Hello, I’m Darek @ Designs by Rudy / Chicago concrete furniture design studio
Creating unorthodox and practical things was always on my agenda, however, designing concrete furniture became the most enjoyable and challenging experience so far. They are not your everyday pieces of furniture; made mostly with glass fiber reinforced concrete, some are quite heavy when put together, but… every single one of them is always one hundred percent unique.
It is virtually impossible to make any two of them the same, they may appear similar, but when you take a closer look, they are completely different species.
If you are looking for a very unique piece of concrete furniture to complement your office, house, or backyard, a design that nobody else can and will ever have, give me a call or complete the form below.
A Little History of Concrete Furniture...
How concrete furniture evolved over the the last 100 years…
Creating household concrete furniture was first introduced in the early 1900s. This new concept, however, has not gained popular support among the general public as concrete was then viewed as ugly and unappealing. Moreover, the use of concrete has only been associated with the construction of roads and bridges and was thought to be an unlikely material for the creation of furniture and other household fixtures. At that time, even the use of concrete in building houses were deemed to be unattractive and impractical. Advocates of the new concept were also unable to prove the reliability of the material and its many uses.
It took several decades before advocates of the use of concrete in building houses and creating concrete furniture were able to develop mechanisms as well as equipment that will allow concrete to be used for creating highly durable and resilient concrete products. When these methods were developed, the usual rough and stiff material has been transformed into a more pliable and soft substance that is capable of being designed and molded into various forms and sizes.
First types of concrete furniture designs
Concrete tables are among the first forms of concrete furniture that were created. These tables are created for their functionality and for style. Early forms of concrete tables only featured giant slabs of rectangular concrete. Recent innovations however has allowed concrete to be shape and molded, creating various forms and sizes. It has also become a lot more soft and fluid as opposed to the usual rough and stiff structure of concrete tables.
These types of concrete furniture are great for both indoor and outdoor areas. Concrete table looks great when used for outdoor dining. It easily blends well with all the natural elements. It is also highly durable and capable of resisting all types of weather. It is able to endure the high temperatures of direct sun as well as extreme cold. It also does not get damaged even when exposed to rain and hail. Thus, for outdoor settings, one is able to avoid the inconvenience and the trouble of having to drag outdoor tables when sudden weather changes occur.
Concrete furniture generally blend well with other themes and decorative implements. Thus, it is also used for indoor dining and decorating purposes. Concrete dining tables are sturdy and are easy to clean and sanitize. It is, moreover, a great conversation starter when there are guests in the house. Since modern concrete tables can come in different shapes and forms, smaller ones with interesting designs can be used as side or coffee tables, or they may be used as concrete console tables and become part of the decorative items in the house.
Commercial use of concrete furniture
Concrete furniture also make a great addition to the décor of businesses and offices. They are usually utilized as conference tables, waiting tables for reception areas and display tables for certain businesses. Businesses sometimes purchase customized concrete tables to create a more unique look or to complement the existing design scheme that they have. Most businesses employ a sleek industrial look for their offices and having concrete tables greatly accentuate that theme.
Restaurants and cafes, especially those which follow a more modern and relaxed theme, will also find the use of concrete furniture to be highly advantageous. First, they get value for their money. These tables are extremely durable so they are made to last even when used on a daily basis. Second, it is a great decorative piece of furniture. It is able to combine aesthetic appeal and sheer functionality. It can also be transformed into a stunning centerpiece and buffet area. Its uses are endless and its charm is limitless.
These tables also work well with cafes and diners which offer al fresco dining. Concrete blends well with other outdoor elements and it serves as a striking invitation to passersby who will most likely be intrigued by the decorative effect of concrete tables. Moreover, care and maintenance is relatively easy since concrete tables are virtually indestructible and requires minimal upkeep.
As mentioned earlier, concrete tables are highly suitable for outdoor dining because it is able to withstand various temperatures and changes in weather. This makes it highly cost-efficient and versatile, and business managers will not have to go through the hassle of frequently replacing broken furniture.
There are two kinds of concrete furniture available in the market today. The first one is precast concrete furniture. These pieces are mass produced from a single mold. They can usually be purchased at a much lower price than its counterparts and are readily available to the buyers depending on the availability of stocks.
The other type of concrete furniture is the customized one. Customized concrete tables are made according to the wishes and specifications of the buyer. They are unique, one-of-a-kind products that are only sold to the one who ordered them. One advantage of having customized tables is that it can be highly personalized, where personal insignia or markings are placed depending on the buyer’s preferences. These kinds of tables, however, are generally more expensive and take a longer time to be finished and delivered.
Concrete furniture designs
Modern concrete furniture designs are quite versatile and they come in various shapes, sizes and functions. It is now common to see concrete kitchen countertops and sinks. Recent additions to these kitchen novelties are concrete cabinets, dining tables and chairs, which may be customized based on the form, size and color preferences of the user.
Concrete countertops may either be precast, where it is casted off site based on the template chosen by the client, or site casted where it is poured, cured and finished right on top of the kitchen cabinets. A lot of people are now interested in transitioning to concrete countertops because of its tried and tested durability. It is also easy to customize because it is handcrafted.
Therefore, certain details that the client wishes to incorporate into the design may easily be added before it is cast and cured. Moreover, due to the latest innovations, concrete materials may now be stained, coated and infused with certain additives to attain a more customized design.
Dining tables and chairs, coffee tables, bar stools, and other seating implements are also common concrete furniture designs. These designs range from the block-like structures usually associated with concrete furniture to the soft and fluid look of more contemporary designs. Furniture designers have also now ventured into making rocking chairs and several decorative pieces like statues, decorative panels for walls, home ornaments, planters, and even drinking fountains.
Concrete furniture designs are also now easily customized according to the color preference of the client. Coloring concrete pieces can be done in several ways with varying results. One process is done with the use of an internal pigment. This is a colored powder which is mixed into the wet concrete and allowed to set with the entire fixture. This process completely and permanently colors the entire concrete panel. This process is also more predictable in the sense that the client is able to choose the exact color outcome of the process.
Another process of coloring concrete projects is acid staining. This process involves infusing metallic salts on the hardened concrete and allowing it to react with the material. This also results to a permanent color but the exact outcome may vary per project. Putting dye on the concrete slab is another coloring process that may be used. The dye is applied to cured slabs. This process only allows color to penetrate the top layer of the concrete. The designer may create various patterns with the dye but there are limited color choices and some dyes may not be suitable for concrete surfaces.
Maintenance of furniture made of concrete
Maintaining the quality of concrete furniture depends greatly on the kind of concrete used and the additives that are applied to the design. It is important to note that while concrete is durable and practically indestructible, some additives, colors and sealants are not. Many of these materials may show signs of wear and eventually alter the overall appearance of the furniture. Thus, it is best to be well-informed of these possibilities before using them.
Interior home decorating has never been the same with the emergence of a wide array of options for concrete furniture design. The possibilities are truly endless, limited only by the imagination of the concrete furniture designer.