Zero waste beauty: the story of a revolution - Building NZ
Zero waste beauty: the story of a revolution

Zero waste beauty: the story of a revolution

Paco Sanchis represents hope. His vision and gritted determination have resulted in the realisation of a possibility that once was inconceivable - a sustainable coexistence and truly green industrial production.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Imagine resting your cup of coffee on a surface so exquisite, inspired by the beauty of a frozen lake – as beautiful as it is strong, as fluid as it is solid, as delicate as it is stable – ice is created by nature and perfected by COMPAC.

Imagine then that this surface is not natural but created with recycled materials in a completely renewable processing plant where native reforestation stretches as far as the eye can see and where electricity is generated onsite from the sun.

Here, at the headquarters of Spanish company COMPAC, imagination and creativity are hallmarks of the operation while determination and agility define a business that has revolutionised an industry previously focused only on the use of natural materials, of which many are a finite resource.

It is here, in the synergy between ideas and focus, that technology and vision was defined and then advanced, redefined and improved in a constant cycle of innovation.

That technology and vision has allowed man to create engineered stone that outperforms its natural counterparts, harnessing its beauty and power yet doing so with minimal impact on our planet. It has conquered what once, it would have been reasonable to assume, could never be realised.

Sometimes, it is in the passion of an individual that a true change is created; it is in the fiery determination of just one person where inspiration begins and then eventually defines new expectations, new ways of thinking, of living and of imagining what’s possible.

COMPAC creates engineered stone more durable than its natural counterparts.
I think we are all very aware that the planet needs a break. It needs us to respect it. A sustainable coexistence is possible

In the case of Paco Sanchis, that fire and passion has seen natural resources saved and treasured while nature’s beauty, power and strength continue to be taken as inspiration to create materials that until now were inconceivable.

“I think we are all very aware that the planet needs a break. It needs us to respect it. A sustainable coexistence is possible,” Paco says.

This determination to achieve a positive coexistence with nature is at the very core of his business, COMPAC, a company started by his parents in 1975 and one in which he has spent his entire working life to date.

However, sustainability is one part of two clear goals, with the other being a determination to challenge the market, to redefine it and to revolutionise it—all of which he has achieved by way of considering the powerful beauty of natural materials and recreating them with recycled products.

The future of engineered stone

COMPAC began in 1975 and in the 45 years since its inception has become known as the global leader in decorative surfaces, now continually sought by designers the world over for inspiration and trends.

“I believe we are much more than this though,” Paco says. “I believe that to define ourselves is to know ourselves, to let ourselves be defined by our creations, which speak for themselves.”

A key philosophy of Paco’s is the need to first understand matter and then to understand the power of our minds—to know that with imagination, the impossible becomes reality.

It is only with this understanding, Paco says, that we can truly innovate. For Compac, innovation has meant revolution because of the vast intention and sophistication of their product lines—engineered stone products that combine beauty, harmony and juxtaposition in such a way as to outperform the natural alternative.

COMPAC Obsidiana.

The Genesis range: a story of collaboration

When Paco decided the time had come to further advance COMPAC’s offerings a few years ago, he knew he needed a mind as disruptive and progressive as well-known artist and sculptor Arik Levy’s.

“Our inspiration is nature, in its most extraordinarily beautiful and surprising form. And why not reproduce it? Why not improve it? Why not overcome it?” Paco says.

The result of this unique collaboration was Genesis, a collection of surfaces where technology, design and art came together to create something that had never been seen before.

One of life’s greatest lessons is that nature is alive; it is rebellious and we cannot allow it to be finite.

Next generation designer stone surfaces

The next progression in the collaboration between artist and visionary was Obsidiana, a collection released in early 2020 that redefines, yet again, what is possible.

“One of life’s greatest lessons is that nature is alive; it is rebellious and we cannot allow it to be finite. My greatest passion has now become my obsession—the ability to use my understanding of industrial production to manufacture exceptional materials whilst being highly careful with the environment,” Paco says.

That obsession became reality with Obsidiana, a collection Paco describes as the most perfect recreation of natural volcanic glass. An engineered stone surface, Obsidiana is manufactured with 100 per cent recycled glass in a completely renewable production process and facility.

The 3D production techniques used to manufacture Obsidiana allow for even more flexibility with an already revolutionary product. “COMPAC are the first manufacturers globally to use this technology to create bespoke designs of any shape, curve or dimension that architects and designers can imagine. Here, creativity becomes reality.”

A testament to its futuristic and environmentally sound manufacturing, Obsidiana was recognised as a leader at the 2020 American KBIS Fair, receiving the Sustainability Award.

The future is engineered stone

The future of stone surfaces is decidedly man made, leaving our natural resources untouched and intact for future generations and recycling a range of materials to create engineered stone. “As we develop, we hope to be able to use more materials than just recycled glass to create stone surfaces,” Paco says.

That future begins now with Obsidiana COMPAC, a product that has already received global attention and been specified in projects around the world. In New Zealand, it is available exclusively from Universal Granite.

Find out more about engineered stone surfaces and how to specify the best materials in your home or commercial space.

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