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This Dutch Designer is Giving Concrete a Serious Makeover

At this point, we’ve seen pretty much every formerly humdrum thing in the universe get a design-forward makeover, from watering cans to luggage. But Dutch designer Iwan Pol wasn’t happy to simply renovate a product category — he wanted to recast an entire architectural material. “Concrete can take any shape or form, so why not aim for a softer look and feel?” he says. “By experimenting with various pigments and pouring techniques, I wanted to give the coarse and gray building ingredient a colorful makeover.” Inspired by his studies of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, Pol began experimenting with different pigments and various casting techniques, using everything from latex sheets to silicone molds. The results are a series of research tests, building elements, and small objects Pol calls Happy Concrete. In his first collection, he aimed to show the aesthetic possibilities of the material, rendering it lumpy, scalloped, or with the texture of an Eggo waffle. In his second, he began to question how his version of concrete could be applied within the field of architecture, either as a tactile skin for buildings or a soft flooring surface. We’re showing you both collections here today, and stay tuned for more of Pol’s work as we sift through the best of Dutch Design Week next week.

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