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 Originally made of small chips of marble & stone dipped into a cement paste, it has been created as a way to reuse stone offcuts.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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!