Thursday 27 October 2016

Marble matters

Amanda Kavanagh

Published 28/02/2016 | 02:30

Marble 'is synonymous with luxury, quality and timelessness'
Marble 'is synonymous with luxury, quality and timelessness'
Cheese board and knife, €110. Swirling veins of greys and green evoke the natural beauty of Galway in unique pieces of Connemara marble;
Melamine plates, €17.75. Made with melamine, this set of three is resilient enough for kids, but chic enough for adults; klevering.nlx
Silk Cushion, €161. Pure satin silk and a plump feather insert make this emerald green cushion a bright and opulent addition;
Candleholder, €81. With space for four tealights, this marble Nordstjerne candle holder is perfect for cosy nights in;

Marble never really goes out of style. It's a material that is synonymous with luxury, quality and timelessness. In the last year, its resurgence as the stoneware of choice has made it - and its prints -ubiquitous in both interiors and fashion, seen on everything from countertops and flooring, to phone covers and gym gear.

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Lately, and in many 2016 interiors collections, its classic veining has been given a new lease of life with injections of metallics and rich colours. Interior designer Suzie McAdam made the pilgrimage to Maison et Objet in Paris, the annual design show, where she notes that marble continued to be a massive trend.

She said: "The ultimate luxury would be to introduce it through a bathroom makeover - which is on my current wish list. However, smaller items, such as side tables, consoles or tableware, are an easier way to introduce this look.

"For an easy update, textiles with digitally printed colourful or classic marble can update a sofa, be it in cushions or throws. Pastel tones and metallics are set to be huge and are well worth investing in this season."

Close to home, many are already familiar with Connemara marble, a gorgeous swirl of greens and greys that reflects the landscape and mountains of its surrounds. Seen on fireplaces and in bathrooms of stately homes like Liss Ard in Co Cork and Ross Castle in Co Galway, as well as the top-floor canteen at Busaras, it is elegant and calming.

Stonemason Eric Byrne, of Hennessy and Byrne in Co Wicklow, uses this striking stone to create beautiful kitchen and dining ware, that doesn't carry the daunting price tags of marble installations.

Overseas, Eric Byrne's traditional skills have drawn the attention of talent-spotting interiors magazine Elle Decoration, which featured his craft in its 2016 Trends issue, alongside Superfolk and Cillian O Suilleabhain, under the banner of Irish design to watch.

Outside of indigenous stone, digital printing means marbling is now far more accessible. Advances in digital printing mean marble can be rendered realistically on both hard and soft materials - on everything from tiles to textiles - and this opens marble up to more playful interpretations.

One designer playing with colourful marble variations is Nadia Newton of Guernsey-based Penelope Hope.

Having just released a collection of luxury, marbled silk cushions in bold brights, she will follow up with equally vivid lampshades in the coming months.

"At the time of designing, our colourful Marbleous Collection was the first of its kind, but like all good trends, others catch on quickly and so there are a few options out there now for more colourful marble designs," she explains.

In her process, Nadia starts with floating paints onto a fluid surface and carefully transfers the paint swirls onto paper. These one-of-kind designs are then scanned and tweaked, before digitally printing onto pure silk satin fabric.

"Our Malachite Marble cushion takes inspiration from the Malachite stone, which is spiritually inviting and which demands respect. Its movement, flow and energy are soothing and welcoming. It would work beautifully in a bedroom on crisp white bedding," Nadia adds.

Amanda Kavanagh is the editor of Image Interiors & Living magazine

Sunday Independent

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