Collection by Diana Budds

A Look Inside a Marble Factory

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We're reporting from Almeria, a province in southwestern Spain where surfaces company Cosentino is headquartered. For the past couple of days, we've gotten a first-hand look at how the company manufactures its products—natural stone and engineered surfaces Silestone and the just-announced Dekton. Here we share the journey of a natural marble slab from mountaintop to manufacturing.

Our journey starts millions of years ago, before Spain and Europe as we know it existed.
Cosentino owns a lease to mine this mountain. Here, you can see the various layers of rock in the quarry.
Workers excavate portions of the mountain to determine where the best-quality stone is; they won't go through the...
A diamond-toothed saw cuts the block into slabs.
This saw was one of the originals from the factory and dates from the 1950s.
The cut slabs are buffed and polished.
Then the marble moves to quality control for inspection.
Resin is applied to fill the gaps in pieces with uneven surfaces.
Since some slabs are more fragile than others, a backing is affixed to prevent cracks and breaking.
Then they stick the mat on the back.
Slabs move about the factory on trolleys (somewhat like the cable cars in Dwell's hometown of San Francisco!).
Some slabs are trimmed into tile (these pieces don't have mats on the back).
A computer analyzes each tile, then sorts it by grade.
After sorting, the pieces are boxed and ready to ship to distributers located around the world.
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