Several notches up from artisanal paint, hand embroidered wallpaper and even the most spectacular ceramics, is a whole sub world of uber luxurious floor and wall coverings available for those looking for the truly unique. Leather, bone and horn, cinnamon bark, coconut shell, and brass tiles are only some of the exquisite surfacing products that I found as I was doing the research.
Bone and horn are by-products of camels and buffalo and have been used as decorative materials for eons. The materials are veneered over highly resistant marine plywood or over marble and can be used on walls or on the floor of low traffic rooms like powder rooms. Different patterns are offered, but I really liked the bone diamonds with horn accents (feature image). It’s fun and quite modern.
Cinnamon bark (above) and coconut shell (below) are ecological surface materials that have been reinvented from industrial by-products. Like the bone and horn, these are veneered over a marine plywood base or by special commission over larger panels. Again, both of these can be utilized as floor or wall coverings and the textures are fantastic.
The decorative potential of the metal tiles offered in German silver, brass, copper, rusted iron and stainless steel bonded to a marine plywood base is enormous. These can be laid in a simple herringbone, or in a much grander Parquet de Versailles pattern. But my favorite was the more subdued hammered brass briquettes below. While they do have bling, they don’t necessarily scream Middle Eastern Palace or Russian Dacha!
Perhaps not as exotic as the selection above but still unusual, is the range of leather tiles that puts a nice contemporary spin on the traditional parquet floor. The leather briquette below is made from English saddle leather with a stamped edge also laid over marine plywood. My preference in this case would be sans the stamping to make it a real modern version of the old parquet.
Known for their luxury surfacing materials including stones, mosaics, ceramics, metals and leathers, London-based de Ferranti has been around 12+ years and is the brainchild of Alvaro Ziani de Ferranti, a self-described Portuguese Indiana Jones who is always on the lookout for the unusual and the exotic … whether that’s with the Bedouins in the Atlas Mountains or with a client in the outskirts of Amsterdam. It certainly merits having them on your list of high fluting purveyors of surface coverings. You just never know when that special job will land on your desk!
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city
image credits: de Ferranti, London
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