it's said that venetian artisans first created terrazzo using reclaimed remnants of marble left over from mosaics. typical terrazzo is created with a smooth expanse of mortar into which pebbles, chips of marble or even mirror glass have been mixed, its ground and polished surface revealing flecks of color, like confetti. this quintessentially old world flooring made its way to america in the late 1800s, when italian craftsmen (new arrivals themselves) laid a terrazzo floor in the vanderbilt mansion in new york. by the mid 1920s, architects had embraced terrazzo for its beauty, versatility and durability, and electric machines had replaced the labor-intensive hand-grinding process, making it faster and less expensive to create. the introduction of metal dividers reduced cracking and made the intricate, swirling designs of the deco age possible. so when the rockettes first clacked across the lobby of radio city music hall in 1932, there was terrazzo beneath their tap shoes, too.
still, a traditional poured-in-place terrazzo floor remains a time- and labor-intensive prospect, and one that's often out of the question in renovations, where laying a thick cement slab to support a poured floor may not be feasible.
enter clé terrazzo tile.
crafted in america, our terrazzo tile is formed in a cement base using stone worn smooth from the forests and river beds of the great northeast. this unique blend of materials creates an unusual terrazzo finish that lends our forage collection natural, neutral shades offering the quiet versatility of solid-color tile with the visual interest of a pattern. at home within a mid-century setting, surrounded by wood paneling and an earthy palette, forage pairs just as well with the classic glamor of marble and plaster, and the clean serenity of ultramodern design.
clé terrazzo tiles can be set just like any ceramic, cement or stone tile, with no bulky substrate required. and because they're pre-cast, they can go where poured-in-place terrazzo can't, out from underfoot on powder room walls and shower surrounds and kitchen backsplashes.