Terrazzo: a sustainable and trending choice

in Sustainable Design

Terrazzo has been a sustainable material since its origins. And even now that it has come back on-trend, it keeps being an example of creative and sustainable use of resources.

But let’s start from the beginning…

The origins or terrazzo

Terrazzo (the Italian word for terrace) has always been a sustainable material. Originally made of small chips of marble & stone dipped into a cement paste, it has been created as a way to reuse stone offcuts.

The first examples of terrazzo have been found in ancient Roman villas, but it is in 18th century’s Venice that its popularity raised. And now the world recognizes terrazzo as the quintessential Venetian flooring.

Original Venetian terrazzo flooring.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Michele Montalbano (opened in a new window/tab)

Modern terrazzo

Today, terrazzo is having a huge comeback. So much so that it has even been named the new marble!
From 2016, terrazzo has been reinterpreted in a number of modern ways. And judging from the latest industry fairs (to name one, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, better known as Cersaie), it is actually not going away anytime soon!

Example of terrazzo at Cersaie 2018.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Newdecó by Ceramica Sant'Agostino (opened in a new window/tab)

Modern terrazzo is somehow different from its predecessor.
Today, the cement paste is sometimes replaced with resin, making the end product more resistant to cracking and scratching. The range of available colours is also much wider and the chips are usually bigger, for a bolder result.

These days, terrazzo has become way more than a flooring material and is used everywhere, from walls and countertops, to all kind of furniture and accessories!

Terrazzo furniture.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bellamoli Studio (opened in a new window/tab)
Terrazzo co-working space WeWork.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: WeWork Weihai Lu by Linehouse Design (opened in a new window/tab)
Terrazzo minimal kitchen.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Valido Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
Terrazzo tray by Bolia.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bolia (opened in a new window/tab) (via Instagram (opened in a new window/tab))
Terrazzo wallpaper by Graham&Brown.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Wallpaper by Graham&Brown (opened in a new window/tab)
Terrazzo kitchen.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: MOPS Architecture (opened in a new window/tab) via Behance (opened in a new window/tab)

The most sustainable terrazzo options

One of the features of modern terrazzo is that it’s made with several different materials, from stone and glass to metal and plastic! And the most sustainable options on the market reuse all sorts of waste materials to create beautiful terrazzo finishes!

Terrazzo shows very clearly how waste can be turned into design pieces without compromising on aesthetics. Overall, it’s an incredibly good example to prove that circular design can truly merge sustainability and beauty!

So here is an overview of sustainable terrazzo options, coming from all around the globe!

Mosaics Planas - Spain

Terrazzo tiles made with chips of recycled glass in a cement base.

Recycled glass terrazzo samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign - Samples by Mosaics Planas (opened in a new window/tab)

Coverings Etc. - USA

The EcoTerr® collection includes terrazzo tiles and slabs made with recycled marble & granite chips. Sourced from closed quarries, they're dipped into a paste of recycled cement and fly ash coming from contaminating waterways.

Recycled stone and cement terrazzo samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign - Samples by Coverings Etc. (opened in a new window/tab)

Aectual - The Netherlands

This innovative 3D printed flooring system is entirely customizable and can be printed in a variety of different patterns and colours.
First, a pattern is 3D printed using a bioplastic. This frame is then infilled with a terrazzo paste made of recycled granite or marble chips and a bio-based binding agent.

3D printed terrazzo samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign - Samples by Aectual (opened in a new window/tab)

 
For even more sustainable terrazzo options, you can search for terrazzo on SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab), the sustainable interior design directory I curate!

SforSustainable graphic<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span> (opened in a new window/tab)

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