Concrete is COOL

Concrete  bench

Made in concrete with a mahogany seat that gives warmth and provides a contrast to the raw concrete. From the Danish company Oranje Concrete.

After a period of negatively charged words like "concrete bunker" and "1970s concrete", sentiment has reversed. Today concrete is cool and not least the lightweight fiber concrete that characterizes trendy designer furniture, facades, paving, pots and much more - both outdoors and indoors.

It's raw, it's cool, maintenance free and it can even be moved around. Design and architecture using the so-called fiber concrete has become a hit. Among other things, fiber concrete is used in a wide range of designer furniture and products from the Danish design and interior concept Bandage Interior.

- With fiber concrete you get a unique rugged look that suits a variety of different designs and modern architecture, says Torben Andresen, who with his wife Annette Wendt, are behind Bandage Interior – the design and interior decoration company with both private and business clients.

Four years ago the pair discovered a fiber concrete product from the Danish manufacturer Glafiment, a company that specializes in producing fiberglass-reinforced concrete. A method that means that the concrete can be produced in thicknesses down to 5 mm with the high wear resistance of concrete, but not nearly as heavy as traditional steel-reinforced concrete.

- First, we used fiber concrete to produce unique and cool outdoor kitchen worktops with a hole for a Weber grill and a sink cast in, says Annette Wendt.

However, the creative couple soon found lots of other applications for fiber concrete: For example, beautiful, raw podiums for garden design, flower boxes, mirror frames and table tops for a variety of different bases.

- The advantage of fiber concrete is that by using different castings you can create the illusion that the table top is made of thick, raw, industrial concrete - while it can easily be lifted as if it weighs nothing and the table moved, says Torben Andresen.

In autumn the pair launched a new brand, Formula W, which is a lounge series in fiber concrete with an inset sun lounger made in acrylic, and a chair series that can be used on the patio in the summer and moved into the house in winter.

Outdoors all year round

- Another advantage of fiber concrete is that it does not require any maintenance. You can choose to give fiber concrete furniture a surface treatment, so it better resists dirt. But many prefer the patina that fiber concrete naturally achieves without a surface treatment. Just like an Arne Jacobsen egg in leather ages beautifully through wear and patina, says Torben Andresen.

- And then fiber concrete can tolerate being left outdoors all year round, says Torben Andresen.

- We are constantly finding new possibilities. Recently we have launched tiles made from fiber concrete. It allows the tiles to be cast in very large sizes that are still easy to handle and the tile has a completely unique and beautiful finish. Moreover, you can take fiber concrete up the house as a facade cladding that gives a beautiful and raw effect, says Annette Wendt.

Recently, Bandage Interior had the premiere of a fiber concrete slab, decorated by artist Tina Vanggaard - a unique outdoor work of art for terrace paving or a terrace wall.

Originally for agriculture

Jens Jensen, the founder of the manufacturer Glafiment, is very pleased with the development. The company began producing fiber concrete over 26 years ago. Then it was intended for agriculture that could use the lightweight concrete, for example, for troughs.

- But the product quickly proved to have numerous applications. Today, agriculture is only a very limited part of our customer base, says Jens Jensen.

Glafiment have expanded their project production, for example, to stair steps and facade claddings with a wide range of standard and special productions of modern fiber concrete design.

- We welcome each new design in fiber concrete. I have even got fiber concrete furniture and paving in my own garden. After always having worked with concrete and fiber concrete as a purely industrial product, I had to get used to the design. But it is beautiful, smart and much easier to deal with than traditional furniture, says the concrete man from Videbæk in Mid-Jutland.

By Jette Aaes