Almost every culture from ancient to modern has used stone to build some of their best known and most lasting monuments. While we’re not suggesting you start building a pyramid in your kitchen, many of the world’s wonders, ancient and modern, provide design ideas that translate far beyond their original scope. Wondering what Mount Rushmore or a Japanese Zen garden can do for your new marble kitchen? Then read on.
The elegant minimalism of traditional Japanese design often makes use of transient materials, such as bamboo and paper. However, as well as these ephemeral building supplies, stone is also popular and will be seen in homes, temples, palaces and gardens both ancient and modern.
One of the key take-home ideas from Japanese design is a sense of deliberate simplicity. The peace and tranquillity of a Zen garden stems from every part of the design being carefully chosen and well tended. In a marble kitchen or bathroom, this might translate into attention to detail – tucking the ordinary clutter of toothbrushes and soaps away, leaving clear surfaces with carefully chosen ornaments.
Carved into Mount Rushmore, the faces of four former presidents of the USA stare out. Each 18m (60 feet) high, these granite sculptures are a modern monument designed to rival the Sphinx or China’s Giant Buddha. While a granite or marble kitchen worktop won’t attract 3 million visitors a year, it can still draw on the power and beauty of nature.
One thing all these monuments have in common is a stunning and unusual use of natural stone. By working with the cliff face itself, the artists who carved Mount Rushmore created a work that is at once unified by the granite of the mountain, and shows it off. The site was chosen partly because of the high quality of the stone found there, a reminder that premium materials really do last.
Palaces, princes and popes
European grandees from cardinals to kings have long used stone as a testament to the strength, beauty and duration of their reign. While visitors tend to gape at the shear scale of palaces like Versailles, Buckingham and Sansouci, designers and stone workers marvel at the shear number of different types of stone used together to create a seamless design.
As a reminder that mixing can be better than matching, consider the entryways to Blenheim (Britain’s only non-royal palace) and the Empire State Building (palace of commerce!) in New York. Both use inlay and mosaic techniques to create visually stunning floor and wall designs. As complex as any carpet, the stone floors have withstood the test of time and after a hundred years or more still look fresh. To take the effect home, consider designing your own pattern using coloured marble kitchen tiles or ask our team about inlay and cut stone services.