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Behind the Stone: Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Marble

Much like any grand discovery, the unearthing of the rare and elegant Calacatta Macchia Vecchia did not occur overnight. Perfecting this beautiful Italian marble meant overcoming many trials, struggles and technological setbacks of the time period. Nonetheless, this unique stone comes with a backstory full of culture, perseverance and in the end, incredible success.

The Macchia Vecchia Marble Quarry. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

When Was Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Discovered?

The Calacatta Macchia Vecchia quarry is located among the “Marble Mountains” of Italy, within very close proximity of the town Torano. Although the exact time period is unknown, we do know that the discovery of what we now call Calacatta Macchia Vecchia was made between the end of the 17th Century and the beginning of the 18th Century.

The Macchia Vecchia Marble Quarry. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Excavating Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Marble

At the time of discovery, the excavation of marble blocks was very limited, as quarry crews did not have access to suitable machinery or tools. They utilized wedges and ice-axes, and were therefore only able to extract very small, misshapen blocks that required squaring by hand. Afterwards, the marble blocks were loaded in wagons or carts dragged by oxen. This process was extremely complicated and physically demanding, and the quarry ceased production after years of struggling.

In the 1950’s, the Macchia Vecchia quarry reopened when the helicoidal cable, a primitive version of the wire saw, was discovered. The first official owner of the quarry, Mr. Serri, worked tirelessly for many years to excavate pristine blocks of Macchia Vecchia without successful results. The low quality of marble produced combined with lack of technology eventually forced Mr. Serri to shut down the quarry and retire.

After 40+ years of extensive research and technology development, new owners Mr. Ribolini and Mr. Santi re-purchased the quarry and spent the first 5 years not excavating, but cleaning. They understood that in order to start fresh and produce the best possible quality of marble, they had to keep the levels clean and safe for their crews. They were finally provided with essentially a clean slate, and conditions in which they could extract large, blocks of white marble with luxurious flowing veins of gold and grey.

Aria Stone Gallery’s 3cm Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Marble A77. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Production and Use Today

As production increased and technology continued to develop, the brand-new, “Calacatta Macchia Vecchia” marble took off and people from all over the world longed to use it and experience its grandeur. Today, Mr. Santi and Mr. Ribolini remain active owners of the Calacatta Macchia Vecchia marble quarry and extract between 2,500 and 2,800 tons per year. To prevent extensive damage to the surrounding landscape and ecosystem, they limit production in this specific area of the Marble Mountains, making Calacatta Macchia Vecchia a luxury and privilege to witness.

Calacatta Macchia Vecchia marble has dramatically increased in popularity within the design world, as it resembles an elegant impressionist paining and flows well with all aesthetics. Its clean white canvas and golden undertones make a very attractive option for kitchens, bathrooms and bookmatched feature walls. Since Calacatta Macchia Vecchia is a marble, we do recommend sealing this stone if you plan to use it in an area of the home that gets a lot of traffic. This will protect it from scratching and etching, and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Aria Stone Gallery Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Marble Pantry
Aria Stone Gallery’s Calacatta Macchia Vecchia Marble Pantry. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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Milan Design Week 2018: A Preview on Italian Design Trends

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The world renowned Milan Design Week is right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about this incredible and inspiring event. Taking place from April 17th to the 22nd, designers, artists, architects and innovators alike will gather in Milan to exhibit their latest collections in Italy’s shimmering city of design.

In a country where natural stone (primarily marble) has long been at the heart of design, it is inspiring to see plentiful use of stone in furniture, art and architecture in new and modern designs. Here is a sneak-peak into some of the exhibits from world renowned design studios and the new and unexpected ways they use natural stone.

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Marble Bent Stools. Photo courtesy of objects of common interest.

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Modern Designs with Colorful Natural Stone

Over the past year, there has been a large shift with many designers and homeowners searching for colorful stones that highlight unique personality to their designs. The desire for color is increasingly prevalent among furniture design, as seen in the design studio, objects of common interest. This New York/Greece based design studio focuses on creating furniture pieces and still life objects that inspire materiality, process and concept. During their exhibition in Milan Design Week, the studio will be collaborating with Matter Made on a new series from its “Relativity of Color” collection, and also with Bloc Studios, which debuts three new marble collections.

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Marble Parallel Bench. Photo courtesy of objects of common interest.

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Raw, Unfinished, Earthy Natural Stone

A Lot Of Brasil is a revolutionary and high-end furniture design studio based in São Paulo, Brazil. This studio focuses mostly on technology and design innovation, frequenting the use of raw materials to create eco-friendly furniture pieces that are both functional and beautiful. They will be featuring a wide array of new marble, metal and wood products, designed by the company’s talented collaborators at Milan Design Week 2018.

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Mesa Capim Dourado (Golden Grass Table). Photo courtesy of A Lot Of Brasil.

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Intricate, Geometric Marble Floors

Aria was so inspired by this highlight on the Milan Design Week website, featuring marble, porcelain and stone floor tiles, that we had to share! Photographer Sebastian Erras, has traveled around the world to capture the most beautiful floors on camera, and change the perspective of how we look at them. Italy and many areas of Europe are famed for hand-crafted tiles arranged into extravagant patterns on floors everywhere. Since flooring can oftentimes be overlooked, we encourage you to look down and admire the stone beneath you during Milan Design Week!

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Grey marble floor tiles. Photo courtesy of Sebastian Erras.
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White marble floor tiles. Photo courtesy of Sebastian Erras.

Eye Catching Marble with Artisan Woodwork

Peg Woodworking, based in Brooklyn, NY, is a one-woman-run studio created by designer and woodworker Kate Casey. Inspired by Peruvian and American Indian weaving and a focus on form, function, color and pattern, Casey’s intricate and beautiful pieces combine geometric clean lines with the natural beauty of Earth-found elements – such as marble and wood. Aria Stone Gallery has collaborated with Peg Woodworking on a few stone projects, such as the White Beauty Satet Coffee Table and Portoro Gold Totem Table, and we are so thrilled to see this amazing artist and her newest collections featured at Milan Design Week.

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Satet Coffee Table using Aria Stone Gallery’s White Beauty marble. Photo courtesy of Peg Woodworking.

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Totem Table featuring Aria Stone Gallery’s Portoro Gold marble. Photo courtesy of Peg Woodworking.

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April Hannah’s Lotus Collection: Designing Custom Furniture Using Natural Stone

April Hannah is a sculptural-based designer, whose inherent interest is transforming material through form. April examines the creative process across media and through multiple generations. The structure of The Lotus Collection was discovered by April while playing with her son, as she noticed how a particular modeling toy of his interlocked and transformed. After borrowing an appropriately shaped form from one of her large Totem sculptures, April produced a prototype of The Lotus Dining Table with six, interlocking plywood pieces.

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April Hannah’s Lotus Table design process. Image courtesy of April Hannah.

“I like to think the functional pieces I create exhibit a simple sophistication and playful nature. I strive to transcend the banal and create an unpredictable universe of meditative energy and childlike wonder.”

– April Hannah

The process April uses to create paintings and sculptures is an attempt to mimic the systems of growth and evolution found in nature. Using basic materials (charcoal, wood, paper, canvas) and elementary mark making techniques (scribbling, tracing, repetition), forms organically emerge from within the chaos of creation. April sees these resulting forms as “DNA blueprints” for further exploration – each form evolving into another within each painting or sculpture. The technique is simple and the process is meditative, and like nature, an underlying intelligence exists within.

The Lotus Collection

Each consisting of six interlocking pieces, the Lotus Dining Table and Lotus Cocktail Table classically evoke the mandala form of the lotus in unexpected stone.

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The Lotus Cocktail Table, designed by April Hannah. Image courtesy of April Hannah.

“The form of the Lotus Table, like the lotus flower rising above the surface of the muddy water from which it grows, takes shape within a muddled web of chaos. The lotus flower symbolizes spiritual awakening and enlightenment. In Taoism, as in nature, paradox is a driving force. It is the emptiness of the vase that holds the water. Being is non-being. Serenity is found when we let go and just be. This is how I approach enlightenment.”

– April Hannah

April’s Biography

After working for several years as a graphic designer in the city where she was raised (Erie, Pennsylvania) April Hannah moved to NYC in 1999, to pursue an MFA at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Upon graduation, Hannah established a studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn, where she produces abstract paintings and sculptures inspired by patterns and networks found in nature and urban environments.

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Aria Stone Gallery’s Agata granite Lotus Dining Table, designed by April Hannah. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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For more information on the Agata Granite Lotus Dining Table, or if you are interested in customizing the Lotus Dining Table using one of Aria Stone Gallery’s natural stones, contact the Aria Stone Gallery showroom in either Houston or Dallas for pricing and customizing options.

