Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Stone, its history and relation to Jonite.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

A stone, or rock is a natural substance, a solid aggregate consisting of one or more minerals. Granite, for one, consists of a combination of the quartz, feldspar and biotite minerals. The mineral and metal properties found within this natural aggregate has been a vital resource since the inception of human civilisation. Throughout history, the use of rocks has had a huge impact on the cultural and technological development of humankind. The name “stone” has a history grounded in antiquity whereby stones were used for weights.

The use of stone or stone weight as an English and imperial unit of mass has a history dating back to the 16th century where England and other Germanic-speaking countries in Northern Europe made used of stones for trading purposes. Stones had a value ranging from approximately 5 to 40 local pounds (or 3 to 15 kg in present day) depending on the location and objects being weighed. The United Kingdom’s imperial system also used wool stone to indicate 14 pounds in 1835. With the introduction of metrication from the mid-19th century on, the use of stone as unit of mass soon became obsolete. Likewise, the stone continued being used in Britain and Ireland to measure body weight until when it was prohibited for commercial use in the United Kingdom under the Weights and Measures Act of 1985. Today, an English and imperial unit of mass is equivalent to 14 pounds or 6.35029318 kg.

For at least 2.5 million years, stones have been used by humans and other hominids in areas such as lithic technology, one of the oldest and consistently used technologies. Lithic technology refers to the mining of rocks for their metal ore content. Rock mining is an integral aspect of human advancement and the progress of each mining process differs from the type of metals available in a particular rock of a specific region. When you buy natural marble, granite, slate and limestone, you are essentially looking at materials that have existed for as much as 300 to 500 million years. They come from various parts of the world that have been constantly shifted by continents and seas, earth movements, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Some may even carry the fossilised remains of shells, fish, animals and plants. While there might only be three prominent types of rocks – sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic, the form in which they have evolved into comes from a multitude of combinations and characteristics, giving the stone its enduring beauty and strength.

Sedimentary rocks are formed when earth materials are washed or blown around before settling through time and under pressure to form a single stone. Limestone and travertine are but two of the impressive range of stones that can be created via this method. Certain types of sedimentary rocks such as those found in riverbeds and seabeds can be refurbished into exquisite slabs of stone that embody the unique formation and characteristics of their origins.

Igneous rocks are the result of cooled and solidified magma, the molten rock found underneath the earth surface, trapping complex and precious minerals within its structure. The crystals of igneous rocks can be seen as flowing layers or may occur randomly, both of which contribute to spectacular effects when the stone surface is cut and polished. Granite is one of the most commonly extracted materials from igneous rocks. They are rigid yet manage to provide you with an alluring work surface. The extensive spectrum of colours available with granite is thanks to the range and formation of minerals it contains.

Metamorphic rocks are a result of sedimentary rocks or igneous rocks being placed under intense heat and pressure below the earth crust. The deeper the rock is located beneath the earth surface, the more likely it is to boast a variety of stunning colour combinations. The high-grade stone that we use comes from way under the earth surface. Metamorphic stone such as marble often exhibit striking features where it has been stretched, compressed and fractured. By contrast, slate is formed at nearer to the surface making it a lower-grade stone.

The myriad uses of the natural stone can be further gleaned in the first evidence of human civilisation, which dates back to more than 5,000 years ago. While many of us might struggle with comprehending the thought of 5,000 long years, the strength of natural stone has withstood the test of time and remains standing till this day.

The Egyptian civilisation is one of the earliest civilisations to have emerged since the evolution of humankind. Ancient Egypt is part of ancient Northeastern Africa. The civilisation was located along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is known today as the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptians were known to carry out extensive quarries to build natural stone. Most of their monuments were made of granite and limestone. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, the last remaining wonder of the ancient world, was constructed around 2560 BC using massive limestone blocks. While visitors today are in awe of its size, they comment that it appears blocky and rough. The pyramids did not always look this way though. Ancient Egyptians were not ignorant to the idea of aesthetics as the structures used to be lined with casing stones to give them a smoother appearance. Unfortunately, these stones were stolen over the years to build homes and temples. The interior burial chamber, which holds the pharaoh, is constructed of granite blocks carved with so much precision that even a piece of paper is unable to slide between them even till present day.

