The last few years has seen a resurgence of a material that was long deemed 70's and dated and has typically only been seen on the floor of your supermarkets or airport terminals.
Terrazzo is making a comeback. In recent years the use of the material in residential and hospitality sectors has been vast. With new materials, design ideas and more creative usage, as well as generally taking the principle of terrazzo and applying it to different materials.
But what is it?
Terrazzo is one of the oldest composite materials we know of and dates back to roman times, visible in many mosaic designs of the era. It uses an aggregate, such as marble, granite or any stone, in a resin or cementitious base, known as the matrix, it is then (traditionally) ground down to create a flush finish and can then be treated with a polish or matt/natural finish.
Recently terrazzo has been moving away from its traditional roots and is being explored with exciting new techniques, including use of colour, gradients and even using different materials such as woods.
Terrazzo has been used on this image to create a beautiful gradient in a floor finish. This highlights the two methods of using terrazzo, this photo uses the traditional way of laying the aggregate and resin in situ and then grinding/polishing. This gives control over the design on site and allows effects to be created like this.
The other option (more common and straightforward) is using a standard tile format and laying the terrazzo tile as you would a normal floor tile, but with a considerably thinner joint.
Terrazzo has really come on leaps and bounds from its previously very functional and colourless history and the inclusion of more striking aggregates like black marbles and granites, as well as introducing colour, contrast and more interesting designs, it really is becoming one of the trendiest materials to use.
Terrazzo finishes can even use plastics, as shown on this fantastic place setting set from an Etsy Manufacturer.
It isnt limited to traditional formats either, with the pattern of terrazzo itself being used as a design inspiration without the actual construction of a matrix/aggregate at all, such as the below image of a wallpaper, simply featuring a solid colour backdrop with a random speckled pattern to mimic the aggregate.
We are seeing terrazzo being used more and more, with more and more exciting results. Keep an eye out, and if you see any fantastic uses of the material, let us know!