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Aria Stone Gallery’s Agata granite Lotus Dining Table, designed by April Hannah. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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Celebrating Modernism Week with Marble Cladded Inspiration from Palm Springs

Modernism Week Marble Bathroom Inspiration

Modernism Week in Palm Springs is the ultimate celebration for designers and architects who appreciate mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields. Mid-century enthusiasts from around the world flock to Palm Springs to learn and be inspired by the breathtaking modern architecture and marvelous views of the surrounding Coachella Valley Desert. Here is some inspiration from Palm Springs to celebrate Modernism Week and the architects and designers who created this paradise in the desert.

The Parker Mini Bar

The Parker Mini Bar is quintessential Palm Springs. The mini bar was designed to look like a jewelry box and the mirrored walls reflect the ambient lighting and the emerald, marble cladded bar and walls similar to Aria Stone Gallery’s Verde Aurora marble. The jewel toned color palette is perfect for an intimate gathering after a day of sitting poolside.

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Get the look with Aria Stone Gallery’s Verde Aurora marble. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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The details aren’t lost in the Parker Mini Bar as even the ceiling is tiled and and trimmed with matching green marble to match.

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Get the look with Aria Stone Gallery’s Verde Aurora marble. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

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Hugh Kaptur’s Macchia Vecchia Bookmatch Feature Shower

Designed by Architect, Hugh Kaptur, this marble bookmatch shower creates a stunning focal point for this mid-century modern Palm Springs bathroom. The earthy, golden veins are a perfect compliment to the desert landscape and surroundings that this area is known for.

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Get the look with Aria Stone Gallery’s Macchia Vecchia marble. Image courtesy of Dwell.

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Donald Wexler’s Steel House #4

This stunning home was originally designed by one of the original masters of Palm Springs, Donald Wexler. Wexler created many notable homes and buildings in Palm Springs in the Desert Modern style. This style joins the indoors and outdoors in a very minimalistic way.

While even Wexler noted that his homes are mostly glass, the “Steel House #4” uses marble and wood to its full advantage. This kitchen was restored in the spirit of Wexler, keeping in mind natural materials such as dark wood and white as well as plenty of marble, reflecting the mountainous views that surround.

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Get the look with Aria Stone Gallery’s Italian marble. Image courtesy of David Salinger.

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Outdoor Lounge with Feature Marble Fireplace

This stunning Calacatta Vagli marble bookmatch feature wall and fireplace backdrop make this modern outdoor lounge welcoming and cozy. The bookmatch subtly centers your eye on the warm atmosphere and creates a perfect ambiance for gathering with friends and family.

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Get the look with Aria Stone Gallery’s Italian marble. Image courtesy of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners.

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An Artist’s View into #STONEISART

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Last May in SoHo, New York City, Aria Stone Gallery opened an exhibit to the public to celebrate the launch of our new online storefront. The exhibit was named after our mantra, #STONEISART. Since Aria has long believed that natural stone is art in its own right, we wanted to celebrate artists and designers who also see the beauty in natural stone and incorporate it frequently into their designs. After speaking with the artists and designers both one-on-one and through a conversational open panel discussion, we have learned more about the process in which each artist develops their work and why they chose stone as their preferred medium.
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Peg Woodworking: Finding Inspiration through Material Exploration

Kate Casey is a Brooklyn based designer and owner of Peg Woodworking. With a strong background in sculpting and fabrication, Kate designs each piece of furniture with an eye for detail and the utmost attention to form and function. Paying tribute to the clean lines and intricate weaving found in Shaker and Scandinavian design, Peg Woodworking provides a contemporary take on the traditional.

While the root of what Kate designs is primarily based in carpentry and woodworking, she often incorporates different textures and materials in her projects to create a well balanced collection. Working with and exploring new materials is Kate’s lifeblood and inspiration. Kate, expands on her formal training by learning from educational outlets such as YouTube, where she self-taught herself how to expertly craft Peruvian and American-Indian style weaving. After the success of these items, Kate began a new chapter: natural stone. Kate instantly connected to the natural, unique colors and patterns of marble and is drawn to the fact that no two pieces are alike.

As for her latest endeavor, The Bastet Collection, the side tables are constructed with white oak or blackened ash using a barreling technique, similar to the ancient craft of wine barrel creation. The tops of the tables are adorned with slabs of White Beauty or Silver Wave.

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Photo Courtesy of Peg Woodworking, Bastet Collection.

April Hannah: Transforming Materials through Form

April Hannah is a sculptural-based designer, whose inherent interest is transforming material through form. April examines the creative process across media and through multiple generations. One afternoon, April found herself intrigued by the smart way a particular toy of her son’s interlocked and transformed. This pattern gave way to April’s creation of her Totem collection. April’s process begins by using her drawings and paintings to create a “DNA blueprint” for each individual sculpture. The single shape of the template is then reproduced onto multiple pieces of wood using charcoal, each shape interlocking with the other to create a seamless and sculptural form.

The totems are all three-dimensional objects that are an exercise which, “strives to transcend the banal and create an unpredictable universe of meditative energy and childlike wonder.” April’s newest expansion upon her totem collection comes in the form of the Lotus Cocktail Table. The elegant table is designed and created using the same process as the totems, using Nero Marquita or Statuary marble, and fashioned with a glass top.

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Photo Courtesy of April Hannah Studio, Lotus Cocktail Table.

A Space Studio: Connecting Nature and Modernity through Natural Stone

Anna Aristova and Roza Gazarian of A Space Studio are the perfect duo to create modern, natural works of art that are as beautiful as they are unique. The pair finds their inspiration “in a constant balance of opposites,” by pairing raw, heavy natural stone with delicate steel or a romantic gold leaf. Bringing earthy elements into the home in a thoughtful and beautiful way can be a challenge, especially in today’s growing urban landscape. Through knowledge and intuition, the team has found a way to “create a vast and open space” to escape through their natural collections.

In the recent FOUND collection, the stone is sourced and left unpolished directly from the quarries in the mountains of Turkey. These raw, organic stones are then fashioned and manipulated in ways that create a modern piece of art.

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Photo Courtesy of A Space Studio, Found Console Table.

Robin Antar: Using Stone for Healing and Preservation

Robin Antar is a sculptor who primarily uses natural stone to create her works of art. During our artist panel discussion, Robin recounted how she carefully selects natural stone based on the vision of her design. Robin’s art ranges from abstract to impressionistic, and how she selects her natural stone varies based on the design and the story that she is trying to tell.

For example, Boxing Gloves, is made entirely of Carrara Marble, and the veining gives a soft, natural component for a powerful object. Robin’s “passion is to create virtual records of cultural and personal events” that have impacted the artist greatly. The permanence of stone is the perfect platform for the artist to transform her emotions and create “lasting expressions of art for others to appreciate.”

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Photo Courtesy of Robin Antar, Conversation 2.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Robin Antar, Boxing Gloves.

Erickson Aesthetics: Studying Art and Fine Furniture with Stone

Furniture designer, Ben Erickson, is known for his ability to create modern designs using unexpected geometric patterns that “draws on the line of fine art furniture and tongue-in-cheek intentionality.”  In his latest collection, Pyramids, Ben uses marble and brass to create a highly inspirational side table composed of two marble pyramids to create an hourglass figure, held together by a brass pole. True to Ben’s fashion, the pole also allows for the side table to swivel, giving the exquisite table a playful touch.

All of Ben’s furniture is carried out with the highest quality of craftsmanship and materials. And notably, many pieces that Ben designs all feature a certain element of surprise that make the pieces of art relatable and draw the viewer in to create an emotional connection.

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Photo Courtesy of Erickson Aesthetics, Pyramids Side Table.

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Adventures in the Carrara Valley: Exploring Calacatta Borghini Marble

The Borghini quarry is one of the oldest operating quarries in the Carrara Region in Italy. The Borghini family has owned the quarry for many years and produces the most sought after Italian marble in the world – Calacatta Gold Borghini marble. From Architects in Beijing to New York, everyone is eager to see what the Borghini quarry will extract next.

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The Borghini Quarry in the Carrara Region in Italy. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

The History of Calacatta Borghini Marble

The Borghini quarry is located in the heart of the Apuan Mountains, known as the Carrara Region in Italy. This Italian marble was the primary source of stone for Roman Architecture as well as Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo. This region is known for producing snowy white marble, unlike anything else seen in the world. According to the New York Times, the Calacatta Borghini quarry is one of the oldest quarries in the Carrara region and some of the quarry’s cuts can be traced to Roman Times.

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The ceiling of the incredible Calacatta Borghini Quarry in Carrara, Italy. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

What does Calacatta Borghini marble look like?

