Trends for stone and porcelain are changing rapidly, and architects and designers are having to keep pace. The neutral look is in. Not only that, the old staples are firmly out. Carpets are being rolled up and stored away, and clients are gazing critically at their painted walls and wondering whether a geometric feature with hexagonal tiles might be an improvement.
For high-end clients, rare stone from distant quarries are emerging as important design statements – the more obscure, the better. Here is some advice regarding how to navigate this changing architectural climate.
Finding The Right Stone
Stone is a simple word for a vast array of natural materials, gemstones and minerals. There are many factors that dictate the choice of stone. These include:
- Construction and conservation demands
- Suitability for use
- Internal or external use
Within these considerations other factors affect suitability. For instance, stone must be quarried according to the natural joints of the rock. It is the stone – not the quarryman – that dictates the size of the slab.
This can seem daunting. However, this is where stone manufacturers come into their element. From advising upon suitable materials to selecting the best slabs from the quarry, stone specialists can advise on:
- The best types of stone for individual projects
- Practical issues (such as weight and transportation)
Clients may request stone under the belief that porcelain is a lower quality option. However, this view is nothing but a myth and advances in porcelain tile design and manufacturing mean that tiles can replicate stone, wood, and brick to microscopic levels.
This is particularly useful if large quantities of ‘stone’ are needed. Porcelain tiles can match stone in both texture and colour, so can be seamlessly blended with a stone installation. Porcelain is particularly useful for:
- External cladding
- Bathrooms and splash zones (such as pool sides)
- Walls or areas where weight is problematic
It is always worthwhile visiting a showroom to examine porcelain equivalents of stone. Strategic use of materials – such as using stone effect tiles for floors and installing a genuine stone island – can allow for more ambitious projects, especially in front of house areas.
Finishes & Treatments
Both stone and porcelain can be finished and treated to achieve specific qualities. Anti-slip is a common requirement. While many tiles are manufactured with commercial or non-slip purposes in mind, it is worthwhile noting that any surface can be enhanced.
Similarly, different finishes – such as natural or polished – can be used to cater for different requirements. Natural finishes offer a soft, smudgy look that is particularly forgiving in areas that are likely to pick up fingerprints. Polished finishes offer striking elegance, and are popular in some commercial and prestige retail spaces.
The Right Material For Your Project
Both stone and porcelain can be rewarding materials to work with. Doing so involves practical and aesthetic considerations. For any project, the ideal place to start is by visiting a showroom and discussing ideas with an expert. At Kinorigo, we offer a full service that guides projects from concept to completion. To book your visit to our central London studio, please call 024 7642 2580.