Much has changed since Diespeker was founded in Hamburg in 1881 by Luigi Oderico, an Italian artisan and entrepreneur who was one of the first to bring terrazzo and mosaic to the UK.
A 1931 book celebrating Diespeker’s 50th anniversary gives our trade description as ‘Engineers in floor, roof and staircase construction’, and as experts in ‘bigspan floors’ that used the ‘Diespeker Block’ as their foundation. Many craftsmen in the UK who worked with terrazzo in that era were trained up by Diespeker. Projects included Brighton Aquarium and Bournemouth Pavilion as well as schools, hospitals and department stores such as Selfridges.
Back then we had our head office at Holborn Viaduct and works in City Road (now Diespeker Wharf), with offices in Hull, Manchester, Liverpool. Glasgow, Birmingham and across the Irish Sea in Belfast. We had several works across these locations, too.
Over the years Diespeker diversified, and as well as terrazzo we have become renowned experts in natural and engineered stone, including marble, granite, quartz and conglomerates. We also rationalised the business, so these days Diespeker is located in one convenient place in South East London. We have been developing the site over recent years, so not only do we have a workshop for traditional terrazzo, a factory with state of the art cutting, grinding and crushing machinery, but also a superb showroom where visitors can browse our range and enjoy a cup of coffee with our Managing Director of 15 years, John Krause.
We are now working on a huge variety of projects including recently the London Coliseum and the Battersea Power Station residential development. But as well as UK projects, we have become known on an international level, with projects now in Dubai, Madrid, South Korea, New York, Nice and, with a little touch of serendipity, back in Hamburg once more.
It’s been a long journey but 135 years on we believe Luigi would be proud of where we have brought the company to, as we continue to push the boundaries with his beloved terrazzo. Our skills find Diespeker combining cement based terrazzo, resin terrazzo and moulded terrazzo seamlessly together – an innovation that offers designers, architects and developers new possibilities and inspiration. So, keep watching this space, and here’s to the next 135 years.