Specialized Stoneworking:
'Stone carpet' projects an image of sophistication

September 18, 2001
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Because the Westin hotel in Indianapolis, IN, accommodates a significant number of business professionals, its lobby needed to paint a classy and elegant picture. As a result, the designers opted for a neutral and timeless color palette to form a large "stone carpet" for the main floor area. And to ensure that the marble and granite pieces were cut precisely, the floor design was fabricated with waterjet machinery.

"We wanted something really striking," said designer Pam Anderson of Anderson/Miller Ltd. in Birmingham, MI. "We wanted to do a design that was a geometrical pattern, which fits with a contemporary hotel."

The floor pattern was comprised of four varieties of natural stone, including gold granite, Cappuccino marble, black granite and brown marble - all supplied by Impex Development in Seattle, WA. Anderson explained that they were looking for traditional colors that would remain appropriate over time.

Working with Anderson was the principal designer, Jodi Caticchio. "Basically, Pam had done the conceptual design and told me the look she wanted [for the floor pattern]," said Caticchio. "She was looking for something sophisticated in color and design - something for the business clientele. That is where the coloring came from."

According to Caticchio, black granite was used to make an impact. "It needed something really bold, and black is such a strong color for a lobby," she said. "We wanted a design that had depth, and we wanted something geometrical."

Technical details

The floor pattern spans 21 x 24 feet. In the middle of the design is an 8-foot-diameter circle made solely of black granite, which was done intentionally to allow a space for a large table, according to Caticchio. "We tried to make the design so that a table would not cover anything up," she said.

Surrounding the black granite circle are four quadrants made of 12- x 12-inch Cappuccino marble tiles, which are defined by accent pieces of black and gold granite. In addition, the pattern features "rope" and "leaf" borders, and the field for the entire design is in black granite. "We looked for contrast for the detail, and we used the middle colored stones [for the square tiles]," said Anderson.

Once Caticchio had completed drawing the design for the floor pattern, she sent it to Impex, who then passed it along to the fabricator, Precision H2O in Spokane, WA. "It was a pretty smooth process," said Anderson, explaining that waterjet cutting gave them the precise curved edges they were looking for. "We thought it was a very good value."

When Precison H2O received the drawing from Impex Development, they scanned it into the computer and redrew it in AutoCAD, according to Jason Tenney, project developer. "That was a really nice design, because it had a lot of repetitious parts," he said. "We could have all three waterjet heads running at once." In total, the floor pattern required about 50 hours of cutting time, according to Tenney.

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