Green stone

Rich green stone is catching the eye of tastemakers who stand at the crosspoint of tradition, reinvention and the thrill of the unexpected. Jenny Dalton reports

Kate Hume Verde Boreale marble fireplace, price on request
Kate Hume Verde Boreale marble fireplace, price on request | Image: Frans van der Heijden

Never one for a conservative approach to design, Lapicida’s head of projects Rebecca Cherrington decided to bring a point of difference to her stand at London’s Decorex in September. White or black marble has become a staple of luxe furniture and bathroom design and so – in contrast – Cherrington decided to go green. Namely with new disco- and planet-themed spliced tables from jeweller Lara Bohinc, who has combined green-coloured marbles and stones in dining (£22,500), coffee (£5,995) and side (£11,250) versions, and with a solid-marble bath (£7,800) cut from a single block of forest-green Verde Guatemala.

Lapicida Verde Guatemala marble bath, £7,800
Lapicida Verde Guatemala marble bath, £7,800

The bath has been sold to a client in the north Yorkshire countryside, where it will sit at the centre of a green and white marble floor that radiates out from the bath in concentric circles. “Even though the design has been part of our catalogue for years,” says Cherrington, “it was this bath that drew people to our stand at Decorex. People just wanted to touch it.” Lapicida is onto something: green stone of varying shades and grains is beginning to reappear in design around the world.

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Not long ago, architects De Meester Vliegen set a huge playful green marble monolith in the centre of an urban penthouse apartment in Antwerp. Ilse Crawford’s Studioilse has just redesigned Cathay Pacific’s first-class lounge in Hong Kong with pale-jade onyx walls –

Serax marble, wood and metal side table, €454
Serax marble, wood and metal side table, €454 | Image: Serax

non-bookmatched to give them a luxurious informality. Jeweller Delfina Delettrez’s store in London’s Mayfair features walls of pure joyful malachite, a luxurious backdrop to her distinctive gold and gemstone pieces and almost like a piece of jewellery itself. Delettrez had already referenced absinthe and penicillin greens in her Rome boutique, a former pharmacy, but the colour has since become part of her overall brand identity. “Green has a fantastical side that makes me think of a witch’s cavern, but also a practical side that calls to mind apothecaries and medical gowns,” she says. “The malachite has a very powerful and intense presence.”

Tom Faulkner Verde Jade marble and gold finish Siena side table, £1,534
Tom Faulkner Verde Jade marble and gold finish Siena side table, £1,534 | Image: Tom Faulkner

Former fashion designer Tracey Boyd, who creates decorative furniture for the likes of Anthropologie, this year issued a collection of glam midcentury-inspired pieces with a Mad Men feel called Boyd, including a green and terrazzo marble dining table ($2,999) and green faux-marble butler trays ($799). For a curved sideboard with an Italian Empress Green stone surface, Boyd felt it was important to update the material, moving it away from the antique Florentine look it’s so often affiliated with. “I used it alongside rosewood and brass in a nod to midcentury-modern Swedish design. I like to take something with a retro feel and reinvent it in an unpredictable way.”

Normann Copenhagen marble and glass Amp pendant lights, £90 each
Normann Copenhagen marble and glass Amp pendant lights, £90 each | Image: Normann Copenhagen

Belgian design company Serax also has a new range of green marble-topped occasional tables (€454) on geometric slim black metal frames, while British designer Tom Faulkner is increasingly using green stone – including Verde Jade, a lush Indian marble – in his beautiful coffee and side tables (£1,534), as well as in a recent console for a Martin Brudnizki client.

Nina Campbell Kershaw Panel wallpaper, £158 per roll
Nina Campbell Kershaw Panel wallpaper, £158 per roll

In accessories too green is making appearances as an alternative to monochrome marble. Normann Copenhagen’s Amp pendant lights (£90 each) feature a dark-green marble socket at the head of the pretty yellow-gold or smoke-grey glass pendant. Yoox is stocking Ferm Living’s cylindrical green marble candlesticks (£19 each); SCP has Norm Architects’ super-minimal Marble Wall Clock (£219) with its Verde Guatemala face and gold-coloured hands; and at east London’s Triangle Store, Copenhagen firm Broste has simple but striking green marble plates in three sizes (from £11). Amsterdam-based interior designer Kate Hume, meanwhile, who puts bold colour at the fore of her residential projects, rates the work of Michaël Verheyden, a Belgian designer who creates elemental, clean-lined accessories such as lidded jars (€468) and trays (from €130) in solid natural materials including green marble and green alabaster.

