Lynn Byrne

Lynn Byrne

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Marbelizing: A Hot New Trend and its Timeline

Home accessories showcasing the gorgeous pattern found in marble seem to suddenly have erupted everywhere. But like most “new” trends, copying the beauty of marble has been around for a very, very long time.

The Japanese pioneered the art form in 825-880 CE.  (Yes it’s ancient.)  Known as Suminagashi (which means “floating ink), patterns resembling marble are created by colored dyes floating on plain water or a viscous solution known as size and transferred to an absorbent material such as paper or fabric. A similar art form known as Ebru developed in Turkey. 

Suminagashi or Floating Ink Pattern Process
Marbled paper has long been seen on books and as stationary.

For years, the beautiful patterns of marble also have been achieved with paint.  The Marmion Room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one fine example.  The room is left unfurnished so that visitors are not distracted from the gorgeous walls.   Created in the 1770’s, the room’s paneling is painted to simulate the Siena marble seen on the fireplace.

The Marmion Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

So marbleizing is nothing new.  And in fact, the current trend isn’t sudden but rather the result of a slow build. The trend hit fashion back in the fall of 2008 when Raf Simons for Jil Sander created a marble suit. 

Raf Simons for Jil Sander Marbelizing

This chair by Maurizio Galante, known as the “Louis XV goes to Sparta chair” and sporting digitally produced marble fabric was on display at London’s Chelsea Design Center during the London Design Festival in the fall of 2012.  

Louis XV goes to Sparta chair by Maurizio Galante

The wallpaper firm Calico claims that their isolation during Hurricane Sandy, also in the fall of 2012, spawned their idea to create wallpaper with gilded metallics and color.  Combining ancient and modern techniques, their wallpaper is first created in small sheets and then digitally enlarged. 

By the following fall, Traci Hiner of Black Crow Studios stole the show at the debut of WestEdge Design Fair in LA with her marble wallpapers and American company CR Laine introduced their own marble fabric. 

Later that fall, at the 2013 Designer Visions Show House, acclaimed designer Alessandra Branca showcased a marble fabric of her own design and fashioned a custom paper marble shade for her dining area.

So when the spring of 2014 rolled around, marbleizing truly was simply everywhere.  

Martin Lawrence Bullard introduced a new marbled wallpaper and fabric line for Schumacher which he featured in the 2014 Kips Bay Show House.  Bullard was  inspired by the trompe l'oeil painting techniques found in Italian palazzi, and the fine art of Venetian marbled paper, as well as the dramatic interiors of legendary designer Renzo Mongiardino.

One flight up, the interior design firm Carrier & Co. made Calico’s wallpaper the focal point of their 2014 Kips Bay room.

Traci Hiner’s stone inspired wallcoverings were featured in the CR Laine Showroom at the Spring 2014 High Point Market in Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid.

And Hickory Chair introduced yet another marble fabric. 

 Now brought to the forefront, one could choose something “marbleous” to bring into their own home, without making a huge commitment. 

And thus, a star is born.

Photo credits: 
Marble process:

Books with marble paper:

Marmion Room at the Met :

Raf Simons for Jil Sander: left-

CR Laine chair courtesy of them.

Christopher Spitzmiller lamps from his website:

Lola Lely stools from her website:

Alessandra Branca tray from Architectural Digest:

All other photographs by Lynn Byrne