8 Surprisingly Pretty Things Made From Concrete

Concrete gets street cred.

How many times have you slagged off a building – e.g., a school, shopping center or intentional eco community – for being concrete, and thus ugly? When I was kid, our next door neighbors moved out of their brick house into a concrete one (the dad invented some new kind of livable concrete) and I deemed them aesthetically challenged.

Concrete has emerged as an invaluable material in sustainable construction. Limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth, is the predominant raw material in the cement that makes the concrete. It can also be made from waste byproducts like fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume. It’s also a durable, long lasting material (just ask the Romans) and homes built with concrete walls, foundations and floors tend to be highly energy efficient. Moreover, since concrete can be produced as needed, it’s easy to predict how much you will need and excess can be crushed and recycled for use in other concrete structures.

In interiors, designers are molding concrete into unexpected, pretty things.

For example:

Stitching Concrete is a project by Florian Schmid created by manipulating folding fabric soaked in cement and water.

The Aplomb suspension light from Italian lighting company Foscarini.

The Espresso Solo, a conceptual product by Shmuel Linski. The goal was to make concrete into a “desirable consumer product.”

Also by Linski, his speaker collection, aptly named “Exposed.”

A concrete bench from Berlin-based firm Metrofarm.

A concrete television cabinet by Canadian industrial designer Jean Willoughby.

Another from Willoughby: a concrete table.

…in what appears to be snake print.


K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.