Set in stone

The Arteco showroom.

THERE is a growing trend to use natural stone crystal quartz and quartzite in the interiors industry where these finishing materials are finding increasingly diverse and aesthetic applications in addition to their traditional use as flooring, says Arteco Ceramics, one of the leading UAE-based suppliers of high-quality interior products and building materials.

The demand for quality building materials is increasing in line with the growth in the country’s construction sector, which has been calculated as having a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.5 per cent from 2012 to 2016 with 2013 estimates indicating that the industry is worth approximately $41 billion, according to Mohamed El Shamy, director of Arteco Ceramics.

Arteco Ceramics is the exclusive supplier in the UAE market for the increasingly popular semi-precious natural stone materials, crystal quartz and quartzite. Its product portfolio includes ceramics, mosaics, porcelain, semi-precious natural stone materials and clay roofing tiles.

 El Shamy ... quality focus.

El Shamy ... quality focus.

Commenting on the growth of the construction industry and the potential for crystal quartz, El Shamy states: “As the construction industry enters another growth period, the demand for quality building materials is also increasing. Another advantage is that with the growing popularity of crystal quartz in the market, these materials are being used in increasingly diverse applications as individuals look to enhance their interior décor through wall applications and furniture, in addition to the more traditional use of these materials in flooring.”

While tiles for wall applications are considered to be the most rapidly growing segment calculated as having a CAGR of eight per cent from 2012-2018, crystal quartz is most often used for wall applications and countertops due to the ease of cleaning and its resistance to scratching and staining.

Probably the most interesting aspect of crystal quartz is its ability to reflect light, and El Shamy indicates that one of the reasons for the growing popularity of crystal quartz is its ability to enhance wall décor as it can also be backlit, allowing for greater interior design effects. “There are actually many ways that crystal quartz can be installed to be a central feature in the home or office; backlighting creates a very nice effect and we are currently noticing this trend in the UAE market. It is also gaining ground as furniture in its use for table tops, counter tops, and even sofas,” he adds.

Bathroom tiles at a villa in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai.

Bathroom tiles at a villa in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai.

Crystal quartz tiles come in many different shades and colours including botanical greens, earthy browns, blue, and reflective white. Arteco’s crystal quartz is sourced from Brazil, which is one of the main resources of this natural stone material.

Arteco was established in 2008 in Abu Dhabi as a commercial supplier of high-quality building materials. Carrying some of the world’s finest sanitary ware, ceramics, mosaics, semi-precious natural stone materials and roofing tiles, it offers the industry more than 70 different brands and styles of tapware, basins, toilets, bidets, and designer ceramics. It has a widespread distribution network covering the UAE, GCC, Middle East, Africa and CIS and has a warehouse stock of popular selections.

The company recently opened its 500-sq-m showroom in Dubai, designed by internationally-renowned interior designer Bruno Guélaff.

Arteco has an inspiring collection of ceramic, porcelain, and mosaic tiles ranging from classical to modern and holds exclusive regional distribution rights to world-class manufacturers. The majority of its products are sourced from established and emerging markets that include Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil and Latin America, China, and Southeast Asia.

Arteco’s diverse range is designed to meet the lifestyle and budgetary requirements of its customers. The company is positioned as a one-stop shop that also provides complimentary in-house interior design consultation and a workspace service for its professional clientele.

Repton School in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai ... 35,000 sq m of tiling from Arteco.

Repton School in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai ... 35,000 sq m of tiling from Arteco.

“A professional fit-out team of skilled craftsmen with specific knowledge of Arteco products can be assigned to complete the entire bathroom or home revamp, providing industry-leading installation services,” he says.

“For our architectural, interior and contracting professional clientele, Arteco has a workstation service, enabling them to carry out a comprehensive product orientation so they can make well-informed decisions on their projects requirements, while adhering to cost and delivery timelines.”

Arteco has been associated with a number of projects – both residential and commercial. The company recently provided tiles and flooring to a two-storey seven-bedroom villa in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, where it provided approximately 885 sq m of tiles – including bathroom tiles in addition to flooring for other areas of the villa. Some of Arteco’s best-selling items were used for this project including Cosmic Marfil wall tile from Saloni and mosaics from Peronda.

Arteco also provided tiles for an American restaurant franchise’s four outlets across the UAE, and is also associated with the franchise’s other outlets currently under development.

Crystal quartz table and counter tops (right).

Crystal quartz table and counter tops (right).

“As it is a franchise, they sought an exact match of the flooring of their existing outlets,” he says.

Arteco was able to provide them with a 45 by 90 cm glazed porcelain tile from Spain that matched the franchise’s original specification.

“Another criterion was that the material had to bear high traffic, so this particular choice was the right solution due to its high durability. To date, Arteco has provided 130 sq m of tiles and this statistic is continuously growing as we continue to supply the new openings.”

Another project the company has been associated with is the Repton School in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai. Describing the project, El Shamy says the Repton School, which sits within a 121,000-sq-m campus is housed in a Victorian-style building – the first of its kind in Dubai, and features a pitched roof at 120 degrees. This type of roof needed a special type of fixing, which was provided by the Art Fix team – the installation arm of Arteco Ceramics.

Arteco provided materials for the full project including a total of 35,000 sq m of interior and exterior tiling, with the roof tiling for the school alone totalling 25,000 sq m.

“Further considerations were to ensure that all items had properties that suited this school environment such as anti-slip attributes, durability due to the intense foot traffic of school children – and while possessing these qualities all the items had to match the unique look and feel of the school,” he concludes.