TERRAZZO – Venetian glamour or Socialist Nostalgia

The recent increase in the use of terrazzo (a.k.a. mosaica, in Bulgarian)  for interiors and design perhaps evokes mixed feelings for many of us.
This is an understandable reaction – because of the association of the material with the aesthetics of communist Bulgaria. Around two years ago the specific patterns of terrazzo have appeared once again in the context of the retro-nostalgic wave present in the field of design. Terrazzo products vary in use and function and have a particular look. Interiors in which this material appears are becoming more and more frequent.

Terrazzo is a composite material produced by mixing pieces of marble, granite, quartz or glass chips with cement or epoxy binder. The origins of this technique can be traced back to 16th century in Venice. In search for a budget way to cover the terraces around the houses, the builders of that time came up with this way to use the remains of marble and granite slabs. This is also where the name “terrazzo” comes from, meaning terrace in Italian. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Italian migration flows to the United States and other countries brought the terrazzo manufacturing technique to the rest of the world. Later on, architects discovered the material’s enormous potential in the covering of flat surfaces and curves in the context of the contemporary movements at the time, Art Deco and Moderne.

Floors, coatings for walls, kitchen tops, backs and sinks, furniture or their elements, accessories for the house, paper accessories, textile products  – every day more and more objects of the terrazzo-type design are noticed and start to create a trend. So if you have a terrazzo floor in the corridor at home, do not rush to change it to tiles. Most likely, the existing floor will turn out to be the better option.

ATLAS CONCORDE_ Marvel Gems
ATLAS CONCORDE_ Marvel Gems
ATLAS CONCORDE_ Marvel Gems

In late 2016 one of the leading Italian factories for ceramics ATLAS CONCORDE, exhibited for the first time their series Marvel Gems, large-sized tiles for walls and flooring, imitating terrazzo.

 

David-Chipperfield-Valentino-New-York-Flagship-Store
David-Chipperfield-Valentino-New-York-Flagship-Store
David-Chipperfield-Valentino-New-York-Flagship-Store
David-Chipperfield-Valentino-New-York-Flagship-Store

When English architect David Chipperfield worked on the “Valentino” boutiques in New York and Rome, the idea was to be referred to the atmosphere of an old Palazzo by use of materials but in a contemporary architectonic context.

 

New-York-Sweets-Pastry-Shops-in-Nicosia-Cyprus
New-York-Sweets-Pastry-Shops-in-Nicosia-Cyprus
New-York-Sweets-Pastry-Shops-in-Nicosia-Cyprus

New York Sweets Pastry Shops in Nicosia, Cyprus – The Project for the bakery by Minas Kosmidis is inspired by the city of New York – especially by its urban character and industrial landscape.

bentu-design-furniture
bentu-design-furniture
bentu-design-furniture

Terrazzo often appears in the designs of interior and lifestyle products. In some, it is discrete; its presence is noticed only upon inspection that is more careful. In others, terrazzo is the core of the design. Furniture and light by the Chinese designers Bentu Design, Milan 2017.

Normann-Copenhagen
Normann-Copenhagen
Normann-Copenhagen

Stationery and small table designed by Simon Legald for the Danish company Normann Copenhagen.

HERMES
HERMES

The terrazzo surface of this special-edition furniture designed for HERMES incorporates semi-precious stones, brass hand-bag accessories and nacre buttons. The collection is signed by the French designers Nicolas Daul and Julien Demanche from Petit h.