If you’re a fan of colourful home decor there’s a chance you’ll have heard the word terrazzo, and it’s certainly a look that will be universally recognisable, even if you didn’t know this was what it was called.
The technique is one which has been used for centuries – in fact some of the oldest terrazzo pieces have been found in the mosaics of ancient Egypt – and is most likely to be found underfoot at supermarkets, and, slightly more elaborately, in the polished floors and columns of churches and other grand historical buildings.
What is terrazzo?
The official definition of terrazzo is a composite material which uses chunks of one material, for example, coloured clay, marble, glass or granite, mixed into a cement, polymeric liquid or clay and poured into moulds or shaped with the hands to create any desired shape.
For lovers of irregular patterns, confetti style colours or angular decorative arrangements, terrazzo is a fantastic choice. Personally, I feel there’s something incredibly satisfying about the pattern, especially when it’s combined with lots of bright colours.
How is terrazzo used now?
In the mid to late 2010s, the style began to be used by independent makers, where its popularity took off in a huge way from 2018 onwards. Since then it has been used in all things home decor from tiles to planters to trinket dishes and more.
How we interpret the terrazzo style
In early 2019 we were contacted by incredible rainbow-powered polymer clay jewellery makers The Big Happy. They wanted to know if anyone could do anything with the confetti-like plastic by-products of drilling their jewellery, in a desire to recycle and cut down on plastic waste. I loved the look of the rainbow powdery bits so I was excited to take them off their hands, though I wasn’t really sure what we would do with it.
Combining these confetti like pieces of plastic with our resin gave a beautiful effect that was reminiscent of the terrazzo style but also something completely new!
We love experimentation!
Our latest iteration came at the start of this year, and it’s a look that I have wanted to try out for ages. I was saving up any white pieces of these plastic waste products I could find and my idea was to mix it with black to create a black marbled kind of effect, similar to that seen on the Hollywood walk of fame. In the end, I decided to just chuck all the bits and bobs I had left over into the mix, so that the mixture contained every colour of the rainbow, and a little bit of glitter for good measure. After all, scraps are scraps and the aim here is to create something beautiful and give a second life to recycled materials.
The effect is one of my favourites we have created. To me, it looks a little bit 80s, quite funky and I want to make everything in this mix! I am so in love with (and totally surprised by) how the rainbow terrazzo pattern shows up against black.
Using this terrazzo style going forward
One day in the future I hope to build side table from scratch and use this terrazzo style as its top. As with a lot of dreams an ideas, this one is not yet in the works but in the meantime, we’re making do with using this fab trend to create unique and brightly coloured jewellery, planters and trinket dishes!
Which is your favourite example of terrazzo style? Had you heard of the technique already? Let us know in the comments!