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In today’s competitive environment, design teams are constantly looking for resources to fuel their creativity. Natural stone, particularly from a supplier with the most advanced capabilities, offers nearly limitless design options as it allows designers to use a classic building product in creative, contemporary applications. One of the most valuable sources for creative designs with natural stone is a collaborative stone supplier that’s willing to partner in the design process, helping project teams realize their design visions.
Natural stone has long been regarded as the premier choice for durability, ease of maintenance and timeless design, but designers should be careful to remember that not all stone suppliers are created equally. Those that work hand-in-hand with the design team, while offering cutting-edge capabilities, can bring virtually any vision to life.
Now armed with modern technologies, natural stone suppliers like Coldspring offer numerous capabilities for achieving the design intent. For example, AutoCAD and 3D modeling software allow computer-generated transfer of images and precision. Other technologies include CNC laser-etching, and stencil and film technology.
With these capabilities, manufacturers can transfer nearly anything from hand sketches to photos onto the stone’s surface. Photographs and other images can be replicated on natural stone with realistic detailing, using sandblasting and carving techniques. Lettering can be carved and enhanced with a color element; the precise replication of ornate elements such as column caps can be created.
These advances in sandblasting and carving technology allow skilled stone manufacturers to create art in natural stone that would have been thought impossible only decades ago. However, the relationship with the stone manufacturer is critical to a successful installation featuring graphical design elements using sandblast. The right stone manufacturer will enhance the project’s outcome through quality workmanship and a consultative approach through every project phase.
In the initial consulting phase, design experts from the manufacturer can provide samples and offer advice to guide the team through the process. At the beginning of the project, a stone manufacturer can provide mock-ups or samples to help visualize the design intent. Providing samples before the order is placed will also allow the team to see the provider’s workmanship and capabilities. After the order is placed, sampling helps to refine final details and bring the design to reality.
Skilled and knowledgeable stone providers will work with the entire team to bring these artistic visions to reality. While cost is always an important consideration, many other factors must be evaluated for a successful outcome.
If you’d like to learn more about how collaboration leads to more creative projects with natural stone, be sure to attend our webinar, “Demystifying Natural Stone: Increasing Project Creativity Through Design/Manufacturing Collaboration,” Monday, October 7th, 11:00am CST. This free, AIA and ASLA certified continuing education session will examine the collaboration process and built case studies that describe how collaboration at the different stages of design, fabrication and installation can lead to innovative design solutions.