Architectural stone producer enters a new venture

May 1, 2008
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Located in Soave, Italy, Piero Zanella s.r.l. has fabricated stone for prominent architectural works around the world.

Located in Soave, Italy, amid the world-renowned vineyards for Soave white wine, Piero Zanella s.r.l. crafts architectural stonework for prominent projects around the world, and it recently purchased a quarry in Serbia to extract multiple varieties of marble.

High-profile architectural projects completed by Piero Zanella s.r.l. include the renowned Due Torri hotel in nearby Verona, Italy, and the Empire State Building in New York City, where the company supplied custom interior stonework for the elevator cabs (“New York landmark is renovated with Italian marble,” November 2004 Stone World.)

The company was founded in 1926, and now the third generation of ownership is headed by a gentleman who carries the namesake of the original founder, Piero Zanella. “The company was co-founded and eventually purchased by my grandfather, but my family history in stone dates back even further,” Zanella said. “I literally grew up with stone in my life.”

In a new milestone for Piero Zanella s.r.l., the company has acquired a former state-owned quarry site in Serbia, which produces several types of marble - including shades of red, blue, white, brown and beige. There is also a stone variety that features tones of black and gold.<

New choices in marble

In a new milestone for Piero Zanella s.r.l., the company has acquired a former state-owned quarry site in Serbia, which produces several types of marble - including shades of red, blue, white, brown and beige. There is also a stone variety that features tones of black and gold. According to the company, all of the marble varieties are suited for exterior applications. The names for the stones - such as Blu Masaccio, Perlato Angelico and Ombra di Caravaggio - were inspired by Renaissance painters.

“We’ve been working with other [quarriers’] materials forever,” Zanella said in explaining his interest in acquiring the quarry. “We already have the knowledge on how to use marble and its unique natural qualities. Now, with our own quarry, we are controlling it all. Of course, we will still be using materials from other quarries due to certain market preferences, and we will be finding solutions for our own materials.”

The company has a total of 27 workers at the plant in Soave, plus additional workers at the quarries in Serbia. “We were able to find focused and committed people in Serbia, and I am confident that the materials will take off,” he said, adding that he is planning to also establish a state-of-the-art facility near the quarry site. “With many different stones, it makes sense,” he said.

Of note for the American market, Zanella noted that Serbian products can be imported into the U.S. duty free.

The company’s facilities in Italy include a broad range of automated machinery.

The stoneworking facility

Piero Zanella s.r.l. processes both marble and granite, depending on the needs of the architectural projects it has contracted. “We are using the same machinery for both materials,” Zanella said. “It used to be a problem, but now there is machinery on the market that can be adjusted to work both materials.”

Included are two CNC stoneworking stoneworking centers from Breton S.p.A. of Italy, including the Contourbreton NC 120 and the Contourbreton NC 180, a Flow waterjet cutting center, a Comandulli Edilux automated edging machine, a CNC stoneworking center from Noat, and several Noat bridge saws.

In addition to the automated machinery, a range of hand processes are used to complete stonework at Piero Zanella s.r.l., and finding craftsmen is an ongoing effort at the company. “It’s not always easy to find skilled people,” Zanella said. “Most of our people have been here for seven to 15 years, and one has been here for 35 years.”

A walk through the facilities at Piero Zanella s.r.l. highlights a broad range of architectural stonework. During Stone World’s visit to the company, work being processed included complex travertine panels, sculpted white marble, Jet Mist granite sinks and thick cladding pieces for a project in Prague - among many other products. Meanwhile, within the offices, architectural plans can be found for ongoing high-profile projects around the world - including many in the U.S. Some prominent projects include the Fresno Courthouse in California, featuring Egyptian Yellow, Lagos Azul and Portuguese Gray limestone; the Oak Park Concert Hall in California, a Cesar Pelli project featuring Portuguese limestone on the exterior and Crema Marfil marble on the interior; and the Ronald Regan Federal Building in Santa Ana, CA, a project by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP with Light Roman and Noce travertine.

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