Until Patricia Urquiola got her hands on them, coloured marble and stone were often relegated to kitschy countertops. She salvaged and repurposed damaged stock from Budri, an Italian stone purveyor in Emilia-Romagna, after an earthquake shook the region in 2012. Known for her love of pattern mixing, the Spanish designer unleashed a rich range of patchwork pieces in marble, onyx and other semi-precious stones: shelving assemblages and tables in contrasting hues, wall inlays made up of kaleidoscopic strips and chevrons. Her Earthquake 5.9 collection debuted at last year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, and vibrant natural stone remains a daring option – even stunning when done right.
Nature has a way with colour, too, yielding endless marble tones – as well as deep green granite, warm yellow-orange onyx and rich brown limestone – to choose from. The scope reflects the provenance of individual species, derived from Canada, Italy, Brazil, Pakistan and beyond. For interior designers and architects looking to mix it up, bold colour blocking presents striking new ways to bring out stone’s unique vibrancy.