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Natural stone can outlast a lifetime

12.2020

From the quality of the material we use to our timeless design principles and our expertise in working stone, Salvatori is committed to realising the sustainable, long-lasting potential of natural stone. In the second part of a series exploring how ‘Marble is Forever’, we consider how this unique material can (out)last a lifetime.

Marble is forever

There are few natural materials that are more durable than stone. Having endured extreme weather, natural disasters, war and ruination, the still standing monuments of the ancient world attest to the unique resilience of natural stone. Often when little else survives of lost cultures, these structures provide vital clues to the societies and people that came before us – such as at Stonehenge in England, or the monolithic heads of Easter Island – as well as offering the chance to appreciate the genius of designers and craftsmen from thousands of years ago.

Yet the reason the greatest architects and designers turned to natural stone was not just because it was durable. Strong and yet malleable, versatile and tactile, stone offers the perfect medium to realise great, innovative design, from the monumental Colosseum in Rome, to the decorative panels of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, to the intricate fan vault of King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, where the stone appears to be delicately laced together. And it’s these same qualities that are still being realised in the work of contemporary architects – at the Grand Mosque in Riyadh, or the Nevsehir Bus Terminal in Turkey – continuing to renew natural stone as a source of innovation.

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Every piece of stone is unique. Each slab is defined by an infinite variation of colour, veining, mineral traces and fossils deposits, meaning that each project we work on, and each product we sell, is one-of-a-kind – even if it is from our ‘off the peg’ collections for the home and bathroom. Just as each slab is a distinct record of the immense pressures and temperatures by which it was formed, hundreds of millions of years ago, the personality of each stone informs the character of a space and, ultimately, the unique memories that are created there through the years.

Today it is not enough to design for the near future. If we are truly to think sustainably, a building needs to be relevant for decades, even centuries, to offset the impact of its construction on the environment, and there are few materials better equipped and durable enough to weather the years – and passing styles and fashions – than natural stone. Marble is forever because it can be handed down through the generations knowing not just that it will last, slowly and beautifully ageing, but that the use of natural stone contributes to responsible practices that safeguard our fragile planet.