Move Over Marble: Next-Generation Materials for Kitchen Surfaces


Industry experts agree that kitchen design is taking a new, exciting turn. With the rise of hybrid working, people spend more time at home and are rediscovering the kitchen as the beating heart of the house. Recent interiors trends are majorly influencing kitchen design too, with innovative colors, materials and technologies used to produce bolder, brighter and totally bespoke spaces.

Practicality and functionality are a given when it comes to kitchen countertops, however, the choice of material must now visibly elevate these areas beyond their station as utilitarian surfaces. Here, the market offers a rich choice of solutions, ranging from classic materials such as marble, granite and other natural stones to technologically advanced, latest-generation surfaces. Let's take a closer look at some of the seven best new surface materials around.

1. Poured Epoxy

Move Over Marble: Next-Generation Materials for Kitchen Surfaces

Epoxy resin is heatproof up to 270 degrees centigrade and has a water absorption rate of 0.008% after 24 hours. Unsurprisingly, its use is widespread among laboratory tables in biomedical facilities. In the commercial world, poured epoxy is well known for creating distinctive penny floor designs. It may be a challenging and time-consuming product to apply but the effect can be transformational. Opt for a vibrant color choice and easily turn a regular kitchen worktop or floor into a statement piece.


Created by Arpa Industriale, FENIX is an innovative material originally developed for use in demanding interior environments in kitchens, hospitality, healthcare, bathrooms and more. The use of nanotechnology during production creates a surface that is highly wear-resistant and chromatically stable. Worktops are acrylic resin-based and hardened to produce a surface that is both impact-resistant and soft-touch. The name FENIX refers to the ability to repair superficial micro-scratches through thermal healing.

3. ALKEMI-polyester

Move Over Marble: Next-Generation Materials for Kitchen Surfaces

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ALKEMI-polyester is a recycled surface material made from post-industrial scrap waste such as aluminum, acrylic and polyester resin, boasting a minimum of 34% recycled content. It's available in a glorious range of designer colors and in a choice of classic and honed finishes. The non-porous surface material is strong and durable with a high-gloss finish that delivers an eye-catching conversation piece. If your client is looking for a high-end viable sustainable alternative to solid surface, plastic laminate, stone and glass, this is a great choice.

4. PaperStone

PaperStone worktops are made from a composite material consisting of 100% recycled office paper and petroleum-free resins that contain natural ingredients such as cashew nut shell liquid. Individual sheets of paper are saturated and consolidated under extreme heat and pressure, creating a solid surface material that is as sustainable as it is possible to be. It looks like natural stone and comes in a range of colors, is highly impact, scratch and stain-resistant, water-proof and virtually acid-proof. This is an affordable material, albeit one that may be difficult to source.

5. Viroc

Move Over Marble: Next-Generation Materials for Kitchen Surfaces

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Viroc cement-bonded particleboards combine the strength and durability of cement with the flexibility and workability of pine wood. The result is a cost-effective, natural surface solution that is widely used by architects and designers for many interior and exterior applications. Viroc boards have a wealth of benefits - they are UV resistant, moisture-resistant, fireproof and non-toxic and have a natural appearance of gray or black but can also be sourced in white, yellow, ochre or red. A popular material for use in kitchens, but unfortunately, it has no sustainability credentials.

6. Krion

Krion resembles Corian in both appearance and characteristics. It is a solid surface made from 100% recyclable materials consisting of 2/3 natural minerals and 1/3 high-strength resins. Worktops are warm to the touch and the surface is non-porous and antibacterial, making it particularly suitable for kitchen and bathroom applications. Krion comes in a vast choice of colors, is stain and wear-resistant and scratches can be repaired. The panels are processed as if they were wood, and soft organic shapes in many different thicknesses can be created via thermal processing.

7. Laminam

Move Over Marble: Next-Generation Materials for Kitchen Surfaces

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Laminam worktops are only 3mm in thickness, bonded to plywood or cement panels. A mixture of raw materials including quarry clay, granite rocks and ceramic pigments are wet ground and compacted, then hardened at 1,300 degrees centigrade. Laminam is extremely resistant to physical wear & tear as well as solvents and detergents. It’s an attractive material that can be used in many ways to emulate Corian, natural stone and leading-edge resins. The surface is finished to be irregular or smooth, semi-gloss or opaque, producing a beautiful and practical solution for modern kitchens.

Mixing Old and New

While designers always have an eye on the latest technological advancements, one of the key themes in contemporary kitchen and interior design is individuality. When it comes to choosing materials, traditional pairings are giving way to unique combinations of stone, composites, wood, metal, glass and more. This produces kitchens that are interesting, unique and bespoke while seamlessly integrating with the overall interiors scheme of the home. “We’re mixing materials more than ever,” says New York interior designer Young Huh. “From antiqued brick, unique natural stone with oxidized metals, warm woods, and mixed metals to colorful quartz countertops that don’t necessarily try to mimic stone, we think clients will be open to trying the unexpected.”

Popular choices encompass the use of reclaimed timber and super sustainable bamboo and repurposed building materials such as scaffold planks, birch ply and OSB. Glass and terrazzo are making a comeback, and metals including stainless steel, brass, copper and zinc add practicality and textural interest.

When it comes to choosing the right surface materials for kitchens, the new luxury is not to emulate the traditional look, it’s to add maximum character and color that references the interior of the entire home.

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