The new Stone Age
The New Stone Age 1: technology How to specify Carrara marble for projects and not worry about variation in tonality and veining, installation problems and staining.
Designers and clients still love the timeless natural beauty of marble but on a project basis its selection can be a cause of concern due to the inherent variation of natural stone. In short, you cannot be sure that the the material delivered to site will match the control sample. And there are other worries associated with marble specification. Can replacement pieces match the main batch in tonality and veining? How stain resistant and cleanable will the installed marble be? In many cases, these problems are insoluble. you can either accept variation and problematic maintenance or go for new-generation high-tech porcelain stoneware (also offered by Equinox). But in the case of the famous Italian Bianco Carrara marble we can offer certainty and peace of mind to developers and designers by scientifically grading and categorising natural variations in the material. The process sorts, pre-dries, grades and selects by means of computer analysis each and every tile using using nine precise parameters to ensure a homogeneous supply. The nine parameters are: • percentage of white; • percentage of grey; • ratio of grey to white; • density of veins; • quantity of veins; • orientation of veins;
• cloudiness; • spiral versus linear patterning; • amount of speckling. Slabs are specifically selected to ensure consistency of colour and veining for each order. The slab is then cut, calibrated and processed. During the processing the marble is heated to reduce the moisture content and increase the level of whiteness. During the manufacturing process the marble is treated with a patented anti-stain treatment. It can now be treated more like a tile and less like stone. The sophistication of the computer-controlled scanning equipment means that we are able to subdivide its Carrara marble portfolio into precise types. Bernini is a bright white with soft crystalline light grey speckles of colour while Botticelli is white with dense and intricate veining across the slab in a random pattern. Caravaggio has a compact structure with a fine grain which changes from creamy white to ivory grey. There are also a few irregular brown veins here. Donatello is a dry white with a strong grain whereas Leonardo has a white background enriched by silvery threads throughout. Palladio features delicate and dense veins dispersed in a soft white. Raffaello displays shiny silvery weaves of veins on a pure luminous background.
Left: Bianco Carrara 'Bernini'. Centre: Palladio. Right: Botticello. Bathroom walls clad in Tintoretto.
Bianco Carrara is marble 'par excellence', used over the centuries in some of the most famous buildings in the world, including Florence's iconic Duomo. But like a great culinary recipe Bianco Carrara has many variations, each with its own distinctive visual flavour. Concerns about variation in tonality and veining are legitimate and often dissuade an architect or designer from specifying Carrara. There are also concerns about water absorption and staining. Consistency is guaranteed by a sophisticated, scientific system for grading and sorting the marble that scrutinises every aspect of the stone's appearance before allotting it to one of nine Carrara classes. A special heating stage during processing reduces moisture content while a patented sealing technology protects the marble after installation.
Tintoretto is a soft wintry grey with subtle tones of cream and cerulean. The veining pattern is subtle and consistent across the slab. Tiziano has a rich look causeed by its subtle silvery veins.
complete modularity. All plain wall tiles are 10mm thick. Because every piece of marble is factory-sealed using a heat-impregnated sealer, installation is as simple as with ceramic tiles.
Every consignment is shipped in strong cardboard boxes with Carrara type, size and colour/sorting code clearly indicated. Each consignment can be tracked and matched. Floor slabs are offered in a range of formats: 150x150, 200x200, 300x300, 150x300, 200x400, 400x400, 450x450, 300x600, 400x800 and 600x600mm. In addition there is a selection of decorative pieces, including those with classical motifs, in 150x150and 150x300mm. Further design flexibility is offered by 100x300mm architectural decorations and 100x200 and 150x150mm decorative inserts. Laying options include Tiepolo, a staggered tile pattern, polished, in 100x600, 150x600 and 200x800mm. Also using a staggered pattern is Riomaggiore, this time with 100x500, 100x400 and 100x300mm formats. Volterra is a polished option formed from 200x400mm Caravaggio and 200x400mm Monterosso in equal quantity; while Luni features 300x300mm Palladio and 200x800mm. The material will not present problems during laying, as long as certain simple rules are followed. • The substrate must be dry, stable and solid. Before laying slabs, ensure that the screed is sufficiently set or use a quick drying screed such as Mapei Mapecem. • Only use high-quality quick drying adhesive such as Mapei’s Granirapid. • For grouting, Mapei’s Keracolor is recommended. Carrara marble, in common with all natural stones with a high calcium carbonate content, is relatively sensitive to acid. It should be maintained by using water and a neutral cleaning products. It is a good idea to treat the marble every six months with purpose-designed cleaning products. For flooring applications the marble is supplied in 12mm thick slabs for greater strength and quality. This thickness, for all types, colours and sizes, allows for
Opposite: Carrara marble quarry in nothern Italy.
