Neolith® specified by globally renowned architect for residential and commercial complex in Frankfurt

Flare of Frankfurt clad in Neolith® Arctic White Silk

Hadi Teherani is one of the most familiar and respected names in contemporary German architecture and design. His characteristic approach to the medium communicates atmospheric charisma, emotional urgency and an acute awareness of social responsibility and sustainability. All these attributes reflect Teherani’s desire to establish a positive dialogue between his buildings and their surrounding environment.

As the architect behind Cologne’s globally celebrated Kranhaus, Teherani has a well-deserved reputation for designing audacious structures which fast become landmarks. Always looking to challenge perceptions and expectations, his latest building, a high-end residential and commercial complex named Flare of Frankfurt, is a physical distillation of his aesthetic philosophy.

Flare of Frankfurt clad in Neolith® Arctic White Silk

An Appetite for Luxury
Last year, Frankfurt am Main scored one of the highest ratings in estate agency Knight Frank’s benchmark, Prime Global Cities Index. This report highlights the performance of luxury residential prices across the world, with the major business hub recognised as one of the fastest growing areas for luxury property.

Teherani is no stranger to this market, having designed many now iconic residential apartments across the globe. Furthermore, he approached the project with a deep understanding of Frankfurt, especially its urban layout and culture.

In the city’s densely populated centre, where space is at a premium, Teherani had to work intelligently to maximise on the client’s (Strabag Estates) ambitious brief for an achingly cool, ultra-modern combination of hotel, apartments and commercial space in a single complex.

Flare of Frankfurt clad in Neolith® Arctic White Silk

An Original Character
From the outset, the design concept for Flare of Frankfurt had to strike a fine balance between a robust, durable structure and visual appeal. Importantly it also had to relate and respond to the surrounding buildings, yet be individual enough to stand out from the crowd.

The client was very clear they wanted a building with original exterior design elements to create an eye-catching aesthetic statement. This meant adopting an unusual and alternative approach to Flare’s cladding, dispensing with the standard, flat panels which typify many multi-storey buildings.

Teherani applied his signature, holistic approach to façade design with a desire to create something both functional and emotionally appealing.

After drafting a number of different concepts, the architect eventually decided on an angular, three-dimensional design for the façade panels. This would give the building singular points of visual interest, but also complement the area around it.

Crucially, the unconventional and striking structure of the exterior would also serve a practical purpose, with exaggerated overhangs further sheltering individual apartments from the elements.

Flare of Frankfurt clad in Neolith® Arctic White Silk

Materials Matter
As has been noted by the media on many occasions, Teherani is fascinated by new materials, recognising their potential for greater creative freedom and flexibility than traditional building products.

For Flare of Frankfurt, he was particularly interested in the properties of Sintered Stone and its suitability for the urban environment. With high levels of resistance to staining and pollution, combined with being both lightweight and waterproof, it was ideal for handling the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

From a style perspective, the architect opted for an understated palette, allowing the façade’s raised geometric shapes to stand out without becoming loud and overbearing.

Neolith®’s Arctic White Silk was specified after many options were considered. Teherani felt offered greater scope than any of its competitors.

Furthermore, Germany has a number of strict building codes and regulations which needed to be taken into account. Neolith met all these criteria.

Flare of Frankfurt clad in Neolith® Arctic White Silk

Expert Application
Approximately 6000m2 of Neolith slabs were used, cut to size according to the blueprint specifications.

The 6mm thick surface was applied by curtain wall specialists Lithodecor using a sandwich construction.

According to Lithodecor’s Head of Product Management, Philipp Wirtz, who worked directly with Teherani to bring his complex ideas for the façade to life, the project was not without its challenges.

He explains, “The high-end façades market is growing rapidly across Europe, with many more developers looking for tailored and bespoke solutions. Flare of Frankfurt is a stand-out example of this trend. It represented a very good test of our skills and abilities. One thing that struck me was the manufacturing of the panels, subsequent transportation to the site and their physical application.”

He continues, “This project required a high level of prefabrication due to the specification of the panels we were working with, these were storey sized (3.10m x 11.50m). As such you can imagine the care we had to take to transport them through Frankfurt’s busy streets without damaging them. Once there we literally hooked these onto supporting steel beams, a process requiring a high degree of precision, using our own proprietary technique, Lithodecor Airtech System.

“As you can see from the finished structure, we were able to overcome these difficulties to deliver a building with real character. A fantastic addition to Frankfurt’s diverse architecture.”

He concludes, “In terms of Neolith, there’s little competition when working on this type of façade project. It outperforms on all levels and in my opinion, the building will look as good in ten years as it does now.”

To find out more about Neolith visit:



Neolith Specified For Two Exciting Uk Residential Renovation Projects, Broadcast On National Television

Neolith®, a market leading brand of Sintered Stone, was recently specified for two very special projects as part of the latest UK primetime TV series, ‘George Clarke’s Old House, New Home’, broadcast on Channel 4.

‘Old House, New Home’ is a series in which celebrity architect George Clarke transforms tired and tatty properties into achingly cool dwellings which seamlessly blend the old with the new, balancing nostalgia and modernity.

The material was specifically chosen to create two eye-catching kitchen islands for a Victorian terrace in Hove, East Sussex and an Arts & Crafts mansion in Moseley, Birmingham.

