The Visual Concrete Group is an association of artists, craftsmen and others who specialize in producing sensory concrete art and architecture.
We are compounders and colorists. We animate concrete floors, walls, ceilings and objects.
We are a group of Western U.S. artists who have worked collaboratively under the name “The Concretist”, developing and executing designs for concrete floors. Individually we have diverse backgrounds in fine art, architecture & interior design, and materials technology. What brings us together is a passion for the materials we work with and a shared vision of what can be achieved by combining a spirit of unconstrained yet contextually sensitive design with an “outside-of-the-box” approach to what are usually considered humdrum construction materials.
Concepts and themes.
Our work often draws ideas from the natural world and its systems and processes. We are then posed the challenge of combining and organizing these elements into a designed structure and environment. This dialogue between the natural and man-made has become a central theme to our work. The stylistic outcome of a project is always dependent on the visual and conceptual references, and on the context of the piece. Two themes are consistently present in our work:
- The idea of “giving the material a voice”. Concrete is an unpredictable material susceptible to the random and unforeseen – rather than fight it to conform to an unnatural geometry, we prefer to harness its natural fluidity, its propensity for irregularity and even its cracks, to reveal its innate beauty. The way a watercolorist simultaneously controls the medium yet invites it to create its own happy accidents is a good analogy to our approach.
- The notion of site specificity – we enjoy developing concepts that reflect both the aesthetics and the function of a building, its local environment and its population. A good example of this would be a 40,000 square foot market project located just off The Chattahoochee River, near Atlanta, Georgia, where the floor was designed around patterns derived from aerial photographs, with geographical content featuring highly stylized versions of the river and its reservoirs, from its headwaters to its outfall at The Gulf of Mexico. We also included milepost icons featuring subjects of regional interest such as geology (gold and mining), natural history and recreation (details reminiscent of plan views of both swimming trout and floating kayaks), and geography and anthropology (prehistoric mound building and map-like elements of current urban and agricultural footprints), etc… Another would be an interior and quarter block exterior design for a corporate headquarters, in downtown Austin, Texas. This was to serve as a metaphor for the commissioning company’s relationship with their workers and the communities that they serve – our solution was a design derived from tree roots that also abstractly echoed the geometry of the building and its site.
Collectively, we have designed and installed hundreds of thousands of square feet of floors in cement-based materials, so the scope of any project is well within our capabilities. One aspect of our art that we have come to particularly relish is the regular collaboration with owners, designers and builders, in developing projects.
We believe this gives us a unique combination of experience & knowledge-based insight into producing nuanced sensory concrete.