Com­pact Sur­face

Ne­olith® pat­terns are push­ing the bound­aries of what colours and tex­tures are pos­si­ble from com­pact sur­faces

MGS Architecture - - Contents -

Renowned Cata­lan chef Al­bert Adrià’s vi­sion to cre­ate an out of the world restau­rant with an enig­matic, im­mer­sive am­biance, took shape when 2017 Pritzker Prize win­ner RCR Arqui­tectes drew their de­sign idea in water­col­ors and brought it to life with the ex­per­tise and tech­ni­cal know-how of Ne­olith® Th­e­size, man­u­fac­turer and de­signer of Sin­tered Stone.

From pa­per to slab

RCR, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ar­chi­tect Pau Llimona, drew a water­color paint­ing in the size of two A3 pa­pers, which was to be ap­plied to the floors, walls, bath­rooms, kitchen work­tops, cab­i­netry and air ex­trac­tion sys­tems. How­ever, a water­color de­sign had not been done on Sin­tered Stone be­fore, thus pos­ing an un­prece­dented

chal­lenge. Car­los Gar­cia, Prod­uct De­signer at Th­e­size ex­plains: “We had to ex­pand the orig­i­nal de­sign, all the while try­ing not to lose the qual­ity of def­i­ni­tion of­fered by the orig­i­nal draw­ing. Each pixel was equal to two me­ters of fi­nal floor.”

Through R&D, Ne­olith de­vel­oped the tech­nol­ogy to re-cre­ate the de­sign onto slabs, pro­duc­ing a per­fect replica of the draw­ing. Once this was achieved, an ex­act color match had to be sourced, as the re­quired green and blue tones are un­usual hues for sin­tered sur­faces. The in­ten­sity of the col­ors had to fit in with the other ma­te­ri­als and dec­o­ra­tions through­out the restau­rant to achieve a uni­fied en­vi­ron­ment. Us­ing Ne­olith’s pro­pri­etary dig­i­tal print­ing dec­o­ra­tion tech­nol­ogy NDD (Ne­olith Dig­i­tal De­sign), the ar­chi­tect’s de­sign brief was fully met.

The ar­chi­tects wanted every slab to be of ir­reg­u­lar tex­ture like Ne­olith’s River­washed, but with a sub­tle shine to pro­vide a sur­face that is mul­ti­sen­sory in­ter­est­ing to the eye and invit­ing to touch. “Ne­olith is a con­tem­po­rary ma­te­rial with many prop­er­ties. We have been so sur­prised by its pos­si­bil­i­ties that we are now us­ing it for other projects,” say the ar­chi­tects.


The floor pre­sented the big­gest chal­lenge be­cause of its sheer size. Each slab was unique and had to be per­fectly put to­gether in or­der to de­liver a con­tin­u­ous de­sign. Ne­olith ini­tially in­stalled the en­tire floor off-site and used a drone to take images from above, thus en­sur­ing that there were no in­con­sis­ten­cies.

RCR Arqui­tectes and Llimona de­signed an or­ganic space full of curves and nar­row aisles and re­quired the slabs to be cut down into six smaller pieces, the small­est be­ing only 3 cm wide. Ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion was key to guar­an­tee the uni­for­mity of the water­color de­sign. Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from a map, a co­or­di­nate sys­tem was put into place, la­belling every sin­gle slab to know its ex­act po­si­tion in the project. This way, the in­stall­ers on lo­ca­tion were able to piece the in­te­rior to­gether like a puz­zle.

The end re­sult is spec­tac­u­lar in terms of de­sign and ma­te­rial qual­ity. As the ar­chi­tects say: “Enigma is an en­velop­ing space that melts, dis­ap­pears, al­most a labyrinth. Be­tween ma­te­ri­al­ity and con­for­ma­tion, a whole se­ries of or­ganic move­ments are cre­ated. Shad­ows, trans­paren­cies, and a wa­tery pres­ence, neb­u­lar.”

Ne­olith® sur­face ma­te­rial from Th­e­size

Castel­lón, Spain-based Th­e­size launched the Ne­olith® brand in 2011 as a high-end com­pact sur­face with rev­o­lu­tion­ary phys­i­cal and tech­ni­cal fea­tures. A term mean­ing “new stone,” Ne­olith® com­bines the best nat­u­ral raw ma­te­ri­als with sta­teof-the-art tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate a high-tech slab for use in ex­te­rior and in­te­rior con­struc­tion: kitchen and bath coun­ter­tops, fur­nish­ings, floor­ing and fa­cades.

The prod­uct is 100% nat­u­ral, com­posed of raw ma­te­rial - clays, feldspar, sil­ica and nat­u­ral min­eral ox­ides, and is re­cy­clable. It has

near-zero poros­ity, mak­ing the prod­uct hy­gienic, stain re­sis­tant, easy to clean, and im­per­vi­ous to chem­i­cals. It is also wear, scratch, heat re­sis­tant and its col­ors, be­ing nat­u­ral base, do not vary when ex­posed to UV rays. Be­ing light­weight, it is easy to in­stall, mak­ing it suit­able for al­most every in­door and out­door sur­face ap­pli­ca­tion.

The prod­uct is cre­ated through the com­pany’s pro­pri­etary sin­ter­i­za­tion tech­nol­ogy, ex­pos­ing min­er­als and other raw ma­te­ri­als to ex­tremely high pres­sure and tem­per­a­ture (over 1200 de­grees Cel­sius/2200 de­grees Fahren­heit), re­sem­bling the way nat­u­ral stone forms over thou­sands of years, in just hours. The process gives the prod­uct out­stand­ing phys­i­cal and me­chan­i­cal prop­er­ties in terms of com­paction, re­sis­tance and dura­bil­ity.

The var­i­ous styles are a re­sult of Ne­olith’s® in­no­va­tive Dig­i­tal De­sign (NDD) dec­o­ra­tion tech­nique. This sys­tem has rev­o­lu­tion­ized Ne­olith® pat­terns and is push­ing the bound­aries of what colours and tex­tures are pos­si­ble from com­pact sur­faces.

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