Marble is traditionally associated with the grandeur and opulence of ancient sculptures and religious buildings, from the pristine white carvings of the Taj Mahal to the pink, green and white patterns adorning the façade of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. A historic signifier of wealth and taste, marble nonetheless spent much of the 20th century being overlooked in favour of more modern materials, relegated to bathroom counters and tiles.
However, in recent years this iconic material has been reclaiming a role in modern interior design. Throughout 2014, international design shows made much of its versatility, harking a trend which continued to strengthen over the following months. Rather than imitating the ornately patterned marble floors of palatial ballrooms, these 21st century tastemakers often choose to incorporate marble as more of an accent texture, adding an unexpected air of opulence to an otherwise modern or minimalist piece.
Marble counter tops in kitchens have numerous benefits beyond their aesthetic appeal. There is a range of colours available, from grey-veined white to deepest green, so you're certain to find something that matches your palette. Once sealed, you'll find them easy to clean without risk of staining, and the luminescent stone can brighten a room considerably.
In 2015, several leading designers have produced furniture that utilises marble elements in unusual yet appealing ways. A circular marble coffee table brings all the benefits of the stone to your sitting room as well as your kitchen, while the unfamiliarity of the texture in that context will create a compelling focal point. Although marble is often thought of as heavy, modern techniques allow for the creation of delicate yet sturdy pieces, such as elegant shelving, minimalist lighting fixtures or marble-and-wood chairs and stools.
If you prefer to capitalise upon the historic connotations of marble, you'll need to focus on walls, floors and columns. While the stone may be a little cool for cosier spaces, such as bedrooms and dining rooms, it can be used to great effect in a foyer, kitchen, or bathroom. A marble floor in your entrance hall creates an immediate sense of grandeur, which can be balanced out with a rich rug or Turkish carpet for warmth. In the bathroom, underfloor heating will be necessary to ensure that your marble tiling is suitably luxurious and comfortable throughout the year.
Adding marble antiques to an otherwise modern aesthetic is another popular choice. Marble table lamps, mantel clocks or candlesticks lend a sense of history to your interior design without being overpowering. Ornately carved mantelpieces can be juxtaposed with plush sofas and hardwood floors, or complemented with Regency-style armchairs and period artworks.
The longevity and versatility of marble make it well worth the investment, whether you choose a piece of avant-garde furniture or classical flooring. To view exclusive properties that already incorporate contemporary marble features, or have the potential to cater to this exciting trend, visit Engel & Völkers. Our extensive portfolio of high-end real estate includes unusual modern estates, contemporary apartments, and historic stately homes in 37 countries worldwide.