In late fall of 2017, Lionakis Principal Laura Knauss was invited to travel to Madrid and Almeria, Spain with a small group of other highly regarded architects and their partners through AIA and a surface design brand based in Almeria, called Cosentino. Cosentino is a family owned business that is primarily a manufacturer of architectural solid surface products for both interiors and exteriors. Upon arrival in Madrid, the group went on a corporate headquarters tour, met with the President and learned all about the company’s top-selling architectural materials, Dekton and Silestone.
In 1940, Eduarda and Eduardo Cosentino began quarrying and basic processing of marble. Over the years as the company grew and diversified and incorporated the ideas of their three children, Cosentino became world renowned for interior surface products such as Eco, which is a recycled material; Sensa, which is a line of granite with unique anti-stain qualities and most recently, Dekton – an innovative and ultra-compact surface that can be used outside and is revolutionizing the world of architecture and design worldwide.
After touring the headquarters and learning about the process behind each of the company’s unique products, the team was delighted to experience an intimate Spanish cooking session and then be able to sit down to a beautiful lunch together before finally boarding a tour bus to make the trip to the quarry in Almeria.
Silestone, Cosentino’s first product release other than marble, was first manufactured in 1990 and within five years had become a huge success in the European kitchen worktop sector. Laura and the other Principals were invited to tour the facilities in part to be able to help Cosentino introduce their products to the United States. Cosentino was very gracious to host the team, facilitate roundtable discussions and seek Principal input as their trusted advisors while navigating the expansion of their markets across the pond.
The advisory group met with technology representatives, toured the quarry and the processing plant as they discussed strategies as to how to inform the design and architectural community about these remarkable products. Logistically, there are now 24 United States based offices and over 90 worldwide! They are growing rapidly and expect to open two large port distribution centers in Texas and Virginia as well as 14 US-based factories and transformation plants.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip full of opportunities to learn, collaborate, tour and create. From delicious local foods, gracious hosts, and a plethora of architecturally stimulating content – it was the trip of a lifetime. With thanks again to the President, Francisco Martinez and the generous Staff of Cosentino and AIA for making this possible.