The subsequent rise of the Greek empire also brought about the use of natural stone to greater heights. Using marble, the Greeks built the Temple of Artemis, another of the Seven Wonders of the World. Boasting a total of 127 marble columns with a height of five stories each, the Temple of Artemis is regarded as one of the first grand structures to be made entirely out of marble. Sadly, only the foundation and a few columns remain today due to the aftermath of civilisations past. The Greeks went on to perfect their quarrying and shaping skills, which led to the construction of several monumental structures including the Parthenon, the Theseum, and the Temple of Zeus. In fact, the same marble used in the building of these very structures is quarried for commercial purposes under the name “Dionyssomarble”. The Greeks are also credited with bringing natural stone into the comfort of their own homes. Ancient Greek literature describes baths and pools being lined with marble. In particular, the use of commercially quarried “Thassos” marble in bathrooms is frequently mentioned in these olden day writings.

Next, came the rise of the Roman empire during the first century. The Romans were reputed for building extensively with both marble and granite. They were, first and foremost, road builders who considered granite to be the best paving stone. Although quarrying granite was not easy, they continued to line many of their roads with the natural stone. Public baths were popular during the Roman empire, many of which were made of granite. Evidently, the material was also used extensively for columns as seen in the Pantheon located within present day Rome. While the Romans adored granite for its durability and strength, they valued marble above everything else because of its beauty. Unlike the civilisations before them, the Romans constructed their structures out of brick and strong mortar before lining them up with marble slabs. This allowed them to build their infrastructures more quickly since they did not have to deal with huge blocks of heavy and marble. Their technique is still widely practiced across the world today in the construction of state buildings, museums, and monuments. Even though the Romans quarried marble and granite from all over the country, they found Greece to be the source of where the most beautiful marble came from. They were particularly enamoured by the beautiful green colour of the marble Cipollino of Karystos, which continues to be manufactured till this day.

The Renaissance period also saw the advent of better quarrying and fabrication techniques. This allowed marble and granite to be used more extensively within homes in addition to public areas like churches, palaces, and monuments. Natural stone remained a common fixture in bath areas and flooring during this era but it was not until recent times that it came to be featured in kitchens.

The use of stone in ancient times was not constrained to building structures. The Romans, engineered the Cloaca Maxima drainage system, which was widely regarded as an engineering marvel well ahead of its time. It was constructed through a system of pipes and aqueducts to manage the water supply and sanitation. As with every functioning drainage system, there was a demand for trench drain grates. These were similarly constructed from stone materials.

The past has had a great deal of impact on Jonite’s products today. We were inspired by the long tradition of using stone to create drain covers – much like our predecessors thousands of years ago. At Jonite, we understand that every single quarry or source produces a varying number of colours and veining of the marble, granite, slate or whichever stone is extracted. It is thus impossible for every stone to look similar in appearance, as each type possesses its own set of unique qualities. With this information in mind, Jonite pioneered the world’s first decorative stone grating where the function of steel grates is retained while achieving the form of natural stone. We provide detailed and exquisite craftsmanship that will elevate the architectural aesthetics of a landscape by designing durable and long-lasting trench drain grates that blend seamlessly into any flooring. Our grates are made from 95% natural aggregates, and the advanced hybrid polymers within the stone grates creates a luxurious and natural feeling to touch, providing an added level of comfort to living spaces through our uniquely crafted stone grates.

Common questions and pre-conceptions about trench grates.

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

A trench grate, otherwise known as a channel grate or trench drain, is a particular form of floor drain that contains a prominent trough or channel-shaped body. It assists in the rapid evacuation of surface water or chemical spills. Trench grates are omnipresent. They can be found anywhere from roadsides to public toilets and parks, right up to the comfort of your own home.

A common question asked by many, “Why do I need a channel grate in my house?” There are three popular responses to these queries. Firstly, trench grates are designed to fit the perimeter of the flooring. This greatly reduces the discomfort of stepping on a shower grate while showering. Secondly, since the drain is fixed at the end of a base tilting in one direction, large tiles or stones can be used in place of unsightly grout joints to improve the aesthetic appeal of the landscape. Thirdly, a trough drain system is appropriate for use in less costly showering facilities where the base is raised from the floor in comparison to more expensive bases, which are typically set below the sub-floor. Trench grates are not only used in residential homes but can also be commonly found in hotels, schools hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Some frequently asked questions are related to the length and size of trench drains and the material these drains are made of. Sizes and dimensions can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer although there are a few standard sizes, namely, 26 inches, 30 inches, 36 inches, 40 inches, 44 inches, 46 inches, 52 inches and 68 inches. Custom sized shower drains, 10 inches by 10 inches long can also be made. In terms of materials, gratings are usually made of heavy gauge stainless steel although alternative options like stone gratings are available.

