Designers have been pushing the limits of furniture design for many years now. The focus over the last decade has been exploring different materials, finishes, and functions. Traditionally, solid wood furniture has been the largest selection available because of the natural beauty of the wood and easy workability. However, one of the original materials used for furniture making is stone. Dating back to the early Romans, carving stone into beautiful detailed furniture is one of the most revered and valuable arts in interior design. They were built by hand and could take months to finish one piece. Now days, we have the luxury of highly-technical equipment to produce beautiful stone furniture with the use of water-jets and diamond blades. Almost any furniture design created digitally can be executed with the use of computer driven machines that carefully cut or carve out precise measurements and details with little to no waste.
To create a piece that is unexpected is far more marketable than recreating the classics. Contrasting materials in the same piece help to create visual balance and artistic quality. Stone elements are excellent compliments to wood, metal, and glass. The versatility of granite or marble slabs is that they work well with these other elements since they are found in nature together. Some of the most appealing furniture is a combination of marble table tops on a metal or wood base. The unpredictable movement in the marble paired with the reliability of metal, wood, or glass creates a desirable result in any style. Making furniture out of stone makes logical sense because of its strength and integrity. Stone slabs such as marble, granite, travertine, onyx, and quartzite are a product of nature and are extremely durable. These slabs have been formed from rock deep in the earth and will not only hold up well to daily wear and tear, but if they are taken care of properly, they will outlast any other materials used for furniture. Metal will corrode, wood will rot, and glass will break, but stone can last forever. In addition, stone slabs are low maintenance and easy to clean.
The accessibility of granite and marble slabs today make it even easier to design and produce custom stone furniture. A common use is tables where a slab is installed to a metal frame or wood base. The stone slab is secured on the top much like a counter top, as seen in Image #1. A newer trend in stone furniture design is to create a piece using slabs as the top and base. With more intricate designs, the piece may require a frame to help support the weight of the slabs. In this case a hidden metal framework is a good choice since it is versatile and strong. Perhaps the most beautiful stone furniture is created with marble, onyx, or exotic granite since they all have large-scale movement. One of the most important factors in creating a successful piece with stone is allowing the natural colors and reflectivity of the minerals embedded in the stone become the focus. Image #2 shows a modern dining table design where the corners of the marble slab have been mitered and the veins have been carefully matched so that the table looks like it was naturally formed out of the Earth that way.