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IceStone Competition Grand Prize Winner: Kenny Downs, Atlanta
The surfacing material market is a crowded one with many competing products vying for your purchase or specification. The winner in this popularity contest still seems to be mined stone, yet every time a piece of granite, marble or limestone is sliced from the quarry, a non-renewable resource is lost forever.
The better choice – a composite product manufactured domestically from recycled and non-toxic materials by a company committed to sustainable and socially conscious design, and is third-party certified as an ecologically intelligent product.
I’ve got one: IceStone, made from 100% recycled glass and concrete, is handsome, durable, safe – no VOCs – and well-priced. But it’s more.
To begin, it’s made in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a day-lit factory because the founders, Peter Strugatz and Miranda Magagnini, were born and raised there and wanted to create green collar jobs – a phrase they used before it became fashionable – in their community, plus leave a proud legacy for their children.
The founders have created a successful business model – sales doubled last year – grounded in adherence to a code of compliance for products, an ethic of social responsibility to employees, and a long-term commitment to the health and sustainability of the planet.
Magagnini believes this philosophy has brought in business, especially in this economy. “90% of the stone used in this country is imported from other countries,” she states. “Many of the engineered product manufacturers are mining quartz in Madagascar, adding the petrochemical resins in Spain and finally shipping around the world for sale. That’s just not relevant in today’s climate. Our vision is to eventually manufacture IceStone in multiple locations throughout the U.S., close to the sources of both glass supply and distribution.”
Magagnini admits IceStone is not a perfect product because of the cement, which produces CO2 during production, but it’s good enough to earn a Gold Cradle to Cradle certification from MBDC – a rigorous process that caused the company to examine and make some changes to its line, such as eliminating some environmentally problematic pigments.
The owners are constantly looking for ways to improve their product and company. They have recently introduced The Refined Line in response to designer demand. One thing they won’t change – a vigorous adherence to their personal values. Lucky us.