Calacatta stone has an very white background with pronounced, yet delicate grey veining that sweeps consistently across the canvas. Calacatta noted with “Extra” on the end of its title means that the canvas is whiter than most. On occasion, the Borghini quarry will extract Calacatta with gold veining or gold hues, which is very rare and makes for an incredible statement slab. While Calacatta Borghini is remarkable, a large, consistent slab of Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra is an exceptionally rare find.

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Aria Stone Gallery’s 2cm Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra Marble, noted as an “absolute perfect slab” by Graziani of the Borghini Quarry

Where does Calacatta Borghini Marble come from?

The Calacatta Borghini marble quarry is located in the opulent Apuan Alps, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in Italy. The quarry consists of two main areas: the side of the mountain and the interior of the mountain. The side of the mountain is the more common extraction area, and the inside of the mountain is home to the most rare and prestigious Borghini Gold marble.

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Outside looking in. The side of the Calacatta Borghini Quarry in the Carrara Mountains. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Calacatta Borghini Marble Production

Today, production of Borghini marble in the Apuan Mountains is very limited, which makes the stone rare and very sought-after. For example, in quarries across the world, stone is typically sold per cubic meter; however, the Borghini blocks are sold by the ton. This makes each pound of the beautiful white marble, with its famous soft golden background, highly valued in the marketplace.

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The busy Borghini Quarry is one of the most exclusive and prestigious producers of marble in the world. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Where can I find Calacatta Borghini in the United States?

Due to the rarity of Calacatta Borghini marble, there are few retailers in the world – let alone the United States – that have access to sell this majestic marble because Calacatta Borghini is so rare. Exotic stone suppliers, such as Aria Stone Gallery, will have the opportunity to sell Borghini only a few times a year. Aria Stone Gallery also offers the opportunity to visit the Calacatta Borghini quarry in Italy to personally hand-select your stone from the very same mountains that Michelangelo admired so dearly.

Watch to learn more about Aria Stone Gallery’s best Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra Marble Yet

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Exploring Geometry, Body, & Space with Hong Kong Fashion Week Designer Winnie Witt

Aria Stone Gallery's #STONEISART Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Interior Designers often look to fashion and the different fashion week events around the world to get a sense for how styles are constantly evolving and pushing the envelope. Oftentimes, fashion styles are translated into the design world. Recently, Hong Kong fashion week veteran, Winnie Witt, created a collection in where fashion design was created in a way that highlights many of the same design principles that interior designers frequently use.

Aria Stone Gallery's #STONEISART Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Winnie Witt’s Trinity Collection, as seen in Aria Stone Gallery’s #STONEISART exhibit, closely examines three pillars of Winnie Witt’s foundation of style: geometry, body, and space. The Trinity collection is composed of unexpected shapes and silhouettes from a unique and innovative style of pattern cutting.

Aria Stone Gallery's #STONEISART Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Witt is a master in tailoring, which can be seen in her focus bold, architectural designs that offer a full, rounded, asymmetrical silhouette. Every angle of her outfit offers a new outlook to her conceptual designs.

Aria Stone Gallery's #STONEISART Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Using thing, gossamer-like material to showcase bold, heavy objects, Witt tests the limits of space and physics. Witt incorporated tights and jagged remnants of marble and quartzite from Aria Stone Gallery into her installation to experiment with different types of shape and weight. When the two contrasting elements of sheer tights and natural stone combine together to create a third sense of space.

Aria Stone Gallery's #STONEISART Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of Winnie Witt.

In applying the concept to the design, the garment will appear flat on the surface but its design is to revolve around the body, when you look at it from the side it is a cylinder. The pattern has to revolve around so the body is circular in shape and it gives the garment space around the object.

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Inside the Oculus, New York City

From the architecture of the Romans to Washington D.C., the classic, permanent nature of marble has long been used throughout history as a way to preserve legacy and tell a story of power.

Today in New York City, a modern manifestation of this concept can be seen on your daily commute to work. Designed by the internationally acclaimed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the World Trade Center transportation hub is the third largest transportation center in New York City. At the heart of the hub lies the “Oculus”. This magnificent piece of architecture is symbolic and stunning both below and above ground.

From below, walking into the Oculus after traveling to the transportation hub by train is a breath of fresh air. The Oculus is a wide-open space filled with grey and white marble floors, white walls, and the white structures and skylight floods the building with natural light. The massive skylight runs the length of the Oculus’ spine and plays a symbolic role in the remembrance of the victims from September 11th. The mixture of white marble and natural light evokes the feeling of peace, remembrance, and importance.

“In all weather conditions, the public will experience a subtle sense of man’s vulnerability, while maintaining a link to a higher order,” Mr. Calatrava said. “The memory of the victims will be honored and explicitly expressed through the most symbolic and significant element of the project,” he continued, “allowing people to spontaneously gather with a sense of transcendence and elevation.”

Above ground, the structure was designed to resemble a dove taking flight. Calatrava wanted the structure to evoke the image of a bird being released from a child’s hands.

Image courtesy of Hufton + Crow

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History of the Brazilian Stone Market

Today, most of our most exotic and sought after natural stones hail from Brazil. Brazilian natural stones, most notably marble and quartzite, are famous for their unique composition, color, and natural beauty. Read more to discover the history of how Brazil came to be a major player in the stone industry.

The Gold Rush

The beginning of the stone mining industry in Brazil is believed to coincide with the beginning of the gold rush in the early 18th century. Gold was discovered in Brazil after years of economic disarray following the war against Spain and the Netherlands.

Quickly after the gold was discovered, a gold rush ensued, with people from other parts of the colony and Portugal flooding the region during the first half of the 18th century. The gold was extracted inland, known as the “General Mines.”

The Discovery of Brazilian Marble by the Italians in 1970s

In the 1970s, Italians immigrated to Brazil and discovered white marble deposits near the city of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil. As the Italian immigrants had been mining natural stone for centuries, they were able to bring the knowledge, technique, machinery, and craftsmanship that is involved in mining natural stone. After this discovery, Brazil quickly became a major player in the stone industry.

Technological Growth and the Expansion of Natural Stone Mining in the 1990s

By the 1990s, Brazil had accumulated a large, experienced workforce in the natural stone industry. Quarries and miners gravitated towards nearby granite quarries, where they were easily able to transfer their skills of mining marble to mining granite. This expansion in resources lead to Brazil’s granite boom.

It was also during this time that Europe started to advance technology to cut and process stone, which drastically sped up up the mining process of natural stone. This new technology, coupled with the abundant resources in Brazil yet to be mined, made Brazil the largest stone exporter in the world.

Pictured above is a newly quarried White Mustang Quartzite from Brazil. Photo by Aria Stone Gallery.

The Discovery of Quartzite

With this new technology at hand, the search for additional types of natural stone to mine continued. Quarries were set up in Espirito Santo, in the North towards Bahia, and in the Northeast of Brazil. Some explorers even went inland, to states like Minas Gerais or the interior side of Bahia and Pernambuco, which led to the discovery of quartzite.

Because quartzite evolves from sand grains, it is no surprise that much of quartzite, such as Taj Mahal, is lighter in color. On the other hand, in Brazil, minerals are carried through the sand grains by groundwater, creating some of the most unique and colorful quartzite in the world. Fusion Wow, Emerald Green, and Explosion Blue are all great examples of this geologic phenomenon. Today, the most unique and colorful quartzite is being mined in Brazil.

Brazil from the 1990s to Today

Although Brazil had suffered an economic crisis in the 1990s, the stone industry was able to quickly rebound with vigor. Even today, natural stone is a leading export and driving force for the Brazilian economy.

Now, there are more than 300 export processing plants in Brazil for natural stone, as well as hundreds of quarries and blocks being exported to Italy, China, India, and Taiwan where the stone can be processed. The production now covers a large variety of stones, including granite, marble, flagstone, quartzite, slate, soapstone, serpentine, travertine, and limestone, to name a few.

Sandy beaches of Brazil. Photography by Aria Stone Gallery.

 

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What to Watch: 2017 Fall Trends

Fall is right around the corner and we have carefully taken note of the best trends and styles that you will want to include in your next project.

One way to enjoy color and create a cohesive look is to start with a neutral palette and add splashes of color. The Breccia Capraia Marble is an incredible marble, known for vivid mixture of white and dark grey veining. This marble also has simple, jewel colored hues that add bursts of color to create a polished look. By adding neutral, earthy elements such as wood and your favorite colorful fall flower arrangement and you will have a lovely, sophisticated design.