Jonathan Adler porcelain and gold-leaf Malachite Oct vase, £118
Jonathan Adler porcelain and gold-leaf Malachite Oct vase, £118

For a more playful take, avant-garde designer Maria Gustavsson, CEO and founder of the brand Swedish Ninja, has used green marble as a lamp base in her new double-headed, pop art-inspired Little Darling lamp (€308) paired with a pink or yellow tubular lamp stand. “The colour reminds me of the moss you find in old coniferous forests,” Gustavsson says. “It has a great depth and almost feels alive.”

Broste marble plates, from £11 each
Broste marble plates, from £11 each

Creative director and designer Anna Burns also finds green stone deeply evocative. Away from creating window displays for brands such as Hermès, she designs her own range of textiles under the moniker Anna Burns Object. Included are a number of green-hued digital patterns that she features on upholstery fabric (from £80 per m) and cushions (£144): Sleepless Aqua, for example, is inspired by several natural marbles and minerals. “My motivation is partly due to nostalgia for the 1970s. When I was young my mother had a necklace with a large slab of heavily veined green stone. I would play with it and hold it up to the light. It was insanely beautiful. But marble and minerals possess a magical quality that has always appealed to me. Green stone is naturally psychedelic. I am amazed that something so intense comes from nature.”

The malachite walls at Delfina Delettrez
The malachite walls at Delfina Delettrez | Image: © Mark Cocksedge

Similarly, Lapicida’s Rebecca Cherrington still can’t quite believe the depth of the huge slabs of green stone in the marble yard of the brand’s Harrogate premises, even after 28 years in the business. From Verde Borgogna, a deep dark-green granite with white and brown marbling running through it, to Ledmore, a light and interesting Scottish green marble with hints of yellow, via the eye-poppingly bright Emerald Imperial quartzite. “You almost can’t fathom that these are natural stones,” she says. “I defy anyone not to be amazed by them.”

Norm Architects marble wall clock, £219
Norm Architects marble wall clock, £219

“Malachite and emerald hues add a gemlike glow to a space,” agrees Jonathan Adler, whose new gold-lustred vases (Malachite Oct, £118), decanters (£198), tumblers (£25) and salt and pepper sets (£58) feature patterns inspired by malachite. For something darker, and in a nod to the 1980s, Nina Campbell’s new season Kershaw Panel wallpapers (£158 per roll) combine gold with panels of very realistic looking dark‑green printed marble.  

Lapicida Full Moon marble and brass side table by Lara Bohinc, £11,250
Lapicida Full Moon marble and brass side table by Lara Bohinc, £11,250

“Green and gold is such a beautiful combination,” says Kate Hume, who introduced Austrian Dorfer Grün stone paired with gold taps into a bathroom of a new Hamburg development by architects Herzog & de Meuron. “I think the fact that green pairs so strongly with gold is one of the reasons it’s coming back.” Hume also suggests a subtle approach to green stone often works best. “Stone is not easy to place in interiors, which is why I think people tend to stick to more conservative choices. But I find in small areas – like a recent project in Moscow where we paired a Verde Boreale marble fireplace (price on request) with a purple rug, or the white porcelain bath with onyx walls reverse-painted in aqual pale Green – the green stone pops but is subtle enough to live with.” It is another way of bringing a feel of nature into an interior too, she adds. She will invariably use it when a home overlooks a park or trees “to mirror what is going on outside”.  

Ferm Living marble candlesticks, £19 each
Ferm Living marble candlesticks, £19 each

This desire for more natural materials in the home is no surprise to Brad Turner, director and co-founder of Materials Council, a consultancy for architects and designers. “We’re seeing a rise in unfinished materials that have a raw, honest beauty,” he says. “Dark green and heavily streaked marbles sit happily alongside other contemporary features like polished brass or copper, rough clay plaster and exposed brickwork.” Indeed, green stone complements these cool raw materials exceptionally well. “It introduces a beguiling, earthy romanticism to modern design.”

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