London-based designer Robin Grasby uses offcuts from luxury marble workshops to create a terrazzo material he calls “beautifully chaotic”.
Called Altrock, the material can be used for worktops, wall coverings, tables or tiles.
It is produced using 87 per cent recycled materials, including marble flour, which is the powder that results from cutting through marble, along with marble chips, chunks of offcuts and broken slabs.
The remaining 13 per cent is made up of resin, used to bind the marble together into a durable material. The surface is sealed with wax oil to resist staining.
“I’m obsessed with science, and the idea that chunks of the earth can be just dug up, sliced, and used as incredibly hardwearing and low-maintenance surfaces is absolutely amazing to me,” said Grasby.
Grasby became aware that the marble industry produces a large amount of waste that is cast aside as unusable, rather than being put to good use, while experimenting with casting marble in concrete for an interior design project last year.
He took some offcuts and damaged pieces of stone and used them in his project.
The designer likes “things to feel like they designed themselves”, so allows the arrangement of the marble fragments to “reflect the natural randomness of their colour and shape”. This ensures that no two Altrock slabs are ever the same”.
The resulting material is cast by hand and can be pigmented in custom colours for bespoke projects.
“I wanted to develop an application for marble that can showcase the beauty of the material and utilise its properties as a hardwearing surface, but in a unique and contemporary way,” explained Grasby.
“I’ve always had a thing for natural stone. Materials used in their rawest forms always appeal to me; they have an honesty and simplicity that is reflected in my entire approach to design,” he continued.
Terrazzo continues to be a popular material in contemporary interior design.
Two eateries in Beijing recently used the material: a monochrome yoghurt cafe by Lukstudio and a pizza restaurant by MDDM Studio.