Here’s The Secret To Making Marble Bendable

Art & Design

June 12, 2018 | BY Hong Xinying

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This revolutionary technique by MM Galleri makes marble and other stones pliable enough to be used on curved surfaces and furniture pieces—watch the video to discover more about its groundbreaking technology, pun intended.

 
Be transported to a cave-like realm at the MM Galleri showroom, which features its innovative bendable marble technology. Here, MM Galleri group president Peter Tjioe explains more about the techniques involved, while showroom designer and architect Budi Kurniawan discusses the inspiration behind the showroom's unusual design.

Borne of the earth, natural stone has served as building blocks as well as early tools across millenniums. Its rugged beauty has also led to myriad uses of this material as flooring, countertop surfaces, furniture pieces, or decorative columns.

But it’s hard to imagine this rigid material as being bendable—a preconception that MM Galleri hopes to change, with their innovative technology that maximises the bending strength of marble.

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The Indonesia-based surfaces purveyor and furniture manufacturer has created a new technique that cuts marble, and other types of natural stone into super thin and pliable layers that measure 2-3mm in thickness, without breaking the material.

The resulting layer can then be applied as cladding on walls and ceilings, as well as decorative surfaces for custom-made furniture pieces; a metal or wood-based inner structure helps support the material and keep its shape.

First founded in Indonesia in 1992, the stone specialist started as a small marble vendor.

By expanding into innovative uses of stone and other surfaces, the company has worked on hospitality, commercial and residential projects across the region and has presently three offices in Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore.

“We have done a lot of things with stone—we have constructed buildings, churches, statues, as well as outdoor and indoor uses of the material,” shares Peter Tjioe, president of MM Galleri Group. “In the process, we encountered so many problems such as the heaviness and rigidity of stone. It’s heavy, it breaks easily and it’s very rigid and is typically used as flat surfaces and tiles.”

After seeing the amount of wastage, Tjioe became inspired to search for eco-conscious ways to sustainably extract and maximise the usage of natural stone; typically, decorative surfaces made from stone are carved from a single slab, with much of the remainder often going to waste.

During the process, his team came across means of testing the limits of the bending strength of marble, while retaining the durability of the material.

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“There are many things in this world that need a touch of stone, such as the ceiling and furniture that can look so beautiful when we apply stone onto it,” shares Tjioe. “But people tend to use flat stone surface as cladding; or use at least 2 to 3cm in thickness of stone for creating pillars which can use up to 4cm, where the wastage can go up to 50 per cent.”

Through this new technique, Tjioe hopes to gradually change the way stone is used and extracted from quarries in the region and beyond.

“With this bendable marble technology, we use only 2 to 3mm of stone... We use less than 10 per cent of the material, so we quarry less, and we try to keep the mountain in its natural shape,” he adds. “We can also use the wastage from the quarried blocks that would otherwise be thrown away, for outdoor surfaces or even interiors, such that we can use as little as possible from the mountain.”

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Watch the video above to discover the applications of the bendable marble technology and the inspiration behind MM Galleri’s showroom design.