In the hinterland of the state of Ceará, numerous family businesses are undertaking modernization with machinery and selling the limestone with design added value
The products of the Brazilian natural stone company Dois Imãos show how consumer tastes have changed in recent years: for a good 50 years and more, the most monochromatic and uniform varieties were in fashion and sold well, but nowadays stones with natural patterns and color variations within a floor slab are also in demand. The company, located in the interior of the state of Ceará, therefore, also processes the stones from the old waste dumps of the mining.
These are the variants of the Pedra Cariri limestone, in which one can recognize the deposits from the seas of the prehistoric times. Among them are flower-like structures or simply small design studies of nature. Formerly they were sorted out of production.
This aspect of recycling is familiar from the mining of gold or coal: just as the methods of separating common rock from valuable raw material have been refined over the centuries, so too have the old waste dumps been dug up all over again. At the moment, many countries in Europe are discussing the question of whether valuable materials can be recovered from the waste dumps of the 1960s to 1980s.
But Dois Irmãos is not just about the new appreciation of nature’s design. For its part, the company is also adding design to the surfaces of its stone slabs. Currently, geometric shapes are the big theme.
This is sometimes done by hand, because the company is exemplary for the Brazilian hinterland, where mechanization and automation are still to come at the level of small businesses and small villages.
A few years ago, Eluzio Neto took over the company from his parents, just at a moment when they were about to give up because of a whole bundle of difficulties. Eluzio, however, as a studied geoengineer, brought with him the necessary passion for stone.
The idea to enhance his Pedra Cariri with design came to him during a visit to Marmomac. “I’m in love with these patterns,“ he comments of the geometric shapes he came up with.
Currently, he plans to purchase a polishing machine to give the tiles a better finish before working on them by hand, as he told us at the Fortaleza Brazil Stone Fair FBSF 2022. From the national capital on the coast, where Brazil juts out into the Atlantic as if with a knee, it is still about 500 km to his quarrying area of the Pedra Cariri around Nova Olinda – but not a real distance for Brazilians.
The name of Pedra Cariri refers to an indigenous language family in this region of Brazil, located in the south of the state of Ceará immediately on the border with the state of Pernambuco. The limestone has been mined for many generations and has long been supplied to neighboring states. It has a medium hardness (4 to 5 on the Mohs scale), so it is easy to work. It is used for cladding walls or for floor tiles, and recently also for design objects.
(25.01.2023, USA: 01.25.2023)