MAR­BLE MAS­TER­CLASS

Ja­son Cher­ring­ton, di­rec­tor of Lapi­cida, gives us the low-down on the styles of the mo­ment, and how to use them

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style | Decorating -

What is mar­ble? Mar­ble is a hard type of lime­stone that is formed un­der heat and pres­sure. Some coloured va­ri­eties are ac­tu­ally quartzites or so­dalites, which have a dif­fer­ent ge­o­log­i­cal make up but are often clas­si­fied as ‘mar­ble’. We usu­ally as­so­ciate mar­ble with Italy, but ev­ery re­gion of the globe has its own va­ri­eties with unique char­ac­ter­is­tics. What are the most pop­u­lar va­ri­eties? The cur­rent trend is for mono­chrome op­tions, such as white Arabescato and Stat­u­ario, or black Por­toro, but more colour­ful ver­sions are also be­com­ing pop­u­lar (see Nine of the best, op­po­site). Where can I use mar­ble in the home? Each mar­ble will have par­tic­u­lar prop­er­ties that make it suit­able or un­suit­able for cer­tain ap­pli­ca­tions. For in­stance, some have a high flex­i­ble strength, which makes them good for stairs, whereas oth­ers are brit­tle if cut too thin. Sheet mar­ble in tiles or slabs can be used for floors, walls and work­tops, and honed mar­ble, rather than pol­ished, is prefer­able for the kitchen, be­cause its sur­face is more for­giv­ing when it comes to dis­guis­ing marks caused by acidic foods, such as vine­gar or cit­rus juice. How is it in­stalled? Fit­ting nat­u­ral stone is a spe­cial­ist job. Buy your mar­ble from a com­pany that sup­plies and fits, or at least pro­vides a list of rec­om­mended fit­ters. You can choose be­tween pre-cut or bespoke slabs, and your choice should de­pend on the shape and size of the room. For ex­pan­sive sur­faces, pre-cut mar­ble will be around 40 per cent cheaper than bespoke slabs, but if the room is small or has awk­ward an­gles it will be more cost-ef­fec­tive to opt for mar­ble that has been cut to fit. It is vi­tal that all mar­ble is sealed once in­stalled for full pro­tec­tion. Dec­o­ra­tive ef­fects can be achieved by con­trast­ing or ‘book match­ing’ the mar­bles, us­ing the nat­u­ral vein­ing to cre­ate pat­terns. Is it easy to main­tain? It is a myth that mar­ble is a high-main­te­nance sur­face ma­te­rial, es­pe­cially with re­cent ad­vances in sealant tech­nol­ogy: some man­u­fac­tur­ers now of­fer ten-year guar­an­tees against stains.

De­tail (top and above) Be in­spired by the mul­ti­coloured mar­ble floor found in Cé­line’s con­cept store on Mount Street, Lon­don, de­signed by lo­cal prac­tice Casper Mueller Kneer Ar­chi­tects. The show-stop­ping de­sign is made up of 5,000 pieces, in­cor­po­rat­ing...

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