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How to Choose the Right Natural Stone for Your Commercial Project

Natural stone is a timeless and elegant choice for enhancing the design of any commercial property. From luxurious marble to robust granite and versatile slate, the selection of natural stone can significantly influence the ambience and functionality of a commercial space. The careful consideration of various factors, including durability, aesthetic appeal, and maintenance requirements, is vital in ensuring you have selected the perfect natural stone for your commercial project.

Understanding the specific requirements of the commercial space

Analyzing the foot traffic and usage patterns

Due to the volume and type of traffic in a commercial environment, the stone surface must be fit for purpose in terms of these factors. Therefore, we recommend a stone that is:

Identifying the specific areas where natural stone will be utilised

In most cases, the placement of stone throughout a commercial property’s design will be dictated by an interior designer based on aesthetics. The stone’s characteristics need to match the property’s overall design, and interior design studios will evaluate this based on colour, texture, and pattern in accordance with the overall ambience, also taking into consideration the impact of natural light on different stone types. From there, an analysis of where the stone is being used and the features required in order for the stone to be fit for use in that particular application is conducted.

Typically, natural stone is used on commercial projects in the following main applications, adhering to the correct guidelines for each area:

Internal Application Flooring

Stone flooring used at the ingress point of a building – where users might be entering with wet shoes – is subject to more stringent anti-slip requirements. This means that the stone used in the lobby entrance will likely be required in a rougher finish (such as a flamed or sandblasted finish) compared to the same stone being used in an internal passage where the user is unlikely to have wet shoes and therefore the stone finish can have a smoother finish (honed or polished).

Toilet washrooms also require floor tiles to meet stringent anti-slip requirements. Additionally, toilet areas are subject to frequent and rigorous cleaning and the stone product used as flooring needs to be able to cope with both the anti-slip requirements and the harsh maintenance regime often associated with commercial toilets.

External Application Flooring

Stone flooring in outdoor areas needs to be able to cope with direct exposure to the UV effects of the sun, heating and cooling through the seasons and the wet-dry cycle in the rain period. In addition, the stone will likely be subject to organic matter that is left to decay on the surface resulting in the potential for staining. External stone paving must meet the highest level (P5 rating) for anti-slip. Usually, external application stone flooring is used in a flamed or sandblasted finish to achieve the required slip rating. The rougher the surface, the more open the stone’s surface is at a microscopic level, and this means the surface is harder to maintain. For this reason, stone with a very low porosity and a high density is required.

Wall Cladding

Natural stone is used as wall cladding (horizontal application) mainly due to the durability of natural stone and its aesthetic properties.

Stone cladding using natural stone is done for both internal and external applications. The size of the cladding panels and the height that the panels extend affect the stone selection as follows:

Benchtop Application

Natural stone may also be used as kitchen benchtops in an office break-out area, vanity tops in the washrooms, receptionist desks and benchtop applications in a lobby café or food outlet.

Besides the aesthetic requirements of a stone, its durability characteristics may also be of relevance depending on the intended application. As an example, a low maintenance stone (low absorption, non-reactive to acids, etc) is relevant when selecting a stone for a working surface such as a café countertop. Equally, the durability characteristics of a stone will be less relevant when selecting a feature stone for a high-impact reception desk.

Stone Placement for the Darling Quarter Lobby project

The Darling Quarter Commercial Project in Collaboration with Hammond Studio saw the reinvention of The Darling Quarter’s South Building lobby & café for Lend Lease – three years in the making.

Worldstone, working under the instruction of Hammond Studio, had the challenge of finding suitable stone selections that were fit for purpose and in line with the architect’s elegant design intent. For this high-traffic area, it was decided to utilise natural stone for the internal flooring including the staircase to level 1 and cafe benchtop to bring a strong luxury aesthetic to the space.

Assessing the different types of natural stone

The stone selections for commercial projects are based on both aesthetics and functional requirements. Here are a few popular choices for natural stone in commercial projects: 


This remains a popular choice for very large scale commercial projects. Granite is popular for the following reasons:

The most limiting factor about Granite is aesthetic; its colours and patterns are less exotic and interesting compared to marble and quartzites.

Where a project scale is smaller and there is a higher level of detailing and design, the selections may include other stone types such as marble, travertine and quartzite.

View our range of Granite


Available in an endless variety of colours and patterns, marble is widely regarded as the most beautiful of the natural stones. The stones with the whitest backgrounds are marble, and white remains the preferred choice for many applications as it offers a clean, minimalist look – seamlessly fitting in with the rest of the design.

