A Dutch living space invites visitors to imagine Neolith products in their own homes

Hoofddorp, Netherlands – A first encounter with the Neolith range of materials sent Amal Babay of Stone & Skills off on a genuine voyage of discovery. ‘About three years ago, we were browsing a store specializing in natural stone when we came across a Neolith surface,’ she said. The wide variety of colours, patterns, finishes and formats on display was so intriguing that the Stone & Skills team soon headed to Valencia, Spain, home of Neolith manufacturers TheSize.

There they learned that Neolith is created through a proprietary sinterization process, which exposes minerals and other raw materials to extremely high pressure and temperatures over 1200℃. Effectively, it mimics the formation of natural stone, a process that normally takes thousands of years. The resulting Neolith (the name signifies ‘new stone’) material is highly durable, hygienic and versatile – especially given its availability in an extensive array of finishes. Unusually large-scale slab and tile formats, along with thicknesses ranging from 20 mm to a featherlight three mm, add to Neolith’s adaptability and appeal.

‘Once we’d had a guided tour of the factory in Castellón and understood how special Neolith is, we were determined to work with it,’ said Babay. ‘The available thicknesses and sizes, plus the variety of finishes and high quality on display in the brand’s showroom, revealed material properties that we just hadn’t come across before.’

It’s one thing to see Neolith products in a store and quite another to see them applied

Returning to the Netherlands, minds brimming with ideas, the Stone & Skills team reflected on the lively presentation of products at Neolith’s Valencia showroom. ‘We wanted our clients to have the same kind of Neolith experience that we’d enjoyed,’ said Babay. ‘As with any building material, it’s one thing to see the slabs in a store and quite another to see them applied. Actually standing in a kitchen or bathroom finished in Neolith provides essential context. So we decided to design a show house in which the customer can discover Neolith in a domestic environment.’

The fully functioning show house materialized in a modern home in Hoofddorp, where Stone & Skills is based. The 120-sq-m space yielded plenty of possibilities, which the designers were keen to take advantage of. ‘We wanted to use the whole collection of colours, patterns, finishes, thicknesses and formats to show the many different things you can do with Neolith,’ said Babay. ‘We used it for everything in the show house: floors, walls, fireplaces, bathroom, dining tables – even a clock.’

The diverse applications mix several material patterns, including wood (from the La Bohème line), metal (Iron Grey, Iron Moss and Iron Corten), concrete (Beton and Concrete Taupe) and marble (Pulpis Silk). Broad unbroken expanses on walls and floors make the most of Neolith’s large-format options, while furnishings and detailing make full use of the choices of colour and pattern on offer. In playfully mingling these, the designers were inspired by the techniques of Fauvism, with its careful balancing of strong, complementary colours.

There’s a trend towards natural materials in general

Babay believes the show house coincides with a clear rise in the number of clients choosing Neolith: ‘There’s a definite trend. Customers want Neolith because of its unique properties: it’s a 100 per cent natural product with all the benefits and none of the shortcomings of regular stone. Clients are also attracted to Neolith because it has the natural, classic look of stone.’ She noted that there’s a trend towards natural materials in general. ‘We’re seeing a mix of several organic materials, like wood, stone and steel,’ she said. ‘Neolith harmonizes with all of them because of the numerous visual choices it offers.’

For designers, Babay explains that the biggest advantages of Neolith are the huge dimensions and thicknesses as thin as three cm. ‘You can create seamless surfaces with Neolith,’ she said. Furthermore, the range in finishes and colours is an enormous plus, as it allows for a perfect match between the material and its setting. ‘My personal favourites are the Iron colours,’ she added. ‘I love their rusty, warm look, which is perfect for a cold country like the Netherlands.’

'We are proudest of the looks of amazement on our clients' faces when they step inside,' Babay expressed. 'In fact, one of our clients has already opted for a complete replica of the show house, using the different colours of Neolith.’

The Stone & Skills show house is a reflection of a wider trend that sees brands and companies rejecting the traditional showroom model in favour of curated spaces that resemble real homes and apartments. By doing so, they can present the full potential of their collections in a domestic environment while encouraging visitors to imagine products in the context of their own lives.

neolith.com

Location Nijverheidsstraat 21E, 2132 AZ Hoofddorp

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