Brazil, China, India, Italy, Madagascar, Turkey — these are just a few of the far-flung locales Aria Stone Gallery scouts for exclusive quarries to stock its collections of hand-selected, exotic natural stone. Each piece is an artwork as unique as a fingerprint — only much larger. Aria’s luxury stones are as vast as 137 by 74 inches and as thick as a full inch, in colors ranging from black to metallic, translucent to pink. You can find granite and marble, of course, but also calcite, dolomite and onyx, each of which can be brushed, honed, leathered or polished.
We caught up with April Graves, Vice President of Aria Stone Gallery, to learn a little more about this Design District gem.
Dallas Design District (DDD): What do you love most about being in the Dallas Design District?
Aria Stone Gallery (ASG): My favorite part of Aria Stone Gallery being in the Dallas Design District is that everything is walking distance and you don’t have to drive! The setup is so convenient that it makes finding matching tiles or plumbing, for example, an easy task. As a homeowner also working on a bathroom remodel, I have to say it has been really easy to work with the other showrooms in the district and to gain a fresh perspective on areas that fall outside our specialty. They are very friendly and have been a pleasure to collaborate with.
DDD: How would you describe the showroom style of Aria Stone Gallery?
ASG: In Aria’s Dallas showroom, we lean toward a clean and modern presentation with added elements of warmth throughout the furnishings.
DDD: What’s trending now in the exotic, luxury stone/slab industry?
ASG: Italian white marbles from the Borghini quarry are a classic must-have. As far as trending, bold vein book matches are a trend we’re seeing as more people shy away from subtle veins and stones with a relatively uniform and muted color palette.
DDD: In your opinion, what are the benefits of choosing stone/slab as opposed to wood or steel?
ASG: In my opinion, stone can be more forgiving in the Texas heat. I personally prefer stone over wood because I believe it wears better with age, and I don’t like the rustic aesthetic of wood in high-traffic areas. Being Mother Nature’s original building material, stone has stood the test of time. According to the Marble Institute of America, “natural stone stands up to weathering and time better than any other building material, natural or manmade.” Just look at the Egyptian pyramids, the Parthenon or any ancient city to see that natural stone is the most sustainable building material available. Regarding steel, I believe it has a place in the home but the surface is very reflective and, in my opinion, not as forgiving with scratches as stone is. With stone, there are many variations in durability, as well as surface finishes/textures and vein patterns that are more forgiving than steel. If it were my house, I would use steel as an accent in areas that don’t have high interactions so the steel’s reflective surface could remain pristine.
DDD: What’s one aspect of working with and installing stone/slab that your clients are most surprised to learn?
ASG: Too frequently, people are under the misconception that stone is to be used only for countertop surfaces. Aria has been working to bring awareness to applications for stone beyond counter surfaces such as artwork wall installations, a replacement for tiled backsplashes and showers, custom furniture and fireplace facing. Plus, having less grout to clean makes for a happy homeowner.
DDD: Which exotic, luxury stone collections are you currently most excited about? What differentiates Aria Stone Gallery from its competitors?
ASG: The most sought-after stones in the world come from remote places such as Brazil, Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the blocks mined in such quarries yield what are considered “first quality” slabs. As a result, it’s our estimation that 70 to 80 percent of all stone imported into the United States is not first quality material, meaning that a slab may be fine structurally but not as rich in color or as well-balanced in its veining and movement as in premium slabs. Aria Stone Gallery is probably one of a handful of U.S. importers that ONLY brings in first quality slabs, 100 percent of the time, no exceptions. We are most likely the strictest, most demanding importer in the country. Therefore, our stones are the cleanest, most consistent and most unique. You might see a similar stone at another provider, but it won’t have the same color, pattern or consistency. We only choose the top 2 percent of stone mined. The constant pursuit of the perfect slab is what truly defines Aria and differentiates us. There are a few names you will likely always see but only if they are truly beautiful. For instance, Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra is the most exclusive and beautiful Italian marble. We usually have a bundle or two in the showroom, but if the mountain stops producing it, you won’t see it at Aria. Another unique aspect of Aria is our transparency. Aria is the only stone provider that provides pricing, origin, size, etc., to both the public and trade.
DDD: How was this year’s <Art/Code> event? Any other exciting events coming up this fall for which we should mark our calendars?
ASG: It was great. The worlds of art and code collided to create one inspiring and creative event. Dallas’ top digital artists beautifully took digital design to new electronic heights. We teamed up with Digital Dallas and Dallas Innovates to host this one-of-a-kind evening. One of the Dallas Innovates organizers beautifully described the artists, whose works were created by writing code, pushing pixels or doing crazy things with light, electronics and even brain waves, as “Digital da Vincis.” Installations ranged from live 3D printing to interactive animated projections and mind-controlled art. View the images from the event here, and check out our Aria Stone Gallery Events page for special upcoming events.
DDD: Complete this sentence: “Every home should have…"
Every home should have unique and one-of-a-kind natural stone to set it apart from the “Joneses.”
Aria Stone's Dallas location is open to the trade and the public from 9AM to 5:30PM Monday through Friday and from 11AM to 4PM Saturday. You can find the showroom at 1617 Hi Line Drive, Ste. 310, or by phone at 214-939-8000.