Marble has been used since ancient times in Greece and Rome, from temples to bathhouses to markets. Hundreds of different types of marbles are found all over the world in the United States, Europe, Egypt, and India.
A marble is a metamorphic rock that derives from the transformation of limestone and other sedimentary carbonate rocks. The interlocking of calcite crystals along with other minerals such as clay, mica, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides, and graphite is what comprises marble. The recrystallization property of calcite is what makes it such a popular material in art, architecture, and sculpting through the ages. Marble also includes variations of dolomite, travertine, serpentine, and hard limestone. (King, n.d.)
Marble as a Building Material
Marble’s properties have many advantages over other stones as a building material. It has a significant compressive strength making it quite strong, uniform in texture, least porous, and can take an excellent polish. It is also highly workable and easy to repair. (The Constructor., n.d.)
Out of all the natural stones, it is the most durable rock and examples like the Taj Mahal, and the Washington Monument prove its ability to stand the test of time. Furthermore, it is extremely resistant to climate, weather, and erosion. Its ability to withstand high temperatures and its fire-resilient property made it a popular material in the tropical region. It almost acts as a natural air conditioner by remaining cool at higher temperatures. (Easyrender.com. n.d.)
Prominent architects like Adolf Loos, Mies van der Rohe, and Philip Johnson were architects that used marble extensively to express their modernist and minimalist ideas. However, with the high cost of quarrying and transporting the stone, along with the workmanship needed to shape and secure the heavy material, marble started to lose its popularity. Hence, they started being used only for socially significant and important buildings. (Medium. n.d.)
Marble in Interiors
Marble is an elegant material that can add a certain pristine quality to space. With the latest technology, it is not only used in its traditional modular form but is popularly used in the form of tiles for cladding purposes. This helps achieve the aesthetic qualities of marble while not having to deal with the high construction cost, masonry skill required, and the heaviness of the material. Moreover, it makes maintenance easier. The following are certain ways in which marble can be used to bring life to the interiors through cladding:
The Layered Effect
Staggering the cut marble in various horizontal layers adds to a sense of ambiguity. Placing these rectangular or irregular stones in a protruded manner gives it a three-dimensional effect that can add depth and provide for a contemporary feel of the space. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
Progressive Vein Matching
This requires larger slabs to be carefully chosen and placed continuously in a pattern that would create a holistic design and give the impression of a singular marble vein pattern. The myriad of natural patterns that flow with the marble offers a unique aesthetic character to the otherwise monotonous walls. Wall cladding with lighter colours perceives the space to be wider and helps form a backdrop for interior embellishments; whereas darker colours give it a stark sense of identity. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
This approach of sticking the tiles randomly is more commonly used. In this, each piece of marble seeks an individual character that could be made prominent by choosing stark and contrasting coloured streaks or subtle seamless textures. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
Well Defined Portraits
Creating a frame-like border between large marble slabs makes it look like portraits and pieces of art in itself. It is most suitable for rooms with a high roof, allowing for some dynamism in tall walls. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
Cladding with Multiple Colours
This approach allows for more experimentation through an assortment of different coloured marbles, patterns, and finishes to create a wall mural of sorts. It is often used in a combination of polished and unpolished finishes to bring about a chic texture on a single wall, contrasted with solid colors on the rest of the room. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
Exterior Wall Cladding
While expensive, exterior wall cladding gives the building a clean finish that isn’t achievable through any other material. Often used in commercial buildings like hotels and resorts, it creates a posh and classy characteristic of the building. Furthermore, using darker tones can help tackle the issue of dust settling on the outside making it look dull and unkempt. (Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d.)
Marble in Furniture
Marble’s durability, low maintenance, as well as water and fire resilient properties, make it a popular material for bathroom slabs, kitchen countertops, flooring, and furniture. Smaller pieces are also used for crown molding and door casing details. Marble is a soft stone that is very easy to work with. It can be milled, machined, and tumbled. Its availability in a range of colours provides for a large range and flexibility of uses.
The type of marble chosen can make or break the appearance of the building. Marble is the perfect building material for elegance that could provide a wide range of textures and feels from rustic to pristine. It is clean, durable, and compared to other natural stones, affordable. Marble is a timeless material that has been sustained from ancient to contemporary times.
King, H., n.d. Marble: Metamorphic Rock: Pictures, Definition, Properties. [online] Geology.com. Available at: <https://geology.com/rocks/marble.shtml> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
The Constructor. n.d. 10 Types of Stones Used for Building Constructions. [online] Available at: <https://theconstructor.org/building/stones-building-constructions/36144/> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Easyrender.com. n.d. The Use of Marble in Architecture: Classy Material for the Ages. [online] Available at: <https://www.easyrender.com/a/the-use-of-marble-in-architecture-classy-material-for-the-ages> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Medium. n.d. The Purity and Architectural Beauty of Marble Facades. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/studiotmd/the-purity-and-architectural-beauty-of-marble-facades-777577cd736> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd. n.d. The Art Of Wall Cladding With Marble – Cosmo Granites Pvt. Ltd.. [online] Available at: <https://cosmofloor.com/wall-cladding-marble/> [Accessed 11 May 2021].