Micheal Simons, of Micheal Simons Interior Designs, came to us with the ambitious endeavor of milling textures into limestone for an eclectic fireplace mantel. The inspiration stemming from a texture similar to a series of tables made of metal and glass.
Table texture that was recreated in limestone. Photo provided by Michael Simon
The process from initiation to completion spanned over the course of a year. The one of a kind piece lives amongst other works in the A&R ASTA Fireplaces showroom.
A prototype of the finished fireplace that now lives in New York City showroom.
Starting with a sketch, Michael defined the general geometry and dimensions of what he wanted the fireplace to resemble. It was then, that our design engineer, Sharee Trujillo, was tasked with replicating these patterns from an image into a three-dimensional model. Keeping the integrity of the density, shapes, and scale of these components was a crucial part of our venture. She says that this initial task was the most challenging.
“This was just me looking at the picture and guessing. I was drawing things out by scale, asking myself how deep should this be; maybe this hole goes down a quarter of an inch, etc. ”
Image of design sketches
It was an extremely involved process of drawing things out by scale and figuring out the depth of the designs.
Mockup of different textural designs built in the 3D software, Rhinoceros. Image provided by Sharee Trujillo
The final textures selected for the mantel
Once the design, structure, and dimensions were solidified, the next phase was finding the perfect material. There were several factors to take into account. The material needed a specific look, finish, and above all, the texture needed to be translated flawlessly onto the material and match the inspiration.
The textures milled onto Ramon gray gold limestone using 7-axis CNC machinery
We started by implementing the tiles into two different mock fireplace legs, one in Calcutta white and one in Ramon grey gold (both limestone).
Image of two mock-up legs of fireplace featured in Calcutta white and Ramon grey gold
The third phase of the project was figuring out how to fabricate the structure. After a few rounds of trial and error, it was realized that the stone can't be stacked on top of one another. The solution; construct joints running across both legs at the top, then, have a freeze that sits across with a shelf that caps everything together.
Finished fireplace in Calcutta white limestone
The speed of completion and level of ingenuity wouldn't be possible without the use of 3D Modeling and CNC Machinery. When asked what she thinks the benefit of using these technological advancements for building, Sharee provided a thoughtful answer.
"Being able to have the thing in front of you takes away any misconceptions. It helps with the quality and design process. It cuts production time and cost because you are confronted with things right away. We can be more inventive in the ways we choose to produce. Being able to see things in 3D and see what needs to be made, you can be more imaginative. "