The Carrara Marble Experience

Carrara Marble Query 

In collaboration with CarraraFiere and ICE-Italian Trade Agency 

Terrific opportunity to be selected among leading figures in the natural stone and architecture field, being part of a talented group of architects and designers from around the world and to understand in depth a noble material like marble, starting from its ‘birth’ in the quarry to the finish product in our daily lives. Experiencing as well stunning art, sculptures, and design at the ‘Carrara Marble Weeks in town’ to interpret and contemplate a different aspect of the Carrara Marble.

 

“A visit with added value – was the comment of Valerio Soldani, head of the Building, Architecture, Design office at the ICE Roma – of great training value even for real experts who, precisely because they know the complexity of the sector, always want to acquire new knowledge, while the professionals with less expertise were simply fascinated.”  Mr. Soldani words clearly summarize what the Carrara Marble Experience has been for us at Antony Architectural Stone, despite our expertise in the field, we have seen and learned something new also this time and that is what we value and bring back to USA with us.

Four days of intense practical education on the brand Carrara Marble.  We started with the visit at the quarries on an early rise going up with four by four trucks on a one way road toward the top of the mountain – experiencing stops at times since huge trucks were coming down with a block or two - the back view was stunning and the one in front was even better. 

As we reached the top of the mountain, which is formed by 3 main channels and each of them distinguishes itself from the type of Carrara Marble it has, we were able to observe the surrounding natural vegetation and the blocks’ structure that formed the side of the road.  Once at the top – no words could explain what we were seeing – just unbelievable! 

WHITE CARRARA MARBLE BLOCK EXTRACTION

Andrea Rossi administrator of Marmi Carrara group – one of the owner of the quarry – kindly explained to us how, many years ago, since there were no roads available, the blocks were dropped down by ropes with wooden rollers beneath, loaded and transported on wagon by oxen and cows down to the valley. 

While reaching the central part of the mountain, we had the chance to see a scraper extracting a block that was previously cut with a diamond wire.  Following, through a tunnel, we reached the center of the mountain, Cava Campanile and went down toward one of the main symbols of Carrara city, the Vara Bridges, and also the wheel with the emblem “Fortitudo mea in rota” which means “my strength is on the wheel.”  Furthermore, we learned that the name Carrara comes from ‘Cararia’ which means the place of the wagons. 

We saw many things and so many questions arose, but one thought communed most of us as architects and designers as to witness the great team work that happens in a quarry – everyone knows, supports and helps each other … ‘a large organization that acts just like one big family.’

Continuing with the visit of the local companies we were in direct contact with all the steps of marble and granite processing, from blocks into slabs and from slabs into a final cut to size product.  Each company we visited, showed us a part of this complex process in detail.  We learned about blocks cut into slabs at Il Fiorino Company, where manager Andrea Rossi illustrated to us gangsaws and a slab polishing machine.  This was further discussed at Sagevan Group, where sales director Jacopo Vanelli explained to us a bit on block structure, veins and colors, to then focus on their new ‘bar codes’ photo view system of slabs to provide an efficient, and guaranteed service to their customers.  Another aspect that Mr. Vanelli touched in his tour, was the new polishing line system that Sagevan has implemented – standard and new resins used depending on the need you have.  A way, for example, to perfect the ‘tarolo’, a natural composition of the Carrara Marble, is by using a polyester resin activated by UV rays. 

At the query....

It was fascinating to observe all the automated processing line with state of the art technology and to learn how for each material - cutting blades, polishing pads, machine pressure, bundles set up - change.  All of this work is done by people with strong know-how and passion. 

In fact, it was pointed out by Lorenzo Cabani – Bruno Lucchetti Marmi & Graniti Srl - during his tour of their granite resins set up system, along with learning about differences between granite and marble polishing line; how many of the steps in the processing of a final slab are dependent on accurate small conditions which are only known by the operator developed experience. 

We took a break from natural stone when visiting Bencore. At Bencore Tito Franzini – manufacturing R&D – and Enrico Vene` - export sales manager, presented us their manufacturing facility and product line made up of polycarbonate structures with external layers in acrylic, offered in various finishes, color and sizes. An innovative product that has future potential.

