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Formed from limestone under the pressures of heat and time, designers often seek out marble for its sleek finish: The name derives from the classical Greek for “shining stone”. Perfect for carving, marble is beloved by sculptors in Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy and beyond. The Venus de Milo and Michelangelo’s David owe their sheen and shape to this hard stone, while it stars in exteriors as diverse as the Taj Mahal and Oslo’s modernist Opera House. The swirls, veins and vibrant patterns in some coloured marbles create the perfect statement piece—be that an atrium floor, a fireplace, a column, a room divider, a table or a bathroom counter. An increasing number of contemporary designers are rediscovering the classical style of more neutral, subtler marbles. Marble can stain when exposed to the elements, so most designers choose this stone for interiors and exteriors.