Stone World

Upscale retailer maintains image with Brazilian granite

March 6, 2002
For the exterior cladding of the new Tiffany & Co. store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, polished and flamed Gaucho Brown granite and Rosa Capri granite with a flamed finish were employed as exterior cladding.


The store¿s cladding was required to be the same granite that was already installed as the cladding for the entire Iguatemi Shopping Center.
Known around the world for its exquisite selection of fine jewelry, Tiffany & Co. recently opened another location in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The design for the new store was not only required to uphold the company?s tradition of elegance, but the building?s exterior also had to conform to the architecture of the adjacent retail outlets. To meet these objectives, a palette of Brazilian granite was employed for the application.

Tiffany & Co. chose the Iguatemi Shopping Center on Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima as the site for its new store. The upscale mall is one of the most valuable areas in Sao Paulo, according to Silvia De Tommaso of Itaarte, the fabricator and installer for the project.

"Tiffany negotiated with the mall administrators, who permitted them to open a door to the street," said De Tommaso. "This created a great impact at the avenue and made Tiffany the main focal point on the whole street. However, Tiffany had to clad the store with the same granite that was already installed as the mall?s cladding."

As a result, Itaarte was hired to only fabricate the pieces. "We had to use the ?leftover? of the mall?s job," said De Tommaso. "We received small pieces of granite with a lot of variation in thickness, which made our job extremely difficult. As the thickness of the material was not calibrated, there was a difference of 2 or 3 mm among the pieces, which made us think a lot about how to solve this technical problem." To fabricate the window frames, Itaarte used a computerized and automatic Prussiani Oceania stoneworking machine, according to De Tommaso.

For the exterior of the store, polished and flamed Gaucho Brown granite with a thickness of 3 cm and flamed Rosa Capri granite with a 2-cm thickness was used. Inside, the same brown granite was employed as flooring, while polished Classic Roman travertine with a thickness of 2 cm was used for the columns and counters.

In total, it took about 15 days to fabricate all the pieces, according to De Tommaso, who explained that the entire job was completed in approximately seven weeks. "We had to install the frames in the anchoring system to follow the existing mall cladding installation," she said. "The job was very detailed. We had to have a worker on the site to finish up all the possible 2 or 3 mm [pieces] because the door and windows came from Australia. The junction of the stainless [steel] and granite parts had to be perfect."

Because the joints were so large, pieces of granite had to be glued together to accommodate the design requirements.

"We had to work like this because our client could not find massive pieces of the granite," said De Tommaso. "We fabricated around 60 square meters of granite and 301 linear meters of joints on a 45-degree angle."

Another challenging area of the job was the fluted stone panel, which had to be flamed to match the color of the mall cladding. "The panel had a lot of curves that were somewhat destroyed when it was flamed," said De Tommaso. "The profile was also made in the Prussiani machine, but the flaming had to be done manually by one of our workers."

The stonework was fabricated and installed in about seven weeks.

Credit Box:

Tiffany & Co.

Iguatemi Shopping Center

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Architect: Brand + Allen Architects Inc., Houston, TX

Local Architect: Kiko Salom? Brazil

Fabricator/Installer: Itaarte, Sao Paulo, Brazil