Heavy slabs of Breccia Capraia marble with striking, cookies-n-cream veining. A kitchen island hewn from Tikal green marble, a statement stone sourced in Guatemala. A shower clad in a Milky Way of striated stone. Lately, when it comes to speccing surfaces, designers and their clients are getting gutsier than ever.
Forget the subtlety of travertine (last year’s surface du jour) or the always-in elegance of snow white Carrara. Right now it’s all about an eye-popping specimen—strong veining, unusual colors, and (for the ultra-daring) perhaps a graphic mix of both. Surfaces need not blend into the background; they can say something too. Let’s call it personality marble—that essential dose of pattern that can make any interior pop.
“Bold stone allows a kitchen or bathroom to transcend utility and feel like a work of art,” says Aussie interior designer and self-proclaimed maximalist Greg Natale. “Vivid color, verve, and a sense of movement through expressive swirls and veining just takes everything to the next level.”
It’s been a longtime through-line in his projects. See, for example, the chunky, wine-colored Calacatta Viola bathroom in this Melbourne penthouse, or a Brutalist home in Sydney, which features an unforgettable marble bar.
According to Gerardo Cortina Wiechers, the CEO of stone supplier Arca, the vogue for statement stone has been growing over the last five years. "The shift of the business has been huge,” he told AD PRO at the brand’s Miami showroom last December during Art Basel. “Six or seven years ago, everyone was using whites, grays—simple stones. These days, you see blues, you see reds, you see everything." Unusual stone, in his view, is a new kind of conversation piece for a home.
A look back through the last year or two of AD proves his point. In January 2022, our cover called it with the all-over marble bathroom of Tinder founder Sean Rad, conjured by AD100 designer Jane Hallworth. (The same Rorschach-like stone clads their kitchen and shower, which features a matching marble bench). Then there was Gwyneth Paltrow’s onyx living room bar by Roman and Williams, the night-sky swath of Black Agatha marble in Ellen Pompeo’s entryway, and the pink-and-purple stone stripes that line Troye Sivan’s bathroom floors. Then there were the awe-inspired geological specimen—Brazilian fossil marble, green onyx, 17,000 pounds of forest green marble—that were applied to surfaces in a Milan apartment designed by Luca Cipelletti.
And that’s just the tip of the quarry. “I feel the human eye connects better with a color and pattern that is created by nature,” muses interior designer Viktor Udzenija, who used both liberally in a London pied-à-terre, where gray Arabescato marble clads the entryway, pink-and-black slabs form doorways and shelves, and bathrooms are wrapped in super-graphic Grand Antique and Rosso Levanto. He recently took the material to the next level with Little Rocker, an avant-garde rocking horse carved from Carrara marble (just 12 millimeters thick) and unveiled with Objective gallery in December at Design Miami.
We’ve been seeing this trend out and about too. In Cartier’s new Laura Gonzalez–designed New York flagship, walls, floors, and fireplace are clad in stop-you-in-your-tracks stone. And in the new Cult Gaia shop in LA, designed by AD100 designer Alexis Brown, the bathroom is wrapped in delicious orange onyx—a tribute, according to founder Jasmin Larian, to the stone work of Greek architect Dimitries Pikionis, who paved the streets of the Acropolis in Athens. It’s even a star player in Athena Calderone’s new collection for Crate & Barrel.