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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, 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 Originally made of small chips of marble and stone dipped into a cement paste, it has been created as a way to reuse stone offcuts.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.
Credit: Michele Montalbano

modern terrazzo

Today, terrazzo is having a huge comeback. So much so that it has even been named the new marble.

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 sometimes bigger, for a bolder result. Terrazzo has become way more than a flooring material, and is now used everywhere from walls and countertops, to all kind of furniture and accessories.

Example of terrazzo at Cersaie 2018.
Credit: Ceramica Sant'Agostino
Terrazzo furniture.
Credit: Alberto Bellamoli Studio
Terrazzo co-working space WeWork.
Credit: Linehouse Design
Terrazzo minimal kitchen.
Credit: Valido Architects
Terrazzo tray by Bolia.
Credit: Bolia
Terrazzo wallpaper by Graham&Brown.
Credit: Graham&Brown
Terrazzo kitchen.
Credit: MOPS Architecture

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 are those that reuse 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!

mosaics planas - spain

Mosaics Planas makes terrazzo tiles dipping chips of recycled glass in a cement base.

Recycled glass terrazzo samples.
Credit: anooi studio - Samples by Mosaics Planas

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.
Credit: anooi studio - Samples by Coverings Etc.

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.
Credit: anooi studio - Samples by Aectual

Find more sustainable terrazzo options on riivin: the sustainable interior design platform I curate.

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