Another common enquiry is whether decorative designs and options are available for strainer grates. The answer to this is yes. In fact, specially customised trench drains are not limited to strainer grates. Stone trench grates are installed across a wide variety of platforms including for use as floor traps, sump covers and tree grates. Unlike the conventional utilitarian trench covers, stone gratings can have any design of your choice carved into them. Cool, sleek, industrial, retro or traditional, you can design the stone grates to your style preference.

The Art of Symmetry in Architecture

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Symmetry occurs when there is congruence in dimensions, due proportions and arrangement. It provides a sense of harmony and balance. In Mathematics, symmetry can be explained as an object that is invariant through any geometric transformation such as reflection, rotation or scaling. Mathematical symmetry can also be explained as the passage of time, a spatial relationship and an aesthetic element found within abstract objects, theoretic models, language, music and even knowledge itself. Symmetry can be seen from three main viewpoints – mathematics; especially geometry, science; nature and in the arts encompassing architecture, art and music.  Symmetry is the direct opposite of asymmetry.

Symmetry seeps into every facet of architecture. It is present everywhere, from ancient landmarks such as the Pantheon in Rome and New York City’s Empire State Building, through the blueprints of individual floor plans and right up to the design of specific building elements like the tile mosaics. Examples of the extensive use of symmetry can be seen in the structure and ornamentation of Islamic buildings like the Taj Mahal and the Lotfollah mosque. Moorish buildings such as the Alhambra are embellished with intricate patterns weaved from translational and reflection symmetries as well as rotations.

As with any compositional art, architecture relies heavily on symmetry. Symmetrically positioned architectural compositions transcend cultures and time periods. There are countless forms of symmetry, many different types of architecture and a myriad of ways to view the design. Distinguishing the various forms of symmetry in a two-dimensional composition is relatively straightforward. The identification of symmetry types in a three-dimensional object is much trickier since we tend to change our perception of the object as we move around it. This goes to show that architecture provides us with an opportunity to experience symmetry as we see it. This is made possible through two distinct components of architecture – solid and void. The substantial part of an architecture is one in which the layperson is most familiar with. For example, most structures are categorised by the nature of its elements. We can identify a Greek temple by its portico and pediments, while pointed arches and flying buttresses characterise a Gothic cathedral. These details thus contribute to the solid component of the architecture. Likewise, these solid elements constitute an envelope around what we experience when we navigate a building and is known as the void. It is the work of an architect to shape this void such that it becomes the theatre of all actions inside the building. In here, symmetry exists in the form of experience within an architectural space.

There are many symmetry types in architecture. We will be looking at bilateral symmetry, rotation and reflection, cylindrical symmetry, chiral symmetry, similarity symmetry, spiral or helical symmetry and translational symmetry.

Bilateral symmetry is regarded as the most common form of symmetry in architecture. It is found in all cultures and eras. With bilateral symmetry, the composition mirrors one another. A famous example of bilateral symmetry can be found in the façade of the Pantheon in Rome. The same symmetry is also present on an urban scale, as evident in the design of the Praça do Comércio located in Lisbon, Portugal. There are three urban elements to the structure wherein symmetry is visible through a long horizontal axis governing our visual perspective. They are, a principal public square, a monumental gate and the wide commercial street beyond the gate. The popularity of bilateral symmetry is likely credited to the fact that it reflects our experiences with nature, more importantly, what we experience with our bodies. Since many cultures believe that God created man as an image of himself, architecture has similarly created an image of man. However, not all bilateral symmetry is of equal value in architecture, as dualism in architecture is traditionally avoided. The temples of ancient Greece, for one, were always built with an even number of columns so that a column on the central axis of the façade would not need to exist. The avoidance of the dualism by classical architects has its roots in the ambiguity, often associated with the number, two, from the time of Pythagoras. The latter was regarded as a female number that could be divided into two thus rendering it an untrustworthy number. On the contrary, the number three was a male number, which could not be equally divided into halves. The modern architectural theory also considers dualism to be a “classical and elementary blunder” linked to the “amorphous or ambiguous”. Despite that, the argument against dualism does hold weight in architecture. This is exhibited in the 14th-century Orsanmichele in Florence. The monument comes with an oratory on the ground floor and a granary on the second. The oratory has an unusual two-aisled plan consisting of two altars. This poses a dilemma to individuals as one is forced to decide on which altar to stand in front of. The architect typically makes this decision for the audience by placing one altar in the centre. Hence dualism in architecture remains a struggle for both the audience and the architect.

