by Max Lamb
Marmoreal is an engineered marble for architectural surfaces by the British designer Max Lamb.
Composed of four historically significant 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. The word “marmoreal” means “like marble”; this Marmoreal is composed of approximately 95 percent marble and 5 percent polyester resin binders.
For the first Marmoreal recipe, Lamb selected Rosso Verona, Giallo Mori, Verde Alpi, and Bianco Verona, all Italian marble varietals that have unique and complementary color and textural qualities.
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 a waste conscious approach consistent with the history of the man made composite.
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 larger 100x100cm tiles and 305 x 124cm slabs afford a generous surface that maximizes Marmoreal’s visual impact.
Honed finishes offer a more matte, natural expression of the marbles, while a polished finish gives a reflective, saturated quality.
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 Paris apartment, 2015
Pair of bathrooms in a New York residence, 2015
Bathroom for a Laurel Canyon, California residence, 2014
After extensive compositional studies, Lamb reached the idea of using large marble pieces as the bulk of the recipe to emphasize the inherent stoniness of human-made stone, rather than the usual small pieces of aggregate typical of terrazzo. The designer’s ongoing Quarry series is a clear reference point for this development. These pieces are characterized by their generous scale and honestly celebrate the qualities of a given stone’s color, texture, and even its historical context.
Terrazzo’s sustainable roots date back to its beginnings when craftspeople used waste materials like local stone off-cuts and chips from the construction of palazzos. Eventually glass, metals and even concrete were introduced, all consistently local, material waste. In recognition of this history and our current ethical responsibilities, Marmoreal uses dimension quarrying waste materials of Italian origin, most of which are locally sourced near the factory just outside of Verona.
Marble aggregates of mixed dimension are mixed together in large industrial mixers with a polyester resin binder. This mix is then poured into a 305 x 124 x 85 cm block mould that 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.
These blocks are cut 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 also be milled into large single piece furnishings and biomorphic objects.