Nowadays the wood flooring is  also called “parquet”, where does this word derive from? The official history of the wood flooring starts at the time of Louis XIV, the Sun King (XVI-XVII century), even if we can go back much time earlier.

In the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, the rooms used to have wood floors and the word “parchet” (the diminutive of “park”), was adopted for the enclosed spaces covered by wood planks. Even if the parquet name has its origin in France and is typical of that time, its use traces back to 3.000 B.C. 

The history of the wood flooring

The term “parquet” has been adopted in the furniture vocabulary from the Seventeenth Century, though the wood floor has a much longer history, starting from 3000 B.C. from the Egyptians. The Ancient Egyptians used to protect theirselves from insect by wood boards, unfortunately there’s no existing artifact due to the natural deterioration of the material.

Further testimony comes from the Old Testament, where the wood flooring is mentioned along the kingdom of King Solomon. There are also sources describing herringbone wood flooring during the Roman times.

The first historical records of decorations and geometry in wood and using different colours are linked to the Middle Ages, during the British and the Scandinavian civilizations development. This craft tradition spread out to France during the XII Century, where it became more and more sophisticate.    The official date of the first real wood flooring is year 1534, when the architects Jules Menard created a wood flooring on purpose for King Francois I.

Wood flooring design at French and Italian courts

The first innovating design wood floors in France used to be strips of Oak and Olive installed side by side. During the XIV Century 2-layer wood floors become popular since they were steady and avoid bending problems caused by temperature and humidity conditions, as well as by the natural aging process typical of the natural materials.

The most common wood species for floors in France were walnut, European Cherry and Beech, that used to cover not only the floors but also the walls of the magnificent palaces and the Nobles’ mansions, just like in the palace at Versailles.   

In Baroque times, during the Seventeenth century, the “parquet” became the typical material for the luxury residences, also in Italy. Some famous examples are: Palazzo Madama in Torino and Palazzo Ducale in Venezia. During the 1800s the use of the wood flooring is massive, especially in the North of Italy.

The “parquet”: beautiful and functional especially today

Wood has proved that it is the ideal material to cover our rooms so far. Thanks to the unique esthetical and functional features, the wood floor is very successful all over the world. It is not only thanks to its beauty, but because it is easy to clean and maintain. It is a natural recyclable material, with a good acoustic and thermic insulations. Thanks to these features, the wood it is still so appreciated.