Game, Set and Book-Match…

‘George Clarke’s Old House, New Home’, Hove, Sussex, UK

Hove, East Sussex (UK) is a seaside town popular with young professionals and commuters to nearby Brighton and London. Once a small fishing village on the South Coast, it developed rapidly in the 19th century, becoming a comfortable, middle class residential area.

Alex and Andrea were living in a Victorian four bedroom house, perfect for a growing family. However, as is often the case with these period properties, the kitchen was small and cramped, squeezed into the back of the building.

With a new-born baby, they felt that while there was plenty of area upstairs, they needed to expand the living space to accommodate for the necessities of family life. Focus was placed on extending the kitchen-diner.

‘George Clarke’s Old House, New Home’, Hove, Sussex, UK

The original inspiration for the design was a fusion of deconstructed Victoriana and a clean modern aesthetic. This would be achieved with an open plan, extending the full width of the ground floor rear into the garden. Unfortunately, planning restrictions meant that this initial concept needed to be revised to keep in line with the period look and feel of the area.

Compromise often leads to creativity, and this is nowhere truer than in architecture and design. Having to scale back plans for their kitchen extension really focused the minds of Alex and Andrea, ultimately giving birth to a more ambitious vision for the space.

An oversized island became the core feature of the kitchen with a matching worktop and splashback. Neolith’s Estatuario E01, a faithful interpretation of the marble of the same name, was chosen by the designers in 12mm thickness, with a silk finish. The couple also requested that slabs be book-matched to ensure a seamless spill-over from the worktop to the cladding.

Careful and intuitive fabrication and installation established the island as a focal point in the kitchen without dominating it. The subtle marble effect running throughout created a crisp, elegant feel.

Other beautifully crafted details combined to create a warm and welcoming space, including hand-crafted parquet floors and exposed brick walls, which offered a perfect contrast to the Neolith surfaces.

This is an elegant, yet playful interior which will stand the test of time and serve purpose as a practical home for the new family of three.

When only the highest quality will do…

‘George Clarke’s Old House, New Home’, Moseley, Birmingham, UK

Arts & Crafts is a distinctly British style which has come back into fashion after years in the design wilderness. Following the new wave of designers who eschewed its whimsical blend of medieval and romantic designs following WWII, the gabled architecture was broadly regarded as passé. However, this idiosyncratic style is now finding a new audience.

Moseley, Birmingham (UK) is a suburb which developed in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Populated by the city’s business elite, the area and its large, distinctive Arts & Crafts houses gradually fell out of fashion. As economic fortunes declined during the mid-20th century, prosperous industrialists made way for shrewd property developers, who carved these large buildings into apartments.

It was one of these houses which Gill, a TV editor, and her partner Paul decided to transform into their dream property. Previously owned by Gill’s father, the property had been carved into nine separate flats. She was looking to return the space to its former grandeur as a two-storey Arts & Crafts home with a modern twist.

The complex plan included an L-shaped extension on the ground floor, and the intention to knock through pre-existing partition walls, to create a spacious kitchen and living space. There was plenty of work to be done, including overhauling a number of the dated 1970’s design choices, including carpeted walls.

From a design perspective, it was primarily about harnessing the ethos of William Morris, Edward Voysey and Edwin Lutyens, pioneers of the Arts & Crafts movement. This meant colour, texture and the use of really high-quality material.

The project was not without its challenges, but Gill and Paul were able to overcome these with plenty of ingenuity and a little help from George. The finished house is a fine example of exquisite craftsmanship, a particular highlight is the kitchen/living space.

Flooded with natural light, the cooking space embodies the sensibilities of Arts & Crafts. Starting with the polished concrete floors and working through the floor to ceiling cabinets and low-level units, a simple, laid-back theme was achieved.

The pièce de résistance is a striking, metallic-style kitchen island. For the island top and other worktops, Neolith’s Iron Moss Silk was specified, consistent with the overall vision to specify the very best, high-quality materials. The surface brings the whole space together, complementing the quasi-industrial fixtures and fittings used throughout.

To watch the full episodes, visit:

To find out more about Neolith visit:



Neolith® taps into 2019 furniture trends
Aside from delivering an essential function, furniture can have a significant impact on the look and feel of an interior. In both residential and commercial settings the overall atmosphere of a room is, in part, dictated by what occupies it.

From cosy, intimate lounges to light, open-plan atriums, the furniture chosen creates a lasting first impression of a space.

Whatever the backdrop, there are myriad furnishing options available from the big, eye-catching statement to the subtle finishing touch.

Furniture trends are constantly evolving, in line with wider interior design tastes and preferences. Particularly, the choice of materials available for application is greater than ever before. This is inspiring furniture designers to create imaginative new concepts or add modern twists to classic motifs.

Neolith® has been a regular presence at design festivals across the world, keeping a sharp lookout for the latest trends which are influencing manufacturing and buying decisions.

Here are a few they believe will dominate the market in 2019:

Pump up the volume
Where grey tones have dominated in 2017/2018, a gradual return to more vibrant palettes has been observed. Brighter hues are being specified and a renewed appreciation for Nathalie Du Pasquier and the iconic Memphis School is encouraging furniture designers to be bolder and more adventurous. Big splashes of base colour and high-volume tones are delivering punchy and distinctive interiors perfect for the ultra-modern dwelling.

Knock on wood
The organic look and feel of unpolished wood has timeless appeal and, with the steadily increasing desire for Scandinavian chic over the last few years, has become highly sought after. In contemporary kitchens, it can be combined with contrasting materials, such as Beton or Corten, offering a captivating juxtaposition of the natural and industrial.

