The Concrete Confetti

Terrazzo Terrazzo
Text: Sara Umbreit, Photos: Max Lamb Studio

Everything that was once old is now new again. A few years ago the mention of terrazzo appearing on modern-day floors was met with disbelief. But it’s back, with a flair and creativity like never before.

The material itself consists of a binder such as cement, and aggregates, usually made of stone to create the speckled and textured appearance. Terrazzo began in the villas of ancient Rome, then later again in the Middle Ages as well as residential dwellings in Venice. The oldest finding of terrazzo in the form of lime mortar and lime grit has been dated at around 8000 BC in southeastern Turkey.

Freckles & Shine Collection, Fish & Pink Studio

Widely used in churches and public places, terrazzo soon spread throughout central europe and even into private homes. Before the Second World War, terrazzo was still very popular in doorways, bathrooms and kitchens, however found itself replaced in the following decades by current trends of time such as PVC or carpet. It’s easy to see today how this highly durable material compares to such perishable floorings, and why it’s slowly taking over the ground of many homes around us.

Mormoreal, Max Lamb Studio

Known throughout Germany as ‘terrazzo mosaic’, this formation of terrazzo is mostly rock pieces combined with a light to dark grey background. German terrazzo is very different from the original Italian terrazzo, where more colour takes place and the arrangement of rock pieces are less orderly.

Dining table with terrazzo Panama, Photo: Philipp Langenheim & Corina
Terrazzo Cushion, The Club of Odd Volumes
Terrazzo Cushions, The Club of Odd Volumes

For terrazzo today we’ve seen a huge technological advancement in production. Modern diamond grinding technology, new pigmentations that allow the binder cement to become any colour, more sophisticated materials and various additives have made terrazzo a once again celebrated material. From floors to product design, this so called ‘confetti terrazzo’ is at the top if its game again, all thanks to these developments in customisation.