Restrained grandezza.

Marble is no longer confined to large surfaces: it’s increasingly rolling out to furniture and accessories.

Marvellous multicoloured stone
Marble is a wondrous material. This form of limestone varies in structure and hardness depending on its origins, with different types suited to different uses. Columns in a palace require different properties to hall floors or kitchen worktops.

And yet we have moved on from only using marble for columns, floors, walls and surfaces. The heavy, timeless quality which once destined marble for imperial majesty has given way to more flexible uses. Recently, furniture and accessories have also been made from or with marble: a refreshing change in the home. No longer is marble merely a mark of prestige, it’s also the smart material to use.

And then there are the colours! Very few stones come in so many rich hues that shine so elegantly when worked. Take our examples: it’s easier to read the time against a light background, whereas a coffee table with dark veins could become the focal point of your living room. The fact that this is actually an oak table with a marble finish, and not solid marble, is a plus here. This four-part table can be lifted and repositioned easily within your living space. After all, who wants the same layout day after day?

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  • 1  Tiles from Scandola Marmi
  • 2  Clock from Salt & Pepper
  • 3  Soap dispenser set from Andrea House
  • 4  Drawer table from Serax
  • 5  Coffee table from Eichholtz
  • 6  Napkins from Eightmood

Seeming and being
Is it real marble, or a clever facsimile? That’s a constant refrain with the current marble trend, and different designers handle it very differently.

Eightmood gives us cheeky paper napkins with a marble pattern, guaranteed to bamboozle the casual user: we automatically associate this pattern with hard materials. You’d normally expect that sort of surprise from modern art, perhaps by Claes Oldenburg or Mona Hatoum.

These tiles by Scandola Marmi challenge the status quo in a different way, as when viewed from above they evoke an illusion of spatial depth rather than a natural grain pattern.

Swirling with originality
The natural patterns it draws are a lovely feature of marble. Its diversity comes from it being quarried the world over. In Europe, Carrara in Tuscany has been a byword for quality since Michelangelo’s time, yet this fine metamorphosed limestone is also extracted in countries like Iran and China. The stone from each region is different.

Household items provide an ideal platform for displaying marbled effects, be they chopping boards, teapots, plates, cups, salt cellars or small bowls. The bowl by Architectmade pictured here has quite a story behind it: in 1963 famous Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm created an oversized ashtray for the town hall at Fredericia. This has now been shrunk down to more familiar dimensions.

Karin Jaeger, editor of the Architectural Digest, considers the variety in veins to be a major reason behind this material’s charisma: “Marble is a real, honest material. It is both solid and sensitive. It represents permanence and durability, yet is always in flux – you’ll never get enough of looking at its grain, swirls and clouds. Every piece is different, so furniture and accessories automatically become truly unique pieces.”

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  • 1  Crockery from Vista Alegre
  • 2  Salt dish from Bloomingville
  • 3  Candle holder from Broste Copenhagen
  • 4  Serving dish from Nuance
  • 5  Table lamp from Hübsch
  • 6  Bowl from Architectmade
  • 7  Teapot from Dibbern

Material mix
An unusual combination of materials can heighten the individual aspect: marble is particularly suited to this. Hübsch has made a table lamp with a marble ‘foot’ which wears a ‘shoe’ of mango wood, introducing a soft and playful element.

Or take the small candle holder from Broste Copenhagen: the copper-coloured steel rises so boldly from the grey marble base that you can’t resist lighting a candle, even in broad daylight.

Marble works well in partnership with many materials, sometimes being the heavier or cooler partner, sometimes the lighter or purer. Yet using marble will always give one particular impression: of a modern and individual interior.

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