The words “evolution” and “stone” aren’t typically heard in the same sentence, but talking with the (very friendly) people at Cosentino’s expanding corporate campus in Almeria, Spain, the words are paired together frequently and effortlessly.
As the creators of Silestone, the antimicrobial quartz-based surfacing material found in kitchens the world over, as well as a host of other innovative products, including Sensa (a revolutionary anti-stain treatment developed for granite) and Eco by Cosentino (a worktop made of 75 percent recycled material), the company has been a leader in steadily pushing the art and science of stone surfacing forward over the past two decades. Along the way, the company has built more than 70 Cosentino centers around the globe—each of which acts as a distribution center as well as a public face to designers and stone masons interested in specifying Cosentino products—and claims a 75 percent share of all quartz surfacing sales in the United States.
But even as the company’s growing brand recognition both in the United States and in developing markets like China is being cemented through slick ad campaigns, celebrity endorsements and high-profile specifications, the evolution of stone continues unabated. According to Francisco Cosentino, president of the Cosentino Group, the bathroom is shaping up to be the next frontier. Silestone’s durability and antimicrobial properties make it an ideal addition to bathrooms, and the company has begun prototyping shower pans with the material, complete with integrated drains and anti-slip surfaces (see the slideshow above for examples). Designers in the United States can expect to see the new range of bathroom products in early 2012.
Other exciting innovations include Cosentino’s seamless Integrity sink, which is fabricated in three-dimensions from a solid piece of Silestone and is perfect for the monolithic look favored by modern designers, and the Nebula family of Silestone colors, which makes use of new technology to create deeper and more natural-looking surfaces. Nebula adds six bold looks (including Lyra and Doradus, shown above) to the Silestone collection, pushing the total number of colors to well over 50.
But perhaps the most exciting development to come from the company is not a product at all. Cosentino is in the midst of a large expansion effort in the United States, and is working to push the number of Cosentino Centers in the states from 15 to 30 in the next three years. The company just recently opened a center in Chicago, and plans to have additional centers in Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, Cincinati and Kansas City by the end of the year. Next year, four centers will be opened in New York City alone, all in an effort to connect with designers and improve distribution.
It’s an aggressive strategy, but certainly not an unexpected one for a company that defines itself through the survival of the fittest.
“There are two ways of competing: one is price, and the other way is making things differently than others,” Francisco Cosentino said during a question and answer session. “We try to make things differently than the rest.”