marmoreal

Max Lamb

Marmoreal is an engineered marble for architectural surfaces by the British designer Max Lamb.

Background

Marmoreal is offered in two colourways, one with a white background the other black. Each version is composed of four classical Italian marbles and is a material exploration that celebrates the individual qualities of these stones while acknowledging that their combination leads to something even more compelling. Suitable for interior and exterior architectural surfaces, this large-aggregate, pre-cast marble terrazzo offers an original material language with strong visual values. It skilfully balances fifteenth-century craft traditions with modern engineered-stone technologies. The word ‘marmoreal’ means ‘marble-like’; this Marmoreal is composed of approximately 95 percent marble and 5 percent polyester resin binders.

Marmoreal White, partial slab 120 x 150h cm
Marmoreal Black, partial slab 120 x 150h cm

Formats & Finishing

Marmoreal is available in a range of standard dimensions and finishes that suit the randomness of the material yet give the impression of a continuous surface. The smaller 30 × 30 cm tiles provide the flexibility to install in small spaces in a consistent grid. The generous 60 × 60 cm tiles and 305 × 124 cm slabs allow greater opportunities for customisation. Blocks measuring 305 × 124 × 85 cm are available on special request. We offer a honed finish, which gives a perfectly matte, natural expression of the marbles, or a polished finish, which gives a more saturated, reflective surface.

Marmoreal Black 60 x 60 tile

Marmoreal Black 60 x 60 tile
Marmoreal White 60 x 60 tile

Marmoreal White 60 x 60 tile

Case studies

Suitable for interior architectural surfaces, Marmoreal can be used in a range of applications from immersive bathrooms and kitchens to impactful flooring or wall cladding solutions.

Bathroom for a London townhouse, 2015

Architecture and design, Waldo Works

London design studio Waldo Works used Marmoreal slabs in a modern interpretation of wainscoting. Photography by Tom Teasdale.

London design studio Waldo Works used Marmoreal slabs in a modern interpretation of wainscoting. Photography by Tom Teasdale.

Bathroom for a Paris apartment, 2015

Slab format Marmoreal has been cut and assembled to make a sink of the architect's design.

Slab format Marmoreal has been cut and assembled to make a sink of the architect's design.
Slab Marmoreal has been templated and cut to create large continuous surfaces.<br />

Slab Marmoreal has been templated and cut to create large continuous surfaces.

Maison Kitsuné, Filles Du Calvaire, Paris, 2015

Architecture and design, Charles-Edmond Henry and Nicolas Dorval-Bory Architectes.

Maison Kitsuné, Filles Du Calvaire, Paris, 2015.  Photography by Nicolas Dorval-Bory.<br />

Maison Kitsuné, Filles Du Calvaire, Paris, 2015. Photography by Nicolas Dorval-Bory.
Custom version of Marmoreal for Maison Kitsuné.<br />

Custom version of Marmoreal for Maison Kitsuné.
The Kitsuné version replaces the yellow, Giallo Mori marble with more Bianco Verona.<br />

The Kitsuné version replaces the yellow, Giallo Mori marble with more Bianco Verona.
The result offers a similar graphic quality to the original with a bit less colour density and more visual lightness.<br />

The result offers a similar graphic quality to the original with a bit less colour density and more visual lightness.

Pair of bathrooms in a New York residence, 2015

Design, RP Miller

60x60x2cm tiles were used throughout the two bathrooms.<br />

60x60x2cm tiles were used throughout the two bathrooms.
Each bathroom incorporates pieces from the Marmoreal Bathroom Furniture series designed by Max Lamb.<br />

Each bathroom incorporates pieces from the Marmoreal Bathroom Furniture series designed by Max Lamb.
Marmoreal Slab Basin, Medicine Cabinet, and Toilet Paper Holder.<br />

Marmoreal Slab Basin, Medicine Cabinet, and Toilet Paper Holder.
Marmoreal nook created by cutting and fitting the 60x60 tiles.

Marmoreal nook created by cutting and fitting the 60x60 tiles.

Kitchen worktop for a London apartment, 2016

Design, Play Associates

The worktop and the backsplash are realised using a Marmoreal white slab in a honed finish.

The worktop and the backsplash are realised using a Marmoreal white slab in a honed finish.
All images courtesy of Play Associates.

All images courtesy of Play Associates.

Bathroom for a Laurel Canyon, California residence, 2014

Design, Carter Design

A view from the bedroom.

A view from the bedroom.
This installation uses 30x30x2 cm tiles throughout.<br />

This installation uses 30x30x2 cm tiles throughout.

