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These marble-like tables are made from recycled jeans

Sophie Rowley’s designs are a practice in upending expectations

Blue marbled table with round top Photo: Sophie Rowley

Sophie Rowley’s new tables are like a Rorschach of design. What do you see—is it marble? Is it denim? In fact, it’s not exactly either.

The designer created Bahia Denim, a new material that gives old denim sourced from recycling centers a marble-esque look. From a distance, the tables look like they’ve been sculpted from dark, marbled stone. Up close, though, you can see the denim’s fabric qualities poking through.

Close-up of blue table top Photo: Sophie Rowley

According to Fast Company, Rowley creates the effect by dipping different shades of denim into a plastic-y bio-resin before layering them in a criss-cross pattern. When the resin dries, the material takes on the softness of a fabric with the stiffness of a resin. “The exposed surface is jeans, so it has a soft and warm sensation,” she said.

Table with square top Photo: Sophie Rowley
Table with round top Photo: Sophie Rowley

The multi-hued denim merely creates the illusion of marble, but it’s no cheap knock-off. The process has its own brilliant charm—it’s cheaper than mining stone from a quarry, and it’s better for the planet.

Want more sustainability-minded design experiments? Check out these impressive material innovations at Milan Design Week 2019.