If you haven’t noticed, we have quite a stunning piece of stone architecture on the cover of this issue. Not only are the complex angles and shape of the building unique, but the hues and striations of the stone itself are pretty incredible. The structure is the James Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, and the Teakwood sandstone was chosen for its coloring, which reflects the canyons and ravines of Nevada, Arizona and Utah. The owners specifically requested a stone that would reflect the Southwest since most of the James Collection is focused on the art of the American West.

And while the beauty of the stone speaks for itself, it was the behind-the-scenes collaboration of a team of experts in their respective fields that realized the design. The architects worked closely with the importer, factory and installation crew to make certain the finished product was the best it could be. Close attention was paid to the light, medium and dark color range that was specified, and meticulous detail was required in matching the colors and striations during the installation process. 

“It’s an interesting job,” Jim DeLoach, CEO of ASI Stone Imports, Inc. in Chelsea, AL, the stone supplier, shared with me when we discussed the project. “It’s like a piece of art.” I have to agree, it certainly is. Flip to page 50 to read about all the project details.

Also featured in this edition is 609 Main, a 50-story Class A office building that is a 1,150,785-square-foot pre-registered LEED Platinum space, which begins on page 36. What first captures visitors’ eyes when entering the building are the five magnificent stone “paintings” made from Irish Green, Lapis Blue, Lasa Macchia Vecchia, Fusion Fire and Azul Macauba. Slabs of these exotic stone materials were each hand selected by the architect and are showcased prominently throughout 609 Main’s public interior spaces. They are hung to resemble pieces of art.

Both of these projects feature rare and exotic materials that are prime examples of the inherent beauty of natural stone. They each show how careful detail and planning went into showcasing the stones in awe-inspiring designs.

The stones chosen for these projects are only several of a growing list of high-quality stone products that are available. Starting on page 58, we feature a collection of stone varieties from India – many of which possess different and elegant traits that can inspire a one-of-a-kind design.

For those out there who have customers seeking something out of the norm – a material their neighbor doesn’t have – there are many options. This issue features only a few examples of how natural stone is truly a work of art.