Neolith La Bohème

Dramatic effects
Intimate interiors, full of dark hues and moody tones, are witnessing a revival as designers rediscover the attraction of the cosy parlours and boudoirs of fin de siècle Paris. Varnished browns, lacquered blacks, vermillion reds and deep purples are increasingly being specified for furniture surfaces and upholstery. When emphasised with pools of warm lighting, casting sultry shadows across a room, these shades evoke a refined environment perfect for relaxation.

Neolith Calacatta Gold

Mixed materials
Creating contrast is nothing new in design terms, but scope and ambition have become greater as the amount of available colours, patterns and finishes have increased. New technology is driving this change. A greater degree of mimicry in engineered and Sintered Stone means hyper-realism in design with high performance properties. This presents the opportunity to incorporate long-lasting surfaces in any settings to please all aesthetic tastes and preferences.

Can’t beat concrete
1950’s sensibilities are firing the imagination of furniture designers, from early Conran and Robin Day right through to the brutalist architecture of Le Corbusier and Denys Lasdun. Polished concrete evokes a minimalist aesthetic and is growing in popularity for kitchen islands, worktops and dining room tables. Rapturously smooth to the touch, stone manufacturers are starting to play on the matte, single tone effect. This ranges from experimentation with the finish through to adding shine particles to create a slab with a remarkable character. Combined with wood, concrete effect surfaces deliver a fashionable atelier-chic, much prized in metropolitan areas across Europe.

Commenting on these emerging trends, Carlos Garcia, Neolith’s head designer says: “Each year, when we come to develop the designs for our new surfaces, I am amazed at how much the interior design market has changed over a mere 12 months. Of course, there are some consistencies. Terrazzo and the Scandinavian look are set to stay with us a good while longer. However, I am encouraged to see furniture designers being more adventurous in the materials they are using, especially Sintered Stone.”

Neolith Calacatta

He continues: “Stone, wood, metal, textile and plastic all have their own distinct, visual appeal. Now it’s possible to deftly capture these in a hyper-realistic manner on Sintered Stone. This offers manufacturers the ability to create robust, long-lasting pieces of furniture which look beautiful and will never go out of style.”

To find out more about Neolith furniture visit:



 The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick is one of the biggest campus libraries in Ireland and one of the most digitally advanced in the world. The €30m project includes a 7,600sqm extension and new facilities that offer students advanced computing, collaboration and communication spaces. Acoustic ceilings from Rockfon® are fitted throughout and play a pivotal role in helping the university realise its vision.

Meeting the brief

RKD Architects designed the library with a sequence of open-plan, flexible, naturally-lit areas allowing for multiple uses, from quiet reading and study to more collaborative activities. Our Rockfon Eclipse® islands are ideal for these flexible spaces, producing innovative ceiling designs that work in harmony with the library’s contemporary interior. We’re very proud to have worked with RKD Architects and congratulate them on winning Public Sector Fit Out Project of the Year at this year’s Fit Out Awards in Ireland.

Acoustic solutions

Produced from 40mm thick stone wool, each island has two smooth surfaces which absorb sound helping create an environment where speech can be heard clearly in busy areas and, protecting neighbouring quiet spaces from intrusive noise. The acoustics in the library were a fundamental part of the design. We offer a cost-effective solution that meets the specification thanks to the products’ highest Class A sound absorption and safest Class A1 fire protection.

Distinctive designs

Rockfon Eclipse islands are available in square, circle, rectangle, and custom design shapes. Hung from thin wires, they appear to float, adding a distinctive look to any interior. They can be positioned in any arrangement, at any height, fixed to the ceiling and at different angles. A white finish was chosen for the ceiling islands in the library. The Eclipse ceiling islands can also be specified in many colours using the Natural Colour system. To make sure the colour is spot on, we’ll send a sample swatch for approval prior to production.

Munster’s new purpose-built Rugby High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick is situated next to The Glucksman Library and is also fitted with Rockfon Eclipse islands. Here the islands provide excellent sound control in the circulation areas and break-out spaces.

Comfortable lighting

Made to bespoke sizes specifically for Glucksman, Chicago Metallic™ Infinity® framed ceiling islands installed with Rockfon Blanka® E ceiling tiles help create a modern design for the library’s conference rooms. Rockfon Blanka has a smooth, deep matt, super white surface with high light reflection and light diffusion to create a bright and comfortable environment that helps meet the university’s brief for well-lit spaces. The islands are constructed to provide high sound absorption and sound insulation, ensuring conversations inside the rooms remain private and undisturbed by external noise.

Installation success

Hyland Ceilings’ Managing Director, Mark Hyland is very pleased with how the installation went. “We found the Rockfon ceilings and Chicago Metallic suspension grids very easy to work with. The grids just clicked into place and attached to the tiles without effort. The ceilings look excellent, and the client is very pleased. We are now working with Rockfon on a new project and we’re happy to do so.”

SIG in Dublin supplied our products for both projects at the university. SIG has branches across Ireland and stocks a large range of our acoustic ceilings and wall panels.


Rockfon Sales Manager for Ireland Kevin Clancy is thrilled with the finished results at The Glucksman Library and Munster Rugby High Performance Centre, “it is great to be working on such innovative projects in Ireland where our acoustic solutions really do come to the fore.”