Rotation and reflection is another style of symmetry. It is known to contribute to the movement and rhythm of architectural elements and emphasises on the central point of the architectural space. The Basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy, is designed to have an octagonal shape while both the architecture and pavement is distinctively designed to be rotational and reflectional. Most domes including the hemispherical-shaped rotunda found in the Pantheon and the octagonal cupola of the Florence Cathedral also manifest rotational and reflection.

Cylindrical symmetry, when found vertically in towers and columns, evokes a sense of resistance towards gravity. There are rare examples of spherical symmetry in architecture as it is challenging for architects to implement it in their designs. This is because we move about on a horizontal plane. This form of symmetry can be gleaned in the cenotaph designed by Etienne-Louis Boulée for Isaac Newton in 1784.

Chiral symmetry might not be as popular as other types of symmetry although it is often used effectively in architecture. Chiral symmetry is when two objects mirror each other without being superimposed. For example, the two opposing colonnades surrounding the elliptical piazza in front of St. Peter’s exhibit chiral symmetry. A more subtle form of chiral symmetry evinces itself in the two leaning towers of the Puerta de Europa or Gate of Europe in Madrid designed by architect Burgee in collaboration with Philip Johnson. Chiral symmetry can be used to place visual emphasis on the significant element of a composition. In this case, the two inclined towers of the Puerta de Europa are used to draw attention to the broad boulevard that passes through them, constructing a “gateway to Europe” as per its title.

Similarity symmetry is influenced by fractals. It is found when repeated elements change in scale without changing shape. An example of similarity symmetry is seen in the nestled shells of the Sydney Opera House, designed by Joern Utzon in 1959. The shells differ in size and inclination to form a segment of a sphere, although the shell-shape remains unchanged. Similarity symmetry can also be applied in less obvious situations. American architect Frank Lloyd Wright borrowed this method when designing the Palmer House in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the early 1950s. In here, Wright selected an equilateral triangle as a planning module before duplicating many levels and sizes to organise the design of the house. This shows that similarity symmetry can create a high degree of order within an architectural model regardless of how visually apparent they are by lending unity to a composition.

Spiral or helical symmetry can be categorised as a unique form of similarity symmetry. Helixes and spirals often communicate continuity in architecture. This is manifested in spiral staircases whereby the entire form denotes a sense of flow in the space from one level to another throughout the building. Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated the helix into his 1946 design of the Guggenheim Museum of New York. The exterior of the building takes on the form the giant helical ramp found in the interior. The gallery spaces are situated along one side of the ramp. Museum visitors will take the elevator to the top floor of the gallery then descend to the ground level in a spiral-like manner, admiring the displayed art along the way. This piece of architecture has undoubtedly expressed spatial continuity through the use of a helical ramp.

Translational symmetry is the second most common type of symmetry after bilateral symmetry. Translational elements arranged in one direction are either placed within the rows of soldier-like columns or in the arches of an aqueduct in a sequential fashion. Translation of elements in two directions can be found in the wallpaper-like patterns on the curtain wall façade of many present-day structures. Translational symmetry can also include the duplication of entire pieces of modern buildings although people lament that this style is boring or monotonous. There are three excellent qualities exclusive to translational symmetry architectures – the longest, the broadest and the tallest.

The knowledge of symmetry types is a powerful tool in the world of architecture. It provides an architect with a range of expressive possibilities when it comes to building design. However, there is another aspect of symmetry covered in architecture. This is the void that is the architectural space and is the aspect of symmetry that we do not see. Architectural space can be understood as two key concepts – centre and path. The centre is related to a single valuable space within the larger architectural area, an example of this would be a church altar. Path, on the other hand, is tied to the spectator’s movement through the space. According to Norwegian architectural theorist, every church has a centre and path although this relationship can differ. This relationship affects how we view an architectural space at any given time. In symmetrical terms, the centre can be thought of as the point and the path, an axis.

