Furniture Made of Concrete From a Single Casting

Polpo due
Polpo due | Photo (detail): © pezzo per pezzo

Concrete is ugly? For a long time, its negative image seemed, well, cast in concrete. But now designers are discovering this versatile material in completely new ways: The Munich duo pezzo per pezzo designs minimalistic objects for indoors and out.

It all started with a design made of wood – please note – which Andreas B. Maier und Josef Gose displayed at an exhibition. Serpente, the title of the multifunctional model, can be universally used as seating table or standing furniture, a real joker, in other words. Gose, a carpenter, and Maier, a cabinet maker, have devoted their professional lives to wood. The owner of the design gallery was struck by the piece and inquired whether it could also be realised in concrete. A bold idea.

As you like it

Serpente Serpente | Photo and © pezzo per pezzo No sooner said than done. Woodworkers in particular understand perfectly how to deal with concrete casting moulds, in other words the forms into which liquid concrete is poured. Finding a manufacturer in possession of the necessary know-how turned out to be more difficult. Betonwerk Stangl of Waldkraiburg in Upper Bavaria, which cooperates with the duo to this day, was the right address. The two designers, both are trained architects as well, quickly discovered the potential contained in this initial effort. The material seemed to offer unforeseen design possibilities.

Freedom in form

Furniture made of concrete is easy to manufacture, reproducible, practically indestructible, non-flammable and easy-care on top, Andreas B. Maier enumerates the plus-points, what’s most interesting is of course the great freedom in form! The duo simultaneously discovered a creative niche, and the media responded with interest as well. What’s it like living with these heavy-weight? Although they are almost too heavy for indoor spaces, Maier placed his concrete model Serpente with its 140 kilos in his own rooms. “The furniture made of concrete is best suited for outdoors,” he says.

Angular or flowing

  • Betonmöbel Cenacolo Foto und © Pezzo per Pezzo
    Betonmöbel Cenacolo
  • Letto Foto und © Pezzo per Pezzo
    Letto
  • Polpo famiglia Foto und © Pezzo per Pezzo
    Polpo famiglia
  • Team Pezzo per Pezzo, Andreas B. Maier und Josef Gose Foto: Wolfgang J. Steckert
    Team Pezzo per Pezzo, Andreas B. Maier und Josef Gose
  • Polpo uno Foto und © Pezzo per Pezzo
    Polpo uno
  • Voluta Foto und © Pezzo per Pezzo
    Voluta
Since 2007, piece by piece ─ pezzo per pezzo – further models made from Flowstone, a self-compacting high performance concrete, have been added. While the table and bench combination Cenacolo appears angular and as if designed on the drawing board, the organically rounded form of the seating object Polpo, at the same time the series’ showcase model, almost seems to float. “A marked narrowing of the support feet is what produces this effect,” explains Andreas B. Maier. Not only the modular furniture piece’s flowing silhouette reminds one of an octopus: “With its modular principle and tentacular body, Polpo can adapt to various surroundings like an octopus,” explains Maier, who studied at the Munich Technical University and at the Milano Technical University. As wished, the kraken will be delivered to the customer with an untreated surface in matte grey, or unobtrusively shimmering with a sandblasted finish. If one observes Polpo closely, one will discover that two basic elements can be combined in any number of variations. And, hardly surprising: the range of use envisaged for the octopus is near water – in wellness areas, spas, pools, bathrooms and on the beach.

Furniture as monument

Branda Branda | Photo and © Pezzo per Pezzo Apart from its unconventional haptic and optical qualities, the concrete collection has a high sculptural value. Like their stony fellows, the bed Letto and wellness couch Branda are puristic and minimalistic in form and conception. With the latter, the two architects landed a coup: in spite of its weight of 173 kilos, the model seems light as a feather. This effect is produced by a second underlying moulding which optically mirrors the upper reclining surface and supports it at the same time. For the wellness couch Letto, the duo reinterpreted the previously twee canopy bed and in doing so combined contrasting elements like a concrete moulding and a textile canopy.

Design ideas from concrete

Colomba Colomba | Photo and © Pezzo per Pezzo “Their hefty weight is a built-in anti-theft feature, so to speak,” Maier remarks on the serial heavyweights. Aside from their in part elaborate wythes, he sees no problems of any kind where production is concerned. Sand, cement, water, a mould – and bold ideas are the most important ingredients. Currently the duo is tinkering with new designs to expand their product range. “With its own joinery, the concrete plant can produce practically any form,” Maier is pleased to report. As park furnishings the concrete objects also make a literally hefty impression. Customers in the neighbouring countries of Switzerland and Austria have long since discovered the potential of the massive furnishings and are assiduously placing orders. They are They are at the leading edge here, because, like Maier and Gose, many an inventive designer has long since elevated this artificial stone to his or her favourite material: from earrings, pencil trays, lamps or kitchens in concrete, everything can be had.