Milan 2012 | Trend Report: Marble
Introverso by Vallmar + Paolo Ulian.
One of the most prevalent themes in materials at this year’s Saloni is the integration of marble in various forms, shapes, colors and textures, into new work by designers from all over the world.
Marble is a material that has been used in furniture since the time of the Romans. Today, the material lends itself beautifully to contemporary manufacturing processes like CNC cutting and milling. The image above is from one of the most innovative shows in Milan this year, Analogico/Digitale @ Subalterno 1 in Zona Ventura Lambrate.
Designers are not only using marble for its beautifully complex variations and imperfections. They are exploring other properties of the stone that can be used to add luxury and depth to furniture and products.
Two major pieces that exploit various properties of marble are Ilide’s Etica pendant that pairs marble’s translucent quality with an exquisitely shaped clear shade (below), and Tomas Manapace’s Rock Vibrations (above) that exploits the resonance properties of marble by making a record player.
Of course, one of the most well-known and popular reasons for using marble is that it wears well over time and lasts forever. You could even argue that a piece of marble actually becomes more beautiful as time and use change the material, imbuing it with a visible history (see cafe tables in Paris). Today it is as true as ever and evident in many occasional table designs being shown in Milan.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and beautiful examples came from El Ultimo Grito in the form of Vistas. An undulating bench that utilizes a myriad of colors and patterns in all variety of colored marble to give the effect of, in their words, “From a bird’s eye view … an abstract painting carefully sculpted by centuries of socio-economic upheavals, adaptation to the environment, and technological advances…”
Author: Zac Feltoon is Design Director at Zac & Co., an Industrial Design Consultancy located in New York.