Roman architecture is characterised by a strict axial symmetry that gives rise to spaces, which are monumental and static. They embody a sense of equilibrium over the feeling of dynamic movement. This is evident in the symmetrical relations of the Roman basilica, a secular building type used as a court of law. The structure is of a rectangle shape, with an apse present on each end of the primary axis and doorways located on each end of the major axis. Architectural elements are positioned such that similar elements always appear opposite from one another – apse to apse, column to column and doorway to doorway. A sense of balance and equilibrium in the architecture is further perceptible through the remains of the pavements used in basilicas. They are frequently based on patterns typical with translational symmetry in two directions, rather than a dynamic symmetry type like rotation. The same static arrangement of architectural elements is mirrored in the rotunda of the Pantheon. The plan in here is a circle, eight reflection planes as well as one four-fold axis of rotation. Symmetry is once again found with the apse-to-apse, aedicule to aedicule, niche to niche and column to column setting of the rotunda. The strict axial symmetry in this scenario hence solidifies the characteristic of Roman architecture as one with a sense of equilibrium.

The legalisation of Christianity in the fourth century, however, led to Christian architects rearranging the Roman basilica to meet their own ecclesiastical needs. They removed the entrances from the minor axis and replaced them with a single door on one end of the primary axis. They also placed an altar in the remaining apse. Hence the symmetry of the Roman basilica was significantly altered such that only a single reflection plane and no rotational planes were left. This was, however, in line with the bilaterally symmetrical plan of the Christian basilica.

Human beings are equipped with a highly sensitive perception towards symmetry. We can detect the aspects of symmetry and quickly discern them in symmetrical forms. Above all, symmetrical patterns showcase the perceptual value of the symmetrical axis.


Monday, August 10th, 2015

Gardening VS Landscaping

While gardening and landscaping are techniques centered around plants, rocks to enhance a space, they are not the same. Gardening is the practice of growing plants outdoor whereas landscaping is the design and construction of gardens and outdoor areas. Landscaping also requires more skills and expertise as compared to gardening.

Landscape design requires knowledge of both art and science to enrich and organise an outdoor space for both aesthetic and practical purposes. As compared to landscaping, gardening is more involved with the planting, watering and drafting of trees. However, many landscaping companies take on gardening projects.

History of Gardening

Gardening was never meant to look pretty at the start of civilisation. The oldest known type of gardening is known as forest gardening. This refers to an ancient type of food gardening. Early gardening was mainly used for practical reasons – to grow herbs or vegetables. Flowers were also commonly cultivated to wear for religious and medicinal purposes.

Gardens started to become a form of creative display in the 13th century. This was primarily due to an emergence of an upper class with the leisure to enjoy aesthetic looking gardens. However, despite being so, the earliest archaeological records of aesthetically designed gardens date only as far back as the 15th century in Egypt. It was based on a Thebes garden which belonged to a high court official and included the use of many plants, pieces of advice on cultivation and instructions on sowing, planting and grafting of a tree

In the 16th century, the ideas of gardening were changed and influenced by classical approaches. Europeans began to cultivate gardens both for food and for beauty. It was at this time that lawns of grass and raised flowerbeds were used to decorate the surrounding land. The flourishing society allowed people to have increased leisure time and see gardening more than a hobby. People were earnest in their pursuit of aesthetic looking gardens. Many businesses and occupations were created and centered around horticulture. Books, journals and newspaper columns on gardening were well-received by the public. Radio and television programmes had a dedicated following as well.

The Roles of Gardens

Rooftop gardens are becoming the next big thing in corporate social responsibility, with Chicago being the world’s largest rooftop farm. These days, many organisations’ corporate social responsibility programs commit them to green living and making the world a better place. Gardens have actually been known to increase the quality of lives, as a home-grown plant rewards one with a sense of accomplishment, not to mention its level of freshness and flavour having the superiority to that of store-bought vegetables.

Through the history of mankind, gardens have taken on different roles, between functional and aesthetic usage.

Plant Cultivation

The etymology of the word ‘garden’, an enclosure space, establishes the role of a garden at the beginning of mankind. Gardens were first started by farmers who needed to cultivate vegetables for a living. As vegetables need more watering and special care, its plot tends to be located near the farmers’ house. It would usually be enclosed so as to prevent livestock from eating the plants growing inside it.

