Once the ugly sister of the building trade, the re-invention of concrete as the material of choice for architects, interior designers, product designers any self respecting fashion led homeowner has been nothing short of spectacular. What was once synomomous with the multi-story car park and the inner city high rise is now responsible for the second coming of the industrial revolution- except there is no place for the spinning jenny here, just sharp lines, cool surfaces and exposed brickwork.
Intimidating though it may sound, industrial style is not as Spartan and hard as you might imagine, quite the opposite actually. It is style that allows you to live in your home rather than simply exist in it. It is a style made up of good honest, hard working materials like stone, concrete, aged oak, brick and steel- materials that will take a battering without even flinching. Pretty as a lot of modern homes and apartments built over the last decade are, they’ve been built for looking rather than living, they are show homes filled with plasterboard, softwood, mdf and formica. Industrial style is built to serve, built to protect, serve and nurture, and where did this style start- with drab and dreary concrete.
Ok so enough with the sales pitch, just how your home make use of sleek, chic, sexy concrete? By far the most visually stunning way to use it in a domestic project is on a large expanse such as a floor or wall. New polishing systems which grind down the previously course and crusty top layer can create something akin to marble. A polished concrete floor or wall is without a doubt the most stylish statement you can make in your home in 2009. The sheen created is unbelievable and can help double the feeling of space in a room. Though my own personal preference is the natural cool grey of the base material itself (which acts as a great blank canvas) you can actually add pigment to wet concrete which allows you to match your wall or floor to a favourite item of furniture or rug. A concrete floor is a particularly good choice if you intend to install under-floor heating in your home as is retains heat for much longer than wood. If this option interests you, check out specialist website whiteandreid.co.uk.
If floors and walls are a leap too far for your tastes, a kitchen worktop is also a fantastic way to add a little industry to your home. Not only will it look effortlessly cool when set against the equally industrial finish of stainless steel units or splash-backs but you can chop away on it till your hearts content, safe in the knowledge that it is pretty much indestructible!
The endlessly pliable nature of concrete means it is now being made use of by many product designers to create everyday objects such as table lamps, curtain poles, vases and lampshades. Yes, that’s right lampshades…made of heavy concrete…hanging…above your head. If you want to introduce something a little different to your hallway or think you would enjoy the worried looks on the faces of your guests as they pass beneath them, you can find concrete lampshades on sites like twentytwentyone.com.