Natural Stones in Architecture and Design - Architects’ Perspective & Market Trends

natural stone and marble

The love for natural stone and marble is undeniable; for ages they have been used to create timeless designs with impeccable aesthetics and beauty that doesn’t withered even after spending centuries exposed to the elements. Every historic city around the world is full of monuments created with variety of stones including marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, travertine, quartz, clay, slate and others. From Stonehenge to the Red Fort, the timelessness of stone is a story in itself that doesn’t need an author to tell.

In the recent years, natural stone market has witnessed an unprecedented growth owing to factors like booming real estate market, spurt towards sustainability and use of stone in decorative elements. SURFACES REPORTER finds out how the natural stone and marble market is performing and the latest trends from the industry.

Natural Stone & Marble pegged for growth

According to the Fortune Business Insight, in its report titled, Natural Stone and Marble Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Granite, Limestone, Marble, Sandstone, Slate and Others), By Application (Building & Construction, Monumental, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027, the global natural stone and marble market size is projected to reach USD 62.58 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.57% during the forecast period.

Rapid growth in construction activities in developing nations is expected to speed up the expansion of this market. The study particularly notes that the boom and exponential growth is led by rising construction industries of Asian countries particularly India and China. The demand for exquisite marble is also likely to increase in the near future in these countries with the improving standards of Living making customers to augment their properties by choosing premium materials. In addition, with the rising awareness about sustainable architecture and its benefits towards nature, stone is getting much more preference than any other natural or artificial materials.

The report also suggest that with USD 33.52 bn at its behest, the Asia Pacific region reigns the natural stone and marble market in 2019 and will continue to do so attributed to the large variety of stones being found in India and China that hold huge demand in the world market. India being the largest exporter of Granite, also holds vast reserves of sandstone, limestone and marble. Marble querried from Makrana, Nagpur is one of the most coveted varieties of the marble found around the world and hence hold great importance.

Inside the The Circle Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport Hotel stands the Iris Bar. Here the star is the scenographic bar counter, a custommade creation by Prisma, featuring highly functional elements. The materials alternate to give shape to a ‘luminous’ configuration. The back of the Prisma Bar counter is made of elements on wheels equipped with superstructures and glass shelves for storing bottles and glasses a practical and flexible solution that can be easily moved according to the needs. Material- Stainless steel and Blue Agate.

Why Stones are our forever favourite choice

Stone is an ageless material. However, for the last few decades, with the launch of many man-made materials, natural stone lost its sheen with people opting for other materials. Nonetheless, the rapid awareness of sustainability has proved a boon for the natural stone industry Natural stone is fast emerging as one of the preferred green building materials owing to its wide eco-friendly properties. Furthermore, research conducted by the Centre for Clean Products at the University of Tennessee showed that natural stone does not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are known to be one of the largest contributors to urban pollution. Even more significant is the ability of lightcolored natural stones to lower a building’s “heat island” effect, as these stones can reflect heat, and not absorb it like concrete. Thus, using natural stone and marble bolsters the movement toward establishing sustainable architectural practices and complements the growth of this market.

New Innovations with Stones

With the development in technology, there are many innovations being done in the way we use stones. Along with hand chiselling and carving, 3D Technology is being used on stones and marble to get the shape, colour and sizes. Some of the most popular stone finishes now-a-days include, sanded, leathered, honed (satin), polished, chiselled, brush hammered, sandblasted, 3D finish. In fact, with the use of CNC machine, any desired design can be easily chiselled on a stone surface with gold and silver leafing to add on to the design element.

Another important invention of natural stone is Stone Veneers. As one of the most important aspects of stones is the weight associated with it which sometimes makes it unsuitable for many purposes, Stone Veneer does the job with equal propensity. Thin sheets with thickness spanning from 4-1mm are cut from natural stones and with a support backing of materials like fibreglass, can be stick to any surface using a laminate grade adhesive. Giving a proper natural look, such veneers can be moulded into any shape, a property hardly found in stone and backlit too giving an added aesthetic to any surface.

While lime stones like Tandur, Kadhappa and Kota are here to stay for long, we are now experimenting with sandstone due to the variety of colours, for example pink, peach, beige and yellow. These colours can bring life and joy to the space and make any space look trendier. Slate and quartzite have also been some of our favourites too. - Meghna Dhulani Founder and Principal Architect, The Pinewood Studio

Stone can give various experiences through its timeless appeal and the availability of textures and colours. As a firm, we like to experiment with different interpretations of materials and surfaces. Stone is always something that we gravitate towards for its exquisite quality and range while being maintenance-friendly. Its feel in response to elements like light and ambience is perennial. We use a variety of stones in our projects as an external facade, flooring, wall cladding, furniture, staircase and for elemental purposes. Recently, we have been using quartz extensively such as for a pool in a private bungalow in Jaipur that turned out beautifully. Currently, I think that matte and honed finishes are quite a drift. Non-porous stones and more tactile finishes shall make an impression for the coming year. - Ar Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainud Principals, ZZ Architects, Mumbai

Natural Stone in 2022-23

Natural stones and marbles are going to be a big hit in the next few years with the booming real estate and home renovation activities that were halted for last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition as people are looking to spend more, they look for more exquisite and exclusive surfaces and as we all know, no two natural stones or marbles are alike. Hence the degree of exclusivity is much higher in the case of natural stones and marble as compared to any other surfaces that are easily replicated in factories. With a pandemic at large, people are returning to nature as they spend more and more time at within the four walls of their homes. Therefore, using natural materials as the décor surfaces becomes a natural choice, as the sentiment echoed by architects and designers as well.

SURFACES REPORTER (SR) also foresees a push towards natural stones and marbles in 2022 and we will soon showcase some of the interesting experiments being done by architects and designers with natural stones and marbles at its core.


Post Your Comment

"Content that powers your Business. News that keeps you informed."

Surfaces Reporter is one of India's leading media in Print & Digital Telecast for News on Interiors & Architecture Projects, Products, Building Materials, and the Business of Design! Since 2011, it serves as a referral for designers & architects to know about inspiring projects and source new products. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us or you can also submit your project online.

Like Surfaces Reporter on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram | Subscribe to our magazine | Sign Up for the FREE Surfaces Reporter Magazine Newsletter