Design Events / Fairs, Material trends


09 Milan Design Week

SO, WHAT ABOUT MARBLE and its usage in furniture projects? One of the questions I had before I went to Milan. Marble, this very Italian material. A bestseller in the last decade, when each prestigious kitchen project was crowned by a slab of white Carrara or Calacatta, each commercial project featured at least one dramatic white or black marble in one of the areas, when Nero Marquina and Arabescato were terms that everybody in the industry could immediately put a picture to….

black marble
classic black veined marble at Pedini

What happened to it in the 2 years of a pandemic and in an environmental discussion that has never been that prominent? Yes, marble is a natural material but is it sustainable? It took millions of years for it to grow. Once it’s harvested, it leaves a hole in the earth that can’t be refilled (quickly). Its harvesting requires huge amounts of energy, and as another negative for its carbon footprint, it often gets shipped around the world to architectural projects outside of Europe. Recycling is possible, but would anybody take her/ his kitchen worktop to gravel works? 

At the fair I haven’t (yet) seen efforts to maybe use thinner slices or reuse old marble. No talk about recycling it after use or about improving the carbon foot print of a marble top. Maybe it’s the wrong forum to discuss such questions? At Eurocucina, marble still seems to be the most sought after luxurious material of which only the nicest pieces get cut into thick slabs…..

Stylistically, it’s clear that the era of the classic white is definitely over, instead new and less familiar marble species are on show. White is still important, and often shown in quite dramatic versions. There are calmer veined variants, like Nero Marquina, but definitely less than in 2018. The new darling is Ceppo di Gre, a particulated beige or grey marble, a less dramatic rather in small scale visual, and in the same category, but larger scale, Breccia. Also, there are grainier stones, that fit the description of a “natural terrazzo”, and might be a first step into a direction of new granites and sandstone…. Graininess is definitely one of the keys to stone at this Eurocucina.

Reconstituted stone and printed large scale ceramic play an increasingly important role – for their aesthetics, as a reaction to a feeling of crisis (offering less pricy options), as well as a step into a more sustainable future.

brown granite
“natural terrazzo” at Scavolini
beige marble
reconstituted stone at Cesar
white veined marble
white veined marble at Porcelanosa
grey marble
Pietra del Cardoso sandstone at Valcucine
Ceppo di Gre at Scavolini

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