Stone World

The Abu Dhabi Mosque - Technology meets craftsmanship

September 1, 2007
A broad range of advanced stoneworking technology is being used to complete an enormous mosque project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


During the early 1990s, Henraux of Querceta, Italy (near Carrara), made headlines in the international stone industry for its massive undertaking of two enormous stone mosque projects in Mecca and Medina, Saudia Arabia. Today, the company is adding to that accomplishment by completing the stonework for yet another massive mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The project includes a broad range of stonework, including intricately carved and cut pieces of Lasa (Bianco) marble, which was quarried at an underground site in Northern Italy, near Bolzano. “It is a very white stone, and it is tough to work with,” explained Cristiano Santini of Henraux. “We have to put in a very strong effort, and we must work in an exact tolerance.”
Virtually all of the Lasa marble for the project is being cut to unique specifications. Not only is the material being cut into complex, three-dimensional pieces, but it is also being furnished with a broad range of relief patterns. Adding to the degree of difficulty, many of the marble pieces are cut on a radius.
Three-dimensional stoneworking is being completed with an array of CNC machinery from Italy. This includes three- and five-axis CNC stoneworking centers from Omag, such as the Blade 5 and Blade 625, among others. Meanwhile, relief work is being completed with the help of computer-controlled technology from CMS/Brembana.
Three-dimensional cutting is also being completed using a GMM Tria bridge saw.
In addition to the Lasa marble, the mosque is being adorned with a wide variety of colored marble, the majority of which is being cut into complex, interlocking patterns using waterjet technology. Henraux is currently operating multiple waterjet units from Flow International Corp. of the U.S. After the colored stones are cut by the waterjet, the pieces are individually numbered and loaded onto palettes along with a detailed print-out that illustrates exactly where each piece should be installed on the project.
Colored marble varieties include Rojo Alicante, Verde Alpi and Giallo Elisa, among other stones.
The machinery for processing both the Lasa marble and the colored material is working at a tireless rate. Massive quantities of stone are continually being staged at Henraux’s stockyard for delivery to the site, as work on the project remains ongoing.