The old “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” rule definitely does not apply to this modern, white wonderland. The trick for creating the perfect, crisp, clean, look without making your space feel too clinical is texture, texture, texture. Aria Stone Gallery’s Hanoi Pure White marble has flecks of sparkling quartz throughout, which adds dimension and texture to any project. Finish this project with textiles in cool, complimenting colors that are warm to the touch.

Get swept away in a colorful sea of blue. Aria Stone Gallery’s Azul Imperiale Extra Quartzite is everything you need to make a colorful statement wall that will command attention. Perfect for a bookmatch design, the veining moves over the canvas as waves on the beach, instantly transporting you back to your summer vacation during these upcoming chilly months.

Classic and forever stylish, high contrasting black and white statements are staples for interior designers, such as Lucinda Loya, who ensures that “all of her projects include contrast, but all have color.” Marbles such as Dalmata and Panda are perfect for achieving this powerful look.

Add a feminine touch to your design with pink materials and textures. With colors like Millenial Pink being at the forefront for 2017 trends, we are also seeing designers and homeowners becoming more comfortable using pink in fun and unexpected designs. One way to create a lively, unexpected design is to use a material such as Onyx Kilimanjaro, which has the ability to be backlit with an LED panel. This natural stone has pink and red hues in the sunlight and emits a warm, rich amber glow when backlit.

Stripes and lines are a favorite amongst designers for creating movement and playing optical tricks making spaces feel longer and taller.  The White Macaubas Quartzite is an elegant natural stone that has a linear pattern of dark grey, creamy white, and sandy brown that will tie in your design and create that  grand space you have been searching for.

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Slow Art Movement

As Aria has taken a great step forward with the recent announcement of an e-commerce platform, it is important to take a moment and remember where this great journey began. The origins of Aria are deep-seeded in an appreciation for art, design, and natural beauty through the Slow Art Movement.

 

 

 

Pictures Herbarium, 2011, Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg (b 1955), shown at the Slow Art Exhibit in Stockholm 2012. Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg picked and shredded flowers, dried the petals and combined into patterns into new, two-dimensional version of nature. No two petals are exactly alike, not even two petals from the same blossom. The process is experimental. The lessons learned must be remembered for the following year’s harvest. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden
Necklace, 2003, Janna Syvänoja (b 1960), Paper, steel wire, Height 4 cm, diameter 27 cm, nmk 23/2005 Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund, The material is slips of paper cut from an encyclopedia and a steel wire to hold the pieces together. Like pearls, Janna Syvänoja tenderly threads slip after slip onto the wire. The time aspect is central, this is a slow and monotonous procedure. Each slip is positioned with a minute shift in relation to the previous one. In design, it resembles turned wood, the original substance of paper. With time, the paper will go yellow, altering the appearance of the necklace. The process illustrates a modesty found in Syvänoja’s oeuvre, where the works are as transient as nature itself. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

It all began in 2012, when owner, Vinny Tavares, visited the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and came across the Slow Art Exhibit. In this exhibit, art was on display that took months and years to create, often from tedious and repetitive actions. The focus is on the art of creation and errs on the side of quality over quantity. Slow art is in opposition to the direct-to-consumerism approach that so many companies and artists align with as to increase profits and growth in the short-term. Cilla Robach further describes the movement, “the objects that are presented here as Slow Art were hand-crafted in slow, often intricate processes. The considerable time required to make these works has not always been a cause of frustration for artists or craftspersons. On the contrary, they have valued time and regarded slowness as a central element in their artistic process. Many practitioners have put special emphasis on shaping certain details, without having to fear the mental boredom or physical pain of repetition. Instead, the viewer suspects that they have found tranquility in the monotonous and slow work stages that were required to create a specific piece. Our need to slow down and create room for re-election was summed up by Honoré in an overall concept he called the Slow Movement. Perspectives that focus on doing things well instead of quickly, on valuing quality instead of quantity. On handling materials, i.e. our common natural resources, with care, and showing consideration for future generations. On seeing a value in slowness. On allowing time to be a significant factor in the artistic process.”

Dress Broken Shadow, 2008, Helena Hörstedt (b 1977), Raw silk, leather, Height 110 cm, width 50 cm, nmk 110/2009, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund Hundreds of leather pieces of exactly the same shape are combined into cones of exactly the same dimensions to achieve the desired effect. In her artistic process the garments are distinctly set apart from the often ephemeral fashion scene. Slowly, they find their form. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

Beyond the Slow Art Movement, the concept is also found in several other contemporary categories, such as Slow Food (as opposed to Fast Food), Slow Travel, Slow Craft, Slow Design, Slow Fashion, Slow Media, Slow Consumption, Slow Education and Slow Parenting.

 

Collar Egypten [Egypt], 1983, Helena Edman (b 1952), Titanium, gold 18k, silk, Height 0.5 cm, diameter 24 cm, nmk 27/2006, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund With inspiration from ancient Egyptian collars, the goldsmith Helena Edman made this collar as her graduation piece at the Guldsmedehøjskolen in Copenhagen. The titanium tubes were coloured through electrolyte, where different nuances are achieved by changing the amperage. The titanium has to be clinically clean before the process can start, so Helena Edman has meticulously polished off the oxidised surface before turning on the electricity. When the tubes have gained the desired colour, they are sawn into the final length, a task that uses up countless saw blades. Finally, Edman threads them onto silk. The collar weighs 335 grams and consists of some 1 730 parts. This work took four months to complete, from sketch to finished collar. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden
Sculpture Sub Rosa, 2004, Renata Francescon (b 1962), Porcelain, Height 30 cm, diameter 48.5 cm, nmk 7/2005, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund The art of repetition has a peculiar fascination for Renata Francescon. With her bare hands, she thumbs out thin, individually shaped porcelain rose petals. The process is repetitive; one petal after another is made. Combined into roses and stacked on each other, they form a spatiality where the contrast between the thin, fragile petals and the actual weight of the porcelain sculpture creates a tension. Her method is significant. Francesco’s fingers leave their imprint on the clay, a physical trace of her presence. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

Vinny, a stone aficionado and industry expert, was intrigued by this concept and could instantly see the many parallels to the stone industry. Beautiful natural stone takes hundreds if not thousands of years to come to fruition through geologic formation. And the extraction process in quarries such as those in Carrara, Italy is an art form passed from generation to generation. But the journey does not end there. The next step of this long and thoughtful process is Vinny, personally hand-selecting each stone at the quarry based on rarity, beauty, and quality, much like an art appraiser inspecting a work of art at Sotheby’s.

As Vinny had long viewed stone as art, he realized that it should be treated and displayed as such. Therefore, the obvious next step was to celebrate stone by showcasing slabs in a gallery-like format, encouraging the viewers to dive in deeper into stone education, and most importantly, by creating an environment that allows the viewer to not feel rushed so they can develop an emotional connection, similar to the overwhelming feelings you experience when viewing art in a museum.

In 2013, the Aria Stone Gallery showroom in Dallas was born, and was quickly followed by a Houston showroom, as designers, architects, and homeowners alike, all appreciated Aria’s transparent and educational approach to showcasing stone as art. The experience of celebrating stone in a peaceful environment allows the viewer to appreciate and gaze upon the stone in awe, rather than grazing slab yards in hopes to find a buried treasure.

The goal of Aria’s e-commerce platform is to share this artistic approach and appreciation for stone as a natural work of art with more and more people, nationwide. And as Aria continuously evolves over the course of the next few years, at the core will remain art appreciation and stone education, #stoneisart.

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Aria Stone Gallery Launches the First Online Stone Storefront

Aria Stone Gallery is proud to announce that we are revolutionizing the stone industry by launching an e-commerce site, giving customers the power to choose. Allowing customers to browse in the comfort of their own homes and purchase stone directly is the first of its kind in the stone industry. But for Aria, e-commerce is the natural next step to expand and strengthen our transparent and educational approach to natural stone. Through Aria’s transparent model, the customer will have a better understanding of education on origin, rarity, quality, and price of the natural stone that they select.

On our storefront you will find high-resolution images that are expertly color-matched that give the customer a clear, visual representation of what they can expect to purchase. And with the help of our stone experts on our live chat feature, we are available to answer any and all questions that you may have about natural stone including sourcing, templating, ordering, or shipping and more for your next project.

As the first stone supplier to provide transparent pricing, “We strive to be at the forefront of the industry” said Aria Stone Gallery’s founder, Vinny Tavares. “As part of our identity we continue to push the boundaries and set the precedence of stone innovation. We were the first true gallery format stone showroom and the first to bring that concept online,” said Tavares.

Aria’s curated collection of luxurious, natural stone is sourced from the most exclusive quarries around the world. Aria only brings in first quality slabs, 100% of the time, no exceptions. Because of this fact, they are known to other suppliers as being the strictest  importer in the country.  Only a small percentage of blocks mined around the world in places such as Brazil, Africa and the Middle East are considered to be “first quality” slabs. This means that a slab might be structurally sound, however it will lack in the areas of color richness as well as balance in its veining and movement.

