Concrete notions

Washington, D.C.’s Industry Gallery is premiering four prototypes from a news series of concrete furniture by Dutch designer Tejo Remy, a founding designer at Droog, and René Veenhuizen, his design partner of the past decade. The occasion is Hands On, the first solo U.S. exhibition for Atelier Remy & Veenhuizen. Opening on March 20 (6 to 8 p.m.) and running through May 8, the exhibition focuses on the work, largely unknown in the U.S., produced by the designers during the past decade; it will feature a dozen items created from concrete, bamboo, tennis balls, Accoya and old woolen blankets. 
The exhibition introduces four prototypes – two chairs, a bench and a stool – for a series of furniture that appears to be made of inflated fabric, but actually is made from poured concrete.  Remy and Veenhuizen cast each prototype as a single piece in individual molds created from waterproof PVC or plastic sheeting. Once assembled, the molds are placed upside down and concrete is poured into the feet. The legs are steel reinforced and the concrete itself contains small metal fibers that add stability. Within two days. the works are solid enough for the mold to be cut off; and, within two weeks, the furniture is completely dry.
The concrete furniture prototypes stem from the designers’ aesthetic that advocates using mundane material. The new works follow a lineage established in 1991 when Tejo Remy created Rag Chair, Chest of Drawers (You Can’t Lay Down Your Memories), and Milk Bottle Lamp, which reused and repurposed basic, discarded and underappreciated materials.  Those three works, staples at Droog since 1993, are included in major public and private international collections.
“We wanted to create landscape elements that were tactile and soft, even though they were made from concrete, says Veenhuizen. “The original idea was to work with big rubber molds to create a soft appearance.” Adds Remy, “We reduced the size of the works to make them more manageable. Then, as we experimented with the concrete, we became interested in the amount of pressure the concrete put on the molds, and how the end result made that pressure permanently visible.”
“These new prototypes reflect the ingenuity, curiosity and inventive use of materials that are hallmarks of Tejo and René’s design ethos,” says Industry Gallery owner Craig Appelbaum.