As we moved into the development of a cut to size product, we had the opportunity to visit companies like Campolonghi and Savema S.p.a.  At Campolonghi, Mirco Campagna showed us their custom processing machinery, and how work commissioned for large projects is prepared; while at Savema spa, Mario Perfetti presented us several custom cut to size products in ultimate preparation for some commercial projects.  Also, we were able to see a 3-axis CNC machine customizing some marble pieces that is similar to the 5-axis CNC in our facility in Woodinville, WA, and visualized the work that is done and can still be completed with this advanced technology.  It is an added value for Antony Architectural Stone’s sustainable manufacturing facility to have such state of the art technology, where we can provide a one of a kind and customized product to our customers.

Particularly, it was interesting to see how marble thin panels are produced.  Silvio Losacco – responsible of stone projects at Furer S.p.a., illustrated to us how marble thin panels are constructed and assembled, presenting us as well the machinery that is used in this process and the materials that are used to achieve the final product.  In addition, Patrizia Ricci from Franchi Group, exposed to us how different materials change their aspect when creating a cut to size piece, for example she showed us some marble slabs and their application into tubs, vases, benches and tables.  This is something to always keep in mind when choosing a material.

Carrara Marble Thin Panels

At this point we really had the ability to envision marble and granite considerable work and the stunning and elegant design one can achieve using these materials.  

During the stay, we had a good opportunity to interact and network with colleagues, exchanging ideas and visions for the future, sharing our thoughts on what we have seen, and how to apply marble and granite into future projects.

One evening Silvia Nerbi – Art Director of Carrara Marble Weeks – toured us on the fascinating artistic installations placed around Carrara historic center, where we viewed other aspects of this surprising city.  I was particularly taken by a marble statue of the head of Jesus where, no matter where you were looking, it was looking back at you – a very interesting piece.

As keeping the best thing for last, we concluded our stay by attending the Expo Stone Award ceremony and the Round Table debate of Italian and American architects organized by the CarraraFiere and the National Council of Architects hosted at the Chamber of Commerce of Carrara.  The debate focused on marble – discussing the uses of marble, its qualities and what it can offer not only to architects and designers but also to private customers.  Having the opportunity to be present and listen to top architects in the world and recognize the Carrara Award receiving companies and projects was an incredible experience.  It was interesting to listen to the debate and to hear the diverse points of view that the architects touched in their intervention.  Nicole Dosso – architect at Skidmore, Owing, & Merrill office in New York – which received the award for contributing in the design and application of Carrara marble to the project of the One World Trade Center mentioned that “in this extraordinary building for its symbolic value and also for the area where it stands, we used marble in its highest function, to reflect light, producing claddings on the ground floor where there is no direct light and giving life to light spaces with Carrara marble.”  It is an honor and it surely makes us proud as Italians to know that our marble, in specific Carrara Brand, was chosen for a valuable project as the One World Trade Center, recalling as well to the history of New York city and the many Italian immigrants living there today, it is not only a coincidence that architect Nicole Dosso, Italian by origin, was part of the project and there to receive the award.  Life can surprise us at times, bringing us back to our origins, which are always part of who we are. 

During the round table discussion Joshua Coleman, Southerland Page Inc., when commenting on marble, added “our customers want us to use marble for project of great value.”  It is a positive sign for the future of marble and the new time that the natural stone field is facing.  This matter was further examined by architect Paolo Mezzalama when in one of his remarks underlined “a new phase for the use of marble is starting … we must reflect on technology, serial production, and the ability to be creative using the least possible quantity of material to achieve the best results."

The delegates of Carrara 2015 ...

Sustainability is certainly one of the current topics about natural stone that we often encounter with our customers in United States, when choosing an environment-friendly material.  It is an important factor to focus on for the future, as also the president of the architects, Leopoldo Freyrie, shared with us in his concluding words “… the stone is the expression of the Mediterranean culture, and today we must reflect on how to best design considering the replacement of what already exists and the intelligent and creative reuse of materials.  It’s not a challenge between man and nature, but a search for balance and design intelligence.  Our project of sustainable reuse is based on this philosophy that must become one of the elements of contemporary architecture.”

