Distinctive, durable and versatile, Kilkenny Blue Limestone has been used architecturally since the stone age.
Sourced from the Kilkenny/Kilkenny region of South East Ireland, this material’s rich local heritage, unique appearance and mechanical strength makes it a an elegant and timeless choice for landmark projects, large or small.
Discover our top five reasons to love Kilkenny Blue Limestone:
1. A statement blue hue for striking landscape design
This unique stone has a renowned and distinctive blue hue that becomes more vivid with time – perfect for creating powerful landscapes, stand out design features, or subtle detailing.
A great example of how architects can maximise this aesthetic appeal can be seen in the award-winning More London Project – a stunning streetscape containing a three-hector plaza, centred around City Hall on the south banks of the Thames. This regeneration scheme used Kilkenny Blue Limestone over a large public space to create a breath-taking effect.
Architects at Foster + Partners opted for a flame-textured variety of the stone which was laid in random-length strips laid in a unidirectional pattern to create the impression of sweeping through the cityscape. An added ‘wow-factor’ was created by the dramatic sunken limestone amphitheatre known as ‘The Scoop’, which featured expertly crafted limestone seating, cladding and balustrading. Here, Kilkenny Blue Limestone was also used to build a bespoke water feature, designed to create a unifying focus for the striking urban development.
2. A timeless, elegant and locally-sourced material, steeped in history
Sourced from South East Ireland, the heritage and provenance of Kilkenny Blue Limestone has been continuously celebrated throughout Irish building history. Formed over 340 million years ago, the rock is composed of unique fossilised coral strata, reflecting the marine life that once flourished in the shallow seas which extended over what is now North West Europe. This rich history is captured in the individual patterns and textures of the Limestone contributing to its distinctive and striking appearance.
These spectacular fossil patterns also provide enhanced aesthetic appeal, as shown by landscape architects and urban designers at Smeeden Foreman who used Kilkenny Blue Limestone to create a prominent design feature for the redevelopment of the seafront at Redcar in North Yorkshire. The stone’s coral textures and patterns were selected to complement the seaside setting, with Kilkenny Blue Limestone installed throughout the promenade. The stone was also adapted and used as cladding for bus shelters in the space for an added statement feature.
3. Strong and durable with proven longevity
Kilkenny Blue Limestone is also a practical choice thanks to its extreme mechanical strength. Today, in Ireland you can find plenty of examples of historic buildings created using this stone that are still standing strong. Take a closer look at the country’s ancient monasteries and abbeys, right through to its most iconic modern-day architecture and you will often find this limestone featured at the heart of it. The considerable longevity and resilience of some of these older structures is testament to the technically superior nature of the material.
4. Versatility for enhanced landscape design
Another reason to love Kilkenny Blue Limestone is that it is versatile enough to be used for many different types of hard landscaping, paving and accessories, ranging from kerbs, steps and walling, right through to benches, bollards and balustrades. This gives landscape designers more creative freedom to play with the textures and use the same pattern within one piece of stone or create blended mixes.
It is thanks to this versatility that Kilkenny Blue Limestone was recently selected for Angel Court – a landmark development in central London’s financial district. The tower’s glass exterior was contrasted by a unique façade at the building’s base with the limestone installed as cladding to run up the 6-storey ‘Garden Floors’ and along its terraces in a grid effect, forming the balustrades of gardens. Here, the stone was split to reveal its rich metallic blue-grey colour and tone while imparting its unusual texture.
5. There are a myriad of finishes for designers to choose from
Landscape architects and designers can choose from three main varieties Commercial, Selected and Fossil – and 18 different finishes which each offer an individual aesthetic appeal. This gives unprecedented design opportunities to create truly unique schemes.
Commercial originates in a clear, light bed of the stone and is bright blue-grey in appearance.
Its ancient crinoidal fossils provide minor tonal variations and the stone also carries some white veining. This variety develops a particularly beautiful blue hue when a dry-sanded finish is applied to it.
Selected features a darker shade compared the Commercial variety.
The contrast between its dark background and component marine fossils is most striking when a honed finish is applied.
Fossil is carefully sourced from special fossil beds and features relics of ancient marine life that give the stone its distinguishing characteristic. These large oyster and coral fossils can be used to create an intriguing visual pattern.
The main popularity with Kilkenny is not only it’s ‘blue’ colour and UK provenance but also it becomes more vivid and recognisable with its wide variety of different finishes.
A designer can become really creative with these textures and use within one piece of stone or within blended mixes.
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