As we hear Peter Tjioe enthuse about the beauty of natural stone, his almost encyclopedic knowledge about the matter certainly makes an impression. The president of MM Galleri Group walks us through the subterranean-like gallery of the Singapore showroom, as he discusses the natural stone types that the firm works with—he’s easily able to talk at length about the origins of each slab and its unique features, be it the glamorous sparkle of the Palisandro marble from Italy or the distinctive emerald shade of the Verde lapponia quartzite from Norway.
“We started as a small marble vendor and we have since expanded the company (MM Galleri) in the last 26 years through innovation,” shares Tjioe. “We kept up with the trends, innovating along the way. Even when few producers were using marble as a tabletop material, we did that as early as 1994 and exported it to the US. We have done a lot of things with stone—we have constructed buildings, churches, statues, as well as outdoor and indoor uses of the material.”
Established in 1992, the company currently has offices in Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia; its Singapore showroom opened in January this year. Recent innovations by the stone specialist include its marble-bending technique, which slices the natural stone into slim, pliable layers without breaking the material. These layers of stone can then be applied as a flexible, veneer-like cladding to create custom-made furniture, lighting, and even onto interior walls or pillars.
Besides its extensive array of marble, MM Galleri works closely with over a dozen types of natural stone, including travertine, granite and limestone. To expand its portfolio, the company is also the Asia distributor for surface brands such as Lapitec.
The Italian brand specialises in sintered stone, which is manufactured by compressing ceramics and minerals at high heat and pressure to create durable, non-porous surfaces. “Lapitec sintered stone is a combination of things—it combines the technical characteristics commonly available in high-end porcelain, with the look and workability of natural stone,” explains Michele Ballarin, director of sales and marketing of Lapitec.
Inspired by their extensive work with surfaces, the director works closely with the MM Galleri team to bring its sintered surfaces to Asia, with MM Galleri being the primary distributor for the Italian surface brand.
“We wanted to work with a partner that was already working with natural materials,” Ballarin explains. “We felt (MM Galleri) was a perfect fit for us because of the type of work they do and the type of clientele they refer to, which are mainly architects and designers.” He quips: “It was like a perfect marriage.”