Natural stone tiles: the new alternative to luxury wallpaper
Natural stone tiles as an evolution of luxury wallpaper
We are living in the New Stone Age, an era in which natural stone, with its thousands of years of history, is coming into its own, interpreted in contemporary style. Step aside wallpaper, you have had your time, offering us an incredible array of patterns over the past decades, but there is a new player on the block when it comes to luxury wall coverings.
New technologies and innovative mindsets are creating textures and effects in natural stone that bring personality, depth and a unique aspect to our walls, always a key interior design element. After all, they are the backdrop to our daily lives, setting the scene and the mood.
For many years, the main alternative to painted walls was wallpaper, seen as a versatile choice with an infinite range of aesthetic possibilities. However, even the most sumptuous wallpapers , even those bearing the signature of world-famous designers, have a limited lifespan. In a world in which we are reconsidering the disposable approach to our purchases, stone offers an irresistible and sustainable alternative.
Natural stone tiles have long been synonymous with class and elegance, but today they play a role in modern interior design that goes beyond the traditional view of them as a classic, neutral design element. Instead, they introduce a bold, contemporary and dynamic touch to décors.
We have been creating innovative ways to work with natural stone for many years, developing techniques that transform it into elegant textures that lend themselves to a host of different styles and looks. The more we work with it, the more we understand the extraordinary properties of this wonderful natural material.
Today we wanted to take a look at the many advantages of natural stones and how they can be used to create unique and original modern interiors.
With so many advantages offered by stone tiles, it is little surprise that they are becoming an increasingly popular choice with interior designers.
We are always happy to talk and talk about natural stone, but in the interests of space, we wanted to look at the 3 most important benefits it never fails to deliver, all of which make them an ideal solution for interior walls.
The first aspect is its incredible durability. Because natural stone is so hardwearing, it can withstand almost any type of force without suffering irreparable damage. That means it lasts for decades, if not centuries, remaining as elegant as the day it was installed, and this makes it a fascinating alternative to wallpaper.
Natural stone i also highly efficient when it comes to energy savings as it is blessed with excellent insulation properties, meaning it retains the heat in winter and is wonderfully fresh and cool during the hotter months. The bottom line is, literally, that it delivers good news to your own bottom line, with reduced energy bills.
Last, but most certainly not least, is something we never tire of pointing out, and that is that natural stone is simply beautiful. It never fails to add an elegant aesthetic to any space it graces, creating a stylish atmosphere of restrained luxury.
Now that it is clear just why natural stone is such an ideal solution for walls, let’s see how it can be used in original and stylish ways.
The options are infinite, especially when you combine technique, imagination and innovative design to develop distinctive, often surprising textures. From bold geometries and crisp pleats to patterns inspired by nature and classic motifs such as the Chevron, natural stone textures transform a wall into a work of art that interacts with the light to create a fascinating, ever-changing spectacle.
Natural stone is never boring or cliché. It is fascinating and contains extraordinary stories within it, providing plenty of inspiration for designers. All we need to do is think about a texture such as our Lost Stones, a homage to the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, used throughout the centuries to repair broken ceramics with golden seams. In a twenty-first century interpretation of these beautiful technique, we give new life to old and unforgotten slabs of stone, many of which are left over from prestigious buildings such as the Notre Dame cathedral or the Barcelona Pavilion. The result is a wall that is a bespoke “stone wallpaper” streaked with elegant lines of gold, encapsulating history, tradition and the fascination of the Far East culture.
We wanted to inspire interior design lovers, so we have put together a selection of our most loved textures, showing how they can be used in any room of the house, but with a focus today on the kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom.
Our starting point is the kitchen, perhaps the room most subject to heavy usage in terms of daily wear and tear and traffic. Constantly exposed to knocks and spills, it requires a material on its walls that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also hardwearing.
A solution that ticks both boxes is our Raw texture in Crema d’Orcia Select, for a kitchen that is both incredibly elegant and practical.
The fruit of a collaboration with Piero Lissino, Raw is the result of an innovative artisanal process that transforms a standard stile of stone into a texture that recalls the rough-hewn effect of hand-cut wood. When light washes across the surface, it produces a fascinating interplay of light and shadow, creating a truly special atmosphere not usually found in a kitchen.
Let’s turn now to the living room, the space in every home that is usually associated with relaxing and conviviality, where we get together with friends and family.
Modern wall coverings in natural stone have come a long way from previous incarnations when they were seen as cool and imposing. Transmitting a sense of warmth, they bring depth and dynamism to the room for a timeless look and feel.
We opted here for a geometric texture that is based on repetition and a type of visual rhythm. Our solution was CNC in Silk Georgette®; a combination that produces a welcoming atmosphere and plays with the sunlight coming in for an enchanting effect.
The secret lies in illuminating the surface in such a way that the light follows the grooves in an almost hypnotic way.
Moving through our home, we come to the bedroom where we wanted to tap into the unique energy contained within natural stone and use a solution that suggests intimacy, warmth and repose. It calls for something delicate, which is why we selected Stone Tatami.
Inspired by the traditional matting of ancient Japanese palaces, revisited in a contemporary, Western key, Stone Tatami exemplifies the beauty of fusing cultures, textures and colours.
Available in Crema d’Orcia, Bianco Carrara, Pietra d’Avola and Silk Georgette®, our most popular palette of colours, its imperfect linearity and ridged surface brings out the natural beauty of each of these wonderful stones.
Last, but not least, let us head to the most intimate room of the house, and one where practicality is a key factor, and look at bathroom tile options.
The walls of this space need to be hardwearing and able to withstand constant exposure to water, but also should foster a sense of wellbeing and reflect the extraordinary relationship between humans and nature.
The answer lies in Lithoverde®, the world’s first stone finish that is entirely recycled. 99% composed of offcuts and bound together with a natural soy-based resin (that’s the missing 1%), it demonstrates how sustainable design does not have to come at the cost of aesthetics.
Among the myriad of ideas for stylish bathrooms we have therefore chosen a solution that combines elegance and health, not only our own, but that of our planet.
With offcuts from different quarries, the result is a beautiful brick-like pattern, with every block unique, making this innovative product a versatile texture that can be paired with a h ost of other materials and textures.
We have taken a look at how natural stone tiles have taken over from wallpaper when it comes to luxurious and elegant wall coverings. We have extolled their virtues in terms of their hardwearing properties and shared five ideas of how they can be used to create unique, stunning interior décors.
If you would like to know more about any of the products we have described in this article, or would like to discover other innovative textures, we invite you to browse the Walls & Floors section of our website where you will find hundreds of inspiring ideas and images. You can also contact us and we will be delighted to help you find your perfect natural stone solution.