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Concrete flex

A design team is showing off the potential of concrete with beautifully shaped furniture. The project is the result of on-going research into flexible formwork from the studio of Remy & Veenhuizen.

“Concrete is rather like water,” according to the two designers. By this they mean that concrete can be shaped in almost any way desired, until it hardens. To maximise the material’s potential, flexible formwork is required.

Because it has the required strength and flexibility, plastic is the most suitable material for this type of mould. In particular, plastic can be shaped and stretched without tearing, which turned out to be ideal for this project.

Different strategies were investigated before the designers settled on pouring concrete into a flexible mould made of waterproof PVC sheets.

The sheeting can be configured as desired, in this case into a cushion-like pattern of bumps and crevices. To create the required mould, it is sewn into shape. This allows the liquid concrete to create the required shape. In this case, extra blocks applied to the outside of the cast make sure that the concrete stays in the intended puffy shape.

As the concrete hardens, it expands a little, filling out against the plastic sheeting. This also helps smooth over any bumps or air bubbles. The smoother the plastic, the smoother the result, giving concrete the high-gloss finish seen here. Additionally, in the case of furniture using legs, steel reinforcement is added.

The designers’ hope is to mass-produce such concrete furniture. This could help to get more people – including other designers – to think about the form possibilities of concrete in its liquid state, not just as a solid.

Comments

  1. Alvaro Arias says:

    Great work guys! A couple of years ago we experimented with concrete at Columbia grad shcool and came upon similiar results. You guys should check out our own experiments at: http://issuu.com/alvaroarias/docs/portfolio_aad
    specifically the FABRIC-ATION project.
    Congrats on your experiments and love the final products! Keep it up