Rockfon acoustic ceiling solutions are designed to offer unrivalled benefits. All our products are manufactured from stone wool which offers excellent performance in terms of fire safety (A1) and 100% humidity resistance. Stone wool is non-combustible, structurally stable and offers easy maintenance and longevity. To find out how we can assist with your project, visit



New SLABS modular range of technologically advanced large format wall and floor tiles by Apavisa, exclusively available at Versatile Bathrooms, Tiles & Stone, presents a choice of stylish solutions for any commercial or residential project. SLABS are available in size from 120cm x 260cm right down to 30cm x 60cm. The large format tiles are specially tailored to suit every room from bathrooms to bedrooms, living rooms to office spaces, resulting in a more seamless design aesthetic. SLABS are even suitable for wet room applications, with the anti-slip structured matte finish +36 PTV. SLABS Tattoo collection offers a unique, modern finish with a choice of Oxidum Décor, White Natural and Black Natural colour options sure to create an impact in any space. SLABS are sustainably produced and available at reduced lead-times to meet your project schedule.

For samples and further information, please contact
Versatile at +353 (0)46 902 9444 |



Neolith®, a market-leading brand of Sintered Stone, announces four new colours for its 2019 catalogue: New York – New York, Mar Del Plata, Mont Blanc and Sofia Cuprum.

These new introductions were chosen following rigorous market research. Throughout September, the company registered feedback at a series of special Neolith events, held in tandem with some of Europe’s most prestigious design trade shows. Visitors were invited to choose their favourites from eight prototype designs with the top four choices subsequently selected for next year’s collection.

These slabs have been created using a revolutionary new production process which will deliver the same high-quality colours Neolith is known by, in a more ecologically friendly way, HYDRO Neolith Digital Design 2.0 (HYDRO-NDD 2.0) using the latest pigments existing in the industry.
The new colours are complemented by an expanded range of Neolith products including four new additions to both the 3mm and 20mm ranges.


New York – New York: Start spreadin’ the news

Figure 1. New York – New York

The Big Apple. They say that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, which is certainly the case with Neolith’s New York – New York. This visually appealing surface is influenced by the city’s infectious energy, its iconic avenues and majestic skyscrapers, responding to a revival of interest in using concrete for interior applications, particularly worktops.

With distinctive grey tones it offers an on-trend, urban style suitable for all surfacing applications. Incorporating a full body edge it’s highly realistic; a special surface which blends matt and shine particles to create a pleasing visual effect.

New York – New York is offered in Silk finish in 3mm, 6mm, 12mm and 20mm thicknesses and available in 3,200mm x 1,600mm and 3,200 x 1,500mm formats.

Neolith New York – New York is ideal for worktop (12mm & 20mm), flooring and cladding applications (3mm & 6mm).

Mar Del Plata: Exquisitely exotic, perfectly pearlescent

Figure 2. Mar Del Plata

Inspired by the exotic Dark Pearl granite, a Brazilian stone from TheSize’s Granith® collection, this stylish, rippled slab incorporates wavy white quartz stripes on a grey backdrop.

With a slated stone relief, the surface offers a mesmerizingly aqueous fluidity akin to flowing water evoking the movement of a mighty South American river.

The whiter and lighter grey striations are produced with a special technique which gives texture to the veining. Flecks of shine particle throughout the stone also create a beautiful nacre effect which mirrors the quartz veins found in the original granite.

Mar Del Plata is offered in a special Slate finish in 6mm and 12mm thicknesses and available in 3,200mm x 1,600mm and 3,200 x 1,500mm formats.

Neolith Mar Del Plata is ideal for worktop (12mm), flooring and cladding applications (6mm).

Mont Blanc: Scaling new heights

Figure 3. Mont Blanc

The pristine slopes of the French-Swiss Alps and the alpine glamour of one of the world’s most prestigious ski resorts, Chamonix, are the inspiration behind the rarefied Mont Blanc.

A homage to white quartzite, one of the most popular stone patterns currently on the market, its enrapturing neutral tone combines a creamy white background with subtle veining in deep black and ochre hues.

Using a special technique, Neolith was able to create an inward relief exactly where the veins are, delivering an original texture which is pleasing to the touch and evokes the soaring beauty of the alpine landscape.

Mont Blanc is offered in a Silk finish in 6mm and 12mm thicknesses and available in 3,200mm x 1,600mm and 3,200 x 1,500mm formats.

Neolith Mont Blanc is ideal for worktop (12mm), flooring and cladding applications (6mm).

Sofia Cuprum: Rust never sleeps

Figure 4. Sofia Cuprum

Sofia Cuprum, a mesmerisingly dark and sober surface represents the evolution of Neolith’s Steel Collection. The metal on which this surface is based was first realised in the early 2000’s when renowned French architect Jean Nouvel was designing a new building, commissioned for the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
His concept used a wide variety of colours, patterns and textures, particularly metallic slabs treated to create surface effects including different hues, mottling and varied degrees of patination. From these audacious and visionary experiments, Sofia Cuprum was born.

The semi-polished finish on these stones creates an irregular, burnished effect which gives the surface a more worn-in touch and feel.

Sofia Cuprum is offered in Shine Silk finish in 6mm, 12mm and 20mm thicknesses and available in 3,200mm x 1,600mm and 3,200 x 1,500mm formats.

Neolith Sofia Cuprum is ideal for worktop (12mm & 20mm), flooring and cladding applications (6mm).


