Pyrolave is natural volcanic lava stone extracted from our quarry in central France. As tough as stone, with all the durability and beauty of enamel. It is chemically inert – it will never burn, stain or erode – and it can be glazed in every colour and shade imaginable.
Volvic lava stone has a celebrated architectural history in France, with many cathedrals, municipal buildings and public spaces being constructed from the natural material. Glazed lava was developed in the 19th century.
Our journey began 35 years ago with the creation of Pyrolave. We set out to create an exemplary, environmentally sustainable process to source natural lava stone.
Pyrolave has undergone comprehensive laboratory testing to prove its remarkable qualities. Download our Technical Data Sheet for information.
The beauty of Pyrolave is in its organic beginnings and specialist finish. As a natural stone, no two pieces are ever the same. Our enamelling process adds a lustrous depth of colour and allows our clients to specify a bespoke colour hue or choose from our core collection of shades. During this process our signature surface crazing develops .
There is a long history of extracting lava stone in the Volvic region and we are proud to continue the tradition in a responsible way. Random-sized boulders of lava are carefully lifted from our quarry following the natural fault lines and shrinkage cracks of the stone. The blocks are sliced by diamond-tipped saws and sent to our factory for refined cutting and glazing.
Honing the natural stone into smooth, signature slabs is a rigorous process. First, the stone is shaped using CNC and water-jet cutting technology, then hand-finished to ensure impeccable quality.
The glazing process then begins with an eight-hour firing to put enormous stress on the stone. This is a form of quality control in itself – only the pieces that prove their strength and stability are approved for sanding and polishing. A glaze undercoat is applied and left to dry naturally, followed by a hand-painted layer of coloured enamel. The pieces return to the computer-controlled kilns for a second and longer firing cycle at temperatures over 1000˚C. This fuses the glaze to the stone and often creates a beautiful colour gradient around the edges. The stone cools and the signature crazing begins to appear.
Finally, the stone undergoes a meticulous quality control inspection before being sent to our clients worldwide.
We pride ourselves on upholding and respecting the highest environmental standards, and the quarry is rigorously monitored both by our experts and governing bodies.
Before we can break earth at our quarry, there is a two-year study of each extraction area. The result is an Administrative Authorisation for Extraction within a Classified Zone report that details:
– The analysis and control of direct, indirect, temporary and permanent effects upon the environment
– A landscape study
– A noise, dust and vibration analysis
– Hydro-geologic and hydrologic evaluations
– Proof that there is no risk of pollution due to hydrocarbon, organic or mineral waste
A successful grant of authorisation demands two compulsory requirements: to undertake further regular environmental impact studies and to complete site restoration processes after extraction.
The quarry also has a regulated annual extraction limit – for an area 50 sqm x 10m high. In accordance with this, we guarantee a yearly yield of 10,000-20,000 sqm over a 20 year period.
Our quarry is situated over a mineral water flow zone owned by the multinational and environmentally-conscious food company Danone, which produces Volvic bottled water. Together, we ensure that the entire site is in strict accordance with all rules and regulations.
We bring over 35 years of experience to every project to ensure that each stage of the process is smooth and successful. Our complete service includes consultation, quotation, maintaining direct contact with the production floor, sampling, on-site measuring, handling and installation.