For 40 years, Marble Trend Ltd., Canada’s largest supplier of fine natural and sintered stone and porcelain products, has been bringing the look of luxury to residential and professional spaces. The company sources its stone from around the world and offers its products in the form of slabs, flooring, tiles, and mosaics for both interior and exterior use. The company supplies its products not only to Canadian clients but to U.S. ones as well and can ship anywhere in the world.
It was in 1983 that Ernie Luchetta founded Marble Trend in Toronto and was later joined by younger brothers Frank and Tony. More recently, the family company, which maintains a showroom and warehouse in Toronto and sales representatives across North America, has grown to include Ernie’s daughters, Gabriella and Alessandra, and Tony’s son, Anthony.
A very personal touch
In the early years, the business focused solely on Italian marble, with Ernie Luchetta travelling to Northern Italy and quarries in Massa and Carrara, the same area which provided the six-ton block of pure white marble from which Michelangelo sculpted David all of five centuries ago.
Italian marble, formed from limestone in the Mesozoic age, is highly valued for its luxurious crystal-like appearance and lustrous sheen, but in addition to this surface appeal, Ernie Luchetta brought a checklist of requirements to meet for the marble that he hand-selected for his clients.
“I’m looking for slabs that are visually appealing or ‘in vogue’ at the moment,” he says. “Is it a ‘healthy, sound’ material, or does it have inherent issues that need to be taken into consideration?”
A further consideration involves ensuring that the pattern in the slab is balanced throughout. This refers to the wavy lines created when the limestone was transformed by extreme heat and pressure, or the colours which were formed by impurities such as iron oxide or bituminous material, giving tonal variations ranging from grey and black to shades of blue, green, pink, yellow, or brown, making every slab unique.
What this means for the end users, whether designers, architects, contractors, or businesses and homeowners, is that they can have not only the luxury of the finest products but the reassurance of dealing directly with the person who hand-selected the piece.
A family-run business also means continuity, says Gabriella Luchetta, and a focus on customer relationships. “If every time you go to a business you have somebody new helping you, it destroys the relationship aspect. Tony has maintained a customer base for over 30 years and when people return to us, they have the same people to help them,” she explains.
“This happens all the time. People will say, ‘I bought a countertop from you 30 years ago, and now we’re redoing our house, or building a new one, and we want that same quality that will last another 30 years.’ Or we’ve supplied materials for their interior and now they want something for the exterior—for around their pool area, for example. It’s great that we’ve had that imprint on people and it’s amazing to hear.”
Another benefit to clients is the pure passion the family puts into the business. One of Gabriella’s roles is in media and marketing, but she takes on many other roles because, as she says, “When it’s your family business, your heart and soul go into it and you just help out wherever you can. Sometimes I even fall asleep with the phone in my hand, updating our social media accounts.”
So much more than marble
Over the course of 40 years, Marble Trend has expanded the range of surface materials it supplies. With the same exacting standards used to select the finest Italian marble, the company’s offerings have grown to include porcelain, terrazzo, quartz, concrete, wood, glass, brick, granite, feldspar, larvikite, and sintered stone. These are sourced worldwide from 20 countries, including Canada. Ernie Luchetta tells us that the company also exports Canadian stone to Italy and worldwide.
Some unique lines Marble Trend can supply included INAX porcelain tiles, inspired by traditional Japanese culture; Fruilmosaic, a line of handcrafted stone mosaics; and KREOO and LITHOS, leading lines of Italian handcrafted natural stone furnishings such as tables, sinks, and lamps. Ernie Luchetta goes on to describe larvikite, marketed as LUNDHS Real Stone. Found solely in Norway, larvikite is created by the unique geology of the mountainous areas and has been attracting attention from European designers for its versatility.
LUNDHS Real Stone/Larvikite is available as slabs or tiles, needs no sealant treatment, is easy to maintain, and is great for water areas such as spas, backsplashes, countertops, and steam showers, due to its non-absorption properties. It also contains reflective minerals that generate a natural range of colour choices. In keeping with Norway’s progressive stance on environmental issues, the company is ISO-14001 certified. As Larvikite is composed of almost 100 percent feldspar with zero percent quartz, it eliminates any danger of silicosis for workers in Norway or the installers in North America.
The company also plans to recycle 100 percent of leftover Larvikite aggregate by 2025 and to encourage vegetation to return to the Norwegian quarries when they close, so environmentally aware end users can feel good about this product.
Exclusive – Natura sintered stone
“Marble is an ‘imperfectly perfect’ stone,” Gabriella explains. “It tends to show scratches and little dents or bumps with use, and some people don’t like that. They want a perfectly flat, smooth stone, and what Ernie has been able to do for those customers is source some of the best-sintered stone on the market, becoming the exclusive distributor for Natura, which is made in Italy.”
Sintering is the process of grinding and compacting leftover pebbles and rock-sized bits from quarries that would otherwise go to waste and forming a solid mass of material by applying heat and pressure, without melting the material to the point of liquefaction. Sintering is similar to the metamorphic geological processes that occur naturally and transform limestone into marble.
Sintered stone differs from other engineered stones, however, which use a similar process to convert aggregate into a solid mass. Sintered stone is carbon-neutral and 100 percent natural, whereas other engineered stones are a composite of stone and other substances, including polymer resins.
Natura sintered stone has many benefits. It’s hard—more so than some granite surfaces—and non-porous, so doesn’t require a sealant. Hence it’s scratch-resistant, durable, stain-resistant, heat-resistant, food-safe, and unaffected by UV rays.
The Natura line of products is tailored to suit specific needs. Natura is ideal for interior use, including elegant wall panelling and fireplace surrounds as well as countertops and backsplashes, but also outdoors around pool areas and cabanas, while the Natura Esterno line offers high durability and load capacity for outdoor applications, including patio flooring, steps, and interlocking pavers.
Indeed, the benefits of sintered stone sound quite remarkable. But what about the unique patterns that make natural stone so attractive? Are they sacrificed in the effort to produce a sturdier, more durable product?
Through the magic of digital printing, it turns out they are not, “and the slab can be made to have a marble, onyx, concrete, brick, or any other surface pattern,” Gabriella says. The possibilities are inspiring, with over 300 patterns within the collections, making choosing just one the most difficult part.
Marble Trend is currently looking forward to a launch party for Natura Sintered Stone at its newly renovated showroom in October for invited key industry guests—architects, designers, and construction engineers. “We’ll have a little shindig, with music and food and the opportunity to taste some of the fine wine Ernie imports from Italy,” Gabriella shares. “We launched the line during COVID, and that was hard… but now we’re going to seriously promote it. I think once people see the samples for themselves and hear Ernie speak on the Natura products, they’ll understand that this is a truly incredible product.”