Viva Italia

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Kreoo-Fenice-Graffiti_webNo doubt you have heard that Italians are very colorful people.  Having traveled Italy, I can definitely vouch for that.  Not only their architecture, but their fashion and interiors all embrace color.  And the word ‘colorful’ can be interpreted through personality as well.   I’ve never been to Chiampo Italy, but I would have to say these people are truly colorful, friendly, and willing to please the American market.  At least those that I met personally at Surfaces/Stone Expo all fit that description.

Their tradeshow exhibit was a testament to remarkable craftsmanship using granite, marble, travertine and onyx as blank canvases for their work.  The parent company is  Ferrarigraniti, and they certainly know how to work magic with stone. One of several lines represented by Ferrarigraniti was Kreoo by Decormarmi. These “artists” use precision water-jet machinery to cut organic, curvilinear designs into pure marble, producing stunning visuals with deep tactile dimension to each stone surface.  From a designer’s standpoint, my imagination ran wild as to the possible applications of these unique stone creations: custom fireplace surrounds and mantels; decorative wall cladding for commercial projects; hospitality lobbies; residential backsplashes and elegant tub surrounds—just to name a few.

Kreoo-Pave-Seating-System_webAt the same booth (and if you were at Surfaces, this will jog your memory for sure) another partner company to Ferrarigraniti displayed amazing carved seating, formed from natural woods and hand-sanded to a stunning, satiny finish.  They were shaped like healthy, oversized mushrooms sprouting from a lush forest floor.  Cute is a word I seldom use, but it certainly describes these clever, adult-sized wooden stools very well.  If the Italians were looking for a way to steal attention, they certainly found it.  They stacked the mushroom stools up front, using that to draw crowds into their space to then discover treasures in carved stone.  What a combination!  What ingenuity!   I would suggest you investigate more—it’s worth it.  For more information, or perhaps the Kreoo catalog, contact giacomo@ferrarigraniti.com.  Her English may not be expansive, but her willingness to please certainly is.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Natural Stone – Embracing the beauty of range of color

1183139047_40eb8fde39_mBefore you can appreciate the beauty of natural stone it is important to know where it comes from and how its made. Natural stone began forming millions of years ago, deep beneath the surface of the earth. Huge blocks of stone are created from millions of years of heat and pressure. As the earth’s crust began to grow and erode, it pushed minerals up from its core, forming massive rock deposits, which we refer to as “quarries”.  At the quarry, these large blocks are cut out of the earth and taken to a separate place where they are turned into slabs.

Different natural stones are formed by different methods. These different methods cause the many different looks of natural stone like granite, marble, travertine and slate. Below are some important terms that help understand how each rock is formed:

Natural stone can be grouped into three classes.

Igneous rock is formed when molten rock (called lava or magma) cools and hardens. Granite is an example of an igneous rock.

Sedimentary rock is formed from deposits that have undergone consolidation and crystallization. Limestone and sandstone fall into this category.

Metamorphic rock is created when other kinds of rocks are changed by great heat and pressure inside the earth. Marble, slate and quartzite are examples of metamorphic rocks.

Here are the names and definitions of some of the more popular natural stones:

Granite is an igneous stone that is extremely hard, dense and resistant to scratches and acid etching. It is an ideal stone for use in flooring and in food preparation areas. Hundreds of varieties of granite exist.

Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. A number of varieties are available.

Limestone is another sedimentary stone, it’s formed from calcite and sediment and comes in many earthen colors.

Marble is a derivative of limestone. It is a metamorphic stone that can be polished. Marble is characteristically soft and easily scratched or etched by acids. There are countless types of marble from around the world.

Travertine is a crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone, which because of its structure, can be filled and honed and is dense enough to be a type of marble.

Slate is a metamorphic stone that has a sheet-like structure. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale, and comes in a multitude of colors including reds and greens.

All of these formative processes give natural stone the characteristic that we call range. Range is the spectrum of color and variation of color in each piece of natural stone. This is what gives natural stone its artistic qualities and value. The value lies in each piece due to the fact that no two pieces of natural stone will ever look the same. The millions of years that it took to form each piece ensure this.

When shopping for natural stone, some people ask for each piece to look uniform. This is impossible. If you want a natural stone that does not have a lot of range you do have options, but each piece, if examined closely, will have its own unique stamp from mother nature.

Embrace the beauty of natural stone and don’t be afraid of range! The more range a stone has the more unique it is to you and your home. Why not have the most unique piece of stone you can find to set yourself apart?