Notes from the Field / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Form follows technology

January 11, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Last fall, I had the opportunity to accompany a group of architects from across the globe at an American Institute of Architects continuing education program in Verona, Italy. Held in conjunction with the Marmomacc trade/design fair, the event gives architects a first-hand look at the stone-production process -- from quarrying to fabrication to installation. This included a visit to a state-of-the-art stoneworking plant run by Ghirardi Marmi near Brescia, Italy, which was equipped with a range of the latest technology.

Ghirardi Marmi
Although I have been at large-scale stoneworking plants around the world, it is somewhat rare that I get the opportunity to tour these facilities in the company of established architects. It was particularly interesting to me to hear the ideas that these design professionals shared with one another as they examined the various machines in use at the plant. Equipment on hand included Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) saws and routers as well as automated shaping machines and polishers, and the architects discussed specific design elements that could be achieved by using the various pieces of equipment. The imagination of these architects was also piqued as they viewed the finished pieces being prepared for shipment.

Also of note, Ghirardi Marmi's plant displayed a mock-up of an intricate stone panel design that was processed for renowned architect Mario Botta. The design professionals in attendance were so interested in the piece that they could not resist walking up to it to get a "feel" for the stonework, and they examined it from every angle. As a journalist, it made it tough to get a clean picture of the mock-up (I finally succeed, and the photo accompanies this article on the right), but the
enthusiasm of these architects was quite infectious.

As I chatted with these architects -- many of whom were quite accomplished -- it became clear that many of them had never seen a stoneworking plant such as the one we toured that day in Italy, and I wondered if their experience would result in an expansion of their stone usage. My guess is that it will on some level.
In any case, for those design professionals who do not have the opportunity to tour such facilities, it might still be interesting to keep abreast of what is possible in terms of stoneworking. At read up on some of these large-scale stoneworking plants. A simple search on our site using the word "Verona" should give you plenty of options to "tour" the Italian stoneworking sector. The only thing missing will be the wine.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michael Reis

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.


Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine


2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!


Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube