When a showroom displays cut stones, it should avoid placing them in the obvious places… Therefore we shall not tile floors and we shall not clad external walls... Seeking to produce a remarkable environment for natural stones to be exhibited, GAF&CO transform their showroom into a museum-like environment.
The project consists of the unexpected 'resurrection' of an old abandoned concrete relic, otherwise very finely composed of two distinct opaque cubical volumes (now simply rendered white) that connect via an extended horizontal gallery space. The western volume adjacent to the open air boulder storage is the stone cutting factory and the eastern volume the large cut and polished slabs display. In the middle, two floors of showrooms and offices fully transparent at their inner skin hide behind horizontal carrara marble louvers that smoothly diffuse the southern light that floods the spaces all through the day.
Internally, and in order to reinforce the presence and singularities of the stone textures, concrete floors and ceilings with white walls compose a neutral backdrop where museum-like oversized white 'blocks' serve as pedestals for samples or sculpted pieces. On the glass facade, suspended slabs make stone float while some internal wall cladding display cutting-edge 3D milling techniques.
In the offices, the transparency towards the panorama of the town nearby and the sea beyond is only striated by the relentless louvered pattern that provides the proper and unexpected shade.
Project Status: Built.
Designed by Karim Nader and BLANKPAGE Architects.
Photography by Marwan Harmouche.