Deceptively nestled among the buildings of Sylvester Street in a decidedly industrial area of Westbury, you probably wouldn’t think twice when viewing a certain plain white building with its name — Zicana — inscribed above the front door.
But if you ventured within Zicana, you may be surprised at what you’d find; a cutting-edge art gallery and showroom, featuring deluxe, high-end home countertops. Yes, countertops. But trust us…you’ve never seen countertops like these before in your life.
Zicana, the brainchild of Westbury resident Francesco Marasco, opened about two years ago as a higher-scale companion to Elegante Custom Stone Boutique by Zicana, his business directly across the street.
“We opened Elegante about 10 years ago, and we do anything for the home—counter tops, vanity tops, everything with natural stone, such as granite and quartz. We offer economical, day-to-day products there,” he said. “However, the industry as a whole has not evolved since it started, and I wanted to develop a brand, but not drift away from my focus, which is working with stone. I had to find something different.”
After searching for a hook for his new business, Marasco finally found geodes, beautiful, naturally-occurring, colored gemstones that are mined much like diamonds. Partnering with an Israel-based company that manufactures items out of geodes by hand, Marasco said he found a way to transform a simple countertop into a true work of art.
“This is a completely different category than just marble and granite. What you’re looking at is jewelry on a countertop surface, which is unheard of,” he said. “When I first saw these pieces, I fell in love with them. I knew this was something that I could build a brand around, that brand that I’ve always envisioned.”
Zicana imports slabs of gemstone counters — each crafted by hand using an epoxy resin and geode chips to meld the cut gemstones together into a cohesive shape, ensuring that no two are alike — directly from Israel. When purchased by a customer, Marasco said that his company then goes through the painstaking task of smoothly cutting the incredibly durable material and installing it. Backlighting serves to give the translucent, colorful, crystalline mosaic of each counter an ethereal glow.
“I’ve always envisioned luxury but with stone,” Marasco said. “These products just speak for themselves…they’re the Ferrari, the Rolls Royce of stone, that’s the only way to relate to it.”
However, Marasco has a desire to branch out his gemstone material into other artsy products, such as furniture and jewelry, many of which he says will be far more approachable — financially speaking — than his admittedly high-end countertops.
“We want to start incorporating finished goods with raw crystals, creating lamps, jewelry boxes, ornamental furniture collections. I’m taking it to another level,” he said. “Women’s pocketbooks, accessories, you name it, we’re going to do it. That’s what the whole brand is about…really developing an entire line — a lifestyle — out of it, and we will be delivering some more economical items in order to appeal to a mass market.”
So far, reaction to his products has taken the field by storm, and once he gets the word out, Marasco expects Zicana to truly become a brand with some impressive name recognition.
“People are blown away. Even in the same industry, when they see it, they can’t believe it,” he said. “We haven’t even scratched the surface, because there are people out there that don’t even know that this exists, but this is America, the land of opportunity and dreams, and I believe that there’s a market for everything. When you have something unique like this, there’s always someone out there looking for it.”
While the showroom is primarily just for the artful display of Zicana’s product lines, Marasco said that he does have areas set aside to display paintings and other works created by local artists. There are currently colorful abstract paintings created by one of his employees hanging there, and Marasco said that he eventually plans on allowing other artists to display their works at Zicana as well as a way of giving them some recognition while enhancing the atmosphere of his showroom at the same time.
To find out more about Zicana, visit their website at www.zicana.com