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NATURAL STONE


REAL OR FAKE? : THE BIG DEBATE


Juan Roig, a stone artisan of over 30 years and entrepreneur of Marmoliva -a marble factory located in the East of Spain (Oliva, Valencia)-, discusses how marble is making a resurgence into architecture and interiors and compares it to that of artificial stone.


If you visit St Peter's Basilica in Rome and look at the floors, columns or any of Bernini's or Michelangelo's sculptures, you will immediately realise how important the material is. The strength of the marble, created under high temperatures and pressures, remains intact and can be perceived in the pieces in which it is transformed. As Michelangelo said about his famous ‘David’; "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."


The ancient Romans were skilled quarrymen who extracted many types of limestone, granite and volcanic rocks, but they reserved the marble for the finest pieces. Renaissance artists inherited this fascination for marble and left us innumerable Carrara marble sculptures scattered throughout Rome and Florence. For a marble


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artisan like me, it is not difficult to see why: every stone has veining, colour, grain, and imperfections that make it unique. Some of the first modern architects of the 20th century were able to capture this- Mies Van der Rohe put together a perfect and beautiful dissection of the rock in his Barcelona Pavilion, for example.


However, with the appearance of new industrial materials that imitate the appearance of natural stone at a lower price, marble was pushed into the background. When the economic crisis hit hard ten years ago, I thought that was it. I got used to hearing 'the cheaper, the better', but the 'low cost' culture may have been a blessing in disguise. It has made us long for the good old days when wood was wood and stone was stone. When things were made to last and our home was unique. In


www.tomorrowstileandstone.co.uk


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