Jennifer Harbster of the Library of Congress Science, Technology and Business division, believes that we rarely take the time to notice and enjoy the artistic details that go into the flooring design of a building.
Sadly, she is right.
But thankfully, she recognizes that if we just take a second to take quick look under our feet, we might notice that we are walking on a piece of art.
“Every day we walk on some sort of flooring, be it hardwood, linoleum, carpet, marble, or tiles, and if we look at what is under our feet, we might notice something very special,” she said in her post Terrazzo: Beauty Under our Feet.
The work in the John Adams Building was done by the National Mosaic Company of Washington, D.C., which was founded by Italian immigrants in 1896. According to Harbster, by 1906, National Mosaic Company has installed terrazzo and other mosaic or tile decorations in many other buildings in D.C. like the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian museums, the Sherman Monument and the Evening Star Building.
Unfortunately, National Mosaic Company closed in 1942 because of a shortage of materials. But thanks to the longevity, durability, and ease of upkeep of terrazzo, the artwork done by those terrazzo installers can still be seen today!