Terrazzo – the 500 year old trend that never went away

March 26, 2018

 

Just in case you’ve been hibernating for the last six months, you might like to know that Terrazzo is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment and has established itself as one of 2018’s biggest trends.

But forget about trends for one second, because Terrazzo is much more than a fad. In fact, I want to explain why it should have never gone away and why its popularity is only set to get stronger.

 

 Let’s all take a minute to appreciate this Terrazzotastic kitchen by Sara Uriarte of Cordero Atelier.
 


My love affair with Terrazzo started as a child. Growing up in France, my great aunty had an ornate entrance room, which was finished in glistening Terrazzo. The polish was so high because it was almost religiously maintained - she forced everyone to wear those special polishing slippers so the terrazzo wouldn’t get a scratch, such was her love for that Terrazzo.

At family gatherings, when grown-up French people sit at the table for hours on end, the terrazzo provided us children with a stage for our most exciting games. I was, of course, the sliding and parcours champion – not only because of my natural flair for sliding on my ass, but because it was the perfect surface and I keep very fond memories of it.

To this day, for many reasons, my love for this surface has never diminished. It comes as no surprise to me that Terrazzo has come back with a vengeance. It is perhaps the original sustainable flooring material. At least 500 years old, and still taking centre stage in spectacular building projects around the world, Terrazzo as we know it was born in Venice. It was created as a way of solving a flooring problem for poor labourers, and reusing marble chippings discarded from elaborate building projects in the city.
 

Photo credit Terrazzo & Marble Supply



Builders took the chippings, mixed them into concrete and used the resulting, speckled material as inexpensive flooring in their own homes. It was the Venetians who discovered that glazing the terrazzo with goat’s milk gave it a gloss finish that could stay shiny for decades with only minimum care. With a little more attention, it lasts centuries undimmed.

But, Terrazzo is not only sustainable, unique and enduring, it’s also a lot of fun and those patterns are guaranteed to inject some personality in any interior.

 

Ferm Living Terrazzo wallpaper from Cloudberry Living adds some fun to this bedroom

 

I recently used a Terrazzo wallpaper on one of my projects; a guest bedroom that will eventually be turned into a nursery in a few years time. The Terrazzo wallpaper is the perfect element to bridge over that generational gap and inject some fun and colour in the room scheme.

 

Photo credit: Caitlin Mogridge – Interiors & styling: Emilie Fournet Interiors

 


If you’re not ready to commit to a full wall of terrazzo wallpaper, you can easily add small elements of terrazzo with accessories. I absolutely love this little Bloomingville table lamp from Homeplace. It’s so versatile and can be used in pretty much any room and within any décor style.

 

 
Homeplace - Desk terrazzo light



Don’t be afraid to mix your Terrazzo up with other surfaces, here our very talented Interior Design Collective fellow member Stephen Nash of ALL&NXTHING paired this lush terrazzo sink surround with a parquet worktop. It’s clever, practical and brings some added luxury and depth to the set up.

 

 
Terrazzo sink surround photo – All & Nxthing

Photo credit: Emma Lewis Photography



Terrazzo need not to be confined to floors only - if I had might way I might even put in on ceilings! Consider using it on walls to add some depth and texture to a bathroom. These large slabs of Terrazzo from Structural Skins come in an amazing range of colours and sizes as seen here in blue in this sleek bathroom.
 

 
Artwork collection by Florim

 


Another reason Terrazzo is not a fad, is that the principles of sustainability are going to be a massive part of future surfaces. Taking the recycling and sustainable concept of terrazzo, Eco Birdy has created a system that goes from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of heavily terrazzo-esque furniture pieces. The collection of kids furniture pieces is entirely made of recycled plastic from European waste.

 

Terrazzo kids furniture

 

Each step is based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future.

As someone who loved family, and loved to see kids enjoying themselves, I think my great aunt would be proud to see that her favourite surface is still going strong.

 

Salut à ma Grande Tante!  

 

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