“The greatest artist has no conception which a single block of white marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image.” Michelangelo
The Marble House in Bangkok, Thailand
More than 2,000 years have passed since the first block of Carrara marble was quarried high in the Apuan Alps in Italy’s northern Tuscany. From the Venus De Milo to Michelangelo’s David and the Pantheon in Rome, luminous white Carrara marble has been used to create some of the world’s most iconic buildings and works of art.
The ancient Romans were the first society to use this beautiful natural stone and over the next 1,000 years, the marble was quarried on such a large scale that the area became responsible for producing more stone than any other region in the world. Today, Carrara marble’s distinctive white and blue-grey natural stone, characteristically threaded with smoky grey veins, has become the benchmark of quality and a symbol of luxury.
How is Carrara marble formed?
When bodies of water under the ground evaporate, the remaining deposits form limestone. If the limestone gets crushed under layer-upon-layer of tons of rock, the intense pressure and heat cause it to metamorphose into marble. In the Apuan Alps, this transformation took place during the Early Jurassic period (190 million years ago) when large areas of what is today known as north Tuscany were flooded and the limestone sediment formed a carboniferous platform. High pressure then turned the pure limestone into the gleaming white marble characteristic of Carrara.
On the Rock collection by Lee Broom
Supply and demand
Carrara marble is usually supplied in giant 3.3 x 2 meter blocks, 30mm or 20mm thick slabs or a variety of tile sizes. For The Splash Lab, we work with the giant blocks, which we pare to size.
The Aerofoil in Carrara marble with our Capacitive Faucet and Soap Dispenser in Brass PVD
Working with marble
Carrara marble can be worked using a variety of methods, from traditional hand tools, such as a hammer and chisel, right through to fully automated machinery, like a 5-axis CNC machine. At The Splash Lab, we use a combination of automation technology and hand finishing to create our marble products.
Making The Aerofoil
The Aerofoil wash-plane is crafted from a towering cube of Carrara marble (also available in solid surface) more than three meters high. A 30mm slab is planed from the raw marble and placed on a 5-axis CNC machine to be precision-cut to size, taking into consideration the engineering required to achieve the correct surface tensions and dimensions that ensures no water runs over the edges of our sink with no sides. After this, the product is hand polished by our skilled craftsmen, which can take up to seven hours per sink. This hand polishing brings out the color of the marble and achieves a honed finish with slight reflectivity rather than a traditional high-shine look. This matte finish prevents accidental water release due to reflection issues with IR sensor taps.
Both the name and shape of The Aerofoil were inspired by the aerodynamic beauty and streamlined simplicity of an aircraft wing. Thin yet strong, The Aerofoil (like an aircraft wing) is thicker at the wall-affixed end, tapering to half its thickness at the front. A complex extrusion support system behind the wall cavity bears the weight of the ‘floating’ sink. Water drainage and soap dispensation is neatly and efficiently executed out of sight. The hexagonal drainage holes in The Aerofoil’s discreet grate were inspired by the tesselating hexagons of honeycomb cells, which we believe is the perfect way to capture unwanted debris and provide efficient drainage. Cleaning and maintenance is easy to perform.
When specified with our range of brass and copper sensor faucets and soap dispensers, The Aerofoil can create a contemporary design aesthetic in office and hotel restrooms, commercial washrooms and public spaces. Click to learn more or download a specification pack.
Image 1: Carrara quarry by Roberto Mari