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The office walls at Marmi Sofil srl di Lo Bianco in Palermo are filled with photographs and drawings of past and current architectural projects, each of which is a showcase of natural stone. And as the company continues to expand its focus and scope, it is sure to significantly add to this collection over the years.
The company, which has been in business for nearly a half century, recently moved into a new facility in Palermo. The shop is equipped with modern stoneworking equipment, and perhaps more importantly, a staff of experienced workers who use their skills to create high-quality finished products.
At the time of Stone World's visit to the company, workers were still buzzing about the recently completed Copenhagen Opera House in Denmark, which features Perlato Italian Cream marble throughout the interior. The stone, which was extracted from Lo Bianco's quarry in Trapani, has a lighter tone than the typical Perlato varieties. Gioacchino Lo Bianco explained that the architects for the project liked the stone's combination of light coloring with a very strong physical presence.
A total of over 100,000 square feet of Perlato Italian Cream was specified for tiles, vanity tops and stairways throughout the Opera House's public spaces, and it was used in a â€œpatchwork of sizes,â€ Lo Bianco said, adding that the design has a very modern feel.
The company hopes that the successful completion of the Copenhagen Opera House, which was inaugurated in January, will open the door to more high-end work in Northern Europe.
Of course, the company already has a strong resume of international clients. Lo Bianco is currently fabricating the same Perlato Italian Cream marble for a luxury hotel in Japan. It has also done work on the U.S. Naval Station in Italy as well as several museums in Tokyo, Japan.
In addition to stone from Italy, Lo Bianco also fabricates stone from overseas. For example, the company is supplying Egyptian marble for a hotel in Tunisia. It is also fabricating over 200,000 square feet of stone from Portugal for the Catania Airport, as well as Portuguese marble for a six-star hotel in Palermo. Brazilian slate has been another product fabricated by the company.
Lo Bianco has a total of 30 workers, including an architect on staff. The machinery is programmed as needed in the front office, and equipment includes a GMM Tecna 36 bridge saw, which allows pre-programming of all axis movements. Stone is also cut on a Eura 35 GMM bridge saw, which features a â€œMulticutâ€ program that can carry out parallel cuts with fixed dimensions repeatable up to 99 times. A Simec polishing line is also in place, and workers use a range of hand tools for finishing workpieces as needed.
Due to the high-profile of the work done by the company, Lo Bianco said that the goal is not to focus on a high volume of production, but make sure that all work is of premium quality.