Marble is however susceptible to etching; the reaction between acidic substances and the calcium content in the stone. Marble is generally more absorbent compared to granite and quartzite and this characteristic of marble will influence a client’s decision depending on the ranking of the selection criteria.

View our range of Marble


Travertine is a sedimentary stone. It is characterised by a structure that has holes and this is characteristic of the stone. In many situations, the holes are left unfilled, usually for applications where travertine is used as vertical cladding material. Travertine has an earthy aesthetic and the tactile nature of travertine has ensured its enduring popularity through the ages. Although travertine has a relatively low density, it performs well in many different applications including floor and wall tiles and slab applications for benchtop and wall cladding.

One of the advantages of travertine is that if well maintained the travertine ages gracefully over time. Travertine is suitable also for high traffic floor applications such as museums and retail stores – the NSW Art Gallery is an example of such a flooring application. In general, travertine is not recommended for commercial wet areas.  

View our range of Travertine


Quartzites have grown in popularity in recent years for several reasons. Quartzites are in general very hard and durable and unlike marble and limestone are non-reactive to acid substances. This means that quartzites do not acid-etch. We recommend sealing quartzite with a penetrating sealer to assist in the maintenance of the stone.

From a design perspective, quartzites are now available in a huge array of striking colours and patterns. The array of quartzites available is due to the opening of many new quarries in Brazil, the main supplier of quartzites in the world. Interior design trends have also shifted in recent years to embrace stones with stronger patterning and colours.

From a price perspective, the increased availability of quartzites has provided the consumer with lower priced stone alternatives to some of the classic marble selections that in some cases have become expensive.

View our range of Quartzite

The stones chosen for the Darling Quarter Lobby project

Bintang Tuff Floor Tiles (Flamed and Brushed)

Due to the high-traffic nature of the lobby area, the stone needed to be low maintenance, durable and available in a rougher finish to adhere to anti-slip requirements, while still nodding to the elegant aesthetic of the light-filled space. Our Bintang Tuff Floor Tile (in a flamed and brushed finish), was the perfect selection for the internal flooring – a volcanic stone, it is known for its durability and its unusual combination of colours that have formed through compacted volcanic ash over a millennium. Bintang has a lightness and freshness about it with a steel grey and warm pink colour palette. This stone formed the basis for the entire colour scheme of this project, with Hammond Studio using this stone to help make selections on timber accents and the eye-catching stone for the benchtop in the café area.

“We were really looking for a stone that would perform well, has lighter tones in it, so it reflects daylight around the space, which was really a conscious decision to create a light, fresh environment for people walking into the lobby.”

– Todd Hammond, Director at Hammond Studio

Blush Quartz

For the cafe benchtop, Hammond Studio wanted a stone that was durable and striking, but also a stone to act as the balancing element between the Bintang Tuff floor, the contrasting timber and the metallic finishes. For this, Hammond Studio selected Blush Quartz, a stone that truly announces its presence within the space and highlights the café as a showpiece in this design. Blush Quartz is a Premium stone from Brazil notable for its translucent structure and beautiful pink shading. Natural Quartz stone is very dense and durable with a very low porosity making for an ideal stone to be used in the Café application.

Due to the high-end nature of this project, the budget allowed for a wider choice of materials such as the Blush Quartz used extensively in the café and also the solid carved detailing on the staircase done using Bintang Tuff.

Argo Black Marble

Our Argo Black Marble was also utilised in this design as wall cladding. The stone was chosen for its subtlety as the wall cladding finish in the lift lobby. The gentle white veining clearly identifies the stone as a natural product without it dominating the other features included by the architect in that space.

We Specialise in Commercial Projects

In the Darling Quarter Lobby project, commercial budget considerations, and the strong luxury aesthetic have all been met through the stone choices.

“Paul was great to deal with…understanding what was achievable and what wasn’t achievable with the materials we were working with, getting some of the offshore stone-masons to do some fairly complex carving and curves and geometry which is definitely not typical…we were relied on Paul for being that conduit with the offshore stone masons and he did a great job of it.”

– Todd Hammond, Director at Hammond Studio

Worldstone is a natural stone supplier and distributor in Australia, working with architects and interior designers to deliver stone for commercial projects in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. If you would like to work with Worldstone on your next commercial project, we invite you to contact us today by filling out this form or calling us on +61 2 8335 0700.

Our showroom is open Monday to Friday (9am – 5pm) by appointment only. Please contact us to book your appointment today.

The team is ready to provide you with the finest selection of stone and marble, backed by our unwavering commitment to quality and exceptional service.