Visiting stone sights in the Xiamen area and natural and artificial stone companies

South Putuo Temple.

The China Stone Material Association CSMA) organized excursions for architects to the surroundings of the fair city

As part of the Xiamen Stone Fair, the China Stone Material Association (CSMA) invited architects to visit companies in the vicinity of the fair as well as places of interest there. Its members include representatives from both the natural stone and artificial stone sectors. We were invited like last year.

South Putuo Temple

South Putuo Temple.The first destination this time was the South Putuo Temple (Nanputo Temple) in the urban area of Xiamen. The temple dates back to the year 900. Alongside its counterpart in the east of the country in Zhejinang province, the complex is considered one of the most important examples of Buddhist worship and architecture.
There is a monastery with numerous monks at the site in Xiamen.

South Putuo Temple.The use of natural stone in the steps, for example, was particularly impressive: some of the steps are over 4 meters wide – and made from a single piece of granite, which was quarried in the surrounding area.

South Putuo Temple.The stone pillars and columns that bear the weight of the clay-tiled roofs are also striking. The contrast between the solidity of the stones and the filigree decorative elements on the roofs made of colorful ceramics is charming.

South Putuo Temple.Numerous details on the walls testify to the skill of the local stonemasons.

Huahui Stone City

Huahui Stone City.Huahui Stone City.The next stop was Huahui Stone City in the city of Nan’an, just under 100 km away by road. It is a large complex of halls where the wholesaler Huahui rents out space to dealers. All types of natural stone or engineered stone available in the country can be found there.

Huahui is said to operate numerous such facilities spread all over China – in terms of size, the one in Nan’an rightly deserves the title “Stone City.“

The tenant companies have a small pulpit for their offices above their sales area, where their slabs are displayed.

There is a special hall for white marble with a classy decor. Italian varieties, which are currently all the rage on the Chinese market, are on display.

Huahui Stone


Huabao company.Huabao company.One of the tenants in Stone City is the company Huabao. A few years ago, it was already a pioneer in China in product design with natural stone. In the meantime, it seems to have shifted its focus entirely to engineered stone, while retaining its design orientation.

For the first time, we saw 3D objects made of solid engineered stone, produced in the classic manner of sculptural objects from a solid raw block, so to speak. It was a bench and a sculpture.

Huabao company.Until now, engineered stone had only been used for slabs.


Manson Nature Stone

Manson company.Manson company.The next destination for the group of visitors was the Manson company. They surprised us with a showroom full of shelves with small natural stone samples. At the end of the construction, 20,000 samples will be on display. These are not always different types of stone; many samples show detailed variations of surfaces, such as the thickness with which a surface is polished.

The company invites architects and students to get to know the variety of stones and finishes. The showroom is complemented by access to the virtual warehouse of slabs that the company currently has in stock.

Manson Nature Stone

Wanli Stone Group

Wanli Stone.Wanli Stone.The last company visit took place at Wanli Stone. The group of companies is one of the big four in China’s stone industry. It is listed on the stock exchange and has supplied natural stone for the flooring of countless airports and metro stations. It can also boast complete hotel or residential complexes worldwide. On its website, it lists its annual production: 100,000 m³ of blocks, 3,000,000 m² of slabs and tiles, 20,000 m³ of products for gardens and special projects. 1500 containers of tombstones.

We do not want to show the factory here – it looks like other factories, albeit larger than most and spread across locations throughout the country.

Rather, we noticed two peculiarities: one is a long row of about 50 green plants on a pole across a factory floor – the coating on their leaves is said to warn of the dust of the factory, and each employee has their own plant to look after.

The second curiosity was the main building on the site. It is unmistakably colonial in style but was only built 20 years ago. In company jargon, it is nicknamed the “White House.“

Wanli Stone Group

Min Nan residential complex

Min Nan residential complex in the village of Guanqiao Zhangli.Min Nan residential complex in the village of Guanqiao Zhangli.The last tourist destination on our trip was the Min Nan residential complex in the village of Guanqiao Zhangli in the city of Nan‘an. It was built by and for the Cai family and consists of uniform houses with a total of around 400 rooms. The low houses are closely lined up and connected by narrow corridors, which is an unmistakable indication of community and living together. The roofs with dovetail-shaped ridges are striking.

Min Nan residential complex in the village of Guanqiao Zhangli.Min Nan residential complex in the village of Guanqiao Zhangli.

The materials used for the façades also emphasize the unity: granite for the bases of the buildings and bricks with playful designs above.

During the day, the complex is full of tourists from China and abroad. After 6 p.m. it suddenly becomes quiet, and only occasionally does one of the locals walk past. Somehow, you are then in one of those worlds from the past that have been preserved in some places.

Min Nan

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(24.04.2024, USA: 04.24.2024)