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It’s a Hard Life

Exploring Couture Surfaces for Showboats International

by Louis Postel | January 2016


The most challenging thing about the latest generation of laser-cut surfaces of couture stone and shell is this: you can’t use too much of it. Its very uniqueness defies book-matching, the art of joining pieces together to resemble an open book.

Those crazy veins and swells of color are very much one of a kind. Even if you succeeded in matching them up,  their brilliance and patterning if over-deployed could make a space look distractingly psychedelic.  Picture hash pipes and disco balls completing this scene!

So just a little couture surfacing does a lot, punctuating low-key, minimalist M/Y interiors with high drama: on the surfaces of a card tables, bars and vanities, or as focal points on a wall or floor.

And what is the nature of this drama?

For stone slabs, it’s a story of a great cosmic hush millions of years ago, followed by tremendous violence, volcanic eruptions, molten lava,  cascading glaciers tossing tender-sized boulders hundreds of feet, followed by tranquility.

For shells, it’s been an equally hard life:  a  dramatic tale only this time told in miniature – a tale of timeless quiet, followed by intense parasitic attacks, followed by a slow, but steady buildup of protective nacre.

How like the sea itself that can run through all these dramatic acts in a single afternoon – from calm, to battering storm, and back to a calm in a single afternoon’s performance!

abc.Black Mother of PearlA dark drama unfolds. ! Just as a boat hull has to protect itself from parasites, mollusks do too. Hence they secrete a composite of organic/inorganic coating on the inside of their shells called nacre, or mother of pearl. Its iridescence comes from the fact that the tough little platelets forming the nacre  match up almost exactly with the visible spectrum. Nacre can also be tinted, like this one in black. Slabs are approx. 96 by 48 inches and $310 per square foot.


cumar.yachtblue After the big blast, a tranquil surface prevails. It’s ironic that molten lava ushering from exploding volcanoes now contain so much serenity in the form of blue agate.  This slab looks like something you’d find snorkeling at the bottom of a pool of clearest water. Due its brilliance and translucency blue agate lends itself well to LED backlighting – a bar surface,  foyer wall or entire vanity. Approx. $ 18,000 per slab. http://cumar.com/linea-couture




Black Petrified Wood Divya Gem StonexReady for another dark drama? Like nacre, petrified aka fossilized wood can lay claim to a special position in the cosmic order: an organic/inorganic hybrid, a metamorphosis of tree into rock. Somewhere in South Africa millions of years ago a flood pulled this tree trunk underwater. Sediment sealed off the air – thus protecting it from those pesky parasites and rot. In inorganic matter then slowly seeped in and replaced the organic. $865 per square meter http://www.divyagemstonex.com/

Immagine_064Take this Marmi Go Round. Who cuts and fabricates and installs those magnificent miles of marble on the big cruise ships? The innovative Marmi Vrech company gets credit for many of them: Cunard, Carnival, Queen Elizabeth to name a few that begin with a hard C. They also supply and outfit those cruise ships’ little sisters such as the 150m Saffron’s VIP area, fromt Cantieri Mariotti, in Genova, Italy, the 107m explorer Ulysses from Kleven in Norway, and M/Y Immagine with radiating marble circles above from Custom Line Spa. Be sure to ask them about their non-slip marble flooring technology. http://www.marmivrech.it/en

Ledmore_PolishedFrom slabs to sculpture – marble meets 3-D. With its green and greys and white cross-currents Ledmore marble from Scotland is like the North Sea itself. This slab comes from the UK-based company Lapcida which has been long associated with restoring the stones of UK Castles like Blenheim. But the firm is also on to something very cutting edge. Its 3D scanner and 5-Axis CNC Shaping Mill technology enable Lapicida to scan and recreate any object at virtually any size and in any stone. Here’s just one example:Lapicida Objects (38) http://www.lapicida.com