Why do many in our industry have such strong opinions when talking about faux vs. authentic finishes. There is a small group of artist that feel they are improving their creative abilities when they use natural plasters. I’ve spent over ten years educating these artisans and their customers addressing the many differences. Faux professionals are unquestionably the foundation of our business and are extremely gifted. Their work has an enormous place in the decorative finish world but many struggle with the difference between faux synthetic plasters' and authentic products.
During the construction boom earlier this century, I was consulting for a large developer building resort hotels and luxury mixed-use commercial properties in the United -States and Europe. I traveled frequently to Europe particularly Italy and France and discovered many products were available in Europe but not here in the United States. This client/developer wanted a product that would fit into their green Initiative building projects where LEED points were important. Since many projects had a Mediterranean design, finding natural plasters was a perfect fit. What surprised me was I had a short list of companies selling quality products in Europe and many were small local companies that made a product for their local market and were not set up for the demands of exporting.
Most of our customers including architects’ and interior designers have seen the difference for themselves. Most of these finishers are leaders developing and doing faux finishes. Let me clarify that I'm not saying there is no validity to the faux finish industry or applicators doing these faux finishes because I'm not. Where I get frustrated is that many have finishes that are made to “look like” Venetian plaster. This leaves me scratching my head since the “real thing” is available to them and they are more versatile.
Many professional finishers began using synthetic plasters because of the lack of quality plaster available to them and were deceived by the marketing of these large paint companies selling their product as “Venetian Plaster” in their local home improvement stores. However, when they learn the differences and they get to touch, feel and smell natural plasters there was no turning them back. They find they can be more creative because natural plasters can be pushed to their limits, unlike synthetic plasters that leave them with few different looks. Many of our talented traditional applicators are also faux finishers that can create amazing looks and designs but would never try to replicate the look of Venetian plaster when they can achieve it using natural lime plasters. "Why try to replicate a look artificially when you can use the real thing” is something I hear a lot.
We are finding that the consumer that uses our plasters in and on their homes are very sophisticated, and they are the ones leading the charge to find people who use plasters like FirmoLux. I talk to them almost daily. It’s been my goal to continue educating the consumer or and user of our products. You can also find out what some of the top architects and designers in the world have already discovered; using natural plaster offers more design choices and at the same time leaves for a healthy clean living environment for their home or work space. (read "healthy benefits" on our site)
To confuse matters more, some Italian paint companies jumped into the market by offering resin and synthetic polymer plasters to compete with the natural lime plasters being sold throughout the world. So just because the label says "made in Italy" doesn't make it Italian plaster. Israel, Japan and even China are making their version of "Venetian plaster". Can you believe that there is even a company in California that claims to make "authentic" Italian plasters?
Now isn't that confusing? Anyone who has traveled to Italy knows that Italian food taste better in Italy than in Omaha, and steaks taste better in Omaha than in Florence. The lime, water, and minerals of the northern provinces of Italy are unique with a special blend of magnesium quality dolomite limestone, chalk, coral and other minerals that are exclusive to this region of the world. Our lime does not come from a quarry but collected from riverbeds, so the environmental footprint is marginal to nonexistent. I am very pleased to say that FirmoLux products are one of those products that meet the standards we required, and I'm proud to be involved with them still today.
If you would like to learn more about natural plasters, visit our website by clicking on our logo above and go to "about plaster" to learn more or feel free to contact me anytime by phone or email. See contact us or call us anytime.
Anthony "Tony" Fiocco
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