The thick of it: Increased 3mm and 20mm range

The growing demand in 2018 for both 3mm and 20mm thicknesses has encouraged Neolith to increase these ranges.

Four popular patterns have been added in 20mm to the 2019 catalogue: Pietra Di Piombo Silk, Estatuario 01 Polished, Calacatta Polished and Basalt Grey Satin. Aspen Grey Silk, Concrete Taupe Silk, Blanco Carrara 02 Silk and Calatorao Silk are now available in 3mm.

This brings 20mm collection to 24, offering a greater degree of variety and creativity to designers when using Neolith within the kitchen or bathroom environment.

Making a splash: HYDRO-NDD 2.0

Over the last couple of years, Neolith has observed a growing environmental awareness amongst designers regarding the materials specified for both residential and commercial spaces. This lead to the development of HYDRO-NDD 2.0.

HYDRO-NDD 2.0 is a water based decoration technique which greatly reduces the contaminating emissions sent into the environment from traditional printing methods. The new technology will deliver the same high quality colour and textural definition expected from Neolith’s surfaces with reduced pollutant output.

The revolutionary new process achieves exactly the same, high-quality patterns but with a far lower carbon footprint. This offers designers more possibilities than ever before to realise their dream spaces whilst also emphasising Neolith’s commitment to being the most sustainable Sintered Stone brand on the market.



Iconic Dublin landmark, Bewley’s Grafton Street, has reopened following a €12million restoration.
Brendan Duffy of Gilligan Architects chose Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic ceilings, “The smooth render of Rockfon Mono Acoustic provides a seamless surface in keeping with the original. In addition, it conceals that it’s a modern acoustic treatment.”

Research shows that certain sounds can complement taste. However, background noise can overwhelm our senses and impact negatively on how we experience the food we consume.

Irwin Carr Consulting, Senior Consultant Acoustician, Malachy McAlister “…tests before and after the installation of Rockfon Mono Acoustic show the acoustic ceiling reduced reverberation times from 1.1 seconds to 0.7 seconds – a 35% reduction.”

Bewley’s Assistant General Manager, “Before the new ceiling, noise levels could get very high, making it difficult to hear. Now the feel of the café has changed; it is much calmer and more relaxed.”

Reilly Ceiling & Drywall installed the ceilings. “Rockfon Mono Acoustic is simple to work with and fits around elements such as lights with ease. There is no product on the market that can match it for acoustic performance and flexibility of design and installation.”

We’re excited to announce Gerard Clarke as Rockfon’s Specification Sales Manager for Ireland.
Please contact Gerard on +353 (0)86 0302730 or



Kingspan Group, the global leader in high performance insulation and building envelope solutions, has announced the launch of Kingspan Facades – a new business designed to help architects enhance their designs without compromising on technical performance.

Combining systems and expertise from across the Group, Kingspan Facades is a service-led business providing specifiers with a comprehensive portfolio of advanced building envelope systems suitable for a multitude of applications and architectural styles. This aesthetic offering is supported with four robust substructure solutions that encompass Kingspan’s advanced core insulations alongside options using more traditional materials.

Mel Courtney, Managing Director of Kingspan Facades explains the vision for the new business:

“We’re noticing a real drive in the industry for more detailed and accessible technical guidance, particularly around facade systems. By offering solutions incorporating all of Kingspan Group’s facade products under a single business, we are in a unique position to provide the most appropriate solution. We offer a single source approach from the Steel Framing System, insulation, right through to the external facade – one point of contact for customers for the full through-wall system solution, reinforced by the technical support that Kingspan is renowned for”.

Kingspan Facades will be underpinned by an industry-leading Compliance Assured scheme. Compliance Assured by Kingspan is a robust assurance framework to support customers through design, installation training and on-site inspection during construction and handover of a BR 135 / BS 8414 tested Kingspan Facade system. This scheme, an industry first, shows Kingspan taking action to address the call for higher standards of installation and oversight on construction projects identified in the Hackitt Review earlier this year.

Describing the significance of the Compliance Assured service, Kingspan Facade’s Technical Director Dr. Thomas Henriksen said:

“In her review of Building Regulations and fire safety, Dame Judith Hackitt highlighted a number of key recommendations, including improving competence levels, stronger processes for driving compliance and managing change control, together with greater clarity of roles and responsibilities of those procuring, designing and constructing buildings. Above all Dame Judith has called for effective leadership within the construction industry to create the cultural shift required for positive change.

Compliance Assured provides a framework for construction that developers, designers, contractors, sub-contractors and most importantly both building owners and occupiers can all be confident in. As well as providing a high level of technical support at design stage, we will enhance the competence of those installing our tested systems through mandatory, project specific training. We believe that this is a major step in addressing many of Dame Judith’s recommendations”.

A key element of Compliance Assured is that Kingspan will provide a prescriptive list of components for their BS8414 Tested Systems, working with a limited number of recommended suppliers. This supports a holistic system based approach, and can be mapped to the RIBA Plan of Work Stages to provide greater transparency and traceability.

The new business will encompass the BENCHMARK by Kingspan brand, combining its architectural rainscreen facade systems, including Dri-Design, with a full spectrum of different insulation cores. These range from traditional mineral fibre to advanced insulation products such as Kingspan’s innovative QuadCore Karrier System and proven Kooltherm K15 Rainscreen Board solution.

