touring the world: ten ideas for designing paths and squares with natural stone

Eichhornstrasse in Würzburg.

Our examples show animals of all kinds, a bit of Crazy Paving and – of course – a lot of geometry

Coverings made of natural stone for paths and squares perfectly fulfill the imperative of sustainability: the material consumes very little gray energy during quarrying and subsequent processing. Afterwards, the pavements are durable for generations, and they do not grow old in the process, but rather acquire a patina. After all, they can be reconditioned many times over.

It is not just the idea of sustainability that is important in this topic: with today’s technologies, natural stone can be cost-effectively shaped into interesting forms, so that a covering for paths and squares can be more than just a rigid pattern.

We have once again gone into our archives and compiled examples from all over the world.

Eichhornstrasse in Würzburg.In the German city of Würzburg not far from Nuremberg (the site of the Stone+tec trade fair, June 22 – 25, 2022), there is Eichhornstrasse, which bears the name of a famous citizen (the name is very similar to the German word for the English squirrel). The street was turned into a pedestrian zone a few years ago, and they embellished some of the floor slabs with squirrel inlays made of granite and stainless steel. Just imagine: in some places there is a neighborhood with flower names or one where famous poets or musicians are commemorated…
Würzburg coat of arms.In front of the city hall in Würzburg there is the city coat of arms as a mosaic with local sandstone.

Private parking lot in Beijing.Private parking lot in Beijing.Let us stay with animal-themed flooring for a moment. In Beijing, we saw a private parking lot where one corner was designed with an elaborate image of panda bears and cranes.

Bouncy game of Animum Ludendo Coles.Of course, here again we must refer to the wonderful bouncy games of Animum Ludendo Coles, where ducks, geese and other creatures from old fairy tales play a role. The works of the Italian company are the high art of designing public spaces, and they pay off in the well-being of the small and large citizens.

Crazy Paving somewhere in Brazil.Here, too, everything is, of course, a question of cost. For tight budgets, the so-called crazy paving is an option: on the one hand, there are no specifications as to how a pattern should look, and on the other hand, there are no regulations as to what can be laid. The only condition is: the whole thing must be walkable without tripping hazards.

Fortaleza, the capital of Brazil's Cerará state.Fortaleza, the capital of Brazil's Cerará stateIn Fortaleza, the capital of Brazil’s Cerará state, we had seen examples of sidewalks that are a joy to walk by.

Courtyard entrance in Milan.This example of a courtyard entrance in Milan is much more noble because it is elaborately fitted and made of marble. In our picture, did the owner of the house (left) put on shoes that almost matched the color of the flooring for the photo?

But you cannot design a large square with this kind of crazy paving, because people wouldn’t like to enter it. This is where classical geometry comes in handy.Knud Knudsens Plass, Oslo.Trapezes, for example, offer a wide range of possibilities, as here on Knud Knudsens Plass (Knud Knudsens Square) in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

Redesign of Times Square by the architects of Snøhetta.Blends of simple rectangles can be used to effectively yet unobtrusively direct pedestrian flows, as done here in the redesign of Times Square by the architects of Snøhetta.

Station forecourt in Berlaar, Belgium.The small-scale geometry of the station forecourt in Berlaar, Belgium, is almost rabid.

Crosswalk in the Swedish city of Jönköping.But: not everything need always to be square, this also applies to road traffic. One example is this crosswalk in the Swedish city of Jönköping in the south of the country. The street is traffic-calmed, so despite the unusual design, there are hardly any problems to be expected between motorists or pedestrians.

If you, dear readers, know of any examples, post them on our Facebook channels:

Architecture and Art with Natural Stone

Product Design and Art with Natural Stone

(21.01.2022, USA: 21.01.2022)