Fox Marble installs the first CNC saw and resining plant in Kosovo

Alexandrian White and Breccia Paradisea marbles from Fox Marble's quarries in the Balkans for an extension in Hertfordshire.

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Fox Marble, listed on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM), has installed the first CNC saw and block vacuum pump machine for resining in its factory in Pristina, Kosovo.

Fox Marble was formed after the war in Kosovo to quarry marbles from the Balkans, which it processes in its huge Kosovo factory. The new saw, from Italian manufacturer GMM, will process many varied shapes of material from slabs and small blocks, including 1,500m2 of marble tiles per day. The machine is fully operational and has just manufactured the company’s first order in which the whole process has been completed in house for cut-to-size tiles.

Fox Marble has also just completed the installation of a block vacuum pump machine, which allows resin to be absorbed by blocks that have micro-cracks or fractures in them. As a result, the machine will improve the yield achievable from the quarries and reduce the price of the already competitive slabs and tiles.

Chris Gilbert, CEO of Fox Marble, says: “We are pleased to announce the installation of this new machinery, which allows us to access more effectively the local market for tiles and cut-to-size orders, as well as servicing our international customers. 

“Our fully operational factory now has the additional capability to process material-to-order at speed. We are confident that the cost effectiveness, flexibility and improved sophistication in our processing, delivered by this machinery, will impact positively on margins in the current year.”

Marble used for extension in Hertfordshire

Fox Marble is helping to regenerate a formerly troubled, newly independent region of the world by encouraging investment and economic stability. It owns the quarries and processing factory, helping to keep prices low, maximise efficiency and cut out ‘middlemen.’ 

The exotic red and white marble bathroom pictured here is in an extension to a house in Hertfordshire. It was fitted by skilled  craftsmen, but the design and concept came from the owners themselves, an entrepreneur and business executive who decided to build a sympathetic extension on to his Hertfordshire home.

The house is a five bedroom 1930s detached villa in a secluded village. The floor plan for the extension is almost twice the size of the original building. It includes a swimming pool and the conversion of a World World War Two air raid shelter into a wine cellar. 

The family had basked in scented bathhouses (hammams) on frequent travels to Turkey and wanted to recreate that experience in their own home.  

Jon Mitchell of Fox Marble describes the project: "The challenge was how to fit the homeowners’ vision into a 3.7m by 3m space without it looking over ornate. The result was, in design terms, quite a lot simpler than a typical hammam, but the stone and the colour, for us, captured the spirit of the inspiration."

The owners describe how they were attracted to the idea of using an exclusive stone from somewhere they knew. They wanted to use stone that might have been available to the region’s original hammam builders to give the project a real sense of coherence. 

Top to toe marble in such a relatively small space could have looked excessive but the clever choice of colour, a rich tone to highlight part of the floor and around the door frames with a more subdued grey with white on the walls and the remainder of the floor, creates a striking but not overwhelming aesthetic. 

The marbles used are Fox Alexandrian White and Breccia Paradisea. The room uses 15m2 of Breccia Paradisea and 75m2 of Alexandrian White, both in 20mm thick slabs with a polished finish. 

The stone was installed by Bekim Derguti of Natural Stones Production. Bekim and his team took three weeks to complete the work.

Much of the room was bespoke. Cupboards and shelves were built by a local carpenter and the shower cubicle was also made to order.

The homeowners said afterwards: "We commissioned the extension with solid concrete foundations, so the weight of stone was never going to be a problem. The stone from Fox Marble worked well with the planned underfloor heating.

"It was really only the use of the marble as a material and the traditional combination of colours that echo early ideas of a hammam. But, just as it did for the Ottomans, it feels right for our bathroom. It is clean, luxurious and yet functional."