Being part of the natural stone and architecture field, it is an added value to have the opportunity to be in the front line during visits like this to really grasp the essence and the heart of what marble is all about.  Often working with final products, it is very important and relevant to know the ‘life’ of a material to better understand it, to better apply it, and to better educate people about it.  At times, we are just so focused on searching for a material that has no imperfections, but we often forget how a material, through its veins, natural compositions and imperfections, it is just perfect.

Finally, we, at Antony Architectural Stone, want to thank all the people and institutions that sponsored and helped in the organization of Carrara 2015, all the companies that shared with us their work and passion, Carrara Fiere and ICE-Italian Trade Agency.  A special thanks to Albarosa Tokunaga – ICE Los Angeles, Valerio Soldani – ICE Roma and Eleonora Albini – Carrara Fiere for their valuable assistance. 

We look forward to future opportunities to connect and be part of professional meetings like this one, to acquire new knowledge, create new collaborations, visualize where the field is leading and appreciate all the work that has been done so far and is still and will continue to grow for the future of marble and natural stone.  

 

                                                                                                                                 Penelope Zorzi, PhD                                                                                                                                                                        Antony Architectural Stone                                                                                                                                                                www.antonyarchitecturalstone.com

 

 

                                                                                              

How to have a Natural Stone-Safe Thanksgiving? Check out our tips ...

Thanksgiving is almost here ... many of you are thinking about the menu, decorations, guest and many other things to prepare for such a special day.  At Antony Architectural Stone we want to make sure you have a wonderful holiday and a Stone-Safe Thanksgiving with our Natural Stone Care Tips!

Don't hesitate to contact us @ 425 424 0051, should you have any question or in need of some help or suggestion ...  Happy Celebration!!!

The RDI Pacific Northwest Tour ...

As said in a previous post, as a company we do believe in Educational Development that is why when we were asked to host a tour of your facility for the Retail Design Institute Pacific Northwest Chapter, we were very excited!  

Every tour we give enriches us and shows us the continuous interest that there is for the natural stone sector from industry peers.  A lot of questions arose during the RDI Pacific Northwest Chapter tour, in particular many people were just astonished by our manufacturing technology and its many uses ... practically limitless!  

Radon and Radiation emission by natural stone was also something that was discussed during the evening, as well as new project and new commercial varieties of materials used in the field.  

Quarrying operations including open-cast or underground quarries, extraction technologies with application of diamond wire cutters or chain cutters, and stone material processing were engaging topics addressed during the event.

But the 'icing on the cake' is to visually see our 5-axis CNC machine operate.  It is just amazing, to really realize how the processing of natural stone has advanced!  With this technology we can really create anything, and this is just 'amazing' only to think about that.  

I am sure people like my grandfather remember the old days when everything was done by hand, and the sacrifices and time it took to do so ... 

To us it is also very special to see that people are interested and enjoyed the tour as well ... when we receive thank you notes in email we know for sure that it was a one of a kind experience not only for us but also for the attendees.

I wanted to share with you a special one that I have received ... 

Hello Penelope -
The tour you did for RDI last week was fascinating, and your products are really unique.  I so enjoyed meeting you and Roberto and Nazzarena, hearing about your family heritage of working with stone, and seeing your design and production process.  I love to know the whole story of a product, and the people who make it real.   A lot of times these events are about looking at things; in this case I learned something too, which is wonderful.   
Thank you so much – M. (Architectural Project Manager II)

 

And on this point I wanted to say 'Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give you a tour!'

- Our 5-axis CNC at work - 

 

If you are interested in seen some pictures from the tour, we have published several of them on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/set=a.907904129236121.1073741848.502138483146023&type=3 

 

Thank you to the RDI Pacific Northwest for choosing to tour our facility and giving us the opportunity to share not only our daily work with natural stone, but also our traditions, and passion!

 

 

 

 

 

"Don't be mislead" ... Know The 'Real Facts' about Radon and Radiation Emissions from Natural Stone!

Lately, we have had several people asking about radon and radiation emissions from natural stone, and since this has been a 'hot' topic in the stone business for many years, we wanted to provide you with some information so you can choose the right material for your home.