The full range of products and technical services from Kingspan Facades will be available in UK, Ireland and mainland Europe and can be explored at



Earlier this year the Irish Jury of the international concrete design competition selected 5 Irish Architecture students to attend the international concrete design masterclass in Brussels in September. The successful Irish students from University of Limerick and Queens University Belfast joined other winning Architecture students from Belgium, Germany and Turkey for the week long masterclass which was held in the creative spaces of the COOP in Brussels.

Attendance at the masterclass was the prize for the winning students in this year’s concrete design competition. The theme of the competition was “TACTILITY” and it was open to students of architecture and design related disciplines. The students were encouraged to explore properties of concrete as it related to the theme of TACTILITY.

Throughout the week-long event the students worked in collaborative teams to design, prototype and manufacture concrete elements. The workshops, lecture and critics provided often for the first time a ‘hands-on’ opportunity to work with this essential element of our urban landscape.

Cement Manufacturers Ireland support Irish Architecture students through this biennial competition and also by sponsoring student entry to the RIAI Annual Conference.



Neolith® showcases its 2019 propositions during London Design Festival 2018

Neolith®, a market-leading brand of Sintered Stone, invites architects, designers and specifiers to discover its latest slabs at a special exhibition during London Design Festival (12.00 – 23.00, 20th September, 133-135 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2 7DG). The exhibition will also be complemented by a reception, starting from 18:00 on the same day.

In anticipation of 2019, Neolith has looked at emerging design trends to inspire eight new colours. Visitors will be welcomed to browse the diverse proposals in situ and provide feedback to help decide on the upcoming new releases.

Technology is ever-evolving, offering more opportunities to Neolith’s development team to realise complex patterns and a wide range of colours. The latest propositions are evidence of this, embracing the contrasting nascent themes in interior decoration.

Table and worktop, Neolith La Bohème B01 and Neolith Arctic White Silk 12mm

Scandinavian style leads the way with a beautiful, airy palette of greys, blue accents and light timber tones. Simple, natural and neutral, this popular look evokes a convivial atmosphere, contributing to a healthy sense of well-being. A wood grain pattern with a softer and lighter character than Neolith’s popular La Bohème will meet a growing appetite for Fjord chic. A nod to the warmer climes of Miami and the glamour of South Beach, leather textured slabs in pastel colours add a contemporary and whimsical touch.

Wall cladding, Neolith La Boheme B01 6mm; Flooring, Neolith Strata Argentum Riverwashed 6mm; Vanity Tops, Neolith Barro 12mm

In contrast, an industrial motif seeks inspiration from factory warehouses and raw elements to create a space that is both functional and oozes contemporary cool. Components which designers usually try to conceal, such as steel or brick, are strategically exposed to make a strong statement. Neolith reimagines its classic Beton design with a new concrete-inspired slab. In response to a growing desire for lustrous details, a golden metallic surface will also be exhibited, ideal for adding allure to otherwise understated décor.

Splashback and Worktop, Neolith Iron Corten 6 and 12mm; Worktop, Neolith Steel Marengo ShineSilk 12mm

With enduring appeal in the culinary arena, Neolith adapts the striking silver sheen of stainless steel to the hardwearing qualities of Sintered Stone. For those who prefer a less refined appearance, an expansion of its Iron Collection sees more options for oxides, blending aged tones with a captivating, characteristic patina.

Carlos Garcia, Product Designer at Neolith, comments: “We’re seeing an increasing demand for greater creative scope in both residential and commercial spaces. Neolith Digital Design technology allows us to explore diverse colours and textures, so our 2019 collection will offer designers more possibilities than ever before to realise their dreams spaces.”

To find out more information about the event, click here.



Neolith delivers contemporary look to high-spec Netherlands show home

When Dutch materials expert Stone and Skills discovered Neolith® in a Netherlands-based stone shop three years ago, the brand immediately captured their attention. The wide range of different colours, patterns and finishes on display fired their collective creative imagination, encouraging them to find out more about this Spanish Sintered Stone.

Neolith Show Home, Netherlands

Following a visit to the Neolith factory in Castellon, Spain, they learned more about the performance and aesthetic attributes of the material and were determined to work with it on future projects.

Upon returning to the Netherlands, the Stone and Skills team kept thinking back to the ways in which Neolith had been presented, through various applications, at the brand’s Valencia-based showroom.

“It brought the product to life in a variety of ways,” said Amal Babay of Stone and Skills, “Like any building material, it’s one thing to see the standalone slabs hot off the production line, but quite another to see them in application. Experiencing a kitchen or bathroom specified in Neolith gives essential context, emphasising its visual qualities and design capabilities.”

Babay continues, “We wanted to bring Neolith to life, giving our clients the same experience as we had in Valencia, by creating an immersive atmosphere which would do justice to this prestigious brand. Inspired by what we had seen, we decided to take the showroom concept a step further and create a fully-functioning ‘Show Home’, allowing a customer to enter a real residence. Here they could truly visualise how their own project might look if they specified Neolith.”

Stone and Skill’s ambition was on a grand, all-encompassing scale. They wanted to incorporate a variety of colours, patterns, finishes, thicknesses and formats to really celebrate the aesthetic breadth of Neolith’s range. Applications across floors, walls, worktops, fireplaces, dining tables and even a clock demonstrated the brand’s potential.

A modern house in Hoofddorp (Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands) provided the perfect set within which to conjure up a vision in Neolith. Spanning a total area of 120m², Stone and Skills sought to create a contemporary feel with an industrial theme, playfully mixing several different material patterns including wood (La Boheme), metal (Iron Grey, Iron Moss and Iron Corten), concrete (Beton and Concrete Taupe) and marble (Pulpis Silk).

