Most of us have heard of terrazzo, that chunky, colorful airport floor we (used to) dash across to make our flight, or maybe a decorative lamp or bowl that we picked up at a thrift store a couple years ago. Terrazzo has deep roots, centuries back to the Italians, or some would argue back millenia to Turkish roots; but we will leave that argument to the Europeans. Regardless of its founders, terrazzo was recycling and ingenuity at its finest, where scraps from the quarries were repurposed into exterior walls for homes in a clay or other suspended matrix. People really can live in glass houses and throw stones to make them.
Today, by a more all-inclusive definition than quarry scraps, terrazzo is a composite material containing chips of marble, granite, glass, quartz, shell or any combination thereof in a poured or precast form. Terrazzo typically uses a cement or epoxy binder to hold the chips together and can be used for countertops, large scale flooring, stair treads, furniture and when in tile form, can be used for wall applications and backsplashes as well as many other custom applications.
The downside to this broader definition and ultimately the evolution of terrazzo is that it has become an aesthetic choice vs. one of reuse, reclamation or recycling. Terrazzo products are often designed with raw materials now, so the feel good story, as is all too typical in building materials, has been lost to capitalism. But we will leave the climate lecture for another time, or maybe just later on in this post. We will see how it goes.
Equally important to terrazzo’s composition is its application (as in how it is applied). It can be poured in place, or cast, like a slab or a tile. The large scale applications – corporate lobbies, airports, schools, are typically poured in place. Different colors are used and are divided by aluminum or other suitable metal strips. Think of the Hollywood Walk of Fame – that is terrazzo. Other applications like countertops or benches, backsplashes or tiled floors can be made of terrazzo in its cast form.
There are advantages of both, but for the purposes of this post we will focus mainly on pre-cast terrazzo because pouring terrazzo is a specialized service and can often be done by hand, which introduces a lot of variables outside the scope of what we want to cover here., including cure time, polishing etc.
Terrazzo, no matter how applied, can be durable and can be used indoors or out. The chunky look became dated at one point, but has seen a recent resurgence as either a reemergence of our 80s vibes, inner Italians or walking like an Egyptian, but it is definitely back.
If you’re seeking the look and feel of terrazzo but you’re ballin’ on a budget or simply don’t have the withall to handle the complications that can come with it like King Tutankhamun and building pyramids (Have you seen those??) then we offer some great alternatives:
Pictured: GEOS in Auckland
GEOS Recycled Glass Surfaces offer a similar aesthetic to terrazzo and in a range of colors, suitable for both commercial and residential applications. So get your bling on with shimmering glass and shiny seashell options. GEOS Surfaces are a unique surface of superior strength and remarkable beauty and because they are non-porous, the material is durable and performs, fabricates, and installs like engineered stone. No sealing required. No muss, no fuss. You can be the queen of your castle, all glass, no sealing.
Learn more about GEOS here.
Pictured: Diresco in Terrazzo in White
If you want that rich, royal flare with a sustainable peace of mind we also offer Diresco in various on trend Terrazzo designs. Diresco is a unique mix of vegetal bio-UV resins and colour pigments. The terrazzo range of chunky colors and sparkle derive from recycled quartz scrap material from the manufacturer’s in-house production process. Brought perfectly into balance to create a stunning, hardwearing, and sustainable product. The natural ingredients are bonded using a unique scientific process creating an incredibly strong material that is durable and comparable to diamond.
Learn more about Diresco here.
Pictured: Durat Palace in Violette Royale, Absinthe, Blue Hawaiian, and Mint Julep
Or look towards the Durat Palace Collection inspired by Scandicolor. The Palace collection offers a look that’s less “stoney” but with the same chunky filler flair as terrazzo. Made with recycled acrylic and plastics, Durat Palace also speaks to the story of circular materials but offers a seamless surface while doing so.
Learn more about Durat Palace here.
Go ahead and treat yourself to a healthy, environmentally friendly alternative in 2021. You deserve it, Queen.
Want to learn more about the products mentioned above? Set up a product presentation here.