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Concrete has become the new material of choice for designers, home owners across the United States and is becoming increasingly popular with British designers and artists.
Few materials are as versatile as concrete; you can mould any shape and colour to match virtually any hue. Decorative concrete in all its personalised glory is now being used in stores, offices, trendy restaurants and homes everywhere.
The range of concrete products now available goes from Georgian and Victorian porticos to Belfast type sinks and vanity units and Greco-Roman architectural embellishments.
The irresistible appeal of concrete is its versatility, look of distinction and tactile warmth when compared to marble or granite. While products like Corian are popular, many choose concrete because the look is more natural, and because each piece is usually made to order, it will always be a one-off.
There are several standards dependent on customer’s requirements: matt, semi-matt and high gloss sealers are used with varying stainstop properties, the best protection being the high gloss.
We’re all too familiar with drab looking grey concrete jungles and paving slabs. Innovative architectural designs are now using concrete in their design and building projects.
The Observer – Sunday 24th March 2002
Sarah Gaventa says she has only just scratched the surface, of concrete that is, her book ‘Concrete Design’ was published last autumn and this week, it comes to life as "Hardcore" concretes rise from utility to luxury, a major exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London with her consultancy company Scarlet Projects, Sarah is now using different aggregates in her concrete work such as industrial glass marbles, recycled TV screens, shells and crushed up window frames.
Concrete will never look the same again, but no other material has been vilified as much as concrete, and there are now architects and designers out there who now agree, like Tadao Ando (built Giorgio Armani’s Headquarters in concrete) and the Tate Modern architects Herzog and De Meuron.
There are now companies using concrete reinforced with glass fibres to manufacture worktops, sinks, vanity units and even concrete baths. The introduction of glass fibres into the concrete mix makes for a far stronger product than granite or marble, and using the right pigments can be made to look like granite, marble, wood, brick or even suede and slate. It can even be used to make radiators or furniture, or even Glass Reinforced Concrete fire surrounds, tombstones and moulded artworks.
Superseal Architectural Mouldings are currently manufacturing, porticos and canopies, Victorian or Georgian and extended Georgian Porticos up to 3 meters long recurring, with GRC pillars, suitable for grand porches, orangeries or even conservatories and balconies.