Natural Stone Show – “Hard surfaces” or stonemasonry exhibition in London
The year 2019 was a little bit different than the previous years. The very title of the exhibition, “Hard surfaces”, suggests that it was focused on continuously flat surfaces. To be honest, I went to this exposition with fears that nothing would surprise me, but the opposite was true.
Apart from building material testing laboratories, schools offering daily and postgraduate education to obtain the relevant skills and certificate in tiling or paving, companies producing very successful ceramic imitations of large-format stone slabs, manufacturers of elevated grate systems for paving, and manufacturers of stone anchors and entire tiles anchor systems were presented here.
Paving, tiling and coverings
I was pleasantly surprised at a stand, which offered paving and cladding made of burnt clay completed with profiled blocks. There were also a few companies with roofing made of the famous Welsh slate, but also of Argentine phyllite. Even the dilatation of the area also had its representative here. It was a company supplying an incredible range of corner protection strips of various colour shades, profiles, anti-slip strips and the above-mentioned expansion strips, even with lighting.
It wasn’t really hard to come across strapping tiles, paving blocks and different types of mosaics. Regarding cutting machines, it was Italian companies that dominated here. NC saws of all sizes and water jet cutting is no longer a surprise for anyone, but the NC saw supplemented by water jet cutting was a novelty for me. With this combination, any hole in the middle of the board can be cut out, and any unfinished cut from the blade is completed with a water jet.
Handling equipment, surface cleaning and maintenance
To facilitate the heavy assembly work, an infinite number of manual handling equipment, powered by electric current or compressed air, was on display at the exposition. The range of electric hand tools was dominated by Italian manufacturers, but the diamond accessories for these electric hand tools were dominated by products of Chinese companies. Manufacturers of chemical cleaning and preservatives and manufacturers of cleaning machinery could not be missing. Various floor polishers and water vacuum cleaners were on every corner, but the blast installations for cleaning the exterior facades was represented by only two companies.
Presentation of design centres and studios was a real surprise. They were at the London exhibition for the first time and mostly showed works with glass intended for vertical surfaces. It was not about covering a large and continuous area, but rather supplementing it with a glass relief. Recycling of bottled glass into thick-walled large-format glass plates of various colours and translucency, intended mainly for the interior of hotels, restaurants and public buildings is the production programme of the German company “MAGNA Glaskeramic”.
My favourites in the exposition
The first was the German company “Schluter System”, offering complete bathroom and kitchen solutions. The complete solution includes the initial design through the supply of insulation against moisture, underfloor heating, fasteners, 96 types of tiles to choose from (stone, ceramics) and all its accessories with possible service. Their stand was really at a very high level and everyone who stepped into it was immediately clear what the company offers. The second favourite was the Armenian company “AMstone stonebrick”, offering volcanic tuff products in the form of tiles or in the form of building blocks with maximum dimensions of 100×10 cm of any thickness in five shades (black, brown, red, beige, tabacco). Designed for indoor and outdoor purposes. Very light material, pleasant to the eye and touch with a high thermal insulation coefficient.