With so many diverse colours and finishes used, it was important for the designers to ensure that none of the surfaces clashed with each other.

To achieve a balance, Stone and Skills turned to Fauvism, an early 20th Century artistic movement made popular by artists such as Dufy, Derain and Braque. This approach focuses on the use of complementary colours, in which seemingly opposite hues can be used in conjunction to make each other look brighter. A famous example of this technique is Matisse’s Le Bonheur de Vivre (1905), a pastoral scene painted in a mesmerisingly vivid mix of red and green, purple and yellow.



Neolith® PURETi is specified for revolutionary green skyscraper in the heart of New York

As urban areas become more crowded and populations increase, so too do greenhouse gas emissions. These directly impact on public health and contribute to negative phenomena including global warming and acid rain.

According to recent findings from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ‘Since 1990, gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have increased by about 2 percent’ and, whilst figures have been slowly decreasing in the last few years, emission levels remain unacceptably high. Of the total figure (6,511 Million Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent), transport alone makes up 28% of the total output . Much of this is concentrated in densely populated towns and cities.

The gradual rise in popularity of Green Buildings over the last decade reflects an ever-increasing awareness amongst business, industry and the consumer of ecological issues and concerns, particularly pollution levels and the effects on national wellbeing.
As such, architects, designers and contractors are actively exploring more environmentally friendly solutions for future construction and retrofit projects.

On the Face of It
One area in which extensive research has been carried out is on structural facades and cladding, the building’s first point of contact for elements and man-made emissions.
It was against this backdrop that Neolith® was approached by architectural firm builtd, which was looking to build a 25-storey commercial condo tower, 570 Broome (Soho, Manhattan), in close proximity to New York’s highly-congested Holland Tunnel.
The client specifically wanted to construct a durable building which could withstand both physical damage and both natural and man-made atmospheric deterioration, such as UV-rays and car exhaust fumes. There was also a desire to specify a low-maintenance surface which would not stain over time. These were all performance properties inherent in Neolith’s composition.

More than Meets the Eye
Neolith had already been specified as the material of choice for 570 Broome facade when its partnership with photocatalytic treatment manufacturer solutions, PURETi, was announced in spring 2017.

Essentially, the application of PURETi’s water-based, photocatalytic preventative maintenance solution on Neolith slabs enhances its surface, transforming it into self-cleaning air purifiers. This helps to improve air quality and enables Neolith slabs to stay cleaner for even longer.

Furthermore, this ingenious technology has the ability to reduce air pollution by destroying Nitrous Oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contact the treated stone, solely using the energy from natural sunlight.

Taking the initiative, Neolith’s US team suggested that this innovation would be perfectly suited for the skyscraper, given both the initial design brief and its location in a high-congestion area. This proved to be both relevant and timely to the building’s architects who, quick to see the treated surface’s potential, immediately decided to incorporate it into the façade.

As builtd’s principal architect, Tahir Demircioglu explains: “The initial selection of the Neolith panels was for their lightness and aesthetic qualities, but once we found out it came with this element, we were like, of course! It’s a huge plus that PURETi treated slabs also limits the amount of maintenance required. Instead of using chemicals and power-washing the façade, the material is hydrophilic so it cleans itself.”

On A Grand Scale

2,000m2 of PURETi treated Neolith Jura Limestone (a custom colour produced especially for the project) are being used for the façade on all sides and for framing the three-storey high expanses of glazing on the front of the building. These require sensitive and careful installation using lightweight aluminium frames which provided both strength and flexibility.
As the project is being constructed in a heavily built-up area, with unpredictable weather conditions, a number of regulations need to be met, particularly in regards to New York City’s stringent fire and combustibility code.

Furthermore, sheet resistance tests have been carried out to guarantee the durability of the PURETi application on Neolith surfaces.

Construction of 570 Broome is set to complete at the end of 2018. The complex will comprise of a 54-unit luxury boutique condominiums. The overall design references the area’s rich history through the soaring ceiling heights and a silhouette evocative of staggered cubes.

The Game Changer
Commenting on the significance of the project, Neolith’s Mar Esteve Cortes explains: “This project marks an important milestone in the partnership between Neolith and PURETi. 570 Broome is the first project in which the treated slabs have been specific on such a large scale. It’s truly awe inspiring.”

She continues, “There can be no doubt that this is a game changer in the way that we approach urban planning and construction. We cannot wait to see how it makes a positive impact on the lives of both 570 Broome’s residents and New York City citizens in general. Hopefully, this example will encourage other architects and specifiers globally to consider greener façade options for future high-rise projects.”

High resolution versions of the images within this release can be downloaded here.



THE world’s lightest plywood is now available in the UK for the first time and is immediately proving popular with a vast range of users, from luxury yacht and motorhome builders through to packaging manufacturers and furniture producers.

The product, known as Banova Plus, is being sold exclusively by the UK’s leading supplier of timber and construction materials, Arnold Laver which operates 13 strategically located depots. It features an innovative design that combines a balsa core with lightweight hardwood surfaces, to create a product that typically weighs half as much as conventional plywood, whilst being just a strong and robust.

In addition, Banova Superflex is an extremely flexible variation of the product that features a textile layer that can be easily formed to create curved shapes.