The Marble Institute of America has completed abundant studies, carried out by independent institutions like the Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., to provide 'neutral' true facts and put an end to misleading information that competing material organizations are continuously divulging. Some of this information has suggested that granite can emit levels of radon or radiation that pose a health threat. But before getting into too many details, let's start from the basic...

Even though they may sound alike, radon and radiation are not the same thing.  So what is the actual difference between the two?

Radon, produced from radium, is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment.  It is commonly found in the basement of homes in most of the US, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that by far the primary source of radon in any home is the soil surround it.

On the other hand, radiation, are particles emitted by radioactive substances, and one of the primary sources of radiation in our environment is the sun. 

Just by reading the above descriptions, the first thing that comes to my mind is … ‘they are everywhere’ and in fact radon and radiation are then in the air we breath, in the water we drink, in the soil and rock we stand on, and in the sun’s rays, but let’s take a look at some actual facts from the following graphics to get a visual idea of where we can find radon. 

As the chart indicates, almost 70 percent of radon results from soil around the house, and just 2.5 percent from all building material (such as concrete, brick, gypsum, and natural stone) used in the house.  This might surprise some of you, but actually not the people that have been working for years in the natural stone business.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, a lot of the information found online about radon, radiation and natural stone have been purposely used by manufacturers of competitors’ materials to hit granite popularity, so before you take into account any information make sure it is from an authentic resource.

But let’s get into the actual ‘scientific analysis.’  The EH&E designed and carried out a series of experimental studies required to characterize radon and radiation exposure and risk quantitatively.

These comprehensive studies conducted in a scientific valid manner were designed to see weather granite or marble countertops can SIGNIFICANTLY increase exposure and doses of radon and radiation in our homes.  The in-depth analysis focused on risk of exposure to radon gas and ionizing radiation associated with the majority types of natural stone used as countertops in United States.  In these studies the testing protocol included:

i)              Determine pertinent gamma activity concentrations

ii)             Measuring total alpha, beta, and gamma emissions

iii)            Measuring total external radiation doses

iv)           Determining radon flux from a wide range of representative stones

To characterize potential radiation risks of natural stone countertops, the estimates of doses were compared to a variety of health-based benchmarks for radon and radiation safety by authoritative organizations such as National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP).  Over 400 samples from 115 varieties of stone were evaluated, and the results indicated that:

-       Radon emission test results combined with the market share data indicate that the average predicted contribution to indoor radon from all stones tested is less than 0.01 picocuries per liter (pCi L-1), a concentration that is well below both the average outdoor radon concentration in the United State of 0.4 pCi L-1 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guideline for remedial activities to be undertaken of 4.0 pCi L-1.

-       External dose associated with radiation emissions for all of the slabs tested are well below health-protective guidelines, including the exemption limit of 0.3 mSv per year recommended by the European Commission.  The United States has yet to establish an exemption level for building products based on radioactivity to our knowledge.

-       Assessing exposure to radon and radiation requires accounting for duration and frequency of exposure, not just absolute magnitude.  In addition, measurements must account for variability of the countertop surface.  Ventilation is accounted when estimating radon concentration in indoor air, while for radiation, distance and geometry must be incorporated in the assessments.

-       Significant variability was observed across stone types.

For further information and table data you can check out the full report on the study “Assessing exposure to radon and radiation from granite countertops” at http://www.eheinc.com/documents/EH&E.GraniteCountertops.UpdatedReport.pdf

In summary, the intense laboratory testing conducted by the EH&H revealed that natural stone, in particular granite (since for Americans ‘nothing beats the beauty, and value of granite countertops’), is an ‘insignificant’ source of radon and that 99.5% of granite countertops produce less radon than what’s found outdoors.  Also, further studies have shown that there is ‘no risk’ of dangerous levels of radon in granite.

Therefore, there is NOTHING to be concerned about! 

As Dr. Joseph Allen, head of the EH&H, said “The most typical granite countertop installations would produce a radon concentration in the home that is 10,000 times lower than the EPA action level, and are so low they are not even measurable.” 

In other words, we’re probably at a higher risk standing in front of the microwave waiting for our tea or coffee to warm up … it is sad to say but VERY MUCH TRUE!