View our curated selection of natural stone here.

As featured in:

                 

            

 

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Turn your Next Project into an Adventure of a Lifetime

World travel, inspiration, adventure, and first-class service is just the beginning of Aria Stone Gallery’s custom “World-Class Hand Selection” program. The program is a once-in-a-lifetime excursion that gives the clients a chance to experience the behind-the-scenes process of hand-selecting stone for their special project. The journey begins with first-class flight and hotel accommodations to the Carrara region of Italy to visit the famous marble mountains. Here, alongside Aria Stone Gallery’s owner, Vinny Tavares,  the clients will learn first-hand what makes a slab of marble so unique, rare, and exotic. This hands-on approach is unique to Aria and gives the clients the ability to experience all stages of stone sourcing, from mining and processing, to the selection of that perfect piece

This total immersion in the culture, led by locals and stone professionals, allows the travelers to explore the rich history, culture, and cuisine of the region from which the stone is sourced. Gaze in awe over the breathtaking views of the Carrara mountains during the day, while experiencing fine dining prepared by world-class chefs in the evening.

The memories of this trip are sure to stay with our clients forever, as they will be reminded of their amazing experience every time they gaze upon their completed project. Not many people in the world will be able to tell tales of the exact origin of their stone, and even less will be able to say they got to experience hand selecting their chosen slab(s) at the physical quarry. Aria spares no expense to ensure our customers are treated like royalty.

At the end of this adventure, you will know first-hand what it means to refer to an “Aria quality” stone and why we treat each slab as a piece of art. Come along with Aria on this one-of-a-kind journey and gain the unique insight, knowledge, and education from an industry insider and Aria founder, Vinny Tavares.

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Architectural Digest Show 2017 – Natural Stone for Every Room

Every year, an ensemble of leading designers and architects gather from around the globe to showcase their extraordinary innovations at the prominent Architectural Digest Show in New York City. From independent, up-and-coming designers, to well-established and iconic craftsman, today’s brightest talents are put on display. While there are thousands of carefully curated products shown throughout the weekend, one evident theme was the use of natural stone in unique and creative ways.

Master Bathroom

While it is not uncommon to see natural stone in the bathroom, it is clear from I Maestri’s booth that traditional objects, such as the bathtub, are becoming sculptural works of art. Neutra’s Duo Collection, available through I Maestri uses marble and wood to draw inspiration from the “purity of water, the energy of stones, and the warmth of wood.” Designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, the sculptural bathtubs are carved from a single block of Carrara marble, making them a piece of art in their own right.

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Neutra, Duo Collection. Image courtesy of www.imaestri.com
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Neutra, Duo Collection. Image courtesy of www.imaestri.com

Dining Room

The important concepts of contrast and proportion are prevalent in the modern DeMarco Dining Table by KGBL NYC. The round, two-toned, all-marble dining table features a solid statuary marble top and a nero marquina base that is both simple and elegant. This monochromatic color palette is a timeless design that will last for years to come.

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DeMarco Dining Table, image courtesy of www.kgblnyc.com.

Living Room

Brooklyn-based newcomer, Peg Woodworking, stole the show with the Bastet end table collection, which is available in either white beauty or a black marble, similar to Aria Stone Gallery’s Port Black. The earthy combination of wood and stone is a classic mix, refreshed by confident geometric design.

Anna Aristova and Roza Gazarian of A Space Studio, also combined wood and marble to create a stunning console table. The dark St. Laurant Marble is elevated by its asymmetrical raw edge and rich color combination.

Lighting

Always crossing the boundaries of art and design, Dimore Studio’s Lampada 060, is the perfect accent. The Calacatta marble base is bound together by eye-catching gold hardware, which is nicely balanced by the traditional, cream colored drum lampshade. The artistic table lamp will instantly elevate any room in the home.dimore-studio-lamp

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Paris Fashion Week 2017

Paris Fashion Week is romance, style, and couture all rolled into one. Design enthusiasts frequently look to fashion to find inspiration from the textures, colors, materials, and moods of the collections, as well as to determine the next up-and-coming styles. Throughout fashion week, we witnessed fascinating use of colors, silhouettes, and metallics to bring to life a stunning wardrobe. Below you will find out how you can incorporate and enjoy these ideas in your home through a colorful assortment of natural stone.

3cm Emerald Green
2cm Emerald Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many designers incorporated emerald and golden hues into their Spring/Summer lines. From Manish Arora’s African tribal-inspired line to Andrew Gn’s Elizabethan Couture, these rich, eye-catching colors were seen on many catwalks. Aria Stone Gallery’s Emerald Green and Emerald Sea quartzite slabs also incorporate the soft, flowing emerald hues as seen during Fashion Week. Much like the flowing color palette of Tuomas Merikoski’s incredible prêt–à–porter collection, the soft color and ease of pattern in this Emerald Green stone creates a distinguished design, while the subtle veining enhances the wonderful texture.

3cm Grigio Carnico
new-belgium-black
2cm New Belgium Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One concept that the French have perfected is the art of the silhouette. The precise attention to the form of design is placed at the utmost importance. From fashion to interiors, balance is always key. Minimizing color and amplifying texture allows you to experiment with unique and creative forms more freely without the risk of over-designing. To achieve a similar aesthetic in interiors, view Aria Stone Gallery’s Grigio Carnico in a bookmatch layout.

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3cm Lemurian
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3cm Matrix 3D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrifying metallics have been a prominent theme across fashion week, beginning in Milan and continuing all the way to Paris. Pascal Millet’s incredible showcase debuted a multitude of metallics with a blue-grey sheen, while John Galliano’s pink metallic jumpsuit plays with a whimsical child-like spirit. Similar to these fabrics, Aria Stone Gallery’s Lemurian Granite takes on a new life when light reflects from the material. Due to its metallic properties, Labradorite, which is found in Lemurian, is often used for jewelry. Lemurian would work as a beautiful large scale wall application near interesting lighting.

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Lessons from Stockholm Design Week 2017

Stockholm Design Week takes place once a year every February to bring design lovers together to connect and showcase their best and favorite upcoming works. This year we have picked up a few lessons from the Furniture and Lighting Fair on how to create and execute innovative spaces.

stockholm-design-week
Photo courtesy of Gustav Kaiser.

One exhibit that sets the stage and best encompasses the theme of the Furniture and Lighting Fair each year is the “Trend Exhibit.” This year, Swedish Interior Stylist, Lotta Agaton, curated an exhibit which showcased contrasting materials and colors set in unexpected ways, entitled “Contrast.” Agaton primarily used pieces that were her “old favorites in new settings,” and showed how recovering old products with new textiles or adding a statement wall color can change the personality of objects and make them new again. The lesson from this exhibit is not 0nly the products on display; but rather, how to execute contrast between objects, textiles, and furniture.

stockholm-design-week-2017
Images courtesy of Lotta Agaton @lottaagaton

The theme of “contrast” carried throughout the entire fair. Most notably, Tom Dixon is one of the many examples of designers using contrasting textures and colors to create an overall cohesive theme that is perfectly on trend. During the furniture and lighting fair, Tom Dixon unveiled his new office furniture line that was inspired by the archetypical Victorian school desk. Below, we see the “Offcut Stool 650mm in Natural” set against the deeply rich background of a dark marble similar to Aria Stone Gallery’s Gris de Savoie.

tom-dixon-stone
Tom Dixon’s “Offcut Stool 650mm in Natural.” Image courtesy of www.tomdixon.net.

Dixon’s “Slab Desk” is constructed of solid oak and features smooth, rounded edges. The desk demonstrates contemporary craftsmanship through a simplistic design that is beautiful in its own right. And when the oak desk is placed in front of the vitoria regia quartzite statement wall with mechanical accent lamps, the contrast in textures makes the entire space feel well balanced and multi-dimensional.

tom-dixon-slab-desk
Tom Dixon’s “Slab Desk.” Image courtesy of www.tomdixon.net.

Contrast in color is also important when it comes to creating well planned design. Furniture designer and interior architect, Gam Fratesi, worked with Gubi to create custom furnishings for Paris’ House of Denmark, which was launched as a collection at Stockholm Design Week. The collection is refined and classic with nods to Mid-Century Danish design combined with elements of traditional Parisian aesthetic. In the bar of the restaurant, the designers chose to pair a strong, dark natural stone with a light oak bar and linen “Beetle” barstools. The white and dark green marble floors further annunciate the contrasting colors through its chevron pattern.

