Expert Advice: how to use coloured stone

As we embrace a spectrum of shades, David Mahyari, CEO of natural stone specialists Solid Nature shares some tips

mixed marble solid nature stone
Solid Nature

Ever since the influential architect and designer Patricia Urquiola started playing with different coloured marble stone back in 2013, we've seen a huge renaissance in coloured marbles and stone being used in public interiors from hotels to stores, so we decided to ask an expert about how we can best apply this to our home homes. David Mahyari, CEO of natural stone specialists Solid Nature, offers some expert insight...

Why do you think coloured stone is back in vogue? It’s currently extremely popular, and we’re seeing an increase in demand. It’s the unique, natural striations that decorate each piece of stone, and rich colour formations that inspire clients to incorporate natural stone into their environments. There is an allure to being able to access these beautiful materials sourced from places around the world including South America, the Middle East, Canada and the US.

It’s also seen as a timeless, luxurious material thanks to its versatility and availability in a wide spectrum of colours. However, the demand has increased over the last few years because it requires little maintenance. The stone is mainly used as a 2cm-solid thickness and any stains will not penetrate further than half a millimetre In the unlikely event that the stone is stained, it can easily be polished revealing a brand-new surface. Even marble that is over 100 years old can be polished and appear to be in amazing condition.

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Solid Nature

How are designers using it? They’re enjoying creating statement, colour-blocking structures with several complementary colours because our collection is so vast. A good example is the striking, colourful Onyx bar that serves as the centrepiece of the recently completed headquarters for media brand &C (top hero image) by Anne Claus Interiors in Amsterdam.

Also When Prada was building a new concrete tower at Fondazione Prada in Milan they approached Solid Nature with some very specific requests. They wanted rare, brilliant white travertine with straight veins and only small natural holes or perforations for the floors, and backlit marble and onyx in shades of pink and green that do not exist in nature for the public and VIP elevators.

Our team rose to the challenge, spending months sourcing the specified brilliant white travertine, and buying whole blocks of which only 60 per cent could be used for the floors (the rest were used on other projects). For the pink onyx and green marble, we invented a unique process of injecting dye into entire blocks of stone, not just the surface layer. Very thin slabs of this dyed stone had ‘honeycomb’ backing applied, making them light enough to be installed in the elevators and transparent enough to be backlit.

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The Lift at the Fondazione Prada in Milan
Solid Nature

What are the colour trends? Shades of green and pink stones are still popular choices, however we predict blue stone to be a growing trend over the next year. We have been sampling a wide range of blue stone which contributes to our collection that comprises 600 unique stones, each containing a different colour, type of veins and other organic characteristics. This allows us to offer a wide range of coloured stone options that can match with the palette of any interiors project.

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Solid Nature
Solid Nature

What types of stone are in demand? It depends on the project and where the stone will be used. We use a lot of travertine nowadays for floors that have a large surface area. Marble continues to be popular for flooring and walls. Both of these materials are commonly used for bathroom spaces and furniture.

coloured stone and marble from solid nature
Solid Nature

On a case-by-case basis, we have seen an increased use of onyx and semi-precious stones mainly backlit or bookmatched as a centrepiece on a feature wall. These materials are particularly exclusive and rare. The types of stones that you can choose are seemingly infinite when you consider the unique features of each piece and the different ways of cutting the stone.

What about what to use where? That is largely determined by the lifestyle of the client. We need to understand how the client lives and uses the space. Important factors to consider include maintenance requirements, presence of children in the household, how often the kitchen is used and even down to the type of food prepared. We can then consult and advise which material is best and how to treat the material. For example, we recommend using quartzite for kitchens and offer an anti-slip coating in the bathroom if the household has children running around.

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Solid Nature

What about lighting? One of the exciting things about using natural stone is the ability to use light with translucent natural materials to add a stunning, eye-catching element. Onyx and semi-precious stones can be backlit and showcased as a feature wall or even as a piece of art. solidnature.com

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