What is Terrazzo?
Terrazzo is a composite material, typically formed by a poured cement or resin base with added material chips such as marble, granite, recycled porcelain and glass. The base is uniform in color and texture, with the added aggregates acting as colour accents. These aggregates range in size, shape and colour, giving a wide range of options for manufacturers and designers to integrate into their projects. Small and uniform chips will provide a more integrated and uniform look, while large chips of varying materials can make eclectic looking terrazzo.
This material was popularized in Venice, Italy around 500 years ago. Workers would place leftover marble fragments and scraps from their high-end projects and integrate them into a clay mortar base for their personal projects.
Terrazzo is a very durable and long lasting material. It is used mainly in large commercial applications since it has the ability to subtly wear over time, with the capacity for refinishing and re-polishing when necessary. Resin-based terrazzo is more durable than cement-based due to its inherent properties, making it less porous and less prone to scratches and acid etching.
Today, most terrazzo is prefabricated in slab and tile sizes allowing for a wide range of shapes and colours. Whereas before, terrazzo used to be solely poured in place, with aggregates added directly on the job site. This material has also made its way into décor applications such as trays, coasters, vases and other sculptural objects.
Terrazzo is a fun and versatile material that has many applications in architecture and design. The options are endless!