Those eye-catching and colorful mosaic designs with tiny embedded misshapen pieces throughout them – this is terrazzo style. This style of design ventures away from conventional solid colors and plain jane aesthetic. Like a close-up of a delicious ice cream cone speckled with rainbow sprinkles or a blast of confetti scattered across a surface, terrazzo is a unique and multifaceted style with a one-of-a-kind appearance.
Terrazzo dates back to 15th century Venice, Italy when factory workers would collect the little pieces of marble left behind after the day and eventually turn them into smoother floors to walk on. They did this by embedding the marble pieces in clay and then grinding them flat. In fact, the word “terrazzo” is Italian for “terrace.” The original grinding technique was made using a galera. The pieces of marble only revealed their true colors when wet and actual goat milk was used to reveal them. With advancements in equipment and new discoveries, the use of better grinders and white Portland cement made it possible to create a variety of terrazzo designs in an assortment of different colors.
Today, there are a variety of materials used, such as concrete, plastic, glass, marble, granite and quartz, to make original terrazzo designs. With new techniques and new materials, terrazzo has evolved from flooring to a medley of other uses venturing into exterior design, interior design, furniture and home decor.
While there are plenty of terrazzo designs using only 1 or 2 colors, the most festive and fun designs use vibrant colors and a mix of uniquely shaped shards. They bring bursts of energy and a flair of playfulness to their environment.
Many terrazzo designs can look busy, especially if you have a preference for minimalist style and design. However, these designs are often in a minimalist form accented by terrazzo style. This blends nicely with minimalism and other clutter-free styles, like mid-century modern and ultra-contemporary. You can incorporate terrazzo furniture in spaces needing a pick-me-up. Maybe the color palette is too dull or all of the pieces look the same. Perhaps there are 1 or 2 colors within the terrazzo design that match some of your furniture and accents in a particular room. Terrazzo can be used in a variety of settings, it’s versatile enough for more than one style and it’s rooted in Venetian history making terrazzo a timeless design.