While stone craftsmanship is still held in high regard today, the methods of producing the finished stonework has changed dramatically over the decades. Advancements in technology have enabled stone fabricators to mass-produce tiles, architectural details and customized pieces more efficiently and quickly.
In putting together this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, my staff and I went through the usual process of reviewing the photo selections for the issue. And during this stage of production, it occurred to me that the use of stone and tile can literally transport one back to any given era of design; whether it be classic, modern, contemporary, retro or ethnic.
Recently, I had the opportunity to join a delegation of architects from North America on a tour of some basalt and travertine quarries in the Latium Region of Italy. The trip was sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission, and offered the architects Continuing Education Credits.
The use of stone in architecture dates back centuries - in Europe as well as here in the U.S. Always considered a sign of strength and durability, the material was utilized substantially in construction years ago - forming some of our most notable landmarks. Of course after hundreds of years, Mother Nature has taken its toll. But with skilled restoration and preservation crews, these buildings are being rejuvenated, and will continue to stand for many centuries to come.
While mosaics have remained a popular choice in design for generations, the product lines themselves have evolved tremendously in recent years. Using tiny pieces of stone and tile to create intricately detailed patterns and motifs, advances in technology have stepped up the level of sophistication in mosaic design. Not only are the designs capable of being more elaborate, but the range of materials used to make mosaic tiles has increased as well.
In the 10 years that we have been publishing Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we have seen countless trends in the field. However, when you look at design as a whole, these â€œtrendsâ€ actually fall into two different classifications - those taking place in terms of materials and those that relate to the final application.
As usual, manufacturers of tile and stone have been hard at work to bring new products to the market that they believe will generate interest in the architectural and design community. This was evident when visiting some of the largest tile and stone exhibitions that have already taken place this year. Manufacturers are investing time and money to research and develop high-end product lines that are fresh and unique, and it is up to architects and designers to take this inspiration and utilize these collections to create innovative and unique designs for both residential and commercial spaces.
In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we took a different approach in selecting the subject for our â€œInterviewâ€ feature. Whereas our past interview subjects have historically been architects or interior designers, this issue features architectural sculptor Darrell Petit, who has worked with some of the top names in architecture and landscape design .