Marble as the material of choice for high-end contract: luxurious, natural and ecological. We talked about it with Bernarda Franchi, Vice President of FUM

Precious, elegant and practically eternal. Marble is a material of choice for contract projects in the luxury sector. This is confirmed by Bernarda Franchi, vice president and managing director of Franchiumberto Marmi in this interview with Interni. The undeniable charm of a natural stone, always different and always rich in subtle contrasts, is now combined with a rational use of technology to obtain very low thicknesses without losing strength and aesthetic qualities. A small capsule collection of furniture demonstrates this: Franchiumberto marbles uses the material to explore different functions and different uses. Alongside the search for design, there is the search for new materials: Calacatta Crescola. Mined in the Apuan Alps, it is FUM's latest innovation: a marble with delicate golden veins.

Sustainability and environmental impact

The brand has a strong focus on sustainability and the respectful use of natural resources, so much so that this theme inspired the stand design and communication at the last edition of Marmomac in September. Moreover, with great curiosity for environmental performance, FUM has already tackled the Product Life Cycle Analysis in 2019, a voluntary certification that is equivalent to a true 'eco-label' for marble.

What are the main areas of application for marble in the contract field?

With its versatility and unique characteristics, marble has always been at the service of design. From decoration, design and interior design to great architecture, where there is marble there is beauty. Our marble is also able to give the right answers to the visions, even the boldest ones, of creative people. The world's great architects and designers are always confronted with marble. So even the contract world, the high and very high level world, welcomes this material, which is among the most widely used in the most exclusive projects of this type, from hotels to retail to the nautical industry where, however unexpected, the presence of marble is strong.

Why is marble an interesting material for contract?

Marble is interesting for contract use primarily because of its durability: it resists time and keeps its beauty intact for an indefinite period. Floors, wall coverings, countertops and tops represent the most frequent use because here the choice of a quality material and its application make the difference between a beautiful contract project and a less successful one. On the other hand, furnishing accessories also find in marble and natural stone a ductile material, always fascinating and full of appeal. Technologies, innovation and culture made on the material help us to make our marble penetrate more and more into this sector.

What are the main areas of application for marble in the contract field?

FUM is prepared to cope with any kind of demand that may come from the contract world, from the smallest to the largest supplies. We are present in major real estate projects in the USA and Middle East countries. In these projects our materials are sought after for their quality and also for the service and advice we are able to provide to all types of customers, even the most select and demanding. The applications of our marbles are varied: cladding, flooring, bathroom fittings, tops, urban and domestic furnishings and small design accessories.

What is thin marble, how is it produced and where is it used?

Shallow marble is marble processed in thinness with slabs from 3/5 mm up to 1 cm thick that are reinforced with honeycombs: in this way the marble does not lose its structure but gains in lightness, which allows it to be used in all those situations, such as yacht design, where 'lightening' is necessary for the success of the project.

High-end projects have always been the most natural destination for marble. Is this still the case or do new technologies offer more flexible and economical alternatives?

I confirm that high-end or very high-end projects are those in which our marble is preferably chosen as the material of choice. The new technologies that we apply to both the extraction and processing phases now make it possible to use only the amount of marble necessary for the purpose without creating too much waste or even reusing it in a circularity project, i.e. saving money, which is very important for us and for the whole industry at the moment. Reducing the environmental impact of marble as much as possible is in our opinion the best form of economy that can be practised: therefore flexibility with respect to the material and processing is maximum, marble, however, being a 100 per cent natural material and requiring great skill and craftsmanship in its most sophisticated processing, has the consequent costs.