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.’