Amsum & Ash Brings Porcelain Slab Countertops to Minnesota
Amsum & Ash's Porcelain Statuario Natural Slab
by Jahna Peloquin (Images courtesy Amsum & Ash)
Since 1997, Amsum & Ash has been outfitting homes and businesses with natural stone products in the Twin Cities and beyond. Recently, Amsum & Ash debuted its newest product: porcelain slab countertops. This durable alternate to marble is already making waves in the international marketplace, and it's about to make its way into Twin Cities homes.
Amsum & Ash, which has showrooms at International Market Square and in Northeast Minneapolis and has outfitted both Penny’s Coffee locations and the Bachelor Farmer restaurant and cafe with its stone slabs, is the first to bring the sleek, stylish new product to the Minnesota marketplace. While porcelain tile dates back as far as 4000 B.C., the material has never been manufactured in slabs until recently, thanks to new manufacturing capabilities.
“We jumped on it quickly,” says Amsum & Ash founder, Amit Gupta. “Now you can buy a nine-by-five-foot slab in porcelain.”
Gupta says for now, his company is importing the slabs from manufacturers in Italy and Spain to test it out in the U.S. marketplace. If consumers bite, he says they’re considering setting up a plant overseas to manufacture it themselves. TAB, the parent company of the Minneapolis-based importer and wholesale distributor, is currently one of the largest manufacturers of stone products around the world, such as granite, marble, slate, onyx, sandstone, limestone, and soapstone, enabling Amsum & Ash to stock some of the highest quality, hard-to-find, unique selections of stone products in the U.S.
“Porcelain is great because it’s made with natural materials, such as clay and silica, yet it’s indestructible,” he says. “Granite and some stones last a lifetime, but porcelain is the first time a man-made surface has been able to do the same thing.”
Another advantage of porcelain slabs, says Gupta is the never-ending design possibilities. Unlike stone, which is a set length and width, porcelain can be made into any shape or size. “We love stone, but no two are alike,” he says. “The advance of porcelain is you can take a beautiful design and copy it, while offering more customization.”
So far, Gupta says local architectural firms James Dayton Design and Peterssen/Keller Architects have incorporated Amsum & Ash’s porcelain slab on residential projects. “They’ve told us how stunning it looks and how impressed they are with it,” he says.
Another reason for porcelain’s buzzworthy status is its matte surface. Textures are in and shiny is out, Gupta says. “Thirty years ago, consumers wanted a polished, shiny granite,” he says. “They’re interested in textures today, whether it’s a leather-like surface or something more velvety to the touch.”
Another trendy surface Amsum & Ash stocks is quartzite, a natural stone that has a milky, slightly transparent quality. The rock was originally sandstone before heat and compression fused the sand grains together, creating a large network of crystals. Because it’s one of the strongest stones, it was difficult to quarry from the earth in slabs until recent upgrades in technology made it more readily extractable. “Quartzite doesn’t scratch or stain, and it’s one of the hardest materials out there, so consumers love it,” he says.
Visit Amsum & Ash's showrooms at 30 52nd Way NE., Minneapolis, 763-571-8400, and International Market Square, 275 Market St., Ste. 133, Minneapolis, 612-455-2600, amsumandash.com
View selections of Amsum & Ash's porcelain slab styles below:
Porcelain Statuario Polished
Porcelain Calacatta Oro Polished
Porcelain Planet Moon
Penny's Coffee in the Warehouse District, featuring Amsum & Ash granite (images courtesy Penny's Coffee):