stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Digging into a man-made stone with intriguing possibilities
space
Dekton, manufactured in Spain, has impressive potential as an exterior cladding in Canada's difficult climate
space
By DAVE LEBLANC
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Friday, June 21, 2019 – Page H6

Even before I knew the actual size of this place, I could sense it: At least two of Toronto's massive Hearn Generating Stations could fit inside here.

Turns out, at more than 1.5 million cubic metres, there'd actually be room to spare inside Cosentino's Dekton factory, since the 1951 Hearn - that hulking brick behemoth that was decommissioned in 1983 - occupies a measly 650,000 cubic metres.

While size doesn't always matter, it does here, near the sunbaked, landlocked town of Macael, which nestles into the dusty mountains of the Almeria province of southern Spain and is known the world over for its creamy-white, grey-veined marble. It's here that Cosentino Group, a family-owned company, has been pumping out slabs of its man-made stone since 2013, right alongside their better-known product, Silestone, developed in 1990 and released in Canada in 1998.

It's here, too, that I find myself, a Formica/Arborite aficionado, feeling pangs of guilt as I ogle the enormous, 175-metre-long oven that bakes these mineral-rich Dekton slabs and consider that this 40-year-old company might actually be onto something, and not just because its size allowed it to weather the economic crisis of 2008, when 120 quarries in this area were cruelly whittled down to about 15.

Many of the quarries didn't survive, says our Netherlands-born tour guide, Cosentino's Jan Schuitemaker, because they didn't have a diverse enough product line or had too few tentacles into other countries. That had been obvious as our bus trundled, pretty much alone, up winding switchbacks, through massive fields of tomato- and cucumbergreenhouses, and past the stark, desert landscapes where Sergio Leone filmed "spaghetti westerns" such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

"There were trucks going up and down these roads ... about 8,000 people lived and worked in the marble industry," he said. "Today, it's completely different."

While Cosentino staff were kind enough to show our little Canadian press group their quarry earlier that day - they still move mountains to get at that elusive Macael marble just as the Phoenicians did thousands of years ago - natural stone makes up a meagre 1 per cent of its sales and only 15 per cent of what's excavated is good enough to become marketable slabs (the rest is ground up to become additives in aspirin, toothpaste, paint or paper).

And since I've never been a fan of natural marble or granite for countertops, more interesting to me are the slabs Cosentino manufactures using quartz particles and resin - Silestone can look like anything from terrazzo to marble to soapstone - and the resin-less Dekton, made using a secret witches' brew of powdered minerals forced together at 25,000 tons and then baked in a 1,200-degree oven.

"Basically, if you look at the crust of the Earth, how granite is made, by pressure and cooking over millions of years, Dekton is basically the same," Mr. Schuitemaker says, "but we decide which minerals go in."

This process means that it's the perfect material to weather Canada's extremes of humid summers and desert-dry cold as an exterior building façade - and interesting façade options appeal to me a great deal, especially when they come in a rainbow of choices and different widths. In fact, just outside the Cosentino showroom in Madrid, I saw an example of a "fish scale" application of Dekton on the Gunni & Trentino building (a furniture and interiors retailer) that I found quite striking. And, although I've only see it in photographs, the closer-to-home Vancouver General Hospital (Leon Judah Blackmore Pavilion) shows a handsome, trim façade.

Since I've yet to see a Toronto example, I conducted a straw poll with a few of my favourite local architects - Janna Levitt of LGA, Adam Thom of Agathom, Tania Bortolotto of Bortolotto, Jodi Batay-Csorba of BCA, Christine Lolley of Solares and Paul Dowsett of Sustainable - to get some local opinion about man-made stone and its use as an exterior cladding in Canada.

My quiz didn't start well. When asked to choose which was most familiar from a list containing the trade names "Caesarstone," "Silestone" and "Dekton," everyone but Ms. Batay-Csorba chose Caesarstone (neither Caesarstone or Silestone can be used outdoors); in fact, two respondents noted that they'd never heard of Dekton. So, did anyone know about Dekton's use as exterior cladding?

Only Ms. Batay-Csorba, Ms. Levitt and Ms. Bortolotto; Ms. Levitt asked: "Does it need to be laminated onto a substrate?" (No, it can hang on a frame and Cosentino will predrill the panels for you.)

Perhaps that's because Dekton was developed as a worktop surface, Cosentino president and founder, Francisco (Paco) Martinez-Cosentino said through a translator: "It would protect against the rays of the sun and also against heat ... and we could achieve colours that Cosentino has enjoyed in the showroom," he told me. "It was a group of architects that came in one day and they fell in love with the product and that's when they realized it's a great product ... for architects and designers."

That's evident in the recent application of the material to clad the sexy and exclusive 1976 Cap Ferrat apartment building on Rio de Janiero's Ipanema beach. According to stonespecialist.com, "Dekton's high resistance to UV rays, stains and thermal shock were all determining factors." Architect Juan Carlos Di Filippo said it was "definitely the right surface solution."

So would architects in Toronto consider it as a solution? Four of my six respondents answered "yes," while one said "probably not"; Mr. Thom said he'd "need to be reassured by an example in Canada."

I hope this review serves as reassurance. As our climate becomes increasingly unpredictable, we need to explore alternatives to all-glass façades and the ubiquitous fibre-cement panel.

The author's trip to Cosentino headquarters in Spain was paid for by Cosentino Group. It did not approve or review this article.

Associated Graphic

Dekton is a man-made stone that can be used in building exteriors and has the ability to handle Canada's extremes of humid summers and desert-dry cold winters.

Cosentino's quarry town of Macael, Spain, is known the world over for its creamy-white, grey-veined marble.

DAVE LEBLANC/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Dekton was used for the exterior façade of Vancouver General Hospital's Leon Judah Blackmore Pavilion.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Eric_Reguly Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolios pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page