The New Stone Age 2: art An etching technique that flowered in Renaissance Italy is given new life and taken to an extraordinary level of quality. Deep knowledge, technical expertise and artistic passion set these Italian creations in stone apart from the rest. The delicate work is performed entirely by hand using many different raw materials. Gold and silver are impressed on stone using complex and time honoured techniques that only a few craftsmen today have mastered.
Left: Biancone marble 600x600cm with gold etched deco in Halley design. Right: Acqueforti range 'Emotions'
design 30.5x30.5cm tiles in Biancone marble with gold etched deco.
The final result is always unique, as no one piece is ever identical to another. And these creationscan be personalised to suit all tastes and blend with a variety of classical and contemporary styles.
A range of stone-based mosaics complements the plain and decorated stone slabs and tiles. Some mosaics mix mother of pearl with the stone, others show handcrafted designs on every piece. Whichever technique or colour blend is selected, the results are superb.
These unique, contemporary designs turn any surface into a standout feature wall that sets the tone for the whole space. The standard portfolio of marbles is Botticino, Rosso Asiago, Giallo Reale Rosato, Verde India, Radica, Biancone, Rosa Perlino, Bianco Carrara, Grigio Bardiglio, Nero Marquinia, Dune, Verde Giada, Noisette, Savana, Atlantide, Beige Royal, Jerusalem Gold, Giallo dâ€™Istria, Giallo Reale, Bluebelge, Jura Grigio and Bianco Thassos.
There are also several travertines: Noche, Chiaro, Giallo, Rosso, Rosa and Macedonia.
Above: Waxed Biancone marble, white glass, mother of pearl and Reflex copper.
Left: Miro design in black Ardesia slate and gold deco. Opposite: Biancone marble with silver etched deco. Overleaf: acqueforti 'Emotions' design using 800x800mm slabs of Nero Marquinia marble with silver etched deco.
The floor is carefully sealed prior to shipping.
Opposite top: Black Ardesia 'Art Ring' bas relief 10x10cm tiles in Black Ardesia.
Opposite: 'Art Tiffany' mosaic using Travertino Rosso, Antic Copper and Radica marble, with Radica marble slabs.
Above: 'Camelot' acqueforti design in Biancone with gold etched decor, 30.5x30.5cm tiles.
Decorative marble can create a more understated look, dispensing with etching and relying instead on advanced cutting and sanding techniques to re-interpret and enrich the natural stone with elegant and unique bas-reliefs and surface treatments. These marbles can be used on the wall or floor and matched in all cases with plain honed or polished stones. Decorative pieces are all fully sealed to protect against dirt and moisture. Carrara, Crema Luna and Ardesia Ligure are the core stones but clients can specify any marble for their project. In addition, custom relief designs can be achieved on slabs of up to 60x120cm each.
Left: polished Bianco Carrara 25x50cm on the right of the wall; Carrara 'Canettato' surfaced design at wall base in 25x50cm; Carrara 'Volute' bas足relief design on right side of wall. Floor in 50x50cm polished Carrara.
Above: Honed Carrara 25x50cm on floor and wall borders, with Carrara 'Rugiado' bas足relief design 25x50cm in central wall panel.
Above: detail of Bianco Carrara 'Volute' bas足relief in brushed finish. Opposite: 50x50cm Crema Luna 'Floreale' bas足relief.
Published on Aug 19, 2009