Chequer Stone and Marble Flooring
This idea of a chequerboard design has been around since the dawn of man, however the idea of the chequerboard marble floor is something that we associate with the Renaissance, where artists and architects sought to reproduce their idea of ancient Rome.
The theme constantly appears in paintings from the time and helps to create and exaggerate perspective. The great Romantic and early Victorian travellers will have seen these floors and paintings on their "Grand Tour" and incorporated it into the grand stately homes of Britain.
One of the UK's most famous floors is that in St Pauls, designed by Sir Christoper Wren. This is a relatively modern church and uses a very black Belgian marble with Italian Carrara. Older churches in the UK and France are more likely to use different coloured Terra Cotta, and the floors are more fragmented in their design.
It is interesting to note that in Italy there is neither a pure white marble nor a black and the floors of a typical Rennaisance Pallazzo will consist of a Carrara with grey tones on white, and instead of black, a blue grey marble called Bardiglio. There are of course many variations due to the multitude of natural colours in marble and one of the most popular choices is an off white limestone with the Vasco Gris.
Stone Floors with cabuchons.
An alternative to the chequer floor is the use of dots or cabuchons on the corner of tiles.
This can take the form of small inserts or hexagonal shapes and be made in marble or limestone.
Water jet Cutting
Witht he advent of digital water jet cutting, intruicate designs can be cut from CAD drawings.
This is often used for the inclusion of a floor motif or medallion but have other uses such as sign writing and fabrication of complicated border designs.