The tradition of parquetry
Drifting in and out of vogue throughout the generations, traditional block parquetry flooring is enjoying a revival. Throughout the age’s parquetry floors have featured in commercial buildings such as hospitals, factories, museums, libraries and hotels. These timber floors are hard-wearing in areas with heavy foot traffic.
There is also an extensive history of parquetry flooring being installed in more refined and decorative homes all around the world. Records show that they introduced the first parquetry floors in 16th century France and originally included wood blocks laid in geometric patterns with the shapes of the individual blocks varying in both colour and size.
Parquetry through the centuries
Before we used parquetry on floors, we used a technique known as marquetry as furniture decoration using small pieces of inlaid wood. Marquetry is the centuries-old process of creating pictures out of materials such as shell, stone, and wood. In the 16th century, technological advances allowed marquetry techniques to be applied on a much grander scale. For example, creating patterned floors of tightly fitting blocks of wood. The detailed geometric designs have their origins in historic European palaces and chateaux. We still use the same traditional patterns today. Parquetry Flooring Company still installs the Versailles and Marie Antionette patterns
These timber floors were used to replace grand marble or stone floors that were quarried, expensive to install and maintain. The water used for cleaning also caused long-term damage to joists and timber frames. Simple plank wood floors existed, but during the 16th Century, they devised the tongue-and-groove system. This allowed more extravagant and sophisticated patterns used within flooring designs.
Parquetry during the during the 16th century.
The geometric block pattern Parquet de Versailles became the standard flooring for the formal rooms of 17th- century French chateaux. More elaborate designs developed for Russian mansions and palaces. Using parquetry flourished during the building of St Petersburg in the 18th century. The aristocracy commissioned craftsmen to create grand buildings as beautiful as the furniture and artworks within them. Parquetry floors remained an excellent alternative to marble for several centuries as it is much easier to look after.
Standing the test of time
However, the popularity of parquetry only just survived in contemporary Europe. Particularly, the rise of textile production and new techniques meant that in the 1930s, carpet became available to most households. Even the more modest homes enjoyed the comfort of carpet. Almost overnight, people stopped using hardwood floors in their homes in place of the inexpensive synthetic alternative. Sadly, many parquet floors were hidden beneath carpets from the 1930s onward with many floors ripped out and destroyed. However, many floors survived and remained hidden gems for over 50 years.
An astounding return to the use of wood flooring and improved manufacturing techniques gave designers and architects the opportunity to experiment with abstract and intricate patterns. Of these, many integrated distinct types of woods and finishes. Parquet floors are once again the flooring of choice for many. We use traditional parquet patterns in both period properties and contemporary builds.
Parquetry timber flooring is a sustainable, high-end luxury product, pleasing to the eye and easy to clean and maintain. Every floor is unique and can reflect the preferences of the designer and owner. While respecting the timeless craftsmanship of the past, parquetry is a unique floor system adding quality and value to new and renovated interiors.