More than 200 turn up for The Marble & Granite Centre open days

Guests inspect the new Roma Imperiale quartzite being introduced by the Marble & Granite Centre during its open days this month (June).

The worst of the rain held off and more than 200 stone fabricators, architects and designers turned up for The Marble & Granite Centre's open days on 17 and 18 June. It was especially encouraging for Stephen Pike, the Managing Director of The Marble & Granite Centre, and his team to see so many young architects and designers among the visitors taking an interest in the variety of stone on show.

Products of the moment are quartzites, because people want products that look like marble but are more resilient. There were four new quartzites being introduced, all from Brazil: Toberlerone, Exuberant Brown, Rome Imperiale, and Copenhagen. All with that wow! factor that was equalled by another new product, Onyx Multicolour from Iran via Italy.

There was a definite Italian theme to the event, with Italian food and an ice cream cart to refresh the visitors, as well as the Italian Lapitec sintered stone that The Marble & Granite Centre supplies exclusively in the UK. There were two new finishes to be experienced: Lithos, a finely textured finish like sandstone, and Dune, a softly undulating smooth finish. Michele Ballarin from Lapitec in Italy supported his UK distributor and on the Saturday welcomed two new Lapitec Approved Fabricators, Alba Stone and Verona Marble. Sabrina Gerits, who runs the Lapitec training courses in Italy, was also there to congratulate her students.

Many people were fascinated to see the huge cube of granite encasing a garden that was the Antithesis of Sarcophagi by artist-lettercutters Martin Cook and Gary Breeze. It had come straight from Chelsea Flower Show, where it had been sponsored by The Marble & Granite Centre. It gained a Gold Medal and was voted Best Fresh Garden. Martin Cook was on hand to explain the concept to The Marble & Granite Centre's visitors (and you can see pictures of this and other gardens at Chelsea from page 16).

David Coster from Dry Treat attended to encourage visitors to use his company's products that are distributed by The Marble & Granite Centre to clean and protect the stone they use.