Many people, when they pick up our planters say “ah! Terrazzo.” But to us, we’ve always thought of our material as polished concrete. Which lead us to think about, what is terrazzo? Immediately we think of Venice and the vibrant polished marble floors ubiquitous in the city. Terrazzo is an invention of Venice, created as a low cost flooring material consisting of scrap marble chips left over from the production of costlier floor tiles, set in a bed of clay which would then be sealed with goats milk.
With the advent of concrete and industrial polishing machines in the 1920’s, terrazzo evolved into a material still using shards and chips of marble, with fine aggregates exposed within a concrete mix. Often strips of metal, often brass or copper, would be used to divide differing mixes of stone allowing colour and pattern beyond the natural stone to be integrated.
So its not wrong to describe our planters as terrazzo. Our material does consist of the same ingredients as the venetian floors. But until we do start using our material as floor tiles and surfaces, we will keep calling it polished concrete.
The following photos are from our trip to Venice last year to visit the Architectural Bienalle.
Carlo Scarpa, Olivetti Showroom. 1958. Murano glass set into concrete.
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Formally Peggy Guggenheim's palazzo, now the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Carlo Scarpa. 1963.