Contrasting colors can be executed on a smaller scale when it comes to furniture. For example, Fratesi’s “TS Table” with a black steel base and white marble surface can easily be incorporated into any small breakfast area with ease.

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Architecture & Stone of Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. was established in 1790 when an act of Congress authorized a federal district along the Potomac River. The area of land measured 100 square miles in which to build a federal center that would facilitate the new government. George Washington enlisted Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a well established French engineer and architect to draw the plans for a grand capitol.

washington-dc

L’Enfant was given the great opportunity to imagine a capitol from scratch as the land proclaimed as Washington D.C. was mainly cow pastures and marsh land. We can still see many of L’Enfant’s envisions today, from the grid streets named after each state, wide avenues, and many public squares. In fact, one of L’Enfant’s main ideas was to create to the “public walk” in as the centerpiece of the town where all citizens could gather to express and exchange ideas with the nations leaders. Today, this is known as the two mile long National Mall, which stretches from Capitol Hill to the Potomac River and is topped with the historic Washington Monument.

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The beauty of Washington D.C. is the expression of leadership, historical influence, and democratic values through its architecture. The neoclassical principles of simplicity and symmetry are seen from the White House to the Capitol Building, where you can see inspiration drawn from Greek and Roman civilizations. The tall marble columns move the eye upward, while the intricate details of the facade add visual interest.

national_treasury-web

Sandstone was primarily used during the initial construction in 1790 as the infrastructure and technology to transport marble was not yet available. However, by 1816 marble was being quarried and transported across country by railroad and even shipped across the Atlantic Ocean from the Carrara Region in Italy. The floor-to-ceiling marble design of the capitol building was achieved with the help of nearly one dozen states.

washington-dc-web

Marble is often favored among sculptors to create works of art as it is composed of fine grain that make it easier to sculpt details. Marble is easy to care for and can be used indoors or outdoors and grows more durable as it ages. The Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider are two of the most recognizable sculptures in Washington D.C., both with marble provided by the Yule Marble Quarry in Colorado.

tomb_of_the_unknown_solider

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The Colorado Yule Marble Quarry 

Deep in the Upper Crystal River Valley in Colorado, just over the mountain from Aspen, lies the town of Marble – a small town with a big history. Around the 1870s, during the great Western Expansion, prospectors traveled to the area in search of gold and silver in this small Colorado town. While their efforts over the next decade did not yield them much success in this endeavor; they stumbled upon an unexpected treasure – one of the largest and purest deposits of marble in the world. This stunning revelation was declared “remarkable” and “flawless”. By 1899 the town of Marble, Colorado was incorporated.

marble_colorado_quarry

In 1905 major development began when plans for the Yule Marble Quarry were funded from a $3 million investment from Col. Channing Cheek with help from the Rockefeller family. And from here, the word spread that “the Marble Age is here” and the population of the town and the quarry began to expand. During this rapid expansion, the town boasted the world’s largest marble deposit and the world’s largest building under one roof. Between 1912 and 1917 the population increased and the town saw a boom in population up to 1,400 people.

To this day, five grades of marble are still quarried at the Yule Marble Quarry: Calacatta Lincoln, Calacatta Gold Extra, Calacatta Golden Classic, Statuario Colorado, and Aspen Grey. The Calacatta Lincoln is by far the quarry’s most prestigious and sought after material. All Yule Marble shares the common characteristics of smooth texture, homogenous color, and a luminous surface. Characteristics such as these caught the attention of architects across the country, and especially of those commissioning projects and monuments in Washington D.C. The Yule Marble Quarry completed the prestigious task of sending marble to Washington D.C. to build the Washington Monument. And shortly after, architect, Henry Bacon, loved the marble so much that he (successfully) urged that it was used to clad the entire exterior of the Lincoln Memorial– which, in fact, gave this material it’s infamous name.

Aria Stone Gallery’s 2cm Calacatta Lincoln A35

The town and quarry saw a loss in population and revenue around 1917, when most of the Italian and Austrian workers returned home to fight in WWI. But in 1930, business increased when the quarry was contracted to build The Tomb of the Unknown Solider forArlington Cemetery. At the time, this was the largest and purest marble stone to be extracted.

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In 1941 The Yule Marble Quarry was closed due to declining demand at the brink of WWII. As part of the war effort, the tracks and equipment were taken and sold for scrap. The once bustling quarry, which held so much promise, continued to lay dormant without much demand or interest once soldiers returned home.

As of 2011, the quarry is owned and operated by Mr. Enrico Luciani. Originating from the Carrara Region of Italy, his primary goal is to translate the tried-and-true tradition of the Italian Carrara methods to the Colorado Yule Marble Quarry. Luciani’s company, R.E.D. Graniti, took over operations and ushered in the quarry’s current mini-boom. In 2012, they started removing stone from a new site just up the slope, where quarry master, Stefano Mazzucchelli, located a new vein of stone in the mountain and called it “Lincoln Gallery”, to honor the Italian/American connection.  This new vein, referred to as Calacatta Lincoln, is now a worldwide, top-selling stone and is celebrated as one of the most purest marbles.

Calacatta is, arguably, the single most sought-after grade of marble in the world! This historic stone features a clean, white background with thin grey and taupe veins with a homogeneous texture. It makes for gorgeous countertops, flooring, statuary, and sculpture, as witnessed in the Lincoln Memorial. Calacatta Lincoln is not only the most beautiful white marbles, it is a piece of US history.

marble_colorado_quarry_mountain

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Nature Her Majesty

Aria Stone Gallery’s world class hand-selection program is a once in a lifetime excursion which gives the clients a chance to experience the behind-the-scenes process of hand selecting stone for their special project. On this exploration, travelers will visit Italy’s most exclusive quarries to personally hand select natural stone from the world renowned mountains of the Carrara Region.

Experience and select the materials for your next project directly from the source. Not only will you leave with a sense of accomplishment, but also with a personal story and memories to last a lifetime.

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A Story Across Time

From the stoic Parthenon to the sculptural works of Michelangelo, marble found in the Carrara Region has played an important role in the artistic development of Italy. Located nearly 60 miles outside of Florence on the Carrione River, the Carrara Region is home to the largest portion of the world’s most pure and sought-after marble. The marble quarries were first established by the Romans and quickly a city was developed to house it’s many workers.

Today, marble is still the city’s main economic and artistic driver, as over 100 active quarries produce over 15,000 tons of marble daily. Locals have long been artistically influenced by the natural beauty that comes from the surrounding mountainous landscape. Carrara residents create statues, sculptures, and a multitude of interior design elements, which ornament the colorful, baroque-style architecture. The proud residents pass down their historic traditions from generation to generation, leading to a uniquely vibrant and prosperous culture that can only be found in the Carrara Region.

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Inspiration from Milan

Inspiration from Milan

Italian design has long been the industry leader in combining form, function, and fashion in an innovative and exciting way. Home to a large portion of the world’s finest natural stone, it is no surprise that incorporating earthy tones with luxurious, sleek design is synonymous with the Italian designer. Many flock to the famed Milan Design District to gain inspiration and learn what the industry leaders have in store.

Milan Treetop View by Aria Stone Gallery
Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Seamless, pure form is seen in this bathroom vignette in the heart of Milan’s Design District. The natural stone is incorporated throughout all aspects of this design from the countertop and backsplash, to details in the basin of the sink, executing a seamless finish.

Italians have long mastered the art of manipulating natural stone into geometric spheres and pairing it with minimalist, utilitarian hardware. Here, modern hardware artfully casts simplistic shadows upon the stone. The vertical lines of the floating shelves and the cascading faucet creates a sleek and stylish impression as it draws the eye upward, while at the same time preserving its efficiency and function.

floating-shelves-for-web

Onyx is a versatile stone material to use as it has translucent, layered cryptocrystalline calcite, which makes it ideal for incorporating in lighting installations. This onyx gives new life to its surroundings in a multi-level chandelier, casting a warm glow and illuminating the surrounding textured wall art.

Onyx pendant lighting casts a warm glow on the artwork.

See below for additional pictures and inspiration from Aria Stone Gallery’s Milan Design District experience during the New World-Class Hand Selection Program.

higher-temperature

 

Milan Design District

 

Aria Stone Gallery Trip to Milan: Geometric Shapes on Floating Shelf

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Brand New World-Class Quarry Experience, Only at Aria Stone Gallery

With great joy, we are proud to announce the launch of our brand-new quarry experience program. As a pioneer in the industry, Aria continually pushes the envelope when it comes to customer experience and education which holds true with the announcement of our new, custom “World-Class Hand Selection” program. The program is a once-in-a-lifetime excursion which gives the clients a chance to experience the behind-the-scenes process of hand-selecting stone for their special project. It allows the travelers to immerse themselves in the rich history, culture, and cuisine of the region from which the stone is sourced. This hands-on approach is unique to Aria and gives the clients the ability to experience all stages of stone sourcing, from mining and processing, to the selection of that perfect piece.

