In 2017, it seemed that everywhere we looked, we saw the material of the moment: Marble. And while that trend continues, there’s a new material emerging as a front-runner that’s set to take 2018 by storm. The material, ironically, is not new at all, with a history that dates as far back as its predecessor. This material is, of course, terrazzo, with its complex pattern set to be one of the biggest trends of the next year. Today, it’s the first subject in our new monthly series exploring all the latest trends. In today’s post, we’ll find out what terrazzo is, where it’s from, and how you can use it in your home.
What is Terrazzo?
Terrazzo is a composite material formed from marble, quartz, and metal or glass chippings, set into cement or resin which economically and sustainably re-uses offcuts. It can either be poured by hand on-site or precast into blocks that are later cut to size and polished to a uniformed texture to create everything from worktops to floor tiles.
Where Does It Come From?
While some suspect the origination of terrazzo can be dated to ancient Egypt, most sources acknowledge its initial popularity rose in 16th-century Italy where workers would take smashed marble chips and set them into clay as a cost-cutting measure. It was far less expensive to create a terrazzo floor than outfit an entire area in expensive authentic marble. Terrazo was later introduced to the United States in the late 1890s but it wasn’t until the 1920s when the curved formations and decorative flourishes of Art Deco style were achievable using this material, and this is when its popularity soared. One of the most well-known examples of terrazzo is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, created in 1958.
In the 1970s, polymer-based terrazzo was introduced which allowed for a wider choice of colours, thinner slabs, lighter weight, faster installation, an impermeable finish, higher strength, and less susceptibility to cracking. This lead to a second-coming of sorts for this material but the early 80s saw it fall out of favour yet again.
Today, we are seeing a resurgence of this material – partly due to its versatility and partly due to its sustainability attributes. Terrazzo was incredibly popular at last year’s London Design Week (as well as design exhibitions worldwide) and it’s clear that designers and makers are adopting this ancient material in brand-new ways.
Using Terrazzo in Your Home
One of the most appealing aspects of using terrazo in the home is in the colour versatility. Providing a soft neutral backdrop, the chippings can be used in near limitless colour combinations and the varying sizes make it work for nearly any design style or application.
We think it looks especially effective when used on bathroom walls as seen above. The soft textural pattern creates interest without overwhelming the space and injects a soft hint of colour in varying shades of greys, pink, and black.
For those who wish to make a real statement with their terrazzo, consider larger chip sizes as seen in the kitchen below. Warm shades of rust and green create a bold pattern to offset the natural wood and brass accents in the space.
Terrazzo allows for a certain amount of creativity and flexibility in your home. It works in both contemporary and traditional settings and you can create either bold or subtle looks with this material, such is its versatility.
Adding a Touch of Terrazzo
Of course, if covering walls, floors, or even your kitchen worktops in terrazzo seems a scary jump for a new trend, there are other ways to incorporate the material into your home. Graham and Brown stock a terrazzo wallpaper which provides a contemporary twist on this classic. We particularly like the pale pink colourway but there are also blues and neutrals available.
We also love this little lamp by John Lewis. At just £25, you can add a touch of terrazzo to your bedroom, living room, or office without the huge commitment of purchasing tiles. Look out for terrazzo accessories like vases and trays which will allow you to try out the look of terrazzo in smaller, stylish-yet-still statement-making pieces.
You might also want to consider a small side table or coffee table in this material. We love Audenza’s offering above that combines various shades of grey to create the perfect neutral backdrop for your home accessories.
Happily, it looks like terrazzo is a trend that’s going to stick around for a while. Is this a trend you’ll be adopting in your own home? Stay tuned as our monthly Trend Watch series continues and we explore what’s capturing the design world by storm right here on the Tile Mountain Blog.
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