Terrazzo is back and better than ever, says Pinterest (and zero janitors). But with any great revival comes a solid reinvention: Enter Marmoreal, an engineered marble that’s slowly coming to a countertop near you. Yes, the play on lower-case marmoreal (adj: of, relating to, or suggestive of marble) is intentional: Designed by London’s Max Lamb and produced by Dzek, Marmoreal is making the rounds from its factory in Verona, Italy: OMFGCO, the same agency behind the Ace Hotel Portland, air-freighted slabs across oceans to build a Marmoreal bar at The Laylow, just opened in Honolulu. And RP Miller (of the 2018 AD100) brought the material to Manhattan when they decked out a pair of residential bathrooms in wall-to-floor Marmoreal tiles (even the sink).
If the midcentury’s pedestrian variety of terrazzo was like lackluster stardust (tiny earth-toned pieces of marble all together looked like a drab, half-blended smoothie), Marmoreal is more like an asteroid field; it uses larger segments of colorful Italian marble, letting organic shapes, natural edges, and true colors shine. Finally, those individual pieces get their close-up! We get to use our imagination here: Maybe it looks like cereal milk, or a slab of nougat. Is it a burst of confetti frozen in place, or a metamorphic constellation? No matter—it’s just mesmerizing.
Admittedly, Marmoreal has been slow to rise to the surface chiefly because the price is, well, a sticky situation (say goodbye to nearly $2,000 for a single 49″ x 120″ slab). The result is that it’s often used sparingly, but rarely lightly: Years ago, the trend-setting Maison Kitsuné put Marmoreal on the map—across floors, stairs, and walls (plus a few shirts) at its fourth opening in Paris. “Customers are crazy for it,” says Jeff Flink, owner of Amsterdam’s Toki café, which is outfitted in Marmoreal counters, tabletops, and banquettes—Instagram backdrops that stand up to latte art (just check out their tags).
If you’re keen to bring this look home, consider tiles (rather than slabs) to make the price a little bit easier to swallow: A 12″-square Marmoreal tile goes for just over $42, and they’re available as big as 40″ square. Thankfully, this is one of those times a little goes a long way—scatter a few Marmoreal tiles randomly throughout a backsplash or bathroom wall or floor design, or design a small Marmoreal shelf. Or better yet, purchase it predesigned into an accent: It’s still pricey, but Makers & Brothers worked with Max Lamb to fashion pieces of Marmoreal into bold, smooth-edged cheese boards that look great on any counter (without costing as much as a brand-new kitchen).
What else do you need to know? 1. Get your Marmoreal straight from the source, directly through the maker, Dzek. “They were really pleasant to work with” says Fritz Mesenbrink, cofounder of OMFGCO. “They even sent us a handwritten note afterwards, which I appreciated.” 2. Select black or white, both of which feature four types of colored Italian marble (making up about 95% of the material) set with a polyester binder (a more flexible hold than traditional terrazzo’s concrete), and a finish: honed (no shine) or polished (shiny). 3. Install it yourself, if you’re comfortable laying tile, to save a buck—it’s no more complicated than a regular tile install.
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