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