The Cement Salon

What would happen if we were able to crumple up our homes? To blend into the walls, to sink into the floor and to live in a world of soft concrete? These questions resonated in the mind of Aviram Cohen Siton as he worked last year on his Master’s project at the Department of Interior Design in the Holon Institute of Technology.

Inspired by the brutalism and building blocks of the Yad Eliyahou neighbourhood in Tel-Aviv in which he was raised, Siton focused on researching and developing concrete and the semantics that relate to it.

The result was a new and surprising manipulation of materials which challenges the cold and harsh concrete characterization and enables a soft experience using a wide range of soft objects such as cushions and light furniture and interior design frames made of tiles or concrete castings.

soft concrete
Image: To live in a world of soft concrete, Aviram Siton Cohen. Photography: Dana Brown

Also Itay Brown, who graduated in 2007 from Shenkar’s Department of Industrial Design, focused his Master’s project in soft moulds for cement casting. Since 2010 he works as an independent designer and lately opened a gallery in South Tel-Aviv, where he presents his designs that include wall coverings and light fixtures.

According to Brown, the decision to select and bring into the space of the home artefacts made of concrete, which is identified as a material with a cold and harsh feel, shouldn’t surprise those who have been following the latest trends in the world of design in recent years.

“Concrete has made its way into the home for several reasons,” says Brown. “The material has evolved and it is possible to do with it things that weren’t possible before, such as adding strengthening materials that make it stronger and enable the creation of thin concrete.

As a result it is possible to create relatively light products, and the selection is wide- from light fixtures to bowls. In the contemporary era that has modern buildings, the design is clean and everything looks very ‘fine’, and in my opinion people are looking to get a little ‘dirty’ in order to create some sort of balance.

One can see that in quite a few houses people choose to leave part of the concrete exposed, an element that is also expressed in objects. We are used to seeing products from the same familiar materials, and then the twist of the concrete creates a refreshing change”.

Light fixtures
Image: Light fixtures by Itay Brown. Photography: Yael Angelheart

Medu stool
Image: Medu stool by Itay Brown. Photography: Gilad Lenger​

The concrete is also inspiring product design, as can be seen by the works of Gil Sheffi and Yoav Avinoam from the PRODUCKS studio, that recently launched their new furniture line “A concrete living room”, that combines concrete and mahogany wood. The collection focuses on objects traditionally found in interior design such as the library, couch, sofa and coffee table.

The intimate living space gains a cooperative interpretation when it is moved into a public space as the interaction between the users and the objects creates a new movement, that belongs somewhere between the personal, home living room and the shared public area.

“We wanted to transform the home living ‘inside out”, say Avinoam and Shefi. “In a direct way by transferring the living room from a home environment to a public one, and indirectly the living room underwent a type of ‘taxidermy’. The objects remained in their raw form, naked and uncovered, as part of the new living conditions of the furniture”.

concrete living room
Image: A close-up of the concrete living room, PRODUCKS studio. Photography: Osnat Perelshtein

A concrete living room
Image: A concrete living room, PRODUCKS studio. Photography: Osnat Perelshtein

To meet the growing industrial trend in kitchen design, the Caesarstone company widened this year its concrete collection with two new models: Fresh Concrete 4001, characterized by a restrained and softened industrial style, that provides the look of white concrete; and the 4004 Raw Concrete design that encapsulates the industrial sprit and trend of classic concrete surfaces.

If to date the use of concrete in interior design was limited because the surfaces easily stained, cracked or were less durable, now the concrete surfaces offered by Caesarstone enable individuals to achieve the desired concrete look with surfaces that are durable, strong, easy to use, clean and maintain in the active space of the kitchen.

4004 Raw Concrete CU landscape
Image: Caesarstone’s 4004 design- resonates with the raw concrete and creates a sophisticated industrial look.

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