A Material World: Terrazzo

Quartz, Jurassic-age limestone and... Polyester? Welcome to a handsome world of engineered marble. Folk meets the London creative speaking a different language of surface design.

Dzek Milan 2014 ©Delfino Sisto Legnani

Oh, nice: is Yayoi Kusama dabbling in interiors? Not a joke, but an observation made by a bona fide design head on sight of this speckled dining room. Anyone who has seen the doyenne of polka dot room sets will allow that this isn’t, in fact, an absurd question. But actually, it’s a 3600 installation of walls, floors and furniture made from Marmoreal, a sublime artificial surface dreamt up by British designer Max Lamb for North London’s Dzek studio.

(Image left & right) Scrap Marmoreal Vase ©Sasa  

Dzek’s ethos is based on the Bauhaus school’s idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, which translates as a total work of art, or universal artwork. ‘Our collaborations call upon craft-leaning designers, architects and artists to develop a material,’ they say. From this material, the two parties then create entire living spaces, in which the surface is considered (like Fagin’s boys) well in and part of the furniture. Clearly, there is beauty in the broken. Lamb puts it this way: ‘Composed of four historically significant Veronese marbles, Marmoreal is a material exploration that celebrates the individual qualities of these stones... while acknowledging that the sum of its parts makes for something far more compelling.

Marmoreal Table ©Frank Hülsbömer

’Personally, the white terrazzo reminds me of a strawberry roan pony. Or freckled redhead. The Rosso Verona limestone is from the Jurassic era! No two shards are the same, it can vary from wine to nearly pastel pink. Another favourite of the four used is the ochre-yellow Giallo Mori marble, which comes from under the South Tyrol mountains.The coloured shrapnel are glued together by Lamb with a polyester resin, making it stronger and less porous than its much-loved natural cousin. Also, perhaps, more interesting: the black version resembles a jagged celestial sky in a way that no pure marble really does. Two shades of marbled wonderlands, hard as nails and very easy on the eye.

Marmoreal by Max Lamb for Dzek. Tiles and slabs from £390; furniture from £2400. Dzekdzekdzek.com; Maxlamb.org.