Over the ages, oceans, mountains, fields and plains have been formed, offering a living environment for humanity. But something important was missing: humans sought an abode. We wanted protection and safety, and from this desire, the first huts were built. Houses, villages and cities rose up around them. Entire landscapes changed. Construction became an expression of civilisation. Truffer continues this expression proudly with its 50-million-year-old Vals Stone.
We are familiar with such beautiful ancient sites as the pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the simple farmhouses of Emmental: all are diverse in appearance, and tell equally diverse stories about their builders, residents and communities.
Some constructions survive for thousands of years, others are meant for generations; but all have something in common: they shape our world. Throughout time, architects have been changing and imprinting on our surroundings across the world. Today, being housed and sheltered means more than simply having a roof over your head. Habitation has become an expression of personality, revealing our dreams and expressing our relationships with the environment.
Today's architecture encompasses an enormous range of different stylistic directions and materials spanning countless years. Yet, not everything erected is meant to last forever. Modernity sweeps away many structures before becoming established, which is sometimes a good thing. Nevertheless, how do lasting values that will be admired by later generations develop from constructions? Not everything can be chiselled from stone in the same way that the Greeks built their temples or the fathers of the church erected their cathedrals and palaces long ago. But still, that ancient setting is significant. The feeling of being surrounded by 50-million-year-old materials is quite unique.
The early people living in Vals, Switzerland, built their village's first houses out of stone. Since then, much has changed, but the stones have remained - and the people have continued to use the stone of Vals as a building material for their structures.
The use of this stone extends to modern times and runs around the world with Truffer's Vals Stone products. The famous Bundesplatz in Berne uses the unique material; the Café Fédéral, with its beautiful facade, mirrors itself in the stone. The thought that representatives of the Swiss people walk over the material before they enter the Bundeshaus does Truffer proud.
Vals' world-famous Therme Spa, constructed from the same stone, has become a pilgrimage site. Its architect took inspiration from the beauty of the material and allowed the stone to play the main role in the construction.
In the city of Zurich, strolling across the Sechseläutenplatz, one can again feel the uniqueness of the surroundings in the expanse of Truffer's Vals Stone, its fine colour nuances and glimmering mica platelets. The stone records the mood of the days and seasons, shines with the sun, adapts to the fog and demonstrates its diversity in the rain - the involvement of this stone in architectural planning is a catalyst for inspiration.
Beyond the Swiss borders, too, Vals Stone generates enthusiasm and captivates architects. It allows builders to dream and fascinates onlookers with the creativity, originality and radicalism it enables. Architects must be able to 'read' the stone, however, and implement it in the correct location and in a suitable form so that the material may flourish.
Between a wine cellar in the solitude of Wyoming, a Tokyo art-exhibition space embodying 'precision, diligence and seriousness', and a prominent water-jet-cut stone world map at the Ohio headquarters of the Eaton Corporation, Vals Stone is certainly versatile. Epitomising its potential, a public media library in Paris displays electrifying, radical architecture and sawn stonework in Vals Stone, transitioning seamlessly into a stone roof.
A private villa in Kessel, Belgium, uses Vals Stone to form a dialogue between stone and wood. In the role of stone, sawn precision stonework is layered at heights of 3.1cm, 4.7cm and 6.3cm, with a wall thickness of 8cm. The exterior floor tiles are of the same material, cut in larger dimensions and with the grain of the stone, and transition into the facade, where the stone changes into long planks of layered masonry, cut against the grain.
With the grey-green structure of quartz, feldspar and mica, and its mysterious patterns - some calm and others vivid - Vals Stone takes on yet another appearance in water. Shimmering light reflects off the surface of the water to draw attention to the stone. Perhaps its origin, 50 million years ago, could explain the eternal fascination of this material. It transcends time, prevailing throughout the fast-paced modern architectural era and its myriad new inventions, which each seem to disappear as quickly as they rise.
Truffer quarries its Vals Stone in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland, and manufactures it for a wide variety of stone products. Its factory is equipped with the latest machines for stone processing. Truffer employs around 55 employees and is one of the leading stone companies in Switzerland.
The firm ensures the careful handling of the stone: it does not see the material simply as an industrial product: the unique geology in the valley of Vals caused by the folding of the Alps 50 million years ago makes the stone special. As such, Truffer hopes to continue to use it for extraordinary projects around the world.