DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

Concrete is always in vogue...

When one hears the word concrete, cinder blocks, industrial spaces and flashes of lofts in urban cities come to mind but the history of concrete does not start there.

Concrete first made an appearance with the Ancient Greeks, and later was discovered as new and revolutionary material by the Romans around 300 BC. The material was widely used in many Roman structures and helped to ensure that many have survived to the present day. The Colosseum was built largely of concrete and the concrete dome of the Pantheon is the world's largest. After the Roman Empire collapsed, use of concrete became scarce until the technology was re-pioneered in the mid-18th century.

The material was a source of inspiration and liberation for architects working in the 1950-60s like of Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer or Tadao Ando. These architects refined concrete into a modern material that inspired design.

Once again concrete, is making strong reemergence by showing us it's truly versatile nature. Designers are finding unexpected uses for this ancient material. On first glance most would think this material mundane but if the images below are an indication, concrete is a material that is in transformation and metamorphosis . Today you can find a good offering of tactile and decorative surface for interiors, anything from tiles to wallpapers, making for more interesting spaces.


Pan Beton:
the lightest real concrete wall panel

Beton attributes their love of concrete to it’s versatility. The material is quick to accept shape, texture, density and color, making for a product that has infinite possibilities. PanBenton have created light weight concrete that is easy to cut and install, these panels offer simple solutions to create an ambiance with an authentic material: concrete. Once installed, the panels are just like real concrete walls that have been formed to fit the wall.
The collection includes 5 models, each available in 4 colors.


Decotile

Decotile presents the first ever collection of combined concrete and metal tiles. The metals are laser cut into beautifully designed patterns that are cast in the engineered concrete making a seamless tile. Metal plating's include chrome-nickel, silver, gold up to 24K gold and anodized in aluminum and titanium. Metal graphics are unlimited and can be custom ordered to any required shape opening the way for unique designs and art works. The combination of concrete with a reflecting metal decoration creates a luxurious contrasting effect.


Dune Tile

The Toronto-based company works with local manufacturers to develop these tile in a number of materials, currently available in wood, ceramic and concrete. The Dune tile is a unique wall treatment, un-matched in today's market. The tiles produce a dramatic and sensuous effect in any environment. The solid wood version creates a cozy, rich and luxurious setting in any space, be it indoors or out.


Arto Tiles

This team of artisans supply anything from concrete tiles for flooring or pavements to handcrafted 3D concrete cladding tile. The range is complemented by its rugged durability and unmatched versatility while the high relief look creates a powerful pattern statement.


Yasemen Hussein

Sculptor, artist, welder and craftswoman was given the opportunity to take a class with established cast concrete counter specialist Fu Tong Cheng and has been experimenting with concrete ever since. The Mig-welded steel and concrete structures inset with floral patterning are the height of modernist sophistication.


Hunt Studios

Aside from carving stone, Hunt Studios work with glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) to create lightweight mold-cast concrete for grand scale applications. The results are beautiful skins that protect interior walls and ceilings with fascinating, enduring detail. The panels balance weight, strength, and durability.


Kaza Concrete

KAZA Concrete has a fresh concept using fibre reinforced concrete, called Smart Concrete in architectural and design element to elevate the material from its industrial past. The collection pairs the newly rediscovered material with versatile production technique, resulting in sophisticated and enduring patterns, shapes and textures with bas-relief and colors for various applications.


Graphic Relief Ltd.

Graphic Relief Ltd. is a company with imagination at its heart. They have developed a technology for manufacturing moulds with very fine surface detail. Their proprietary technology can be used to create a wide range of surface designs, textures and graphic effects in sizes up to 2 x 1.2m. The technology is suitable for both interior and exterior use in applications which include facades, cladding, tiles, artwork and bespoke products. They mainly work in concrete and are currently developing the technology for other materials.


Doreen Westphal Studio

CONCRETE LACE Curtains and Tiles Concrete Lace exploits the unique characteristics of a material to create an architectural object that combines craftsmanship with modern technology. Applications include gauzes for hotels, auditoriums and public buildings, window treatment or room dividers for private homes, decorative interior and exterior wall coverings, visual dividers for large spaces – from restaurants to parking garages - or sculptural elements for urban gardens. Concrete Lace can be made in different patterns and customized to any atmosphere, application and size.


Litracon

Litracon combines optical fibres and fine concrete. The results are concrete panels or blocks that will emit light through.


FENG SHUI

Screens ( Screen Saver )

In a traditional Chinese homes, the front door might open onto a screen adorned with motifs and images. A screen afford a degree of privacy for the occupants and it also allows energy to meander from the front door to the rest of the home. The space constraints of modern living preclude screens from being a feature in many homes, but there are several situations that call for them.

If the front entrance is directly opposite the back door, a balcony, stairs or prominent windows, placing a screen in between will prevent positive energy from rushing out of the home. Ideally, the screen should be solid and opaque – preferably wooden, but translucent style screens using wax paper are also effective.

Screens can also be used in work areas where one is sitting with one's back against the same wall that shares the entrance. A screen shielding the door will ensure those who enter have to walk past the barrier before turning into the room, thereby allowing the person inside to see who is entering.

Screens can also be used in a bedroom to block the flow of negative energy towards a bed that is in the path of the toilet door. Should there be insufficient space, alternatives such as curtains can also be used.

Taken from the Column No. 71: July 23, 2006 By Dr. jin Peh Feng Shiu columnist for the South China Morning post

SCREEN 5200 - "Birch Grove"
SCREEN 2456 - "Peacock"