Although concrete is more often associated with sturdiness, resistance and rustic simplicity, it can also be an attractive, noble material. Many architects, artists and designers give it a central, sometimes unexpected, role in their works. Discover a few original creations far removed from the world of construction that reveal the hidden beauty of concrete.
A hangar for dirigibles
A hangar for dirigible balloons composed of 3,500 tiles of reinforced concrete rises 30 metres high like a concrete cathedral in the middle of the Normandy countryside, in the town of Écausseville. The 150-m long, 40-m wide hangar is the last remaining structure of all the aerostations built during the First World War. It will be a hundred years old in 2017.
Listed as a historic monument in 2003, the building is managed by an organization that works to preserve it.
Giant Lego bricks
“Concrete Legos” is the name given to the work by Los Angeles-based artist Andrew Lewicki. It is made up of 12 concrete blocks that fit together like real Legos. Could concrete be an avant-garde material for regressive art?
Gold and concrete jewellery
Getting a material as rough as concrete to coexist with a metal as noble as gold was a daring venture. But thanks to this bold combination which he uses in making rings, watches and bracelets, Patrice Fabre has carved out a unique niche for himself in the world of jewellery.
“The idea of using concrete to make jewellery struck me during a seminar,” explains Fabre. “I was looking at a wall in front of me and the idea of using concrete seemed obvious to me. Mixing concrete, gold and diamonds is really unprecedented!”
A dress made out of lace… and concrete
Nancy and François-Charles Génolini developed a fabric made of tiny cubes of concrete woven together with black threads. The result is a supple lace that can be used in dresses as well as fashion and decoration accessories.
This unusual fabric was used by Karl Lagerfeld in Chanel’s Autumn-Winter 2014/15 collection.
A speaker and a coffee maker with character
Designers also use concrete to reinvent items used in daily life. Its massive-looking, straightforward beauty gives a lot of character to Anza coffee makers from the design studio Montaagt and the prototype of the Concretus speaker designed by the Lithuanian designer Gražina Bočkutė.
Concrete contributes to reinventing everyday life!
Header : Marie-Hélène Carcanague / Agua, une oeuvre de Milène Guermont