Natural stone like Porphyry is making a great comeback in homes with a contemporary design. Stone is non polluting, durable, maintainable and sometimes more affordable than in the past and appeals to designers and project owners alike, attracted by stone’s timeliness.

Another in the fabulous Stone Notebooks series, devoted to Stone and Architecture – Interiors is available here. This 20 page delight is full of design commentary, drawings in plan view and section, and multiple photographs of selected projects. They have been chosen by the creator of this series, Pierres & Marbres Wallonie, for their originality or their classicism, their simplicity or a specific construction detail. 

Download the Guide


Natural stone is a material well suited to its time. It is authentic and conjures up the diversity of the mineral world and, in a certain way, the richness of nature. Because it is never quite the same and, while keeping its essential qualities intact, it gives each construction project its unique character. Because it can easily integrate into a sustainable development approach, today, stone has its place in all building processes; the natural stone does not pollute the environment and the different processing stages consume little energy compared with some other materials used for similar purposes.

Indoors, designers like stone’s properties such as stability in time, its unchangeable colors and appearances, its ease of maintenance and its ability to blend into the environment while respecting and enhancing it. The latest progress in stone processing means that natural stone favors original achievements in a good many areas in the home: floors, walls, work surfaces and receptacles, furniture and decoration, whether simplicity or technological complexity are required. Its character and the spirit that it exudes mean that stone is unashamedly trendy and will never go out of fashion.

Saracen Vault Featured

Imagined over 4,000 years ago by the Sumerians, the technique of the Sarecen vault continues to be used in the 21st century, apart from some subtle differences in materials; this stone staircase has many qualities and those qualities are aesthetic, constructive and economical.

Built by working forward and without scaffolding, the Saracen vault staircase is self supporting, simply bedded into the wall by its stone steps and risers, to a depth of only 5 cm. The rest is made of bricks and plaster. No shuttering, no foundation, no joints and little upkeep, it can be built anywhere in three days, whether the building is new or being rehabilitated. This little architectural wonder has its followers, notably among the Compagnons du Devoir, a French organization of craftsmen and artisans, who have a heritage of handing down know-how to future generations.


The PIERRES ET MARBRES DE WALLONIE association provides information about stone and its applications to the general public, architects, contractors and public authorities.  The promotion platform for natural Belgian stone recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The association’s target public remains architects, businesses and public services, but also private individuals who have access to quality information on stone and its applications, both in old buildings and in more contemporary constructions.

Those activities include the publication of works and brochures, the organization of events, exhibitions and conferences and participation in national and international trade fairs. Wallonia is the predominantly French speaking southern region of Belgium.  It is governed as the Walloon Region, which makes up 55% of the territory of Belgium but with only a third of its population.


Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  The products are available in North America from Milestone Imports.  –