And if we really think about it, there are so many 'other things' that we should be concerned as a health risk in our homes ... like the loaded fluoride and bleached water we use everyday, and the additives, and preservatives in our food or house cleaning supplies??  What about those??!!??

Something to REALLY think about ... 

 

"Our Natural Stone Tour Experience ..."

One of the things we most value as a company is continuous growth in our sector to be able to meet the market demand on a daily basis, as well as satisfy our customers requests.  For this reason, we always keep advancing in all the processes involved in natural stone manufacturing, starting from the selection of materials in the quarry, moving then to digitally processing services, and finishing with the delivery of the final products.  It is important not only to create profit out of a project, but also to be able to transmit our passion for natural stone and educate people.  I personally believe it is a 'key' element to our work to help our clients understand how to use and work with natural stone, as also why choosing natural stone.  

As a family-owned company. we are committed to Educational Development, where we collaborate with local colleges, universities, and institutes to educate students, architects, and clients on natural stone and its uses.  This is because nowadays, there are many options available to natural stone. We are surrounded by a wide selection of granites, marbles, limestone, onyx, travertines, really somebody can just be overwhelmed just by figuring out the perfect material for their project. One thing to keep in mind though, it is that it's not only about the color of the material but also about the material itself.  Any type of natural stone is different, for example the consistency of one type of granite is different from another, so more suitable for a specific application.  This is very important to keep in mind to prevent any material misplacement. 

For this reason we organize monthly education sessions, where we provide background information on natural stone, present a wide variety of materials and educate on their differences, and give a live demonstration on how we process natural stone, and a tour of our facility.  For us this is a fun way to transmit our passion and love for natural stone, and interact with enthusiastic students, and people that are willing to learn and grow.  

Showing different materials of natural stone ... 

One of our recent tour was with the Lake Washington Institute of Technology ... with the Architecture Associate Degree students.  It was nice to see so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.  Some of the questions that arose during the tour were about the digitally manufacturing service equipment that we have.  Everybody was amazed on the limitless services that we are able to provide in no time, and this is also because we strive to continue innovate our company with state-of-the-art technology that goes in line with the new markets trends.

Showing how to operate a 5-axis CNC

Overall, we always have a great time during our tours, and it is nice to see the interest for natural stone, and its manufacturing processes.  Also, when organizing a tour, we are not only teaching students or people in general, but a lot of the times they teach us many things, and vision that they have for the future and would like to see happen in the natural stone sector.  

Last but not least, because we also need to satisfy our palate, at the end of the tour we enjoy together a great Italian espresso and some snacks, while sharing feedback and experiences ... so if you like the idea of learning something new, and enjoying while doing it ... schedule your Natural Stone Tour Experience!

Looking forward in sharing our passion ...

Suggestions for your next Natural Stone Project ...

It is almost Spring time... days are getting longer and warmer, maybe sunnier ;-) ... and if you are thinking about some new projects to do around the house, this is the perfect time to attend the Seattle Home Show at CenturyLink Field which is ongoing till February 23rd.  

The Seattle Home Show offer a variety of things from cabinets, textile, flooring to landscaping and remodeling contractors, really anything that has to do with your home remodel ... 

This year there are two new display areas:  one with New Products, and one with Products made in the USA.  This is a pretty interesting area where one can see the new trends and new exiting products that are Made in USA.  Also the show offer a wide variety of seminars, and talks to attend during the day which can really be helpful, and they are free which makes them a real bargain since you can attend as many as you want.

We, at Antony Architectural Stone, also take part in the Seattle Home Show ... if you are interested in checking out some of our new products, which are also made in the USA, feel free to stop by our corner booths 819 & 922.  We have some interesting new offers for new project, and for who is interested in using our 3D Natural Stone Design for their next kitchen island or any creative idea around the house, going from shower panels to wall decorations.  (Contact us to get our promo code for a free entrance)

Seattle Home Show Ad.png

Another place that can give you ideas for your home project is houzz.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, Houzz is the new Pinterest for professionals, primarily for the residential sector.  You can browse around the images and look at different ideabooks, to get some suggestions for your remodel and to check out new trends.  I find it very useful and inspiring!

Take a look at our ideabooks to see how you can use natural stone in your house, and get creative design suggestions ...  