Offers Shade

Trees provide vital shade in hot and arid climates like Egypt. Back in early civilisation, wealthy Egyptians planted trees in straight rows to offer shade. They usually planted a variety of species. These would include willow trees, date palms, fig trees, pomegranate trees and nut trees. The shadow of the trees would allow delicate plants to grow below its ample canopy. The Greeks also planted trees to provide shade around religious areas and public spaces.

Religious Purposes

The concept of a garden helped to meet spiritual needs as well. Similar to how a temple is carefully built, gardens were also constructed carefully with specific dimensions and plots. In ancient Egypt, crops and flowers were cultivated to honour the gods. In fact, there has been archaeological evidence depicting offerings of food and garden produce shown on tomb paintings. There were also sacred temple gardens consecrated for cultivating particular vegetables, plants and herbs to offer to deities. For example, Egyptians offering home-grown produce to the God of Fertility Min.

Provides Privacy

During the 16th century, people started to build walls and raised flowerbeds around their lawns to provide seclusion. Monks grew gardens to allow them to meditate in a garden fenced off from the world. All of these gardens help to provide privacy.

Rest and Recreational

Each period in history shows us the distinct features and roles of a garden. However, gardens were clearly viewed as a rest and recreational space across most cultures in history and the present. The tedious details and maintenance work that go into gardens to transform it into place of rest do not go unappreciated. During the development of Roman Civilisation, ornamental horticulture was at its peak. Roman gardens were regarded as places of tranquillity, allowing one to seek refuge from the busy and noisy urban life. Even Monastery gardens had an area of turf to allow for recreational activities. These examples hold similarities to modern day usage when gardens are used to fulfil one’s need for nature and enhance the experience of one’s surrounding.

Social Status

Gardens can be viewed as the equivalent of one’s social status symbol. In the 16th century, gardens took the creative form of art when individuals started to have the luxury of time to manage gardens. The rich started to have an interest in horticulture and the designing of gardens. Wealthy Romans would have gardens full of flowerbeds, shaded paths and fish ponds. The more elaborate the planning of the gardens were, the better it reflected on the social status of a family. In modern-day context, a garden can also add curb appeal and increase the overall value of a property as well.

The following above shows us the many roles gardens take and shows how it is one of the oldest forms of landscaping in mankind.

French VS English Gardens

Like everything else, gardens have trends as well. A trend offers us valuable insights into how society functions. There are two schools of gardening styles that profoundly influenced horticulturists in the past – French and English gardens.

French Formal Garden

Jardin à la Française (English: garden in the French manner) hugely drew its inspiration from the Italian Renaissance garden. King Charles VIII imposed it after travelling to Italy in 1495. He gathered Italian artisans and landscape designers to design a French garden after seeing how gardens could represent ideals and virtues of a time in history.

The key features of a formal French garden would be the symmetrical and orderly arrangement. Horticulturists would plant trees in a straight line to reinforce a certain perspective and symmetry of the garden. The French formal garden helps to create a long axial view and highlight the architecture of a house or chateau. The French formal gardens retain their beauty even when beheld from afar.

Plants near architect buildings are planted low whereas plants further from the buildings have paths edged with trees.  Fountains and cascades are also commonly found in French Gardens. When properly designed, the reflection of water helps to reinforce symmetry of the landscape.

The most famous example of French gardening style would be the Gardens of Versailles constructed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. The Garden of Versailles covered 150,000 hectares of land and was crowned as the most significant garden in Europe. It showed how peace and order came through man ruling over nature. This style of garden was widely duplicated throughout the courts in Europe in the 16th century.

Unlike the French formal gardens, the Italian Renaissance gardens did not highlight or integrate the gardens with the architecture of houses or chateaus. It had a difference in regarding its spirit and appearance. Italian Renaissance gardens were enclosed by walls and different parts of the gardens were often not harmoniously joined together.

English Landscape Garden

In 1718, an English Garden designer Stephen Switzer wrote in his biography Ichnografia Rustica that a garden is, “open to all View, to the unbounded Felicities of distant Prospect, and the expansive Volumes of Nature herself.”  It examined the costs and expenses of a formal garden and called forth a better alternative to gardening which was better for individuals and society. This ultimately transformed the gardens of England as many started to appreciate the more natural and relaxed idea of gardening.

It was only until the 18th century when the English Landscape gardens became very popular and replaced the French Formal garden. The onset of Civil War also halted the expensive practices and preservation of formal gardens. It was also at this point of history where science, philosophy and gardening intersected in an unprecedented way.

