Material world – our obsession with Terrazzo
Hailing from the pavements of Venice – “pavimento alla veneziana” – and favoured by the era of Art Deco, Terrazzo was a happy accident originally born out of a need for a decorative but affordable building material. When we mention it at Swoon HQ, people seem to find it amusing. How did this once ‘naff’ material, only found in our grans’ kitchens, manage to pave its way back into the most stylish homes?
Though there are some traces in Ancient Egypt, the most notable emergence of Terrazzo was in 15th Century Venice. Marble was expensive so, in a bid to be more resourceful, builders had to get creative. Combining chips of quartz, granite, marble and glass with a base of cement, this material became a favoured decorative alternative that didn’t cost as much as luxury materials.
It took a while for the rest of the world to catch on though, and only became really popular after new manufacturing techniques made it more durable. Fast forward to 1920s USA, and the decorative potential of Terrazzo became apparent – particularly in Art Deco design. It remained popular right up until the ‘70s, with its most renowned debut on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1958.
But then it kind of went downhill, falling into the ‘dated’ pile of interior trends for a few years (decades). Until now. Over the past year, designers have revived this marvellous material in a whole load of creative ways. Moving from an affordable alternative to a design must-have – Terrazzo allows for innovative colour and material mixtures that can breathe life into tired rooms. From large surfaces in eye-catching combinations to accessories with a textured twist, this material has certainly made a comeback – and boy, are we enjoying it!
For us, lighting was the way to go with the texture du jour. From statement shades to decorative bases, we’ve kept things to a monochrome palette to give it timeless appeal. It’s easy to work into your current scheme and you don’t have to commit to a whole load of it if you want to test the water. A trend that’s easy to jump on if ever there was one.
Read more from us on Style & Trends.