Ways with concrete canvas

Photography by: Ouum Studio and Miroslav Trifonov

MAGAZINE T68 P1_V125 Econista 1_Whorl Console

The Whorl console is functional art with a fluid form and minimalist aesthetics.

MAGAZINE T68 P2_V125 Econista 2

The console's fluid form is made possible by a new casting and forming techniques.

MAGAZINE T68 P3_V125 Econista 3

Concrete canvas in its raw form.

"A building in a bag" is how engineering students Will Crawford and Peter Brewin describe their invention Concrete Canvas, ground-breaking material technology that allows for the construction of concrete shelters quickly and only with the help of water and air.

The material Concrete Cloth, is a flexible cement impregnated fabric that hardens on hydration to form a thin, durable water proof and fire proof concrete layer. Essentially concrete on a roll, all you have to do is position it, cut it with hand tools and spray it with water. 

The fabric which is rarely used in the furniture industry makes its debut appearance as a console. Designed and made by Neal Aronowitz, the Whorl console was the winner of the 2017 Gray Award for Product Design in the Furniture/Lighting category which included judges Philippe Starck, Karim Rashid and Ingo Maurer.

The idea behind the Whorl series was to make a handcrafted piece that has presence as both sculpture and as functional furniture. Aronowitz saw an opportunity, as he says, to "explore the material's unique structural properties to express a fluid form, in contrast to the dense and heavy associations that we have with concrete."

The challenge in the design and construction of this series was to stretch the tensile strength of the material to its limits for aesthetic beauty and interest, seemingly defying gravity. At the same time, each piece needs to maintain its structural integrity as a utilitarian object intended for everyday use.

Aronowitz developed new casting and forming techniques to achieve the table's ribbon-like structure. The surface consists of pigmented cement mortar lightly skim-coated over the entire surface and sanded to a very smooth, highly polished finish.

Concrete Cloth is green in several ways. It reduces the environmental impact of concrete applications by up to 95% saving on construction materials. This directly reduces the CO2 footprint of construction work not only through material savings but also through reduced road transport and time on site. In addition, if left untreated the material will naturally 'green' over time as it allows moss growth, while the fibre-reinforced concrete layer will prevent root-growing vegetation.

green perks of concrete canvas

FUNCTION. Concrete Canvas allows concrete construction without the need for plant or mixing equipment. Simply unroll and position Concrete Canvas, and then just add water (any type of water, including sea water).

SPEEDY INSTALLATION. Concrete Canvas is faster, easier and more cost effective to install and reduces the environmental impact of concreting works by up to 95%.

EASY TO USE. Available in portable rolls, an installation eliminates the need for plant on site and useful in areas with limited access.


Neal Aronowitz,