Concrete…..What’s not to love?
Above is the rather sleek, polished store for Mahini in Dubai by Studio TooGood. Yes I say sleek and polished, but the idea is that the store is the opposite of the glamorous, opulent designs we are used to seeing in Dubai, yet, still incredibly sophisticated. The walls and fittings were cast in concrete, the perfect material to create those sleek, simple lines – in contrast to the gold, intricate patterns shoppers are accustomed to.
Although currently a popular choice, there are still some of you out there who view concrete as cold, perhaps hostile…and I am here to change your mind! One of my favourite buildings, designed by architect, Tadao Ando, is the church of the light – a brilliant example of how the use of the material within architecture can create impact, the combination of light and density heightened by maintaining the raw concrete as a humble cladding – allowing the worshippers to focus on the light, the meditation and the meaning without distraction.
A new restaurant which has caught my eye is Torafuku in Vancouver, designed by Scott & Scott. The strong use of concrete creates a beautiful purity alongside quilted pads positioned above the booths, made from denim and wool, both intended to evolve with age and use. The architect, David Scott explains: “Our interests in the potential of unsophisticated materials which we encounter in general construction was aligned with the restaurant’s beginning” (the restaurant’s roots lying in a side street food truck).
I often find when looking at projects involving expanses of concrete, that what really stands out for me is the detailing. By using a simple, smooth (ish) finish which is seen as ‘raw’ or ‘unfinished’ this allows other elements of the design to become contrasting, and therefore creates a space that looks sleek, without being too polished…
If I still haven’t managed to convince you…check out: http://www.concretecat.com/shop/ who specialise in all things concrete; including furniture & fixtures, art and beautiful objects of desire.