Peter’s Corner: how do quarry photos affect the target group from architecture and interior design nowadays – are the images interpreted as use of nature or rather as its destruction?

Peter Becker, editor-in-chief, Stone-Ideas.com

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The Italian company Salvatori, known for innovative ideas for everyday products made of natural stone and always on the ball with trends, highlighted the role of 4 well-known women for global design in an email from March this year.

This is an opportunity for us to take another look at a familiar topic: women and natural stone. But this time, our topic is not about equal opportunities, i.e., their access to this sector of the economy as well, but about marketing for the stone sector: it is well known that the number of women in both architecture and interior design is very high.

How does the stone sector address the (female) target group?

One can state that a lot has happened in the branch in recent years here. Just 2 examples: At the Natural Stone Institute, there is the “Women in Stone“ initiative, which brings the female gaze into the marketing of stone; in Italy, the “Donne del Marmo“ group usually awarded a prize at Marmomac.

However, the web pages of some companies are still dominated by the male view of the mountains from the sandbox: they prefer to show large machines that people would have liked to play with as children, and they also like to show scenes where, for example, a rock face is being smashed with dynamite.

It is questionable whether such images appeal to the female part of the target group, and also: whether they will reach the male architects at all. The same applies to the aerial shots showing a mountain dissected into terraces.

Once such images were understood as a sign of modernity and domination over nature – but in the meantime the world has moved on and the symbols have changed. Smoking chimneys are a drastic example: they no longer have a positive image, but stand for environmental destruction and, more recently, for climate catastrophe. Incidentally, with such motifs it doesn’t matter at all whether smoke is really coming out of the chimneys from combustion or whether it’s just water vapor.

Back to the quarries. On the other hand, the impression that guests get of natural stone and the industry during a live visit to the quarry is definitely positive. We quote a quarry operator who says, “When I have the people in the quarry, I sell my stones.“

Live on site, the quarry is always fascinating, whether abandoned or in operation.

But for mere quarry pictures published in the media or on the Internet:
* photos are effective only if they show the quarry as an extraordinary landscape geometry. Terraces with blocks standing around or parked wheel loaders only depict a disfigured world;
* instead of presenting a cleared landscape, it is better to show the life in it, i.e., the life zones in both abandoned and active quarries, where endangered animals and plants have settled;
* Raw blocks appeal to no one but the stone companies themselves. Natural stone works much better in application, that is, on facades, on floors, in countertops, in sculptures, where it can develop its aesthetics.

(11.04.2022, USA: 04.11.2022)