Dotting and Dabbing

3 June, 2017

"A Queen Anne facade with a Queen Mary behind."

John Edward Tyrell, Architect

While waiting for a boat in a Sardinian harbour, I see the following happening to a public seat. I see 20mm granite slabs purchased from China and installed poorly. The substrate for the granite slabs is cast concrete, which is my opinion could have been left to its own defences without the need for cladding. The seat under interrogation is approximately 40 meters long, so the material purchase for the client and the carbon content for delivery was completely unnecessary. The incongruous paradox is ultimately that most of the geological make up of the island of Sardinia, is natural granite. The old towns are made up unmistakably from this silvered stone. Over the centuries, the roads, the pavements, the buildings, the tombstones, the walls have been made by the locals from the material beneath their feet.

The new granite, which is not the same texture or hue as the indigenous version, arrives from the Orient, perfectly cut to size by a machine. Due to it thinness, the hot summer of Sardinia and its poor installation many of the slabs are peeling off. I have no interest in criticising people without the full knowledge of the situation, but with six dabbed and dotted cement adhesives onto each slab, it means that the percentage of cement contact between concrete substrate and granite slab is very small - thus the malpractice. This problem which is prevalent along the seat, creates a secondary risk associated with blame and rectification. Damages could be sought which can involve more unnecessary carbon spent. So as is with the crazed globalised world, a client seeked lower costs to secure granite from China rather than their homeland it has created inefficient problems. This is small and insignificant example of what is happening every second of every day in every country of the world. How can we change this mindset?