Approach

Lamb’s ongoing Quarry series was the starting point for this conversation. These sculptural works are characterized by their raw appearance, generous scale and honestly celebrate the qualities of a given stone’s natural shape, texture, and even its historical context. We were curious to see what kind of stone Max would create, how his pragmatic design logic might transfer and if he works differently with a stone he creates opposed to one he takes from the earth.

We researched different man-made stone technologies and assessed which processes provided the most opportunity to produce a desired result. A thorough survey of the existing products, past and present, was conducted to ensure originality.

After settling on making a precast terrazzo, extensive compositional studies followed and Lamb arrived at the idea of using large marble rocks as the bulk of the recipe to emphasize the inherent stoniness of human-made stone. This approach is in contrast to the typically small, speckled pieces of aggregate typical of terrazzo.

De Lank Granite Chair and Side Table, Max Lamb, 2009
Early Marmoreal composition sketch, Max Lamb, 2012

Ingredients

Rosso Verona, Giallo Mori, and Verde Alpi are the three Italian marbles featured in Marmoreal. Bianco Verona is used to create the white-background version, and Grigio Carnico is used for the black-background version. All of these marbles are natural materials and thus vary from batch to batch. The variations are part of the inherent beauty of natural stone and ensure that each piece of Marmoreal is entirely unique.

Rosso Verona, a red nodular limestone of the Jurassic period from northern Italy, is the prevailing stone in much of Veronese classical architecture. The entire city of Verona feels as if it is made from it. Its visual quality is the most predictable of the three featured stones, with colours ranging from earthy reds like dry clay to more saturated brownish reds characterised by fine circular patterns and stylolitic veins.

Giallo Mori is a bright, ochre-yellow marble from Trentino-Alto Adige, with both light and dark veins and the occasional small white quartz patches. The colour can range from pale yellow to dark Dijon mustard. The texture is often flat but can sometimes contain small white speckles that resemble a mass of microbes.

Verde Alpi is a traditional marble from Valle d’Aosta, known for its intense green colour and contrasting white quartz veins. The most varied of the three marbles, its particles can have a high quartz content, making the stone a glassy white or emerald green, or an absence of quartz, making it nearly black.

Bianco Verona makes up the background matrix for Marmoreal White. This traditional Veronese marble is characterised by its opacity and textural flatness, perfect attributes to serve as a canvas for the three primary marbles. Bianco Verona can vary in colour from off-white to cream, pink, or grey. In the Marmoreal development phase, it became clear that this stone provided better contrast than its more famous counterparts, Carrara and Botticino.

Grigio Carnico is the background for Marmoreal Black. This dark grey to black limestone from Alpi Carniche contains some pronounced white and grey veining, but on the smaller scale used to create a matrix, these qualities are homogenised and give the appearance of a galactic scenescape.

Clockwise From Left to Right
Giallo Mori, Verde Alpi, Rosso Sant'Ambrogio.
A bag of some of the smaller coloured aggregates used in Marmoreal.

History

Terrazzo’s sustainable roots date back to fifteenth-century Venice, where craftspeople used waste materials—for instance local stone off-cuts and chips from the construction of palazzos—to make decorative mosaic-like flooring solutions. Eventually they began introducing glass, metals, and even concrete, all while consistently using local-material waste. Marmoreal acknowledges this history by using waste stone from Italian quarries, most of it locally sourced.

Dimension quarry where some of our marble waste is sourced

Process

Marmoreal is a large-aggregate, pre-cast terrazzo. To make it, marble rocks of mixed dimension are combined in large industrial mixers with a polyester resin binder. This mix is then poured into a 305 × 124 × 85 cm block mould, and a cast block is formed using a combination of pressure, vibration, and vacuum. This method of making, while precise in its formulation, ensures a random combination of marble elements, so that no two pieces or sections of Marmoreal are ever the same.

Once the casting is complete, the block is removed from the mould and cures for an additional two weeks before it is cut. The resulting 10 metric tonnes of stone can be treated quite similarly to any other block of marble or stone. Blocks are sliced into standard-dimension slabs and tiles, adhering to the most economical and least wasteful use of the material. The blocks can also be CNC milled into large, curvaceous architectural features, furnishings, or objects. Bespoke thicknesses and dimensions are available upon request.

Sorting the ingredients onto the belt.
Mixing Marmoreal ingredients.
Casting in progress.
Completed blocks in the yard.
Cutting slabs from blocks.

Certifications

Marmoreal is Greenguard Gold certified. The Greenguard certification program assures that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits, creating healthy interiors. Greenguard Gold certification is even stricter, considering additional safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly), and ensuring that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and health care facilities.