marmoreal

by Max Lamb

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

Background

Composed of four classical Italian marbles, Marmoreal is a material exploration that celebrates the individual qualities of these stones while acknowledging that the sum of its parts makes for something far more compelling.

Suitable for interior architectural surfaces, this large aggregate pre-cast marble terrazzo offers an original material language with strong visual value. It skilfully balances 15th-century craft traditions with modern engineered-stone technologies in an approach that is consistent with Max Lamb’s materials driven, studio practise. The word “marmoreal” means “like marble”; 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 an edited range of standard dimensions and finishes that suit the randomness of the material and give the impression of a continuous surface. The smaller 30x30cm tiles provide the flexibility to install in small spaces with a consistent grid while the generous 60x60cm tiles and 305 x 124cm slabs allow greater opportunities for customisation. Blocks measuring 305 x 124 x 85 cm are also available on special request.

Our honed 180 finish offers a perfectly matte, natural expression of the marbles while the polished surface reveals a more saturated, reflective stone.

Marmoreal Black 60 x 60 tile

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

Marmoreal White 60 x 60 tile

Applications

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

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.

Pair of bathrooms in a New York residence, 2015

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

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 who did the interior design.

All images courtesy of Play Associates who did the interior design.

Bathroom for a Laurel Canyon, California residence, 2014

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 while Grigio Carnico is used for the black background. All of the marbles used in Marmoreal are natural materials and will therefore vary from batch to batch. We try to offer the most accurate description of the qualities of each of these stones and what you might expect but we cannot guarantee any quality to be present.

Rosso Verona, a red nodular limestone of the Jurassic period, is from Northern Italy and 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, that has both light and dark veins with the occasional small white quartz patches. Colour can range from pale yellow to dark Dijon mustard. 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, selected for its intense green colour and contrasting white quartz veins. The most varied of the three marbles, particles can have a high quartz content making the stone a glassy white or emerald green but sometimes the absence of quartz creates a piece that is nearly black.

Bianco Verona is used as the background matrix of Marmoreal White. This traditional Veronese marble is characterised by its opacity and textural flatness. Bianco Verona can vary in colour from off-white to cream to pink and grey. This stone provided the best contrast when compared to its more famous counterparts, Carrara and Botticino. Lamb found their translucency distracted from the three featured marbles.

Grigio Carnico is used as 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 in creating a matrix, these qualities are homogenised.

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

Sustainability

Inspired by mosaic, terrazzo’s sustainable roots date back to 15th century Venice when craftspeople used waste materials like local stone off-cuts and chips from the construction of palazzos to make paved, decorative flooring solutions. Eventually they began introducing glass, metals and even concrete, all while consistently using local, material waste. Marmoreal acknowledges this history by using dimension quarrying waste materials of Italian origin, most of which are locally sourced.

Dimension quarry where some of our marble waste is sourced

Process

Marmoreal is a large-aggregate, pre-cast terrazzo. Marble rocks of mixed dimension are combined in large industrial mixers with a polyester resin binder. This mix is then poured into a 305 x 124 x 85 cm block mould. The cast block is formed over a 12 hour period using a combination of pressure, vibration and some chemical reaction.

Once the casting is complete, the blocks are removed from the mould and placed in a yard where they cure for an additional two weeks before they are able to be cut. The resulting 10 metric tonne hunks of stone can be treated quite similarly to other blocks of marble or stone.

We slice these blocks into standard dimension slabs and tiles, adhering to the most economic and least wasteful use of the material, consistent with terrazzo’s sustainable origins. Following a more reductive approach, the block can be cnc milled into large, curvaceous architectural features, furnishings or objects.

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 Certified. The GREENGUARD Certification Program (formerly known as GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification) gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits, which contribute to creating  healthier interiors.

GREENGUARD Gold Certification (formerly known as GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification) offers a stricter certification criteria, considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly), and ensures that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.