Stone World

From the Editor

October 1, 2006


While stone craftsmanship is still held in high regard today, the methods of producing the finished stonework has changed dramatically over the decades. Advancements in technology have enabled stone fabricators to mass-produce tiles, architectural details and customized pieces more efficiently and quickly.

An example of this is found in the detailed marble floor of Worthington Bank in Fort Worth, TX, which is this issue's “Classics” feature (page 62). The center attraction of the building's original 1914 design was an artisan-cut, black-and-white marble floor. Reproducing the intricate geometric pattern posed a unique challenge to the design team, as there was some concern about if new hand-cut pieces could be made accurately and within budget.

After conducting thorough research, it was decided to have an experienced waterjet firm replicate the stonework by machine. The end product was a design featuring intricately cut marble floor pieces that identically matched the original handcrafted ones.

High-tech machines such as waterjets and other computer-controlled equipment allow for the production of high-end custom pieces to be made more readily available to consumers. Evolving technology also is responsible for producing new stone and tile collections that offer more design options. As the result of advanced fabricating equipment, there are certainly more types of finishes, shapes and sizes that are obtainable.

Tile manufacturers are also utilizing state-of-the-art equipment to replicate the look of ancient art form. In particular, mosaics have become extremely popular in recent years. Taking a twist on this Old World craft, today's mosaics are being produced in brilliant colors of glass that sparkle and shine as well as metallics, which lend themselves to sleek contemporary designs.

Examples of how mosaics are being used in modern-day design can be found in this issue's feature on mosaics (page 36). A featured bathroom project has walls and a floor clad in shimmering blue glass mosaic tile accented by a floor design made out of white mosaic pieces. While the glass mosaics present a more chic contemporary style, the design also shows that it was influenced by traditional art form.

As with all industries, technological advancements result in higher efficiency and accuracy. And for the architectural and design community, it means countless options in stone and tile selection - leading to endless possibilities for both interior and exterior designs.