Providing architectural work for a worldwide market

September 1, 2002
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The advanced stoneworking capabilities of the Santucci Group are not only evidenced at its plant in Carrara, Italy, but also in completed architectural projects throughout the world. Working with some of the top names in architecture and design, the company has become renowned for unique cut-to-size projects in a broad range of materials.

But although the company's achievements can be found worldwide, its beginnings were humble, as it was established as a small marble shop by Armando Santucci in 1950. Fabrizio Santucci, Armando's son and the president of the firm, joined the company in 1984, and he began traveling around the world, buying blocks and selling finished materials.

Growth was steady over the next decade, and the company broke into separate divisions in 1995. Santucci Graniti srl is the slab department; Santucci Armando srl is the cut-to-size division; and B.S. Stones srl is the block trading arm, acquiring and selling stone blocks internationally. A total of 70% of these blocks are consumed by the Santucci Group, with 30% being sold elsewhere. Another venture, Santucci Dev, was developed as the marketing arm of the company in 1998. "It helps to control overhead to have different divisions," explained Fabrizio Santucci. "I can keep track of things, and I have a clear picture of where I am making money and where I may be losing money."

There are a total of 40 employees in the group, including Fabrizio's brothers, Leonardo, who heads the cut-to-size operation; and Francesco, who is in charge of slab production. The company's factory is spread across 32,500 square feet, with an additional 130,000 square feet of stockyard.

For slab production, the company has two polishing lines, one from Breton, which is five years old, and another from Gaspari Menotti, which is three years old. Gangsaw cutting is contracted by another firm, which works exclusively for Santucci.

For cut-to-size work, the company operates six bridge saws, all from different firms. Fabrizio Santucci explained that since the firm was one of the first to export cut-to-size materials around the world, they are continually approached by machinery firms to use prototype machines. Bridge saws currently in use include models from GMM, CMPI and Bisso, as well as other firms.

Other equipment used for cut-to-size work are contouring machines, including a Contourbreton NC 200; two waterjet machines from Waterjet Italiana; and two automatic edging machines. Additionally, a computerized diamond wire saw from Candiani is used to produce intricate pieces of

cubic stone.

With the current machinery in place, a total of 1,200 square feet of material is shipped each day, including slabs and cut-to-size work.

Marketing targets

Most of the company's cut-to-size projects are in the U.S., including high-profile casino projects such as the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and the Venetian and the Bellagio casinos in Las Vegas. The company has also done high-profile commercial projects such as One and Two Liberty Place in Philadelphia as well as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. At the time of Stone World's visit to the facility, Santucci was finishing fabrication work for a residence owned by Tom Hicks, the owner of baseball's Texas Rangers. A total of 200 containers of Indiana limestone was fabricated for the home, which was designed by the prestigious architecture firm of Peter Marino + Associates. The limestone blocks were shipped to Italy for fabrication over a period of two and a half years.

To serve its clients in the U.S., Santucci has American offices located in Atlanta and Miami. "My goal is to have a very service-oriented business," explained Fabrizio Santucci. "Companies from China, Turkey and all over the world are competing with us now. I have been to China and to India, and I saw that the industries in those two countries are ready to explode with growth. But you can beat the competition if you have the right service. You need to be there 24 hours per day. We try to keep a price and keep the quality as well."

Outside of the U.S., the company did the stonework for the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia during the mid-1990s. On that project, Armando Santucci actually took up residence in Malaysia to supervise the project for one and a half years.

The company's slab production is sold around the world, and slabs are sold in the U.S. through distributors. It has recently developed new machinery that can create large slabs measuring up to 10 x 6 feet in size. To further bolster slab production, the company is also planning to invest in an additional polishing line, and it is also planning to establish a plant in Vitoria, Brazil.

The company works with a full range of stone materials, depending on the preference of the architects. It has worked with traditional marble and granite varieties as well as more unique stones, such as onyx. To showcase its products, Santucci has a slab showroom in nearby Massa, where clients can see finished slabs in a variety of materials. A total of 500,000 square feet of material is in stock at the facility.

And for its customers who cannot travel to Italy, the company is continually updating its Web site -- www.santucci.it -- with an emphasis on information for architectural work. "We are at the top of our game now. The challenge is to maintain that and to make sure that the service is there," Fabrizio Santucci said. "The key to this is computerization. We have to make sure that architects and designers can ask questions and get their answers right away."

At the time of Stone World's visit to the facility, Santucci was finishing fabrication work for a residence owned by Tom Hicks, the owner of baseball's Texas Rangers. A total of 200 containers of Indiana limestone was fabricated for the home, which was designed by the prestigious architecture firm of Peter Marino and Associates.

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