At the very end of March 2022, Baltic Stone consultants held a seminar at Vilnius Design College for future interior designers and architects. Two hours passed by unnoticed as the conversation was evolving around natural and artificial stone types and their application in interior design and architecture. The first and second year students were introduced to some well-known solid surface material manufacturers and popular brands. Many of them for the first time heard about four types of artificial stone: acrylic, quartz, ceramic and sintered.
The students were interested to hear about modern high-tech finishing materials and their applications. Such surfaces are not just beautiful but also practical in homes and offices. Since the students were currently studying kitchen design and the materials used for worktops, this became the main topic of the presentation. There is definitely something to offer in this niche. The desks of the first row of the audience were stacked with engineered stone samples, each box waiting for its turn to be inspected.
The sets of acrylic stone samples passed through hands first. This material is also known as acrylic solid surface. Most of the students heard about Staron and Meganite brands for the first time. These same boxes are also shown to potential customers who want to choose the colour for their worktop. Several participants were already familiar with Corian acrylic stone worktops, but during the seminar they had the opportunity to see and try similar products from other manufacturers, too. These three acrylic stone brands are currently popular in Lithuania.
The conversation about acrylic stone was long and detailed as this material is unique and very different from other types of artificial stone. Because acrylic solid surface becomes flexible at high temperatures, it can be used to shape sinks and acquire custom surfaces of any form. Sinks made from the same material can be integrated into acrylic worktops without any visible seams. Such seamless furniture is particularly practical in kitchens where crumbs and liquids are common. In other words, acrylic stone worktops have no gaps between the component parts where dirt can accumulate. This material is hygienic, it is certified to be used in restaurants, medical institutions, hotels.
With acrylic solid surface samples rounding the full circle, the turn came for engineered quartz. Engineered quartz worktops are particularly popular in Scandinavian countries. This material is very similar in texture and composition to natural stone, but it is harder and more resistant to chipping. Its colour range is almost limitless. Sample boxes included Silestone and Radianz quartz materials. Students also learnt about Lithuanian stone fabricators who produce countertops from natural stone and all types of artificial stone materials. It is easy to find them on the interactive map of Lithuanian stone fabricators.
Porcelain and ceramics are also great materials for kitchen countertops. The Level surfaces collection passed through the hands attracting a lot of interest. Ceramics was followed by the hardest countertop material, Neolith and Dekton sintered stone. Samples of these unique materials lingered in the hands of the students for a long time. Sintered stone is produced by few companies in the world because it is not so easy to manufacture. The manufacturing of sintered stone requires exclusive technologies to simulate the extreme heat and extreme pressure found in the depths of the earth. The final product is an extremely hard and environmentally resistant natural material on which hot pots can be placed and vegetables can be cut without damaging it.