely symbols that connect the visible and invisible world but are an allegorical picture of a real phenomenon.