Whether it’s internal or external, concrete is the material of the moment. As it develops in versatility, it’s being used increasingly to craft creative, modern statements inside homes and offices as well as externally in public spaces and buildings on street corners around the world.
As new techniques and additives are developed, innovative ways are being discovered to use this, often underrated, material. Concrete is cool!
It’s time to take a new look at concrete, as we will certainly see it become an increasingly popular feature in both our home and work environments.
Concrete fits the current trend with its grey hues and neutral tones that blend in well almost anywhere. The ‘industrial’, minimal look is also a perfect complement for concrete and concrete products.
Aside from concrete furniture, lighting, staircases, sinks and shower stalls, the material can now be found as alternative flooring and wall covering and not just in plain grey. The choice of concrete finishes includes stamped concrete, colour stained concrete, sanded-effect concrete, exposed aggregate concrete and most recently, luminous concrete.
Lets look at flooring.
Concrete can be used as a base layer with a more decorative finish on top, or it can be polished up to provide a simple, striking flooring finish. Not only is it easy to clean and maintain, its resilience and heat retaining properties also make it a cost-efficient option.
Stamped concrete refers to the use of a pattern on top of the base layer and is often found in playgrounds, on paths or around pool areas. Natural materials, such as wood or stone can be re-created in concrete, using blended colour washes or stains, highlighting its versatility.
Today’s trend is towards bigger patterns with more natural colour combinations and custom-stamped flooring can be created with hand-tooling. Acid and acrylic stains enable the transferring of a logo or an image onto a concrete floor and specialist digital technology allows you to create complex, bespoke designs. Concrete really is a blank canvas.
Distressed concrete is another option for flooring, as an alternative to wooden boards. A series of processes transform the highly polished concrete look to one of an enhanced, worn patina.
Raw concrete walls are also on-trend, with untreated concrete providing a modern, grey backdrop for home living. For a more intricate look, you can work the concrete with a trowel to layer on colours, contours or textures. Big for 2018 are geometric concrete tiles that can be added in.
If it’s all too much concrete, then just pick out one wall to use as a statement feature. Fancy a concrete kitchen? How about a concrete counter or an entire island made of concrete. It will last for decades and look fantastic.
And finally, how about some glow in the dark concrete features? That’s right – glow in the dark concrete!!
Luminescent aggregate can be added to a regular concrete mix. These particles absorb UV radiation from the sun as well as artificial light during the day and then after dark, create a “glow-in-the-dark” show. The aggregate can be scattered to enhance architectural details, to highlight a public pathway, or as a decorative poolside area. For home gardens, you can even have specific patterns added to concrete table-tops.
It seems there is no end to the versatility of concrete. Be it in small, artistic touches or floor to ceiling covering, concrete is now very much a part of every day living.