Part One Faux Marble, could I be persuaded? Part Two: Well, here’s five remarkable materials emulating five classic marbles: three white, one black, one grey
1.Unique Calacatta is designed to resemble the classic Italian marble, white with pale grey veins. Many confuse Calacatta with Carrara marble, easy to do as they both come from the Carrara region of Italy. However, Carrara can be greyer with more subtle veining, whereas Calacatta tends towards the purer white with more dramatic veining. Needless to say, both can also be whiter, greyer and the veining as disparate as the lines on people’s hands, such is the way of a natural material. Unique Calacatta therefore offers a consistency and purity that could not be attained in nature. For example, if you were phasing renovation works over a long time span, you’d be sure of matching the colour of your finishing from top to bottom of your home regardless of installation date.
2. Unique Venatino Similar to Calacatta, and the better know Carrara marble, natural Venatino marble is in fact from the same region and some consider it to be a ‘cheaper’ version of the better known stones. Visually the veins may be a little thinner and greyer with more dots and speckles, and personally I think the base colour of the stone itself tends to be slightly greyer than Carrara etc, but equally I’ve seen reports that say otherwise. In terms of the Unique Venatino, I read it as an almost blue/grey white with whispery, delicate dark grey veining.
3. Unique Arabescato Generally this is described as a traditional grey marble with dense grey to black veining. However, in its natural form it can vary wildly, for example, my natural Arabescato table top at home has glorious brown and gold speckles in it, plus larger smudges of grey of unbroken grey against a creamy white background. The Unique Arabescato is again more uniform, creamier in background than either the Calacatta or Venatino, and, referring to the Unique Arabescato sample I have, with less prominent or continuous veining, however, just like the real deal, samples are only ever part of a larger slab, so they can only give an indication of the total colour and patterning.
4. Unique Marquina. A wonderful inky black stone from the Northern Markina, Basque region of Spain, Marquina marble has achieved worldwide recognition for its dramatic colour and prominent white veining. And for me personally, the Unique Marquina, is the most successful of the collection. It’s just so deliciously dark and lustrous, and because of the great contrast between stone and veins, all the little speckles are super clear, which makes it particularly convincing.
5. Unique Argento. This is most commonly thought of as a creamy greige coloured marble, as in a mix between grey and taupe, with white veining. To my mind it can have a similar vibe to travertine. Albeit the sample I have appears to me to be more beige than the official image below, so it shows that even with engineered stone, it’s essential to always request a sample and if possible, to inspect the slab before you buy.
The Technical stuff…
Finishes: All of the above can come in either a ‘Glacé’ smooth matt finish, or a ‘Polished’ shiny finish that intensifies the colour.
Slab sizes: 325 x 160cm available in two thicknesses: 20mm or 30mm.
Profiles: The edges can be finished in six different ways from the classic soft-curved top Bullnose form (my favourite), to a boxy straight Skirt or the more fancy-pants curvy Moldura! All of these are shown in the downloadable brochure at the bottom of this link.
Eco credentials: The Unique Collection is also a GreenGuard marked boasting Bio credentials as it’s made using vegetable-origin raw materials such as hi-tech BIOresins, from renewable sources!
Costs: Expect to pay anything from £400-700 per square metre depending on specification, compared to £1000-£2000 per square metre for marble.
Stockists: widely available via all good stone merchants.
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