Homes and gardens

A concrete plan

Industrial chic gets a fillip with designers exploring the many shades of grey, in tables, lamps and more

Globally, people are daring to bare. In architecture, at least. What was once hidden behind paint and wood — concrete, structural steel, wiring — are the statement makers in designs that are embracing a clean, minimal look. In India, you could say we’ve always had industrial chic: our popular IPS (Indian Patent Stone) flooring is a mix of cement, sand and stone. But now designers are introducing the raw grey into our living spaces as furniture and home accessories. “We are going back to basics for out-of-the-box ideas. Concrete is iconic of modern architecture, and designers are discovering it is a phenomenal material that you can add to, subtract from, and do practically anything with,” explains Iti Tyagi, designer and co-founder of Delhi-based Craft Village. Earlier this year, the India Design ID saw Bharat Flooring launch their DashDashDot tile collection and a concrete furniture line that included a coffee table studded with semi-precious stones. We bring you more stunning designs to inject some grey chic into your interiors.

Craft Béton

A concrete plan

Four artists and one idea: how to make concrete sexy. The collaboration between cement manufacturers Dalmia Bharat and four renowned designers — Tyagi, Somesh Singh, and (Mexicans) Alan Saga and Miroslaw Baca — led to a line of 50 limited-edition art pieces. “It took us over six months to complete the project, and we went with very organic shapes, inspired by nature and textiles,” says Tyagi. Like her most challenging work, Pièce de Résistance, a completely hand-done design that resembles a fabric-covered table. The line also includes jewellery and tableware. Singh brushes aside any doubts about concrete being carcinogenic, stating, “The processes it goes through eliminates anything toxic.” In fact, his line — which plays with double tonality (juxtaposing metal and leather) and is a tribute to Le Corbusier, the urban planner behind Chandigarh — has a stunning cheese platter that is already on our must-buy list. They are currently at work on the second edition that “will explore different textures, colour palettes, maybe even transparent concrete!”

From ₹7,500, on

The Purple Turtles

A concrete plan

The Wabi Sabi collection from this home décor store in Bengaluru is interesting not just for its stunning lamps, but also for its attempt to make concrete sustainable — by mixing it with materials like agriculture and craft waste. “Cement, per se, is not of interest to me. But as the exposed concrete look is trendy, I thought it would be a good time to come in and make it more sustainable,” says Jenny Pinto, the design director. Having worked for almost 20 years with paper, she has used her expertise to come up with a mixture that uses only 50% cement, making the artisanal designs much lighter. “We’ve been inspired by architecture and nature, and brought in newness by combining concrete with brass and wood,” she shares, adding that they are currently experimenting with pigments and other materials like clay and iron fillings. “We are also planning smaller accessories and furniture,” she says.

From ₹2,600 onwards, on

Material Immaterial

A concrete plan

“Architects love concrete,” states Nitin Barccha. So it isn’t surprising that he and his partner, Disney Davis, have introduced a line of knobs, handles and jewellery that play with lines, dimensions and the material. “I love the colour grey and all our products (which also includes furniture and papier mâché lights) are architectural in their aesthetics. So concrete was the material of choice,” he says. A new line, called Spaces, also showcases nine miniature buildings that play with volumes and voids. With a modernist approach, the Mumbai-based designers also experiment with new technology at their studio. “Some of the knobs have been created using 3D printing,” he says, adding that they also try to minimise wastage wherever possible (by reusing water, etc). An admirer of Canadian architect-sculptor David Umemoto’s works, Barccha is currently working on a project that “treads on art and product, and is inspired by Indian architecture”.

Jewellery from ₹720 onwards, and handles from ₹2,150, on

Portside Café

A concrete plan

Looks can be deceiving. At Portside Café’s Delhi store, what looks like concrete consoles and chairs are actually beautifully-designed pieces in leather. “My inspiration was the walls of my factory — the imperfections and fluidity of patterns,” explains designer-owner Bobby Aggarwal. Called the Cement Series, the 11 pieces are constructed “in a very architectural manner”, drawing from beams and columns. A director’s chair has been added for some softness and quirk. “While in some pieces I’ve used grey leather, which looks like concrete, and dyed it to give texture, for others (which resemble crumbling walls) we digitally-printed photographs on them,” he says. But why not work with the actual material? “Leather and concrete wear out very differently, so I have to experiment with them a lot more before I can create something,” he says, adding that a bar and a display shelf will be added to the line soon.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 4:56:02 AM |

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