This truly is a one-of-a-kind excursion, not only do the customers get a chance to experience all aspects of stone sourcing, they are also treated to world-class perks. From fine dining, true to the region’s culinary roots prepared by world-class chefs, and five-star lodging accommodations to breathtaking views and total immersion in the surrounding culture. The memories of this trip are sure to stay with our clients forever, as they will be reminded of their amazing experience every time they gaze upon their completed project. Not many people in the world will be able to tell tales of the exact origin of their stone and even less will be able to say that they were there as it was hand selected in the quarry. Aria spends no expense to ensure our customers are treated like royalty.

At the end of this adventure, you will know first-hand what it means to be called “Aria quality” stone and why we treat each slab as a piece of art. Come along with Aria on this one-of-a-kind journey and gain the unique insight, knowledge, and education from an industry insider, Vinny Tavares.

If you are interested in participating or have any additional inquiries, please contact us.

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Pastels Around the World

From the Paris runway to the streets of Milan, muted color schemes are not only taking the design world by storm as of late (view more here), but pastels are forever engrained in European history.  With its culturally rich capitals and colorful coastal towns, Europe is and always will be epicenter for pastels.  Aside from the charming Old-World streets, pastels are prominent within interior design, art, and architecture.

Recently, the Aria team had the pleasure of visiting Milan and the Tuscan regions of Italy and we are here to share our colorful collection of discoveries.

Stay tuned as we share additional stories and illustrations from our trip.

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Behind-the-Scenes: Tour of Italy

The Aria team recently traveled to the beautiful land of Italy, and we are here to share our journey with you. Italy, also known as the “culinary epicenter, fashion capital and cultural haven” is richly abundant in historic architecture and art. Its unique beauty and serenity is so stunning that it is hard to describe in words.  From its priceless cultural riches in Florence home to Michelangelo’s David to its historic monuments in Rome such as the Colosseum; stone and Italy have, for a long time, been synonymous.

Besides the historic attractions, Italy is also known for its beautiful marble. Ranging from Bianco Carrara, Goiai, Venatino, Statuarietto, Staturio, to the famous Calacatta, Italian marble remains in high demand.  Our founder, Vinny Tavares, has been traveling to the Carrara region of Tuscany, also known as the land of the Calacatta, for the past decade.  This Spring he was joined by the rest of our team.

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look as we share the beautiful sights of Milan, Florence, and Carrara, from the beautiful mountaintops in the Apuan Alps to the charming Tuscan countrysides.

Come along with us as we take you on a truly one of a kind journey and share with you Italy through Aria’s eyes. We are certain you will experience the true meaning of ‘la dolce vita.’

 
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“Do not follow where a path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Maison & Objet Paris 2016

Last week concluded the week long exhibition of the latest and greatest in European Interior Design. Although the entire event left mixed reviews and many people underwhelmed, the principal undertone was very clear: natural stone is still a huge trend.

British Lifestyle retail, Amara Living, featured a slew of natural stone accessories.

Marco Guazzini has created his own stone that is inspired by his native lands in Italy. His home is best know for their marble and their natural wood fiber. Marco was able to embed the brightly hued fibers into the stone and create a new form of marbling. From there he chiseled them into different decor items.

Marco also showcased these beautiful stone and acrylic vases that are a beautiful mix of natural and manmade mediums.

Our Director of Marketing and Operations, April Graves,  attended Central Saint Martin UAL, with one of the shows award winners, Troels Flenstefd. Troel created a line of powdered pigmented vessels that have a marbled pattern to the finish.

Belgium architects Glenn Sestig joined forces with Obumex to create a full natural stone kitchen that was exhibited at the M&O fair. The only visible obstruction is the facet, creating a minimalist dream. The solemn titanium travertine is industrial and minimal

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History of the Indian Stone Industry

India has the reputation for being a vibrant, mysterious country and their stone industry is no different. The start of the industry dates back to 3200 BC.

Innumerable temples, forts and palaces of Ancient Indian Civilization have been carved out of locally available stones, including the most famous Taj Mahal. Many major archeological excavations have revealed exquisitely carved statuettes and carvings in this stone. Ancient Buddhist monuments, like the Sanchi Stupa of 3rd century BC, have also been carved out of natural stone.

India’s stone varieties can be counted in the upwards of several hundreds. They are most well known for their granite and marble, but do have a wide selection of quartzite, sandstone, slate and limestone.

39 Delhi Humayun's Tomb Full View From The South

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2016 Design Directions

As 2016 is approaching, Aria is taking a moment to share some of our coveted inspirations in light of design directions for the upcoming year. From accents with finish variations, mixtures of natural elements, to uncommon edge trims, the common thread between 2016 directions are based in a monochrome palette with traditional marble accents.

Statement Accessories

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FADE TO BLACK – Art-deco house in Antwerp, designed by Dieter Vander Velpen with matte black fixtures and fittings

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HEAVY METAL – Melbourne designer Fiona Lynch mixes honed marble, matte black fixtures and cabinets, and a polished island with a bold metal statement. 

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GOLD DUSTED – Black and white, carved marble pedestal sinks complemented by brushed nickel hardware. It’s a case of dusted not highly polished to create a refined composition.

Clever Execution

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IN THE RAW – One thing is for certain, Over and Above Studio’s 9,000sqft head office project of UBER featuring natural stone design with wooden accents is a refreshing juxtaposition of structural wood edges complemented by a raw, stone overhang for a grand entrance.

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BALANCING ACT – Katy Schiebeck’s precise angles and science alluding to a perfect balance between elegance and simplicity, literally. Hello to the new Barcelona.

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INLAYED – Deep black vein marble contrasted with a white ground encased by natural wood cabinetry for a twist on bathroom sinks makes for a fresh take on sink/cabinet combination sets.

Beyond The Home

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ONE OF A KIND –  Hand carved marble, lost wax casting, hand forging and hand fabrication ring by Donna L. Ververka. Shear mastery of attention to hammer marks, burnished edges and contrasts between matte and high polish with a dark patina to emphasize the sculptural qualities.

2016-Design-DirectionsPRINTED LEATHER – Rebecca Minkoff’s printed marble M.A.B. mini tote

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ODD FORMS – Apparatus’ ceremonial objects at their purest, simplest forms inspired by “structural relics and antiquities.” A collection of bold proportions.

Discovering Turkey

In early August, Vinny Tavares went on an exploratory trip to the countryside of Turkey. The Aria Stone Gallery founder has known for years what the Byzantine Empire knew all along: Turkey is one of the richest countries in the world as far as natural stone. From creamy travertines to light beige marbles, even some onyxes. After being invited by one of the main producers in the land, Tavares arrived in Istanbul ready to experience what this great country had to offer.

After a couple of days in the cultural and financial capital of Turkey, Vinny embarked on a 6 hour bus ride to Kuthaya, which is in the middle of the country. After Vinny boarded a bus, he crossed the Bosphorus Bridge, leaving Europe behind and heading into Asia. He had left the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, as it slowly turned into Turkey’s countryside. Then it dawned on him, just how many millions of people had done the same west-east journey in search of treasures since the old days of Constantinople. In Tavares’s case, it wasn’t gold, spices, or ceramics that instilled that sense of adventure in him, but rather Marble – an item that has crossed borders for thousands of years as mankind continues to build its architectural marvels.

Just one day prior to his cross-country adventure, Tavares recalled the chat he had with a local Istanbulnese, while visiting the imposing Haglia Sofia. Unsurprisingly, the entire place was built with stone – primarily marble. But what did catch Tavares’s attention was the fact that most of it was brought over from Greece and Lebanon, which if taken into consideration that it was built in 537 AD, one can only imagine the immense challenge it must have been to transport thousands of tons of stone for hundreds, if not thousands of miles. Over 1,500 years later, we know it was all worth it, as Haglia Sofia sits beautifully on the edge of the Bosporus connecting faiths, continents, and people.

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The History of Italian Stone Industry

The start of the Italian marble industry can be traced back to the early renaissance period but became prolific during the Roman Empire. Most of the industry can be found in what is called the Carrara Valley, also called Province of Massa-Carrara, which is situated on the border of Liguria and Emilian Romagna. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the marble quarries were monitored by the Cybo and Malaspina families who ruled over Massa and Carrara. The family created the Office of Marble in 1564 to regulate the marble mining industry. The city of Massa, in particular, saw much of its plan redesigned (new roads, plazas, intersections, pavings) in order to make it worthy of an Italian country’s capital.  Following the extinction of the Cybo-Malaspina family, the state was ruled by the House of Austria, and management of the mines rested with them.

