The Cardservice International building in Moorpark, CA, needed a facelift. Built in the early 1980s, the client wanted the appearance to be livelier for the employees and customers that enter and exit the office building every day.

The building design firm of J.D.O. Associates, Inc. selected natural gauged Ostrich Gray slate, imported from India, for the exterior facade. "We looked for something to make the building stand out, and the slate was a good product to do that," Greg Sodetani, project manager at the firm, said. "The rest of the building has concrete tilt-ups that we sandblasted."

At first, Sodetani didn't think that the slate would stay in place. "We were concerned that the stone would not adhere to the poured-in-place concrete, but it is staying in place and it looks great. We were pleased with it and the design architect also drew the slate into the interior."

Inside the building, polished Black Absolute granite and polished Crema Marfil marble were used along with the slate to obtain a brighter appearance, according to Mary Kay Shaefer, senior project interior designer at Stewart, Romberger and Associates.

"Because the gray slate had already been used on the outside of the building, we wanted to bring it inside," she said. "We also chose it because of its price and soft color."

Ravinder Johar of Southland Stone, supplier of 20,000 square feet of 12-x-12-inch slate and the 12-x-12-inch Black Absolute granite tiles, recalls the client selecting the stones months in advance to have a specific color and color range of the stone. "The client chose a certain balance of color and was very specific," said Johar.

Shaefer explained that it was important that the slate was fairly uniform in color range because a large quantity of it was needed for the project.

Though a lot of detail was used to select all of the stone, the slate became the mainstay of the interior design. It was used in the entryway to bring attention to it, the executive area with the Crema Marfil and the lobby to tie everything together, according to Shaefer.

Once all the stones were selected, the project was worked on in several phases.

"The first and largest phase was to move the majority of the employees into the building," said Shaefer. "This phase did not include any of the stonework but set the tone for the design of the building. The employee areas are filled with lively colors and have a subtle Asian influence. Large swirls of color in the carpet were later reinterpreted in the main lobby stone floor pattern of Ostrich Gray slate, Crema Marfil marble and Absolute Black granite."

"In the second phase, which was the executive suite, Crema Marfil and Absolute Black granite were used as part of a calm, sophisticated palette," she added. "By the time the main lobby was being designed and constructed as part of the third phase, the Ostrich Gray slate had been selected for the exterior and all three stones were used to tie the exterior and various parts of the interior together."

The slate was applied using a thin-set application on top of concrete walls, according to installer Uri Losycer of City Tile and Stone in Van Nuys, CA, who worked with his partner, Guy Tzur. "We used all Mer-Krete products, including the 211 filler with the 200 latex additives for the interior and exterior," he said, adding that the installation took a crew of 20 workers about four weeks to complete.

"The total construction of the 160,000-square-foot building began in the summer of 2000 and ended about four months ago," said Shaefer.

"As far as I have heard, everyone who works at the building loves it," she added. "And the client is thrilled."

End Box

Cardservice International Moorpark, CA

Building Designer: J.D.O. Associates, Inc., Westlake Village, CA

Design Architect: Stewart, Romberger and Associates, Los Angeles, CA

General Contractor: Gluck Development, Calabasas, CA

Stone Installer: City Tile and Stone, Van Nuys, CA

Stone Supplier: Southland Stone USA, North Hollywood, CA (Ostrich Gray slate and Black Absolute granite)