Neolith® by TheSize
When RCR Arquitectes won the 2017 Pritzker prize, somewhere in Spanish Castellón professionals from TheSize uttered cries of pure joy. Since the celebrated architects had used the company’s flagship product Neolith® in the brand new gastronomic space ‘Enigma’ by El Bulli chef Albert Adrià in Barcelona, at TheSize they realized the Pritzker glory would bring Neolith® more fame than ever before. DAMNº spoke with Mar Esteve Cortes, who is the Marketing Director at TheSize and who belongs to the third generation of the innovative family who invented Natural Stone 2.0.
Eco-sustainable, scratch-resistant and stain-proof, very versatile, looking more authentic than actual slabs of natural stone, recyclable, lighter and bigger, resistant to extremely high as well as extremely low temperatures, more affordable, and available in almost any imaginable color. This is Neolith® by TheSize: 100 % natural, man-made sintered stone slabs that can be used in anything from furniture to swimming pools to façades and ceilings. Composed of sand from various natural stones, and of quartz for strength, silica for stability, clay for elasticity and mineral oxides for the color. This powder mix is then pressed at 400BAR, gets printed and colored, and is ultimately put in an oven at 1200ºC. The high pressure combined with temperature, aka ‘sintering’, results in the signature compacted material.
TheSize was born in 2009 out of the experience of 2 ambitious brothers who had been the owners of Levantina, a natural stone company, created by their father. After they had sold this company, and bolstered with 40 years of experience, they were ready for something new. “At Levantina, a product similar to Neolith was used as a reinforcement for the most delicate stone, attached on the back of marble or granite to make it more resilient. My father and uncle realized that this material had much bigger potential and decided to start a production line where Neolith® was developed as a self-contained product. They created a company to do just that and developed a market that hadn’t existed before. Their passion for natural stone culminated in this new product.”
Neolith® by TheSize was launched in 2009, and already one year later the innovative product started to find its market: “It was a challenge which required a big investment in technology, research and marketing. Each new product meets resistance, as it takes time to train fabricators and installers on how to use and handle the material. However, as soon as industry professionals realized the advantages of Neolith® by TheSize, they proved to be its best ambassadors. “When we were asked at a specialist fair ‘from which quarry do these stone slabs come from?’ we knew we had done a good job.” Even though it’s man-made, Neolith® looks like it comes straight out of the quarry. TheSize launched their new concept and created a market for it in less than 10 years – it’s now exported to more than 70 countries. A huge success in such a short time indeed.
Certain developments were also helping the market in its search for natural stone alternatives. For example, Italian quarries that provide the world’s most sought-after white marble started to become privatized (which produced among others the marble for Michelangelo's David and Rodin’s The Kiss), making it even more scarce and thus expensive. Therefore Neolith® by TheSize comes as a welcome alternative: “White marble, currently on trend for kitchens, is luxurious and delicate in nature, which also means that the material is prone to staining. Meanwhile, Neolith® by TheSize doesn’t absorb stains at all.” The product is also easy to maintain. This, and the fact that it can assume any imaginable color or print – it can look like marble, wood, metal, stainless steel, anything you like - makes it extra interesting for professional and residential kitchens alike.
And for those of us who are wondering if size matters: it does. “When we started, people were most impressed by the unusually large size of our ceramic based sintered stone slabs. So when my dad and my uncle had to find a name for their company, they came up automatically with TheSize.”