Phipps Plaza: Upscale Mall's Flooring Wishes are Carved in Stone

Display & Design Ideas - November, 1994

Phipps Plaza, Atlanta

Phipps Plaza, Atlanta

ornamentations - were placed in positions to highlight various focal points in the mall and to lead traffic in certain directions. One medallion, covering a rest area of the mall floor, creates a courtyard effect. The oval, circular and border designs on the floor were to make a cohesive statement with the signage, by matching colors and incorporating the same brass used in the graphics into the flooring.

The marble floor includes such colors as amarillo, verde antique, white carrara, negro, marquina and various tones of travertine.■

(See also Heartwise: Cutting a floor, naturally)

When Phipps Plaza, Atlanta's elegant shopping mall, needed a: renovation, developers looked to Creative Edge Corp. of Fairfield, Iowa, to meet the several challenges head on: time constraints, transporting the marble, using such a fragile material for such a high-traffic use and the need to match a series of varied, intricate design patterns.

"We're often asked to custom- design floors, as was the case with the Giants' and Jets' football helmets that we cut and assembled for the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., a few years ago," says Harri Aalto, CEC's co-owner. "But in the case of Phipps, we were given very specific parameters. Approved designs were handed to us, and our customers were emphatic that the upscale look of this plaza was to be evident in each of the stone floor medallions. We were told to make them as close to perfection as humanly possible."

By using the waterjet-cutting process (see above) which does not give off a lot of heat, CEC was able to cut the delicate designs out of the marble without damaging the material. Aalto says the mixture of steam and water passes through the material almost instantly at three times the speed of sound. The developers at Phipps considered using a router to cut the marble, but the immense pressure on the stone would have broken it.

Sixteen medallions ranging in size from three feet to 120 feet - 10,000 sq. ft. of stone