A known innovator in architectural surfaces, Axolotl was established in 1995 after many years of R&D led to its ability to adhere genuine metal to the surface of any substrate, a world first. In this feature, Axolotl managing director, Kris Torma writes about its latest stone, metal and paint finishes.

Axolotl Stone Surface is an exciting, lightweight stone that opens up a wide range of opportunities to incorporate stone in architecture and design.

Stone has a noble history spanning centuries and countries, but traditionally has constrained design applications by being both prohibitively heavy and expensive. Engineered stone has become very popular in recent years through its superior flexibility, but it remains a composite product, using synthetic components and ultimately offering a homogeneous palette with a bigger environmental price.

The development of technology has allowed natural stone to be split into finer sheets, realising a much more flexible stone that can be utilised in ways that never before have been considered possible or affordable with a natural stone.

The stone surfaces are derived from natural slate and quartzite slabs. Each piece is authentically individual and showcases the inherent beauty, texture and lustre of the original slab. The raw split surface of the slate and the interchanging colours of each stone layer are one-of-a-kind, meaning no two pieces are alike.

The original range of Axolotl stone veneers are available in a selection of 21 different finishes, and in two styles: Axolotl Stone and Axolotl Flex Stone.

Both of these stone veneers are ultra-thin at 1-3mm thick. They can be curved to a convex or concave profile, and be bent to a minimum 20cm radius in some stone types depending on the grain direction.

All Axolotl Stone surfaces can be applied over nearly any solid substrate including concrete, metal, plywood, fibreglass, MDF, Masonite®, door skins and cabinetry. Most importantly, it is easy to work with using traditional woodworking tools, sealers and adhesives.

By using Axolotl Stone in place of solid stone, more than 80% of natural resources are saved, in the form of stone, sand and cement and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Axolotl Stone panels weigh up to 20 times less than that of a solid stone object of the same size, making this surface far easier to transport and handle, as well as store.

Contemporary stone series

The latest surfaces to be introduced to the range, Axolotl Stone Link and Axolotl Sculpt, extends the beauty of natural stone even further through the blending of the base surface with other classic, natural surfaces such as stainless steel and brass and even resin, as well as polishing the stone surface, to create an original surface that is available through Axolotl.

Stone Link seamlessly blends stone with inlaid stainless steel, brass or resin offering a authentic beauty with custom designs. Sculpt enables carving and polishing of natural stone to create almost any 3D design.

Because of the bespoke nature of the range of Axolotl surfaces, you can individualise each stone piece. Choose from our own portfolio of designs, or create an entirely different design.

It is available in a range of marbles such as Pacific White and Carrara, as well as stones in beige, whites, and blacks with thicknesses ranging from 10 to 20mm.

Marvellous metals

Axolotl Metal is a specialist metal coating for interior and exterior applications. A revolutionary technology developed by the company, where liquified semi-precious metals such as zinc, copper or bronze can be applied to the surface of any substrate.

The technology extends to both the design and construction potential of any substrate by lending it the appearance of solid metal without any of the restrictions, such as weight and cost. Once applied, the surface can be treated as if solid, allowing endless finished effects such as etching, carving, burnishing, linishing and texturing.

The metal coatings are typically only 0.5mm thick and can be applied to virtually any solid surface of any size or shape. Metals that can be applied include zinc, copper, brass, bronze, aluminium, nickel, iron, pewter and more. By using real metals, it gives Axolotl the unique ability to apply natural ageing processes such as rusts, pearl, florentine or verdegris patinas.

One of the core aspects of the company’s surface research is the development of patinated metal surfaces. All metals will develop a natural patina over time, for example green copper rooftops or rusted iron anchors. Decades of research has lead Axolotl to harness these natural organic processes and develop techniques to achieve the elegance of patinated metals, in a matter of days as opposed to decades.

Substrates that can be bonded with Axolotl Metal include, but are not limited to, MDF, timber, plaster, ceramics, fibreglass, concrete, acrylic, glass and steel.

Axolotl Sheet Metal is another new offering. Sheet metals are now able to be patinated in a variety of different colours including Verdigris, Florentine and Pearl. Copper, brass, aluminium, mild steel, zinc and stainless steel. They are available in a variety of thicknesses and can be used where sheet metal is required in lieu of its decorative metal coatings. This range offers architects and designers the ability to specify pre-aged panels on a new build or renovation, avoiding bright and inconsistent “fresh” metal, while ensuring the characteristics of the solid metal are retained.

Spectrum is a unique coloured metal surface typically available in flat aluminium and stainless steel sheets in sizes up to 2400 x 1200mm and thicknesses from 0.9mm – 3mm. Panels can also be laser cut to customer sizes. Customers can choose from the range of colours and designs or they can create their own unique Spectrum surface.

Paint has a new formula

Axolotl Paint is an exclusive range of designer effects and colours developed locally in Sydney, and continues the story of individuality that is at the core of Axolotl surfaces.

From the beginning, Axolotl has explored the intersection of creativity with technology and delivered industry professionals the opportunity to re-imagine the possibilities of the built environment.

Metal that looks solid, but weighs as much as a cardboard box. Concrete cabinetry etched with the beauty of a Florence Broadhurst design. Multi-storey blades of terracotta that will never crack.

Which is why when Axolotl set out to develop a paint product, it had to be something that had never been done before. The company was excited to open up the beauty and quality of an architectural product for non- professional end-users and design enthusiasts, whilst also continuing to deliver architects and designers the elevated creativity to which they were accustomed.

The paints honour traditional craftsmanship through batch production, using the finest quality materials made to the highest standards. Modern technology is utilised to refine the products to deliver a technically superior choice, developed for the demands of modern environments.

Axolotl Paints deliver the paintability, depth of finish and durability expected by the best commercial and residential projects.

By bringing our understanding of materiality together with the knowledge that comes from being immersed in architectural demands and trends, the range delivers a palette that is as concise as it is expansive. Concise in that it doesn’t overwhelm you with unnecessary choice, and expansive in that it delivers to the most classic or contemporary palette.

Because experts have specifically curated the range to represent the most relevant and current trends, Axolotl makes it easier for anyone to achieve the ideal hue to project a professional design aesthetic.

Environmental standards

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the harmful chemicals found in paints. These are carbon-containing solvents that vaporise into the air as paint dries. They can have negative effects on the health of building occupants and exposure to such products can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea. Higher exposure levels have had links with serious outcomes such as cancer.

By specifying low or zero VOC paints these problems can be minimised, even eliminated. Usually, low VOC paints emit less odours and offer faster drying times and non-yellowing properties.

However, it’s important to look beyond simple “eco” claims to ensure that you still get optimum performance from your paint, particularly for outdoor finishes. Common shortcomings include poor durability and low coverage.

Axolotl architectural paints are water based and contain low or minimal VOC, yet are engineered to deliver considerable performance in all environments. These paints have the uncommon combination of technological expertise, traditional craftsmanship and environmental sensitivity.

More than this, it is the unique aesthetic palette offered, along with access to innovative design expertise in product selection, that differentiates an Axolotl architectural paint from others.

You can view the range at axolotlpaint.com or 6/73 Beauchamp Road, Matraville (NSW).

The Stone Link and Sculpt ranges are Australian innovations that are available only through Axolotl offices worldwide.