At Design Miami/ Basel, the British designer Max Lamb (b. 1980) will address material design, bathroom furnishings, and interiors in the exhibition Marmoreal, Bathroom, Furniture. The installation features a new black Marmoreal engineered marble realised in collaboration with Dzek.
Marmoreal, Bathroom, Furniture challenges the rationale for the mass standardization of sanitaryware, provoking reflection on our bathroom rituals and relationship to that intimate space. Le Corbusier, the master modernist, had a particular interest in the bathroom experience and viewed the mass standardization of sanitaryware as the pinnacle of successful design, championing the bidet as the epitome of design by evolutionary need. Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier’s contemporary, also had great interest in the bathroom; the French architect’s time in Japan and Vietnam informed her highly regarded bathroom work. Lamb, like Perriand, adopted some of this eastern bathing philosophy during his travels in Asia. It is evident in his desire to be more generous with the bathing experience while simultaneously resisting the idea that the bathroom should consume ever more space. The design of the Marmoreal bath, with its steep vertical sides, recalls the traditional Japanese ofuro, or soaking tub.
Lamb began his examination of bathroom design by questioning the origins of our personal maintenance habits: specifically, whether they’ve been informed by mass standardization, or whether this standardization was born of human necessity. His daily bathing routine was an important reference point, and inspired a desire to eliminate the things he deemed ill considered in the standardized modern bathroom. With the Marmoreal material as protagonist, each of his bathroom furnishings became necessarily different from the familiar standards made out of ceramic, steel, and plastic. Stone, of course, offers both limitations and opportunities.
Lamb’s interpretation adheres to idealistic structural rationalism; his bathroom furnishings are architectonic, and operate in a language consistent with the other Marmoreal furnishings of his design—skeletal pieces that convey an honesty typical of the designer’s work. They are efficient, and designed to serve equally well in a fully integrated Marmoreal space as well as in ad hoc scenarios.
Marmoreal is an engineered marble devised by Max Lamb in 2014. Suitable for both interior and exterior architectural surfaces, this large aggregate pre-cast marble terrazzo offers an original material language with immense visual value. It skillfully balances 15th-century craft traditions with modern engineered-stone technologies in an approach that is architectonic and sculptural. Marmoreal is available in a black or white marble background and an edited range of standard tile and slab dimensions.