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Rugo Stone receives three 2021 Pinnacle Awards from the Natural Stone Institute

Rugo Stone wins three 2021 Pinnacle Awards from the Natural Stone Institute and Brett Rugo is recognized with the 2021 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement also from NSI.

The first award was in the Commercial Interiors category for the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Aldie, Virginia.

Rugo Stone - Corpus Cristi 1

This altar of sacrifice includes particularly complex monolithic gothic tracery and inlay panels, along with a decorative marble mosaic band framing the tracery panels. The project required a careful material selection and fabrication.

The entire fabrication was completed at Rugo Stone’s studio in Lorton, VA. The carefully selected blocks and slabs were milled on 5-axis machines, according to highly detailed 3D drawings. After the CNC process, a team of stone carvers finished all the fine elements by hand, creating an elegant path of the tracery. The honed matte finish was applied by hand sanding due to the elaborate curvature of the panels. Located within these tracery panels are double inlays of colored marble, that were precisely cut with a waterjet and expertly assembled. The color contrast of the different marbles and the seamless transition of the inlays create an exquisite image.

Rugo Stone - Corpus Cristi 2

Another example of the fine craftsmanship is the mosaic marble banding, created from small 1- 1⁄4" x 1⁄4" tiles, cut to a zero-face tolerance dimension. Each tesserae’s precise location was selected by veining. Adding to the complexity, the four-tone checkerboard banding is canted on an angle with the mitered corner cuts.

Once the fabrication was completed, the entire altar was dry set to ensure the perfect fit. The ornate monolithic limestone baptismal font was also created in the same process of combining the 5-axis CNC machines and hand carving at the Rugo Stone studio. The antique altar rail was salvaged by Rugo Stone and restored in house. The brass rails, as well as the 5" thick classic Portoro marble base were expertly brought back to their grandeur. The installation was flawless, thanks to the expertise of Rugo Stone’s masons. This altar is the finest piece the company has produced in their studio. They, the owner, and architect could not be happier with the result. Learn more.

The second award was for the Commercial Interior of Saint Paul of the Cross Monastery Renovation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Rugo Stone - St Paul of the Cross 1

This 1850s monastery was in dire need of renovation. Rugo Stone’s involvement began during the design process, traveling with the architect to Italy to select marble for the rear tabernacle, front altar, ambo, and two statue niches. Involving customary classical architecture, the project included extensive fine detailing for the molded profiles (both large and small pilasters), and hand-carved Corinthian capitals on the rear tabernacle, front altar, and ambo. The main marble color in Bianco Carrara combined with the lightly veined Arabescato marble pilasters is accented with bold elements of Rosso Francia marble to create a stunning effect.

Rugo Stone produced precise shop drawings and, with their engineer, designed the concrete and unit masonry details for the 28-foot, slender tabernacle element. Rugo Stone performed all masonry support, developed the rigging for setting capstones weighing more than 2,500 lbs., and integrated and supplied a new brass custom tabernacle enclosure.

Rugo Stone - St Paul of the Cross 2

The tabernacle features a hand-carved Christ on the Cross statue, modeled on the works of Pietro Tacca, a famous 16th-century artist from Carrara. Also adorning the tabernacle are two other custom-made statues, based on simple black and white images of Saints Gemma and Maria Goretti. The Rugo Stone team traveled to Italy to scan the wood statue of Saint Maria Goretti, using the dimensions to create a niche where she would eventually rest. The artist and architect collaborated extensively to recreate the facial image. The Saint Maria statue is unique in that her outreached arm is entirely solid to her torso – no pinning and epoxy were used.

Rugo Stone fabricated the center aisle marble in their studio. Comprised of a starburst pattern of rich-colored marbles, it complements the existing antique Tennessee marble floor of the side aisles. The completed look awed the client and Pittsburgh Passionist community, who praised the timely and professional work of the team. Learn more.

The third award is in the Public Landscapes/Parks/Memorials category for the Reconstruction for Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis, Maryland.

The complete replacement and expansion of the large urban streetscape and a crossing located just in front of the Maryland State Capital in Annapolis, MD is still known as Lawyers’ Mall. This prominent plaza is a gathering point for the legislators and attorneys working in the state capital. The focal point of the plaza is a salvaged and restored limestone colonnade element from a previous design as well as the bronze statue of the late US Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.

Rugo Stone - Lawyers Mall 1

Rugo Stone worked closely with a partnered supplier to design, fabricate and finally install over 10,000 sq. ft. of granite paving, steps, benches, and staircases to clad this streetscape. The granite pieces feature many custom finishes, which create a very uniform and bold appearance. The Indiana limestone colonnade and pedestal were carefully dismantled by Rugo Stone and transported to their marble shop for restoration. The stone was so heavily soiled that it required nearly two months of work that encompassed cleaning, patching, and dutchman repairs.

The bronze statue of Justice Marshall, original to the Mall, was temporarily on display at a remote state office building plaza. Rugo Stone’s skilled rigging team dismantled the statue and relocated it to its original setting. The rigging and crane operations at the newly renovated Mall were challenging due to very tight tolerances and the weight of the statute.

Rugo Stone - Lawyers Mall 2

The project had many challenges. Being in a historical part of the city, the narrow streets and proximity to historical buildings was challenging from a crane operations and deliveries standpoint. The COVID-19 pandemic as well as the weather had its own influence on the work of the crews and fellow trades on site. Despite all this, the Mall was dedicated as scheduled in December 2020.

This project is an excellent example of using and blending new granite into a historical urban streetscape. Learn more.

Additionally Rugo Stone’s Brett Rugo received the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Brett Rugo

Brett Rugo

In his letter nominating Brett Rugo, Tony Malisani said that Brett has been and continues to be a champion for both the Natural Stone Institute and our industry around the world. “His passion for natural stone, as well as the incredible body of work he has completed, were the two motivating factors in nominating Brett Rugo for the 2021 Migliore Lifetime Achievement Award.” Vito Germinario of LGV Group, LLC., another longtime business associate and friend, recalled that one of the things that impressed him about Brett was his meticulousness and his desire to do things right the first time.

That same passion for stone was an essential element in Brett’s motivation to help create the Craftsman of the Year award in 2009. This award was designed to celebrate the hands, the minds, the skill, and the craft that forms the beautiful works of art from the blocks and slabs that we get from the quarries.

Born in Barre, Vermont, the grandson of an Italian stone carver, Brett knew early in his life that he was meant to work with one of nature’s most timeless materials. When asked about some of the key influences in his life, Brett began with his parents. “I was raised by really fine people with tremendous work ethic. They taught me right from wrong and they taught me hard work and diligence and dedication, in spite of all the obstacles.”

More details here.

This award was established in 2003 to recognize an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the natural stone industry and the association. The award is named for MIA's long-time Technical Director, the late Vincent R. Migliore, who was its first recipient. Award winners are chosen by a panel of judges including the Natural Stone Institute Board of Directors and Past Presidents from nominations submitted by The Natural Stone Institute membership.


The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 countries. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone.

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