Natural Stones in 5 Striking Designs

June 1, 2021



Shan Arcega

Sustainability is not just all about sourcing materials from local businesses, or the use of eco-friendly systems. It also calls for a material that is sturdy enough to withstand time and the effects of undulating weather patterns. Keeping in mind the Giza pyramids, Macchu Picchu, and other ancient megastructures composed of heavy stone, this natural material is the first word that inspires strength, durability, and low maintenance. So far, the most commonly used stones to build and design homes are marble, granite, and limestone. But there are just a few more to consider using either as material for a house or for its eye-catching interior features. Regardless of the type, if chosen right, natural stone can result in a robust structure that emphasizes class and almost royalty-befitting grace. Below are just five striking designs that exude the timeless grace of natural stone.

New York’s Tsukimi Restaurant

Artists have used alabaster as the base of elaborate forms and ornaments for the past centuries. In ancient Egypt, people used this to produce items of sacred and religious importance. In its purest form, this material is white and translucent which makes it a harmonic element to pair with a good lighting design. Being a water-soluble material, it is best used as an indoor accent just like how Brooklyn firm Studio Tack used alabaster lights to highlight class and intimacy in New York’s Tsukimi restaurant. With its lighting design, the restaurant also urges onlookers to indirectly seek it through the diffusion of light, just like how the Japanese do in their traditional “moon viewing” events.

The Kua Bay Residence in Hawaii

Walker Warner Architects uses basalt in constructing the Kua Bay residence in Hawaii. Surrounded by towers of lava rocks, this graceful house made of basalt and cedar wood was conceptualized through the image of lava and water flowing into the Pacific Ocean. This transition can mostly be seen through clean lines large openings, simple geometries, and horizontal structures that mirror the ocean’s horizon. The stone highlighted in this residence is basalat–common in architecture and construction. A dark-colored, igneous rock formed from rapidly cooled lava, its fine grain and dark complexion make it the ideal material slab or panel of choice for constructing buildings. When polished, it is widely used as cladding and flooring material. It is also low-cost and high-strength.

Heatherwick Studio’s Spun Chair

The Spun chair by Heatherwick Studio is a project that uses granite in a unique and enjoyable way. Made for the EDEN skyscraper in Singapore, the Spun chair’s granite edition was created to withstand the country’s tropical climate of intense heat to monsoon rains and high winds. It is also the latest edition of the top-shaped chair originally made from polished copper and stainless steel. Granite is one of the most widely used natural stones in the industry and can be spotted from laid-bearing structures to cladding, worktops, and furniture as in the case of the Spun chair. This highly resistant material was formed through the slow crystallization of magma beneath the earth’s crust. Aside from its compressive strength, durability, and low porosity, it has a wide range of coloring and can be used for various spaces and styles. 

Krushi Bhawan in Odisha, India

The government building Krushi Bhawan in Odisha, India designed by Studio Lotus has an elaborately designed brick facade that was patterned to emulate Odisha Ikat, the traditional dyeing technique from the eponymous Indian state. Its pedestals and north wing are mostly made of laterite. Bearing a color that results from a high concentration of insoluble iron oxides, the uniquely rusty-red laterite is compatible with both interior and exterior architecture. As a 100% eco-friendly product, it is typically used as bricks in construction projects for Africa and Asia and is a striking feature for any beautifully designed public building like the Krushi Bhawan. 

Faye and Daniel’s Place in London

Alexander Owen Architecture’s marble-clad extension for a Victorian home in East Dulwich, London specifically, uses marble in the most eye-catching way. Balancing out the Victorian style’s old-world vibe, the marble extension and garden room combine Arabescato and Bardiglio marble that creates an almost-dreamlike, milky effect on the structure. A favorite for interior and exterior architecture, marble flaunts veins of calcite crystal and is a popular choice for the kitchen, bathrooms, and even cladding. Aside from being extremely durable, marble is heat and fire-resistant, and is more affordable than granite or quartz. It also comes in white, cream, and black colors that have a wide range of shades as well. As a material that’s easily carved and polishes well, this natural stone is used in different ways.

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