 ... let's start those house projects!!   ... spring is at the door :-)  

‘Nothing Beats Value, Beauty of Granite Countertops’...

Accordingly to an online study conducted by the Marble Institute of America, American homeowners overwhelmingly recognize the value, beauty, durability and safety of granite countertops. In fact, 75% of homeowners, who intended to remodel their kitchen, indicate that they want granite countertops and 76% homeowners agree with the statement “nothing beats value and beauty of granite countertops.”

Interestingly, the survey shows that 'no matter what the economy looks like, homeowners recognize that granite countertops enhance the value of their homes'. Furthermore, "Consumers who are remodeling their kitchen see granite countertops as a safe investment in their home.  They prefer this NATURAL STONE to other materials because they understand it pays for itself in terms of higher resale value.  90% of homeowners choose granite countertops because they are beautiful, durable and safe."

But what is it about granite that is so special?  

Its UNIQUENESS ... since granite is 100% natural, no piece is alike, every block is different and carries its characteristics, and some kind of history behind it.  

It has that natural alive look that other materials don't have.

It is SAFE.   Latest scientific research by the Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&E) shows that granite countertops are an insignificant source of radon, and that 99.95% of countertops produce lower radon concentrations than are found outdoor in the United States.

It has been around for many years and now that technology has reduced the production and shipping costs around the world, it can be in our homes for such an affordable price! 

piano in granito.jpg

Plus, granite adds that distinctive touch to any countertop creating a welcoming warm atmosphere!

I was pleased to read about this study conducted by the Marble Institute of America, since I am a big 'fan' of natural stone myself .... and surprisingly, it is quite interesting to know that most of Americans continue to choose Granite.  

Often what we 'perceive' from magazines, street advertisements, and television spots can be different from what is the 'actual' market of certain products; and personally, I thought that now days more people would be turning into engineered stone and other manmade products for their countertops, but indeed that is not the case!

Thanks to the Marble Institute of America for conducting this study, we can say that Granite still remains American homeowners top choice when thinking about remodeling their kitchen!  

And that surely "Nothing Beats Value and Beauty of Granite Countertops".  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the kitchen the heart of the home?

 

In our daily work, we, at Antony Architectural Stone, work on many kitchen remodeling projects.  It is very interesting to see how each kitchen design is different and reflects in part the personality of who lives in it.     Lately, we have been noticing the disappearance of dining rooms from most of the houses that we work on, and a question came up ... what is the most important room in our homes?

I think it is the kitchen!

In the past, the kitchen was the place where grandmothers and mothers would spend most of the time cooking, making sure a hot homemade meal was ready for when the 'men' would come home from work.  Many women would be slaving over a stove, working tirelessly over countertops, preparing delicious, filling and nutritious dishes that the family enjoyed and savored together.  My parents used to tell me that when they were children, it was usual to visit relatives and extended family, and when they would enter their house, they were encouraged in the kitchen to watch the art of cooking, and sometime also to take a bite of a still warm piece of bread with some homemade marmalade, and help in preparing a meal together.  The atmosphere of the room was always filled with dynamism and energy creating true lifetime memories.

 typical kitchen stove used in the past

typical kitchen stove used in the past

Now days even if modern time has changed our lifestyle, the kitchen still remains the room where everything happens, from the start of our day with breakfast till the end of it with dinner time. The kitchen has gained more authority in the house design, and in fact it is not anymore a small closed room accessible only to family and close friends, but in the newest house layout,  it is an open room that, for most of the times, includes a dining table and also a separated sitting area where to relax.  This new design allows the whole family to hang out together while cooking, working or just relaxing.   

 Modern kitchen in Calacatta Oro Marble

Modern kitchen in Calacatta Oro Marble

Being in contact with many builders, architects, and designers, we are able to have a lot of information on the latest kitchen design and functionality, and it is interesting to visualize on a practical end how the sector is evolving.  Kitchen appliances, from refrigerators to dishwashers and ovens are constantly changing, and new concepts and styles emerge into the marketplace every year.  Kitchens are becoming more environment friendly, and are incorporating 'greener' products, cutting down on manmade ones.  And this is also why natural stone never goes out of style; in fact it continues to be widely used in the kitchen design for countertops, bar tops, islands, and backsplashes.  The newest trends are showing natural stone uses also as home décor where specific designs are engraved, and the effect that results from each design creates a natural light and shadow contrast, which brings out the beauty of the stone, and creates a one of a kind ambiance. 

 natural stone diamond design of the fireplace

natural stone diamond design of the fireplace

The kitchen is definitely one of the important rooms of an house, but can we say it is the most important?  or that it is the heart of your home?  