Although it is situated between the Alps and the sea, these towns were almost always the first to be conquered during times of war. Due to this factor, the Carrara Valley is known secondly for anarchy. By the end of the 19th century, Carrara had become a cradle of anarchism in Italy, in particular among the quarry workers. According to a New York Times article of 1894, workers in the marble quarries were among the most neglected laborers in Italy. Many of them were ex-convicts or fugitives from justice. The work at the quarries was so tough and arduous that almost any aspirant worker with sufficient muscle and endurance was employed, regardless of their background. In Carrara, the anarchist Galileo Palla remarked, “even the stones are anarchists.”

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Today when visiting you can still see the beauty in the draw of the city.  If you are lucky enough to visit, there are a few marble attractions to visit. The spectacular white marble caves in the heart of these mountains are unique in the world and reveal themselves as a gleaming vision before the visitor’s eyes. Entering the mountain’s heart, one can touch the same precious stony elements preferred by artists like Michelangelo and Canova. The Basilica of Massa is built entirely of Carrara marble, and the old Ducal Palace of Massa was used to showcase the precious stone.

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New York Fashion Week in Stone

New York Fashion Week is the talk of the country right now. In September, all of the top designers from around the world come in and showcase designs that will be available coming next spring. By watching NYFW, you can see color palettes and design trends that in the next six months will influence not only the fashion world but will be travel through all design industries. Therefore, in light of what the fashion industry has to offer these coming months, Aria is drawing comparisons to what will be showcased in the world of natural stone.

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Delpozo is the Spanish design firm that is headed by the multitalented Jesus Del Pozo. He spoke to Womens Wear Daily and said he was inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Gypsy Ballads” and Emilie Flöge, the fashion-loving muse of Gustav Klimt. However, there was no literal Spanish flamboyance or Wiener Werkstätte here. Instead, he took his audience on a couture-like dream of rich imagination, inventive constructions and remarkable craftsmanship.

This would also accurately describes the Aquamarine marble that will arrive at Aria Stone Gallery this December. Its light blue backdrop and horizontal navy blue veins are extremely rare and unique among marbles. Aquamarine is a rich, dreamlike material that shares a similar veining structure with the constructed shapes of the Delpozo couture.aria-Naeem-Khan-Matrix-3D

Naeem Khan has become a staple on every red carpet for the past few years and with this dress it is no wonder. The three dimensional nature of this fabric makes this simple dress look like armor and yet entirely feminine. I would be shocked not to see this dress on someone for the Oscars.

Our Matrix 3D granite is a stone that could be a “magic eye” painting. The field is truly 3 dimensional. The silver and grey tones warp the mind and almost creates movement. The sparkle in this slab almost seems unnatural or from another world.

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The great late Oscar De La Renta company lives on with a fully elegant and sophisticated line of suits, dresses and wears that would grace the wardrobe of only the highest of society woman. The skirt suit shown above is the perfect example of a decadent, structured outfit featuring delicate black embroidery.

Like the suit, the Red Fusion is a strong cabernet toned quartzite with delicate black veining that swirls throughout the slab. If you stop by Aria’s Dallas showroom for a visit, you will immediately recognize this beautiful material from the grand office desk. Much like the De La Renta, it is sophisticated and bold and only those with great taste will know how to best use it.

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Rodarte is best know for feminine, lacy and lingerie inspired looks. Their Spring 2016 line has these elements with a darker twist. They used blacks and rust to compliment the victorian lace in this dress above. Although the shape of this dress is feminine, the color pattern and styling makes for a very strong statement.

Aria’s Zebrino Black and Gold Marble is an exact match to this dress with one key difference; A black field, as opposed to white, that is brushed with tones of white and rust to give it a unique and edgy glow. Much like the dress, it may come off bold and graphic but with proper styling and design compliments this funky stone becomes an interesting focal piece that crosses all trends.

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The World’s Most Beautiful Spas

Summer is a time for vacation and relaxation. We poured over the internet in search of the most luxurious spa retreats designed by some of the world’s greatest interior designers. From Miami to Beijing, these “hot spots” can be considered modern wonders of the world. Not only will they bring tranquility to your body, but their beautiful natural stone surroundings will bring tranquility to your mind.

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Armani Hotel – Milan, Italy

The Armani Hotel in Milan is in the epicenter of fashion. The interior of the hotel draped in Armani and is a sight in and of itself but the pièce de résistance is the swarthy, chic spa with full views of Milan. This spa is 1,000 square feet located on the top floor of the hotel will provide with a quintessential designer experience.

Royal Mansour – Marrakech, Morocco

In this peaceful haven, The Hamman Spa uses ancient Moroccan beauty traditions. Its walls are lined in the finest marbles and quartzite with intricate detail that makes this, what you would expect from a romantic Moroccan movie.

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Dunhill Men’s Spa – London, England

Founded in 1893, legendary British brand Alfred Dunhill is renowned as the pinnacle of men’s luxury. This continues from the clothing to the addition of the mens spa. Enjoy the all male spa experience at The Spa and Barber at Alfred Dunhill; a sanctuary in Mayfair for the discerning man. With the book matched marble showers to full luxury treatments, Dunhill spa is one of a kind.

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Selman Hotel – Marrakech, Moroccan

The expansive Selman Hotel boast 12,000 square feet of decadent spa space. Including this indoor moroccan heated pool designed by the world renowned French designer, Jacques Garcia. With spa treatments ranging from Hamman to the latest beauty innovations, Jacques has created modern romantic hideaway.

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Green T Living Bath House – Beijing, China

This transcendent space was original constructed as a tea house but was transformed into a lifestyle destination offering art, a cultural events space and also the tranquil Bath House Residence. The Bath House Residence’s is a stunning space, with granite floors and stylish furniture designed by founder JinR. pictured above.

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La Mamounia Spa – Marrakech, Morocco

Inspired by an intoxicating blend of Moroccan and Eastern culture, the 27,000-sq-ft Spa La Mamounia beautifully fuses the traditional with the modern. Over 80 treatments are offered,  signatures include a luxe version of the traditional Hammam ritual. The Spa features a large indoor heated pool slated in marble, Jacuzzi, 9 treatment rooms, 6 outdoor massage cabins, a gym, 2 Hammams and a spa suite.

 

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The Dolder Grand Spa – Zurich, Switzerland

The Dolder Grand Spa was designed by the incomparable British designer Norman Foster. Baron Foster has personified his signature high tech style and translated it in this unique Swiss hide away. With 43,000 square feet they offer a myriad of spa treatments from wellness to medical.

Viceroy_hotel_Miami_loungeViceroy Hotel – Miami, FL, USA

Phillippe Starck inspired inventiveness and traditional elements  to complete a contemporary design in the Viceroy Miami’s 28,000 sq/ft spa. Phillippe recombined some of his signature set pieces—oversize mirrors, brightly colored crystal chandeliers, and haute-French furniture, with double-height, library-like “water lounge” to showcase the floor-to-ceiling views of Biscayne Bay, that proves the most jaw-dropping spot among many.

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Discovering Hanoi Pure White Marble in Vietnam

On a recent trip to Vietnam, Aria’s Founder, Vinny Tavares, discovered an amazing white marble called Hanoi Pure White. This white marble is a very exciting discovery, coveted for its uniform tight quartz flakes throughout; a rare quality giving this beautiful natural stone the consistent look that is common to man-made, engineered stone.

The journey to the quarry involved crossing rugged terrain and remote villages with very basic provisions. The quarry is located about five hours from Hanoi, in the northwest region close to the borders of Laos, Vietnam and China. During the journey as the bustling city of Hanoi grew further away, the scenery revealed amazingly beautiful mountain ranges. The intrepid nature of the trip rewarded Vinny with some of the best white marble seen in many years.

From the remote mountainsides of far-flung, exotic destinations to the comfortable, classy interior of Aria Stone Gallery we strive to consistently bring you the very best and most unique offerings from Mother Nature.

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Finding Azurite Video

Vinny Tavares, Owner of Aria Stone Gallery, hand selects each stone for the gallery. Last year, Vinny received a call from a small quarry in Brazil saying that they had discovered some of the most vibrant and beautiful blue azurite that they had ever seen. He wanted to make sure he was the first to obtain this rare material.

Vinny quickly hopped on a flight to Brazil, boarded a tiny puddle jumper to fly him into the countryside, climbed in the back of a pickup truck and crossed rivers, mountain and tiny villages to reach this remote quarry. There, he discovered stunning pieces of stone that he then brought back to Aria.

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