The art of parquetry dates back to the 17th century, with small traces in Medieval Europe, until coming into fashion as a feature of Baroque architecture. In 1684 in Versailles, France, it was introduced as a replacement for marble flooring, which tended to deteriorate easily due to constant washing. Parquet flooring became a practical option because it required little maintenance. But, parquetry has evolved beyond its functionality and practicality. It has made its mark as an intricate decorative art.
Before parquetry, patterned wood flooring only belonged in public places, and they were either concealed beneath upholstery or carpets, or designed to look like marble. But, due to the subsequent evolution of inlaid woodwork, parquetry established itself as a fine art and a symbol of European aristocracy.
How It’s Done
Parquetry is a flooring technique of inlaying or combining strains of wood to form geometric patterns. Block patterns contain veneers of different types of wood with contrasting colors and grains to achieve geometric regularity.
Parquet masters would employ different types of timber such as walnut, lime, cherry, oak and maple. Some patterns also include tropical hardwoods, mahogany and bamboo. In the old days, parquet masters used hot bitumen as adhesive. Today, cold adhesive is a more popular option among manufacturers. Among the most popular styles are the herringbone and the parallel style.
Combining the Classic and the Modern
Today, artisans are redefining parquetry, by leading design innovations, with a reverence for tradition. Stone or leather is fitted with wood veneers to create more creative and elegant designs. Parquetry is embraced by homeowners across the globe.
Among the most notable are the artisanal woodworks of Japanese and Muslim parquet masters. Flooring specialists in Auckland imbibe traditional Maori patterns into their parquetry.
Parquet floors are commonly done on entry halls and bedrooms. The appeal of parquetry is that it highlights the natural beauty of various wood surfaces. Hardwood flooring exudes a raw kind of elegance, and with the infusion of parquetry, offers infinite design possibilities. On top of that, it lasts long, requires little to no maintenance and provides natural insulation to the structure.