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Stone Stories: Mondrian in Stone

This house expertly marries sandstone, slate and white surfaces to form a sculptural composition reminiscent of the work of Bauhaus artist, Piet Mondrian. He is well known for his use of primary colors and empty cubes. Interlocking to form a beautiful painting, it was very advanced, given the art work is almost a hundred years old. The soul of the painting is felt in this house, but the primary colored paint is swapped with textural stone, glass and white geometry.

Kaufman Teakwood sandstone is counter-balanced with a dark tone slate in a rough finish, producing a natural harmony of wood veins and dark brown bark. The feel that the material combination produces is one of warmth. It takes away the hard edge of modernism which can be cold and unwelcoming at times.
The wood and bark color tones remind one of the country side, welcoming the home owner with its warm embrace. This was in stark contrast to the location of the house, which is just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of major city center and highway.

This house used the Kaufman material almost 20 years ago. We are so happy our stone has been part of this family home for close to two decades. Everytime I see the house I am filled with joy.

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Stone Stores: Problems

Kaufman teakwood sandstone was used by famed Architect Conrad Onglao to clad all the surfaces in this 23 year old modern Thai home.

To use the type of stone so extensively was unheard of at the time. This was the largest contract for this specific material until Rockwell began using it in their developments in the mid 2000.

This structure may look special now, but in reality, it was just a humble pump room for the swimming pool. Since the machinery could not be moved elsewhere, the problem was what to do with the awful looking box. Then a light bulb moment: How about, instead of a poor excuse, make it into a feature? With that change of mindset, something that was an eyesore became the impetus to create this beautiful structure.

Design, like in life means, that a problem can be turned into an opportunity to create. Without that ugly pump, the architect would not have been forced to turn an obstacle into this beautiful sandstone feature.

We should be thankful for our problems, and look at each one we are faced with as an opportunity to innovate.

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Stone Stories: Let me show you the stone way.

Architect Ed Calma has a certain quality that makes his work identifiable. I do not mean that he is repetitive. His lines and forms come together in a way that has his signature, just like with masters like Manansala, whose paint strokes capture the unique essence of the artist. There is a certain quality in a Calma that is unmistakable.

This Kaufman Teakwood sandstone wall used on this mid 2000 villa in Pasig does not look like any other work Calma has created. His other works are normally white, gray or brown. Wood elements would be the extent of color used in the majority of his works.

Wood is actually a material Calma loves. He has used it in his own home, and in homes in Forbes, Dasma and many other high-end villages around the Philippines. But just like all other architects, after experiencing first hand the difficulty of maintaining wood, and the typical customer’s personality who loathe paying for its maintenance, he began exploring other materials that could give that visual warmth he is looking for use on his exteriors. Kaufman teakwood sandstone is one of those solutions.

Sandstone, which is normally the realm of Asian style architecture is reinterpreted by Calma as a modernistic feature wall which shows the materials’ flexibility. This material will surely develop a patina, which is part of the aging process a home will go through. The signs of wear on the material is like a story book of the family that lived in it. It becomes intertwined with the your life story.

When you see million dollar homes with mismatched porcelain tile cladding, and white water mark drips, the feeling is different. The house seems to have no life, and seems cold when those fake wood or stone tiles just never seem to age. It is like plastic. Natural material is imperfect. It has variation, and that is what makes it beautiful.

I realize my essays may hurt some readers, but I am just being honest in expressing my opinion that stone gives life to a project that no tile can. It might cost more, but think of it as an investment. I am offered tiles non-stop on a daily basis by suppliers from Italy, Spain and China. I choose not to consider them, no matter how much money I make or do not make as a result of this decision. I know you love stone, and all things natural. Let me show you the stone way.

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