Spotlight: Meet Francesca Vallardi From Stone Connection SA
Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Francesca Vallardi, the General Manager of Stone Connection SA, about their growing brand and the world of natural stone. With 11 branches in South Africa, Stone Connection imports and distributes only the highest quality stone and quartz.
Tell us about the history of Stone Connection Group and its brands…
Stone Connection has been on the market for over 20 years. It was purchased in the late 90s to become the distribution arms in South Africa by the Finstone Group which was an already established quarrying and manufacturing company, completing the life cycle of stones. Later, Stone Connection as a brand expanded and now has branches in Europe and in the USA.
What is the philosophy of the brand?
There are two key phrases that we use to define the company, “freedom to create” and “from the quarries to you”. The company aims to assist and educate clients about the endless possibilities of stones by letting your creativity take the lead! And knowing the material is pivotal!
Do you follow trends in sourcing for the South African market?
We do! that is why we are avid readers of SA Decor blogs!
We’re finding more and more consumers expect companies to have a sustainability focus. What is Stone Connection doing to address this?
We are part of a group that always strives to respect the environment we work in. And we are producing a line of landscape products using the offcuts of our stones. For a long time, this has been considered waste but in fact, it is awesome material!
What’s the secret behind your products that makes specifying your collections a must?
Well, when it comes to natural stones it is definitely the unicity of the slabs. No stone can be identical to another and that is kind of the unreplicable autograph of Mother Nature herself! The stones tell us the history of time written in stones. Every ripple in the stone texture, every colour shift, and every modification represents an event that happened millions of years ago. And you can have them there, in your homes.
What is your personal favourite piece in your current collections and why?
I have a soft spot for Italian marble and Nero Impala granite. They represent my motherland and my adoptive land. And both have the characteristic of being versatile for different styles.
As an expert in the field, what is the best advice you have to offer when selecting stone?
Stones cost less than you think! Stone lives a very long life. We are still admiring the marbles of ancient Greece and we walk on roads made from cobblestones during the Roman empire. Can any other material do the same in the long run?
What would you consider the main challenge that stonemasonry faces?
The main challenge is the market being invaded by unlawfully quarried stones that have been produced cheaply at the cost of the safety and welfare of workers all over the world. Quarrying respectfully and legitimately is more expensive but is also the only way to do it!
Is natural stone still a very relevant choice of building material for modern homes and why?
More than ever! With more and more people being environmentally-cautious, natural stone guarantees a minimal footprint. Therefore, the clients are interested in reducing the pollution and the impact of their building. The green-building is a branch of architecture that is becoming paramount all around the world!
Any collaborations or projects you are working on?
Many, but one in particular is #theshowroomchallenge that we have promoted. A young designer has won the opportunity to design our first showroom in Johannesburg. We are now finalising the project and soon will be ready to welcome our clients
Do you have a best-loved product in your own home that incorporates stone? If so, can you tell us what it is?
As an Italian mum, the kitchen is the focal point of all family life. And guess what? My kitchen countertop is made of Greek white marble! Perfect to prepare pizza dough!
Stone Connection provides customers with an exclusive range of over 80 different types of natural stone and quartz, technically reconstituted stones available in various colours. As the leading nationwide distributor in the stone industry, they offer the highest quality of exclusive granite, marble, sandstone, quartz and onyx in a wide selection of colours, finishes and sizes.
For more visit Stone Connection.