For as long as people have built structures the fundamental question was ‘What material do I use?’ ‘What I can get’ was the answer for a long time but in the twenty first century it has become ‘what do you want?’. The Irish Blue Limestone producers feel that what you need is a natural stone with the pedigree of their product!
What happens to it?
Irish Blue Limestone is a completely natural material, and production processes are limited to cutting, shaping or applying surface dressings. Careful control of the manufacturing processes ensure that nothing is done to the stone that will change its physical characteristics and nothing is added in the form of surface coatings or chemical impregnations that might deteriorate over time.
What is its pedigree?
Although the actual equipment used in production has changed, the final product is essentially identical to limestone that was used in the past to build the houses, churches and castles that form Ireland’s heritage. The history associated with the stone is the best guarantee of the durability of today’s product and the justification for not adding any coatings or sealants to the finished articles.
Why should I choose it?
By specifying Irish Blue Limestone you are buying into traditional skills of working stone that go right back to the earliest history of Ireland. The material is durable, attractive and chemically inert. It looks rich and has a classic appearance that can complement any design or style from gothic to ultra-modern.
However, all this is insignificant compared with the fact that Irish Blue Limestone has subtle variations of colour and texture that no synthetic material can match.
Any commercial building, and the space around it ,makes a statement that clients will pick up on almost unconsciously. They want to use materials that give gravitas to their buildings, reduce alienation of the public but don’t complicate maintenance. The use of natural materials such as Irish Blue Limestone in the public areas around the building can make the surroundings practical to maintain, but much less austere than concrete. The Irish Blue Limestone can also be used to provide a continuity between the surrounds and the interior of the building by clever use of tiling, cladding or features in the foyer or reception areas.
Stringer-courses and entrance detailing can add life to the most cutting edge architecture without detracting from modernity. The bland facade of tinted glass can be enlivened by cladding service areas and stairwells with a practical finish that continually changes with the light and the weather. Subtly toned blue grey cladding panels with startling white brachiopods can make the ground floor of any building distinctive and memorable.
Changes of size and shape of the cladding can break up the outline and make the enclosed services and accesses less daunting and more of a complement to the structure. Traditional coursed limestone walling will provide an interesting and practical contrast to the muted tones of the sawn Irish Blue Limestone panels. The approaches to the Millennium Bridge in London illustrate that creative use of a traditional material such as Irish Blue Limestone can complement ultra- modern materials such as glass and stainless steel in the most cutting-edge design.
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The use of concrete blocks, concrete paviors and asphalts make all urban areas look alike and it can be difficult for pedestrians, tourists or drivers to figure out where they are without reading the name plates. Every component made from Irish Blue Limestone is subtly different but still has an underlying continuity of colour and texture.
Pavements become interesting: What are these strange shapes? Do you seriously mean I’m walking on 350 million year old fossils? Walls and balustrades never appear exactly the same: The colour changes depending on whether its dry or raining. The crystal structure reflects or absorbs light differently depending on the position of the sun.
Textures and finishes make the walls appear totally different depending on whether you are at the top or the bottom of the street. Shells give intriguing patterns and hint at old mysteries.
Make the urban environment interesting. Go Irish Blue Limestone.
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The use of stone in residential buildings is long established and the skill of the mason in transforming an inert block into a beautiful feature adds to the charm of many of Ireland’s historic houses and castles.
In recent times the use of stone has been restricted to the interiors of churches and offices and designers felt that modern cutting-edge synthetics were the be all and end all of domestic life. As in all areas things change and increasingly owners are deciding that timeless style, durability and long life are more important than short term fashion and throw away.
Irish Blue Limestone, be it on a floor as tiling, used as a work surface for a kitchen or a bathroom, or forming the sills to a window, has it all. The textures and colours of the surface can blend with the most traditional or the most cutting-edge furnishings. It has an easily maintained but pleasingly tactile surface. It proclaims solidness and durability to the eye and in use. Modern processing makes it a cost effective surface alternative but one with obvious class.
Irish blue Limestone is also at the leading edge of much modern garden design. Cappings and sills invite you to touch or sit on the edge of water features or raised beds. Modular spilt stone makes it easy to construct walls and secluded seating areas that interact with the light and complement any planting scheme.
Paving and setts combine ease of construction and maintenance with long service life. The fossil crinoids and shells add a touch of mystery and intrigue to even the largest space. Features in a house or garden utilising Irish Blue limestone add a rich classic touch to even the most mundane of objects and enrich the domestic environment with a classic timeless beauty.