Stone for Backlighting

When you think of translucent natural stone, what comes to mind? Let’s explore the captivating possibilities inherent in backlit stone surface options. In the past, only a small selection of onyx and alabaster permitted adequate light transmission. However, thanks to advancements in stone thinning processes, many other stones once considered opaque are now used as stunning, naturally luminous materials. These stones are milled to a thickness of just a few millimeters after being laminated to a stable substrate material, such as glass. This is great news for designers, as it expands the range of translucent options from a select few stones to hundreds of newly translucent options.

Exotic stones, quartz, marble, and even select granites now stand as brilliantly luminous canvases for backlit stone installations. Once illuminated, these stones convey a distinct artistic allure that only Mother Nature can provide. However, due to their expressive and often dramatic nature, achieving “perceived balance” lighting becomes a real challenge. The natural movements and characteristics within the stone can create the appearance of lighting imbalances on the surface. The variations in mineral concentrations and densities present in the stone can slow down the transmission of light, resulting in “colder” or “darker” spots on the surface. While less dense areas of the natural stone can appear “hot” or too bright.

On the other hand, the presence of highly transmissive quartz or less dense mineral deposits can create hot or bright spots on the surface. To address these issues, local lighting control becomes essential. By working with experienced turnkey stone and lighting providers, you can identify these areas and plan for local adjustments to improve the natural surface and achieve a balanced effect through dimming and local corrective control. While working with natural stone poses challenges, its ability to create distinctively expressive works of art is unparalleled.

Considerations to better balance the surface with techniques in lighting control in combination with diffusion strategies to correct the natural differences from the stone better will provide a more harmonious natural expression in the finished product.