 

 

 

The Marmomacc 2013 experience ....

In our sector, one of the most important international events to attend is the Marmomacc trade fair, which is held every year in Verona, Italy.  The Marmomacc is an ESSENTIAL appointment for the stone industry; it is the International fair for operators in the marble sector.

Every year we, at Antony Architectural Stone, prepare and participate with enthusiasm to this fair since for us it is a time to reconnect with our collaborators back in Italy, as well as to see what are the new trends for the upcoming years, and a way to create new and interesting collaborations.  Also, since we originally come from Verona, it is a way to visit family and friends and take a nice stroll around the city and Lake Garda, a good way to combine work with private life ….

I had a lot of expectations from Marmomacc 2013 since last year I was really taken by the Architecture & Design Hall, and I was wondering what cool design there will be this year. As some of you may recall (since the photo was also published on the Marble Institute of America facebook page), last year major attraction in the Architecture & Design Hall was the Stone Gate, a cutting-edge architectural-engineering project made of 20 modular stones laid dry, bound by steel cables embedded within, that works with the essential laws of physics – just an amazing piece of art!

  STONE GATE  -  Lithos Design

STONE GATE  -  Lithos Design

This year instead the Architecture & Design Hall didn't propose such an imminent piece, but went in line with the new design’s trends and focused on color. The result was the Opus Motus, a circular proportion of an incredible variety of natural stone shades, gifted by Nature, the idea was to create a color palette visually seen when the wheel starts to turn and the different stone colors start to mix together.

 

  OPUS MOTUS  -  Lithos Design 

OPUS MOTUS  -  Lithos Design 

Beside the Architecture & Design Hall, I had the opportunity to take a look at the New Machinery and Equipment Hall, where I am always amazed on the sizes of some of this equipment ... I always wonder how long they take just to pre-set up the hall before the trade show starts ...  Anyways, to me this is an important section of the fair because you can really see how the sector is evolving and innovating, and coming from a scientific background it is very interesting to me to see how specific equipment are made and operate.

The section dedicated on natural stone, marble and granite which included an international hall and a national hall was no big surprise to me.  I didn’t really see new material proposed, but noticed new exhibitors from Singapore, Slovenia, and Ireland, which in additions to the usual exhibitors made it up to 16 international groups attendance exhibitors.  Also, I have felt, and this was confirmed by the different people I interacted with, that the overall turnout of the trade show was higher than last year, indicating a nice recovery and a new growth for the natural stone market.

I was also pleased to see how our products continue to be very competitive on the market. Marmomacc 2013 still confirms the trends we proposed last year, when we introduced our Art-wave Design and 3-D Textured Surfaces Collection, where design takes inspirations in natural forms and processes which introduce an architecture of experience with stone surfaces. In this way natural stone becomes dimensional and transmits sensations performed by the combination of exceptional forms, materials color, and particular light effects that replace traditional aesthetic motives with moving emotional qualities.  The organic imperfections of natural stone are exalted through design since they add integrity and credibility to the product.  In fact, veins, bark effects, slashes, crinkle and cuts also contribute to add intensity to the color tonalities of the materials.

Also, quite interesting was Marmomacc and the City, an exhibition of sculptures and installations, organized in collaboration with the Verona order of architects and the city council, that was set up during the day of the main show in significant spaces, squares and courtyards of the city of Verona – A nice way to introduce natural stone sculptures and combine them with the beautiful architecture that Verona has to offer.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Marmomacc 2013 experience!  I mean … what not to like??  Being with great people that share the same love for natural stone, surrounded by amazing architectural stone design, and beautiful natural stone materials …. weather was just perfect and food outstanding as always  …. I guess that says it all!!

 See you next year ….. !