Stone with its naturally occurring patterns, textures and myriad colours has the unique ability to add warmth to any interior space. As flooring, its advantages include availability in wide range of sizes from tiles to slabs and no limitation of geometry for designers to experiment with finishes. “Most designers prefer stone over tiles for flooring because of the rich look and feel the former offers. Besides, stone can be finished in several textures like river washed, bush hammered and flamed to give modern look,” says Priyanka P, Principle Architect, PS Designs.
In natural stone, marble remains the most in demand stone. Imported varieties of the marble are the new favourites for their rich and elegant look. Marble sourced from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Iran and Greece is considered the purest and most elite. Due to soil texture and special geological conditions, these places offer the best of the material with distinct natural vein patterns and colour pallets varying from subtle pastel to darker and brighter shades. “Imported Marble due to its vast variety in terms of design elements and colour combination is in great demand. These properties are particularly attributed to geographical origins of the material. So the demand for imported marble is growing in high end projects. ” says, Vivek Talwar – MD of Nitco Ltd.
However, imported marble is soft and porous and difficult to install and maintain. Alternatively, Indian pure white Makrana marble, a sturdier and more economical stone gives an equally distinct aesthetic appeal to the floors say some designers. Other Indian stones like Kota, Shahabad, sandstone and Jaisalmer are also gaining popularity in the trendy interiors. Kota stone is a fine-grained variety of limestone. Its rich greenish-blue and brown colours are the in-vogue flooring options for outdoors. Other colours like black, pink, grey, and beige too are being explored in various combinations by designers for indoors & outdoors. Shahbad stone in chocolate colour appears opulent and can be used with full polish to get a fine look or with less polish for a rustic appearance. Likewise, the sedimentary layers of sandstone present a unique and varied colour profile which adds to the personality of the floor. On the other hand, Jaisalmer stone in attractive yellow and pink colours combines beautifully with white marble like Makrana to add distinct beauty to the flooring. Similarly, Cuddapah stone with its near-black colour and mirror polish finish offers a great contrast to other stones when used on floors.
• Knocking down interior walls to create vast open-plan living spaces is the key trend this year. This trend has led to the development of larger format stone tile, highly polished and light reflecting granite and marble which create seamless open-plan designs. “The bigger sized stone becomes beneficial as the time taken for the installation is much lesser and the look and feel of the surface is much more luxurious and classy. Also, the joints are less visible and ultimately the maintenance frequency is also less.” says Shah.
“The rising popularity of imported stones can be attributed to factors like globetrotting Indian consumer exposure to global designs & trends, international hotel chains opening in India as well as Indian clients opting for international designers and architectural firms. Some of the popular varieties include, marble stones like Staturio, Monte Pulciano, Grey Opera Fantasy, Crema Marfill, Classic Beige, exotic granites like Mozzart Chiaro, Blue Bahiya, Amonzonite and other stones such as Jade Onyx, Mango Onyx , Amber Onyx; Golden Travertino, White Travertino, Beige, Walnut and Tiger Travertinos. They are all popular stones due to their rare colours and patterns and the aesthetic value they add to any interiors when they become part of it.”
– Subodh Shah-Director
Classic Marble Company
• Another refreshing change is the move towards bold colour and textures. Stone floors in golden, black and brown colours or with prominent natural veins such as Blue Fantasy, Onyx Rainbow and black granite provide with statement floor for an area to form a captivating focal point of the design scheme in any room. Luxurious finishes and rich opulent colours are also at the top of the style charts. Classic or contemporary, the decadent high gloss granite and Italian marble with a light reflecting finish and visual depth perfectly coordinate with this glamorous trend. Also, a major trend is the use of natural finishes, organic materials and textures in interiors. The natural colour palette and rustic appearance of sandstone, traventine and slate add true authenticity, bring a new neutral elegance and classic vintage feel without seeming old fashioned. “The contemporary designs considerations are to create a seamless connect between the indoor and outdoor areas. Irregular shaped flagstones of sandstone and Kota flow between the two areas with flawless coordination. Alternatively, slate and granite in larger formats floor tiles provide a classic solution to coordinate with external landscaping and bring the out-door in-door.” says Interior Designer Bhavna Lal.
“Though tiles are the convenient flooring option, the true lover of space aesthetic likes to use natural stone in its various forms. Apart from whites and subtle beiges, marble varieties with flamboyant colours and vein designs are currently in great demand. Use of larger marble slabs accentuates the beauty of veins and design pattern. So larger bookmarked slabs are the most sought after where marble slabs have replicating vein impressions giving a mirror image look.”
– Vivek Talwar
MD, Nitco Ltd
• The latest entrant as a flooring option is Quartz. Quartz surfaces are created from pure natural quartz, an extremely hard stone crystal mined directly from the earth. In fact, quartz is the hardest non-precious stone that can be found in the earth’s surface and due to this it has large applicability in numerous forms. Quartz can be used for commercial and residential flooring and areas prone to high footfalls and weathering like airports, malls, theatres and subways. Quartz surfaces form a beautiful blend between modern sophistication and timeless luxury and due to its ever-lasting finish require simple and routine care to maintain its good looks.
• A new kid on the block is the engineered marble and granite. Also known as agglomerated reconstituted or compressed stone it counters the inherent imperfections of natural stone such as open veins, tone variations and pinholes. The stone is produced by binding marble chips (93 to 95%) with specially formulated resin (7 to 5%). As a large part of agglomerated marble consists of natural marble chips (collected as waste from quarries) it possesses similar characteristics of marble. They are an attractive and practical alternative to natural stone, because even though reconstituted, it captures the beauty of natural stone with added advantages of colour consistency and enhanced durability. Kalingastone – the engineered marble and quartz collection from Classic Marble Company offers a range of agglomerated stones comprising of agglomerated marble and agglomerated quartz. The marble collection includes Lineare, Pezzo, Graffiato, Distress, Silken, Ruvido, River Wash & Leather finish stones and Quartz collection is available in Lineare, Pezzo, Distress, Silken & Leather finishes. “The natural stone is fast diminishing and becoming scarce, there is a crying need for an alternative. Technically produced agglomerate stone has designs, patterns and colours which is close to the exotic natural stones.” says, Subodh Shah – Director, Classic Marble Company.