This style of gardening was inspired by the Far East. The central theme of Chinese Gardening was its abundance of nature with tall trees, medicinal herbs and livestock. The Chinese often criticised the Europeans for planting trees in straight lines. They planted trees in irregular ways to create beautiful compositions and seek nature in its most natural of forms and sought all possibilities to achieve this..

Hence, the English Gardens were more natural with its not so strict geometric features. The English Landscape garden style also gave birth to the French Jardins Anglais and the Germans Englischer Garten.

Roy Porter best captured the essence of English Landscape gardens by stating that the critical enlightening concept was nature. The English gardens relied heavily on rectilinear patterns and unnatural shaping of trees. It seeks to portray the diversity of nature and its capability to enthuse bold and creative ideas. The English garden was based on the principle of man coinciding with nature.

As compared to the French formal gardens, English gardens were less formal, less labour intensive and less expensive to maintain and design.

There were a few notable men behind the designs of English landscape gardening – William Kent and Lancelot (‘Capability’) Brown.

William Kent was an architect-turned-gardener who was eventually employed by the English royals to design gardens. In Kent’s work, one could see undulating trees between the serpentine walkways; though there were some straight walks in the garden, the irregular woodland stands out as the main part of the garden.

Lancelot “Capability” Brown worked as the assistant to William Kent before embarking on his own career as one of the most influential figures in the 18th-century landscape design. Brown would effortlessly design parks and gardens as if they grew organically out of their surroundings without human intervention or management. He often transformed yards with a belt of trees surrounding the whole estate; a random assignment of trees, serpentine walks with massive lawns and irregularly shaped lakes with an occasional bridge. An example of this type of creation can be found in Croome Court. Even after Brown’s death in 1783, his style of gardening remained influential. He was a businessperson like no other and could articulate the benefits of the style of the garden to many with ease and clarity. This is the reason why he hailed as one of the greatest gardeners of the eighteenth century.

About Us

Jonite is credited as being the first to bring the notion of “grates reinvented” to life by pioneering the world’s first reinforced decorative stone grating. We challenged the status quo of metal as the central composite in the creation of trench grate covers. Today, we are known for producing drain covers made predominantly out of natural stone. This was made possible through the embodiment of Kennedy’s famous quote through our dedicated and passionate team who has refused to abide by the idea that drain covers and gratings being limited to only having metallic properties. They chose to reject the status quo and were instead motivated towards a creative vision that has led to the creation of is known today as stone grates.

More than just a durable product, the use of stone grates in the construction of trench drain covers breathes life into dull landscapes.

Landscape architects have the freedom of working with architects to create a variety of themes and designs available within each and any of the four collections. Furthermore, Jonite offers a wide range of both standard and specialised colours for clients that allow trench grate products to be adjusted to any hue or shade of clients’ choice.

The rustic appeal of natural stone provides an element of nature to otherwise lifeless images, such as a stretch of the road, where dullness is only exacerbated by the appearance of soulless looking cast iron and concrete grates situated by its side. Jonite trench grates can be crafted to suit a myriad of themes and designs that give off a sense of liveliness and uplifts its surroundings. Likewise, it provides an added level of comfort to living spaces through the aesthetic of uniquely crafted stone grates.  These unique material properties even prevent rust and corrosion.

Tree Grates Singapore

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Tree Grates Singapore In The Midst Of Urban Developments

In the midst of a highly competitive world we live in right now, people keep on looking for a spot where mental and physical relaxation can be possible. (more…)

Singapore Landscaping

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Advantages Singapore Landscaping Can Give

For most home owners in Singapore, the best technique they use to beautify their sanctuaries is landscaping. (more…)

Landscaping Ideas

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Landscaping Ideas That Promote Functional Outdoor Environments

Aside from making the surroundings more beautiful, landscaping is done to enhance the functionalities of outdoor environment. (more…)

Floor Trap Singapore

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Floor Trap Singapore : Why Every Home Needs This

As one famous public servant said, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” (more…)

Green Building

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Aspects Of Green Building Design

Green building involves many aspects of the building process. These include the type of materials used, its long term durability and performance, the efficiency of the building method, maintenance and upkeep, and then there is the design. (more…)

Floor Grating Suppliers

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Floor Grating Suppliers – Granting Every Home Owner’s Need

Cleanliness of a home is one of the priorities as far as maintenance is concerned. If your sanctuary is tidy most of the time, it is more likely that damages will be avoided. (more…)