Use Shahabad stones in combo
Generally available in grey shades, it lasts long without surface blemishes and is easy to maintain.
The idea of ‘local’ is important in ecological architecture; hence any attempt to promote an outstation material can raise eyebrows. However, certain attitudes like aesthetics, aspiration or cost reduction can justify outstation materials, if done judiciously. This argument can support the idea of getting marbles from Rajasthan or equally good stones from Andhra Pradesh.
What do we get to see if we walk into an old restaurant? Possibly, a chess board pattern of grey and black tiles on the floor, while the restaurant kitchen could be finished with only the grey stone.
Many public buildings built in the near past also exhibit this floor pattern. They are made of Shahabad stone, grey in colour and Cuddapah stone, black in colour.
Shahabad town in Gulbarga district is a centre for Shahabad stone activities. Shahabad is a variety of limestone from this part of Karnataka bordering Andhra Pradesh. Easy to work with and economical, traditionally it has been popular in public buildings. Being fairly hard, it lasts long without surface blemishes. Generally available in grey shades, the neutral colour helps in masking dust and easy maintenance.
We also get Shahabad in chocolate colour, which appears very rich. Both the variations can be used with full polish to get a fine look or less polish for a rustic appearance. Stones are cut into tiles 1 ft. x 1 ft. to lay in single or mixed patterns. A longer length, needed for staircases, can also be procured.
In total colour contrast to the above are Cuddapah stones, again from Andhra Pradesh, with the place name extended to the material. With its near-black colour, Cuddapah offers a great contrast at an affordable price. Comparatively softer, it is safe to use it in conjunction with Shahabad or in areas of lesser wear and tear.
Cuddapah tiles tend to look good after mirror polishing, but appear slightly dull after years of usage. With its tendency of surface layering and pitting, it may not be ideal in all contexts, but goes well with rustic needs and other uses like storage shelves or counter tops. Flooring finished with unpolished Cuddapah side on top creates a textured look, to contract with the possibly smooth looks elsewhere.
Eco-friendly architecture is more theme-specific than material-specific. After all, materials are among the visible components of sustainable architecture, but they come at the end of a decision chain. The idea could be, to begin with, to build natural, hence need natural floor. Coupled with desires like durability, stone may get shortlisted.
Local or outstation stone becomes the next debate, which leads to the specific type of stone. In a way, the starting point is not stone, but being natural.
This note becomes important here, following the possible feeling that Green Sense is promoting materials for eco-build. It of course does so, aiming at sensitive end products, but starting from a deep concern for the sensitive ecological process.