Gone are the days when the word ‘concrete’ was synonymous with a dull, cold, boring material and relegated to use in basements, fire exits and other such obscure locations. There has been a paradigm shift in the way concrete is perceived today, as its raw and natural characteristics lend it a unique aesthetic appeal.
"Concrete and its variants such as terrazzo (marble, granite and glass chips set in concrete and polished) have made a strong resurgence in the last few years and are a go to material for new age designs for millennials who want trendy products and design. Since it can be stained, the possibilities with this wonderful material are limitless," says Darshana Patel, co-founder and creative head, Signa Design.
As a material, concrete is versatile and can prove to be a stylish addition to your home irrespective of your décor theme—whether minimalistic, rustic chic, industrial or contemporary. "Concrete can be moulded into different forms. Hence, unlimited colours and textures can be created resulting in a wide variety of products. Wood, metals, crystals and semi-precious stones can also be embedded in concrete while casting. It is generally homogenously pigmented but it can also be painted to create interesting patterns," says Nuance Studio founding director Ajaay Srinivaas.
Concrete can be used as a kitchen or bathroom countertop, in flooring, in exterior walls and even furniture and decor accessories because of its universal adaptability and ease of mixing materials to achieve the desired result. It is completely customisable in terms of colours, textures and finish.
It is key to note that new age concrete has much higher strength and better finish and hence complex designs can be manufactured with immaculate quality and finish. "Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) is a type of concrete that is high strength and high performance and therefore used in 3D decorative wall tiles and wall panels," says Gurpreet Kaur Tuteja, Founder, Elite Earth.
A word of caution, though. It is important to remember that concrete by its very nature is porous and this should be addressed while using it. For example, concrete countertops must be finished with a sealer to prevent water from entering.
In general, harsh and acidic chemicals should not be used to clean concrete surfaces - mild and diluted soap solution and sponge is recommended. Spills have to be cleaned off as soon as possible to avoid staining.