New at Direktorenhaus: Urban Tarrazzo

Urban Terrazzo, ein Projekt von They Feed Off Buildings

From September 2019, a new mate­rial library will open at Direk­toren­haus. The mate­rials archive includes bio-based mate­rials as well as recy­cled mate­rials, light­weight construc­tion mate­rials, biodegrad­able mate­rials and multi­func­tional mate­rials. A colour archive will be added.

New mate­rials are regu­larly presented in evening presen­ta­tions. The first one is Urban Tarrazo, a project of the two Berlin women Rasa Weber (29) and Luisa Rubisch (28). The two are the core team of the design and archi­tec­ture collec­tive “They feed off Build­ings”. They have devel­oped “Urban Terrazzo” from rubble. This is a mate­rial for surfaces such as flooring or work­tops, cast from concrete with small and large pieces of demo­li­tion therein.


The two designers got to know each other in the master’s degree in product design at the Berlin Univer­sity of the Arts (UdK). Luisa Rubisch had previ­ously studied urban plan­ning at the Tech­nical Univer­sity of Berlin. Rasa Weber completed her bachelor’s degree in product design at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee and the Design Academy Eind­hoven. The Urban Terrazzo project was their joint master’s thesis.

Antique flooring rein­ter­preted

Terrazzo has been used as flooring since ancient times. It was orig­i­nally laid by local craftsmen: small, often coloured stones or other mate­rials were applied to a screed.


TFOB, Berlin Brick Gold

After drying, it was sanded and polished to create a smooth, shiny surface. Because terrazzo can be made from cheap and readily avail­able quarry mate­rials, the flooring expe­ri­enced a renais­sance in the post-war period.

Weber and Rubisch are also concerned with the sensible recy­cling of left­overs. The aspect of sustain­ability was a “key factor” for the two designers. But they also see traces of the old build­ings in the rubble. A piece of history that ends up on the rubbish dump. Most of the mate­rial used by Weber and Rubisch comes from two recy­cling yards. One is in Berlin, the other near Verona.


TFOB, Indus­trial Black

Berlin, for example, contains a lot of Lusa­tian granite, including post-war concrete, in which bricks were used as an aggre­gate, a very colorful concrete. In Italy, on the other hand, Urban Tarrazzo finds marble, old terrazzo or terra­cotta in building rubble.

For the produc­tion of Urban Terrazzo prod­ucts, Luisa Rubisch and Rasa Weber had an extremely strong concrete devel­oped, partic­u­larly fine and hard at the same time, with which the frag­ments are cast into slabs and enables them to “also inte­grate piece­work”. The quality of the visu­ally unusual and sustain­able Tarrazzo product has spread. Weber and Rubisch were awarded the start-up schol­ar­ship “Creative Proto­typing” by the UdK, won the German Ecode­sign Award, among others, and were honoured as newcomer final­ists at the German Design Award 2019 of the German Design Council.