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Focus on Engineered and Natural Stone
Celebrating the beauty of stone and solid surfacing
Marble Sets the Tone in this Dubai Gym
4 Stunning Engineered Quartz Options
3 Takes on the Travertine Trend
Focus on Engineered and Natural Stone
Focus on Engineered and Natural Stone

At the Warehouse Gym D3 in Dubai Design District, the juice bar alone sets the heart racing. Its good looks begin with the Grigio di Masso marble countertop, which provides the visual cue for walls finished in large-format porcelain tile that mimics the grey marble’s textural likeness to tumbled stones.

Large-format porcelain tiles in the washrooms resemble the Grigio di Masso marble used in the juice bar, offering a cohesive look but greater durability.

Complemented by the bar’s copper-alloy cladding (Tecu Gold, by copper and copper-alloy products manufacturer KME), the natural stone look plays off the structure’s concrete floors and columns. “We were inspired by brutalism in architecture. And we focused on materiality – using raw materials that you usually find on a construction site, like concrete bricks and metal mesh,” says interior architect Rania Hamed, whose studio, VSHD Design, devised the entire 600-square-metre gym, including a cycling studio and circuit-training factory.

To further elevate the building’s bare bones, Hamed and her team collaborated with a local artisan on another big design move: walls clad with concrete bricks that have a natural, non-uniform appearance. The firm also designed custom LED fixtures, which are suspended in multiples for extra drama. All of the interior’s materials are intended to look better with time by developing a patina. “Exercise is about working hard in an environment that pushes you to do so,” says Hamed. “It benefits from this underground, hard, brutal feel.”  vshd.net

Myddleton by Cambria

Rich, brushstroke-like streaks of white lend drama and depth to this natural quartz surface, part of the Luxury Series Marble Collection by Cambria. Offered in either a high-gloss or matte finish, the characterful product is non-porous and non-absorbent, doesn’t need to be sealed or polished and is largely maintenance-free. Its neutral tone makes it an ideal backdrop for any number of settings: The material can be used on walls, floors, countertops and more.  cambriausa.com

Brooklyn by Cosentino

One of two patterns in the recently introduced Silestone Loft Series range of natural quartz surfaces, Brooklyn is a deep grey with shadowy effects that straddles the line between industrial and rustic. The material is impact-, stain- and scratch-resistant, is low-liquid absorbent and features the brand’s new Raw texture, which takes on the tactile quality of concrete. Available in a variety of format sizes and thicknesses, it’s suitable for such diverse projects as countertops, walls, floors and furniture.  cosentino.com

Yorkville by Hanstone

Part of the Boutique collection, this solid quartz surface features soft grey veining highlighted by a creamy white base. The series – which includes Yorkville and six other patterns, all of which mimic the look of Statuario marble – is offered in a standard format as well as a jumbo slab measuring 164 by 329 centimetres.  hanstone.ca

5810 Black Tempal by Caesarstone

Adding to Caesarstone’s collection of nature-inspired quartz surfaces, 5810 Black Tempal features a charcoal-black background detailed by organic strokes of soft white, like geological strata formations. The series has a rough finish while still maintaining its non-porous and heat-resistant qualities; it’s available in standard 305-by-144-centimetre slabs with three thicknesses: 13, 20 and 30 millimetres (custom sizing and large-scale slabs are also offered). Application options include kitchen islands and worktops, wall panelling and bathroom vanities.  caesarstone.ca

Floor show

Inspired by terrazzo, DO Architects turned to travertine slabs (along with marble and granite) to craft the artful patchwork floor in this Lithuanian apartment. “We wanted to use a different kind of stone material in this project, and to give it a variety of textures and colours,” says architect Marija Steponavičiūtė, who was drawn to the rock’s yellowish tones to complete the project’s overall palette. The slabs are connected with concrete binder, ensuring the end result will stand the test of time. “It’s durable and will wear naturally,” Steponavičiūtė says. “It will act like the skin of the apartment and become part of the residents’ lives.”  doarchitects.lt

Star attraction

The pitted surface and organic striations of travertine can resemble moon rock, which is fitting for David/Nicolas’s Constellation series of space-inspired tables. “We knew we wanted something made from stone, but at the same time we wanted something alive, different in every kind of scenario,” the Beirut-based design duo says. “Travertine had the textures we were hoping to find, and we thought it would be quite challenging to sculpt these blocks into furniture.” The resulting pieces (C080 is pictured below) are dynamic expressions of the stone’s key attributes: earthiness and elegance in equal measure. davidandnicolas.com

On a pedestal

Travertine might not instantly come to mind as a surface choice for a busy retail space, but London’s O’Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects, which had worked with the delicate material before, didn’t hesitate to use it for the sink counter at RÖ Skin, a beauty salon in the English city of Stamford. “We were attracted to the stone because of its holes and troughs, which suggest wear and tear,” says architect Amalia Skoufoglou. “It will age gracefully.” To highlight the stone’s porous nature, the firm used the unfilled side of the slab, but had it semi-honed and sealed for the high-traffic area.  osullivanskoufoglou.com