Choosing a marble table
Marble tables are among the most expensive designer furniture pieces you will buy, and it is worth investing extra time in researching all the options, so you can ensure that you will be happy with your choice and admire your table for years to come. Marble is a very durable material, but as with any designer piece, you will need to care for it properly in order to maintain it in perfect shape and be able to pass it on to the next generation.
When it comes to choosing the marble top of your table, there are a few main points to consider. Marble is a natural material, and it will always vary from slab to slab depending on the part of the quarry that it is currently being sourced from. Even within a single quarry the pieces vary quite a lot. Hues, veins, fossils and distinctive marks are always different. The images provided on our website are just indicative, intended to show what the "average" marble piece of a certain kind may look like. But each marble top will be unique - this is actually the beauty of it. Sometimes you will have just a few large, dramatic veins, and sometimes the veins will be more subtle, or more uniformly spread. Knoll don't offer the option of choosing the marble pattern in advance, but they invest huge amount of work into cutting, sanding and polishing the marble to create something that can never be repeated. This is the extraordinary character of stone as a natural material. You could say it feels a bit like getting a puppy - often you don't get to choose the coat of your new puppy, but you inevitably end up loving it in the end.
The range of marble top options available with most Knoll tables (arranged from least to most expensive) include Arabescato, Statuarietto, Nero Marquina, Calacatta, Brown Emperador, and Verde Alpi. White marble used to be a part of this range too, but Knoll have recently discontinued it.
Arabescato (pictured below) is perhaps the most popular marble finish for the Saarinen and Florence Knoll tables, and it is also what most people imagine when you say "Saarinen Table" or "Tulip Table". Arabescato is a white marble with grey veining. The hue and pattern of the veins varies from piece to piece, but in general the Arabescato veins are mid- to dark grey.
Statuarietto marble (below) is the newest addition to the Saarinen collection, introduced in 2015. It is a white marble with very subtle light grey veins, more uniformly distributed on the surface. Statuarietto is similar in look to the Carrara marble available with Knoll US.
Nero Marquina is a rich black marble with random white veins.
Calacatta marble has a white/ivory background and veins that can vary from yellow to green with hints of red and brown. Calacatta is a bit similar to Arabescato and Statuarietto marble, but has a more creamy background and generally more brownish-grey veins.
Brown Emperador has a dark brown background with random light brown and white veining.
Verde Alpi (below), as the name suggests, is a green marble, with hues varying in tone and intensity. Verde Alpi is the most premium marble in Knoll's collection.
All genuine Saarinen tables produced by Knoll Europe are made in the original Knoll factory in Italy. You might notice that Saarinen tables in other parts of the world, like the United Stated for example, are available in other types of marble, such as Carrara, or Grigio Marquina. The marble options outlined above are the only types currently offered by Knoll Europe.
All Saarinen tables come with four different layers of transparent polyester coating, which protect the marble from use-associated stains. The coating creates a non-porous surface to prevent the table from things like food stains or liquid spillages. The protective polyester coat may change colour slightly over time. You might still want to use coasters and place mats, and make sure to wipe any stains or liquids as soon as possible, but the protective polyester coating will help minimise any potential damage.
Caring for your marble table is easy. As a day-to-day care, the marble tops should be cleaned with lukewarm water. For more stubborn stains, you can clean more thoroughly with a non-abrasive solution, then rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Never use steel wool or other abrasives on marble, and never use any sort of organic solvent (like alcohol, benzene or acetone).
Even with the protection of polyester coating, marble should not be left outdoors. If you would like to use your Saarinen table outdoors, you might want to consider the Outdoor version with a white acrylic top.
The coating comes in two different finishes - classic (shiny) and satin (matt). Both of them are equally good and offer the same quality of protection, so at the end of the day it is just a matter of personal choice whether you will go for one or the other. The classic finish has a shiny, almost mirror-like effect, and it looks stunning on a bright sunny day. This is the classic look of the table, the way it has been produced for most of the time since its introduction in 1958. The satin finish has a smooth matt finish, which works well in situations when you might be bothered with the light reflections. In addition, any scratches that appear with use might be slightly less visible with the satin coating, because it is less reflective. If you do get small scratches appearing on your classic coating, don't despair - you can buy a special marble care kit from Knoll, which can help you polish out the scratches quickly and easily.
Knoll offer 5-year warranty on their tables, but from our experience, these tables can last for several decades. Saarinen, Florence Knoll and Platner tables are great products to invest in, and their value often does not decrease with time, but vice versa.
For a list of available marble tables in stock, check our Clearance section, or if you can't find the size you are looking for, check out the Round or Oval versions of the Saarinen table and get in touch with us for a quote.
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“I am not a decorator. The only place I decorate is my own house.” Florence Knoll Bassett
Leader in the mid-century modern design movement, Florence Knoll Bassett died Friday 25th of January 2019 at the age of 101.