Lately, I have been spending more time in the great outdoors and have gotten back into hiking. It’s not only an ideal pastime if you are looking for a workout, but it also exposes you to spectacular views and other beauties of Mother Nature. In particular, I have encountered many large rock formations, which always remind me of the quarries around the world that I have been fortunate enough to have visited during the time I have worked for Stone World.

I must admit, this pandemic has made me a bit antsy. I miss my days of travel, and hope we will all be able to resume our regular activities sometime in the near future. But in the meantime, I am lucky to live near the mountains and see many rocks in their natural state. It is a reminder of the inherent beauty of natural stone and all it has to offer.

Whether the desire is for sleek and sophisticated or low-maintenance and durable — or both –natural stone can meet those requirements. There are the elegant and unique quartzites that make stunning showpieces as a large kitchen island or bookmatched shower walls; warm limestone varieties that are ideal for fireplaces and interior flooring; and slate and Bluestone that weather well and can provide the necessary strength for outdoor paving and patios. And we can’t forget the refined aesthetic of marble and classic look of granite, which is suitable for numerous design applications.

In this issue, we take a look at TAB’s Viscon White granite quarrying operation (beginning on page 48). Characterized by a white background with marble-like gray/black veining running through it, the stone remains a popular option for designs in the U.S. TAB also takes its employees and the environment seriously. As a result, safety and sustainability are at the forefront of all they do. This also reiterates why natural stone is the logical choice for green building.

Also, in this edition of Stone World, we feature two projects that are magnificent examples of the use of natural stone. The first, which is our cover story that starts on page 56, elegantly showcases local stone on its exterior facade and patio, while the second creatively uses large boulders to create a striking and inviting entrance and lobby for a hospital in South Dakota (turn to page 64). In both cases, the stone supplier worked closely with the key players involved to assist them with realizing their vision.

As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic, I hope everyone remains healthy and safe. If you don’t already, I recommend taking more notice of your surroundings and appreciate all Mother Nature has to offer – particularly stone in its natural state.