Positioned in the center of Moscow City, which has been deemed “the largest and most ambitious investment and development project in Europe,” the Afi Mall encompasses approximately 1.9 million square feet and is considered to be the largest shopping and entertainment complex in Russia’s capital city. With a shopping gallery comprised of 350 shops, a multiplex cinema, supermarket and a number of restaurants, cafes and food court — among other amenities, design and construction of the new complex required careful thought and planning. Moreover, because of the project’s fast-tracked schedule, it was imperative that all trades involved could work together and were qualified to meet the unyielding deadline. Up for the challenge, Tab India supplied more than 800,000 square feet of granite in a period of eight months, which allowed the Afi Mall to open in time for the holidays.

“The mall is an architectural masterpiece — integrating both the urban and the historical environment of the city of Moscow,” stated the Negev Israel Co., the General Contractor for the project. “It is one of the largest international projects in which [we] have been involved.”

Among the extensive stone lineup for the shopping center’s design was Madura Gold, Silver Pearl/Steel Grey, Red Multi Color, Classic Gold and Kashmir White granite — all quarried and fabricated by Tab India. The stone varieties have polished, flamed and brushed finishes, and are in a range of sizes — with the maximum measuring 600 x 900 with a thickness of 20 mm. A total of 832,274 square feet of granite was supplied — weighing approximately 4,512 tons and delivered in 190 containers.

“The stones for the project were chosen in accordance with and inspired by the general concept of the mall, among which is the durable qualitative Madura Gold — characterized by a rich gold color and quarried in southern India’s Madurai region,” stated Negev. “This selection of stones has created the special pattern designed by the architects, which included column and wall coverings, tiling on all of the floors and the complex radial and central plaza tiling, which is a masterpiece of its own. Tab India’s performance was in a very high level — supplying the needed materials on time and according to the strict and demanding quality level Negev Group had set for them.”

At the quarry

According to Amit Gupta, owner of Tab India, the design team came to visit the quarries to inspect the material color range and availability. Once the stone varieties were selected, it was up to Tab to extract the blocks and process the material quickly in order to meet the stringent deadline.

“[A total of] 3,200 cubic meters of material was quarried and processed for the required sizes/specification in an eight-month span for completion/shipping of the entire project,” said Gupta. “This was a record time for Tab, and probably any company in the world.”

Gupta explained that fabrication was a challenging aspect of the job due to the radial dimensions. “Each line of the radial area had numerous sizes and required special attention for every individual piece,” he said. “We spent 90 days exclusively for the fabrication of the stone pieces required for the project.

“A complete facility mock-up was conducted on several occasions — representing all interfaces that were fabricated and were temporarily installed in our facility to accomplish the final acceptance of the client for all individual set of templates,” Gupta went on to say. “Mock-ups were intensely focused on the radial fabricated pieces which were bound to be installed in the crucial areas to ensure pursuit of perfection.”

The majority of the stone was used for floor and wall cladding, strips and risers for columns, stairs and steps, window sills/swings, the fountain area at the lobby and pavement areas, which had flamed and brushed finishes for slip resistance.

Quality control was taken seriously at Tab’s facility. “Inspection was done of all individual pieces in comparison with the corresponding template,” said Gupta, adding that customized packing was required due to the differential sizes of the product. “Care was taken to ensure all the individual pieces are protected with appropriate packing through edge protectors and corner protectors. All pieces were wrapped individually with foam sheets to avoid transit damages, and customized wooden crates adhered to the stability standards for lifts and transport.”

Meeting the deadline

Afi Mall

Moscow, Russia

Stone Quarrier/Fabricator: Tab India

Stone Supplier: Negev Israel Co., Israel

According to Gupta, the most challenging aspect of the project was the tight timeframe. “The time given was suicidal,” he said. “We were crazy to accept the project, but we pushed ourselves and we achieved a landmark that can never be beaten — not even by ourselves again. Quarrying the huge quantity of material within a short span was one of the challenging aspects. Intense planning and work execution was needed to adhere to the shipping schedule since the material was needed on time for all individual stages/areas of the project. Logistics were challenging.”

Teamwork among all those involved was also essential. “The entire team was surrounded by diverse, credentialed talent who worked together to make a real difference to the project — culminating in a timely completion of a quality product. The team was overwhelmed on completion in a record time.”