Article No: 54

2006-05-01 10:16:11
From age-old to space-age
By: Robbie Harrison

Handcrafted, colored and finished, concrete solid surfacing combines organic warmth and sculpted sensuality with "hard as rock, smooth as silk" real world practical utility.

Although concrete is an age-old material that has been in use since ancient times, it has been refined to meet the tough demands of a new millennium. What began as artistic experimentation at the fringes of the design community has now achieved the credentials and proven track record for mainstream acceptance and popularity among designers and builders of creative and memorable spaces.

Industry professionals are quickly becoming true believers who appreciate concrete's capability for creating unique, durable, high fashion counter tops and other solid surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, meeting rooms and reception areas.

Here are just a few reasons you should suggest solid concrete surfacing to homeowners and commercial clients seeing a chic, one-of-a-kind look combined with durability and functionality.

Works of art — With concrete solid surfacing, clients get a result that is very personal, reflecting their unique lifestyle, personality and taste. No other medium enables human inspiration to mix so directly and so thoroughly with nature. In the shapes, colors and textures of concrete solid surfacing, the influence of man and the influence of nature are completely intertwined. Where one ends and the other begins is completely indistinguishable. Each concrete solid surface area is a unique creation unto itself.

Endless shapes and color possibilities — Concrete's considerable versatility makes it the medium of aesthetic expression. It enables unrestricted design ranging from free-flowing sculpted curves to complex geometric angles. It complements woods, tone and metal, and virtually everything else. In addition to its broad capabilities for shape, color, texture and tone, it's wide open to the use of inlays — shells, fossils, pottery and other interesting or personal artifacts can be embedded in the mix to create formal or playful motifs.

Compatible with any design style — Concrete solid surfacing conveys warmth, substance, permanence and mass to the look and "feel" of interior spaces. It's primal, timeless, earthy and, to some, even spiritual. It easily integrates across all levels of design — old world traditional to ultra contemporary industrial.

Build equity and interest — Concrete solid surfacing ages gracefully and comfortably, much like a cozy leather couch or an old wooden floor. It accumulates character and "patina" as time and use bring out more and more interesting features. Most people enjoy these ongoing enhancements — it's like watching the changing seasons of nature. Others simply polish the concrete back to its original appearance.

Technologically advanced material for high durability --This is not "your father's concrete"; not the ugly gray stuff you scratched your name in long ago. This is the perfect balance between form and function: a sculptural and extremely durable material, tough as Corian and Caeser Stone. The aesthetic value of concrete solid surfacing increases as time goes on and as its appearance evolves and becomes more interesting. The opposite occurs with other solid surfacing products --its newness wears off, owners have lost interest and value flattens or even declines.

Perhaps by now you are envisioning several areas where concrete solid surfacing would inspire your customers: a kitchen counter, bathroom vanity, fireplace, or entrance area. Truly, the application and design potential of this amazing material is limited only by one's imagination.

Robbie Harrison is a co-founder of concretecanvas, whose designer/artists have installed a variety of concrete solid surface features in numerous upscale homes and businesses. He may be contacted at 864-322-5367 or at