Concrete's versatility and ability to surprise mean that it is increasingly being discovered and used for interiors, whether exposed as part of the structure (which in itself provides significant thermal-efficiency benefits) or as a new take on interior fixtures and fittings.
A main attraction of concrete is that it is a paradox. It can be used as a utilitarian or as a luxurious material. Its lightweight elegance disguises great robustness and strength. Despite being manufactured, concrete can take the guise of a natural, organic and evolved form. All of these characteristics are being explored and exploited by a new generation of designers who are not limited by preconception. The only limit to realising the potential of the material is imagination.
The increased use of concrete in interiors underlines a renewed interest in the aesthetic and plastic qualities and possibilities of concrete.
This is coupled with a growing appreciation of the structural honesty of exposed concrete construction, free from the paraphernalia of fire proofing, acoustic insulation and vibration dampers. All of which are offered free and inbuilt as part of concrete's wide range of inherent benefits.
Concrete is fast becoming a material of expression for designers and artists. It offers them new creative possibilities and offers us all exciting living and working environments.
Ian Cox Chief executive, The Concrete Centre