Portland-based designer Neal Aronowitz created a sinuous furniture collection made of Concrete Canvas, a flexible, concrete-impregnated fabric which hardens on hydration to form a thin, durable, waterproof and fire-resistant layer.
The series comprises two Whorl consoles and the Enso table which are crafted by folding concrete like a textile. “The idea behind the Whorl series was to make a handcrafted piece that has presence as both sculpture and as functional furniture.” Says Neal Aronowitz to Archipanic.
The designer developed new casting and forming techniques to achieve the table’s ribbon-like structure. The surface consists of pigmented cement mortar lightly skim-coated over the entire surface and sanded to a very smooth, highly polished finish.
“The project gave me the opportunity to explore the material’s unique structural properties to express a fluid form, in contrast to the dense and heavy associations that we have with concrete”.
The challenge in the design and construction of this series was “to stretch the tensile strength of the material to its limits for aesthetic beauty and interest, seemingly defying gravity. At the same time, each piece needs to maintain its structural integrity as a utilitarian object intended for everyday use”.
So far, Concrete Canvas has been used to make rapidly deployable shelters, particularly in disaster-relief situations, as well as for erosion control and ditch lining. The material has got a sustainable imprint as well as it reduces the environmental impact of concrete applications by up to 95%.
Neal Aronowitz is a Brooklyn native living and working in Portland, Oregon. After studying art and architecture in NY and Massachusetts he founded a successful construction company, all the while building furniture on the side. “I am drawn to creating handmade, sculpturally evocative forms utilizing natural materials that express dynamic movement and forces.”
All images: courtesy of Neal Aronowitz.
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