Tile and Stone Designs Influenced by Nature and History

October 21, 2012 by


Painted sundial on brick and flint Dial House, Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

As I pounded the pavement in London for The London Design Festival and the Modenus BlogTour, it was easy to think about hardscaping. My first weekend in the UK, while in in the Chilterns northwest of London, I saw the flint and brick walls that have defined much of the local architecture in that area. My good friend, designer Geoff Fisher, and his family took me to lunch and a tour of the lovely riverside town, Marlow on the Thames.


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Then, once back in London, I could not miss seeing tile and stone everywhere…near my hotel by the Tate Modern Museum…


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

a mosaic wall spotted while visiting the flower market on Columbia Road…


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Many venues using these glossy green tiles…


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Nature, Design, and Other Connections
The reason for my visit to London was to soak up the myriad designs and designers throughout the city participating in the London Design Festival. Lapicida, one of the BlogTour sponsors who made this trip possible, makes a very clear statement about the connection between nature and design, between old and new: “Nature does not differentiate between ‘new’ and ‘old.’ A block of limestone quarried yesterday could be over 180 million years old, anchoring even the most contemporary of homes to Earth’s genesis.”


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

I had the opportunity to visit the new Lapicida London showroom where I was taken aback by products infused with the company’s passion for stone–numerous vignette settings celebrating the amazing diversity of stone–limestone, marble, travertine, onyx, slate, sandstone, rock crystal and other semi-precious stones, including a museum-quality sink carved from a single piece of quartz, below. If you want to know the price, you can’t afford it–and neither can I.


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Lapicida’s products are influenced by history and so are their designs. Their collection of antique and reclaimed stone features ancient stone from from the streets and buildings of Bethlehem to antique 13th Century French Chateaux decked in terracotta tiles.


Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

This particular Lapicida range is broad but available in limited quantities for those purists requiring total authenticity and exclusivity. Modern stone tile, claims Lapicida, can not replicate the color or texture of antique and reclaimed stone–making a floor set in this stone one of the most eco friendly stone floors in the world. It’s not your Home Depot variety of tile.

Pattern and Design From Nature
I looked at this bamboo for a while. Photographed it, returned to gaze at it again. It took me a while to realize that it was made of stone. Yes, I did feel rather silly.

Then there was so much botanical-inspired pattern…

And who says one can’t dream about soaking in a bathtub carved from a single piece of stone? Nobody.


All of the above photos: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Although the showroom demonstrated through its incredible designed vignette settings how stone could be used both indoors and out, nothing compares to seeing it in its actual outdoor settings.

An Outdoor Lapicida Stone Tour


The four above photos courtesy of Lapicida.

Let the inspiration flow…

Urban Gardens would like to thank Lapicida for educating me about stone and tile, for its hospitality in London, and for their generous sponsorship of the Modenus London BlogTour which made possible my participation in this special design event and visit to the London Design Festival.

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