terrazzo history

Terrazzo – One of the Most Prolific European Cultural Contributions to Australia and the World

European culture over the years has spread out and influenced so many countries especially when it comes to architecture and design.  Many countries all over the world have imbibed some form of European culture into their own lifestyles, most often resulting in a kaleidoscope of great art and form.  Such is the case with terrazzo.

Terrazzo, the Italian word for terraces, is a type of flooring made of different sized chips of marble or granite set in concrete and later polished in order to achieve a smooth surface.

Sometime during the mid-16th century, Venetian workers discovered a new use for discarded marble remnants.  They observed that the marble they tossed out onto side streets have, over time, been packed in and smoothed-out by passing foot and vehicle traffic, resulting in very unique and durable pathways.  As it is with every discovery or invention, intentional or otherwise, ways to improve upon and perfect the terrazzo craftsmanship were made.  Most of these terrazzo craftsmen and artisans traveled across the world, bringing with them their expertise.

These terrazzo craftsmen, more commonly known as terazzeri, closely guarded their secrets and techniques, only handing them down their families, from father to son until today.  With the modernization of terrazzo, more methods have been created to further improve on the craft.  Centuries later modern terrazzo artisans have learned to embrace technology as a means to continually expand and upgrade their craft.

More and more countries are now steadily being introduced to the classic beauty and elegance of terrazzo.  Designers in Australia and all over the world recognize the flexibility and creativity of terrazzo.  In fact, the terrazzo trade is booming in some of the most key cities in Australia, as it is recognized not just for its design and artistry but for its durability and resilience.  Once often touted as flooring only for royalty, modern terrazzo has grown leaps and bounds, becoming more and more available to everyone.

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