Banova is manufactured by German company 3A Composites GmbH, using FSC certified wood from responsible sources, and features low emission values. Both the Plus and Superflex products are available in a variety of thicknesses from 9mm to 50mm and formats that range from 1220mm x 2440mm up to 1220mm x 3050mm.

Terry Palmer, Category Director from Arnold Laver, says: “Banova is almost an optical illusion because it’s hard to fathom how such a solid product can weigh so little, whilst still being robust. It’s also easy to process, without requiring any special tools or equipment, and offers a consistent surface quality. As a result, it’s ideal for any scenario that requires a high quality, natural looking product that is strong and crucially, very lightweight.

“We’ve already seen it successfully used to make exhibition stands, sculptures, mobile advertising boards, theatre sets, cargo crates and all types of lightweight furniture. It’s also the ideal material for suspended lighting rafts, like those often found in high-end restaurants and hotels, because it can be easily fitted to ceilings and places little strain on mechanical fixing systems, as well as looking extremely stylish.

“In addition, it can be combined with scratch resistant surfaces, printed onto and even laminated, so it lends itself to an endless range of possibilities. There’s nothing else like it on the market, so it’s a fantastic addition to the innovative and vast product range that Arnold Laver is renowned for.”

For further information about Banova, call your local Arnold Laver depot or visit



Yes, you read that correctly MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME (MTX) now adorns the shopfronts of over 30 high-end retail and design spaces at the new Eccleston Place hub near Victoria station, central London. However, it’s far from an ordinary MDF… When thinking ‘high-end’, opting for an engineered wood panel over a hardwood alternative may not seem like an obvious choice, but MTX’s exceptional finishing qualities match like-for-like with its hardwood peers. What’s the difference then? To name but one, MTX’s 50-year external usage guarantee will protect the shopfront from the London weather for years to come.

It’s the customised shapes and designs embellishing the doorways of Eccleston Place that play an essential part in the feel of the development. In order to create that look, the designers had to be sure that the timber solution they opted for was up to scratch, that’s why K & D Joinery chose MTX.

“We discovered MTX when looking for a durable, weather-resistant, easy to work with, MDF material that matched our clients’ expectations,” said Alan Sheehy, Director at K & D Joinery. That’s not an easy set of criteria to match.

“The quality of the finish on the units was clearly the most important part of this project due to its location and the potential clientele. We assessed a number of different options when it came to the material, but MTX came out on top.

“The ability to finish the material to such a high standard means that we were satisfied it could serve as a suitable entryway to some of the leading, and up and coming brands, the capital has to offer.

“The fact that the material is guaranteed externally for up to 50 years gives a sense of security to the project, knowing that we can rely on the product to hold its finish for years to come.

The increased interest in MTX comes as no surprise to Product Manager for MTX, Peter Clifton, but the way in which it is used continues to impress.

“We’ve often supplied MTX for use on shopfront designs, but we’re now starting to see an increase of interest from designers dealing in more luxurious and exclusive circles,” comments Peter.

“The panels unique weather resistant qualities along with its ease of customisation and high finish quality make it a dream for joiners and carpenters alike. When it comes to things like shopfronts, no project will be the same, so as a material manufacturer you need to create something that has additional qualities, but that remains easy to work with and looks the business; that’s what you get with MTX.”



Michael McCarthy, a certified trainer with the Passive House Academy and an international authority on the Passive House Standard as lead Passivhaus Certifer on the MosArt team, has joined Versatile as the new Ventilation Specialist within its Heating, Cooling & Ventilation division.

Michael, widely known and respected within the industry despite his young years, brings significant Passive House, nZEB and Mechanical Ventilation design experience in both the commercial and residential sector including a number of ground breaking nZEB and Passivhaus projects here in Ireland and on the international scene. Michael led the mechanical design on the PH consultant team for Ireland’s largest retrofit PH project, Rochestown House for DLRCC. He also acted as chief PH Certifier on Ireland’s largest multi-unit residential Passivhaus development: Silken Park in City West, Dublin with Durkan Residential.

In 2017, Michael was the PH Certifier on the tallest certified Passivhaus building in the world, the 26- story student residence at Cornell University on Roosevelt Island, New York. Michael holds an honours Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and a B.A. in Mathematics and Project Management – both from Trinity College, Dublin. Michael is a Certified Passive House Trainer and Designer. His previous roles include Education and Training Manager & Director of Passivhaus Certification at MosArt Architects, where his work focused mainly on training competencies in Passivhaus construction and design, ultimately mentoring the design and construction teams and looking after the QA and QC on some of the largest Passivhaus projects in the world.

Michael joined Versatile at the beginning of the year and is looking forward to the new opportunities & challenges this post will bring. He is now actively working to greatly expand Versatile’s market share of the residential mechanical ventilation sector, bringing the brand’s demand control MEV & high performance MVHR series to the industry at a time when building regulations are ramping up for the emergence of nZEB. Michael will also be heavily involved in Versatile’s commercial fan coil and decentralised trench ventilation projects & is currently focusing on some high-profile projects including the new School of Business at Trinity College, Dublin.

Andrew Treacy, MD of Versatile Group said “The knowledge, expertise and experience that Michael brings to the company further strengthens our Ventilation offering and reinforces our position at the forefront of sustainable building on the island of Ireland. This appointment continues to consolidate the professionalism of our organisation and is further evidence of Versatile’s commitment to green building and NZEB initiatives”

Contact: Michael McCarthy, Versatile. M: 087.936.2660; email:


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