It may come as no surprise that our humble concrete goes back a long way. The oldest concrete discovered dates from around 7000BC. The Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal and the Roman Pantheon are some of the world’s most famous structures, all made from concrete. The ancient Romans were the earliest large-scale users of concrete technology and the Colosseum in Rome was built largely of concrete. Today, it is the world’s most widely used construction material and we are using concrete more than ever. Here’s why…
Concrete is magnificently durable, hence it’s growing popularity amongst architects and interior designers. It’s perfect for high traffic areas and will stand the test of time. No chips or scratches. Good enough for the Hoover Dam, good enough for the home (and garden)!
Concrete’s versatility is its greatest asset. This is where concrete has really stepped up to the mark. It can be molded, sculpted, coloured and stenciled to create a real show-stopper. Using concrete to create wall art brings such a unique and bold finish to a space. I have used it for feature walls in bedrooms to add something a little bit different. Move over framed photography?! It’s wonderful to see how concrete is also used with materials such as wood and fabrics, to soften the appearance of a room or a piece of furniture.
Concrete is not cold underfoot, which is why it is being used more commonly around the home particularly for kitchens, bathrooms and stairs. Quite simply, it can heat up quickly and maintain room temperature. A practical way to lower energy bills. It can also be surprisingly cool in the Summer months.
With the right sealant concrete is resistance to stains. So, for all those kitchen disasters you can rest assured, concrete can take it. What I also love about this material is the care needed for it is minimal. No harsh cleaning solutions, just basic soap and water, which is not only economical but better for the environment.
I have used concrete flooring all around the home, particularly for stairs, kitchens and bathrooms. I often get asked about concrete flooring and slipping. Concrete is slip resistant and its versatility allows it to have different finishes. It needn’t be smooth underfoot but the final look will still look and feel spectacular. Whilst I’m on the subject of concrete’s resistance, I’d also like to add that it is fire, frost and mould resistant.
I would say it’s hard to compete with concrete! It’s come a long way since it’s large scale industrial use and I’m pleased to say I am seeing it more and more in many design projects. Forget the dull grey image that you may think of when you hear ‘concrete’. History is the greatest example of just how incredible this material is. How we are embracing concrete in design today, is a recognition of all things past and present. The future of concrete is bright, bold and beautiful.