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Date published: December 12 2015

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Tina Mahony hails the trend for a stone which exudes luxury and elegance

Anyone pounding the exhibition halls of Salone Del Mobile earlier this year, will have noticed that one of the predominant themes shouting its name loudly from the A/W2015 collections was marble.

As many commercial and private clients have witnessed, the marble trend has been creeping back, in all its glorious forms with even more gloriously exotic names, such as Calacatta Gold, Emperador, Marquina black and Carrara white.  It was everywhere at the prestigious Milan show –a fitting home for a stone once so celebrated by the great Roman emperors.

Stonemasons and architects have used it for centuries, and white marble has always been particularly prized for use in sculpture.  British architects and designers have had an enduring love affair with it too – it pops up in almost every room of the house, adding a touch of luxury living to bathroom floors and walls, kitchen worktops and fireplaces. 

Marble brings visual warmth to a room and beautifully honed tiles for floors in either halls and bathrooms bring a calm and peaceful atmosphere to an interior. The sleek, modern lines of polished tiles exude luxury and by using a contrast with the marble for floors clients can bring an elegance to a custom cut stone floor design which is truly striking.

It’s nothing new in furniture design, but over the last few decades or so its popularity in this area has waned, often associated with overly-fussy, outdated design, or ludicrously expensive price tags.

However, more recently, it has emerged as one of the hottest materials in contemporary furniture design. Product designers are using modern, digital technology to create wonderfully 21st century designs faster, while specialist masons are still employed for their finishing skills.   Shapes have been kept simple and uncomplicated; the beauty of marble with its characteristic swirls and veins means that there is a lot already going on within a design, and by keeping the overall look fairly minimalist, the material itself is allowed to take centre stage.

An element of luxury prevails with the aged stone material but there is currently a move away from classic white with a resurgence in interest in the more 1970’s palette, for both residential and commercial spaces. There is an underlying shift with the trend with richer and stronger palettes found in the brown Spanish Emperador and the mottled deep reds and blacks with white veining shows confidence in moving forward from white Carrerra marble with stunning results.

Marble will always evoke traditional design ideas, sculpted with a classic style in mind but it is now being re-interpreted with a contemporary twist to produce very impressive styles which creatively incorporate real woods, such as walnut, or glass.  Having been used for centuries as a building material and since Eero Saarinen used it for the iconic Tulip table it moves on and continues to break boundaries with excellent results coming through furniture design from Italian brands to intricate flooring designs which mix striking stone finishes to  beautifully, hand-carved rug designs.

New interests in decorative prints, which simulate the marble effect from rugs to wallpapers and now, with the progression of technology specialist designers can use digital printing effects to transfer marble print, at a faster pace, onto anything from cushion covers to shower curtains – all surely set to become the modern classics of our time.

Author: Tina Mahony

Company: GO MODERN

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