Friday, April 17, 2009

Timelessness and Concrete

Thinking about concrete and timelessness, I came across a reference from The Long Now about a web site that archives "the most fascinating abandoned man-made creations." The site is called Artificial Owl and is a wonderful collection of photographs of abandoned man-made creations from around the world. Here I stumbled on this image of a large concrete face sculpture of Ferdinand Marcos; the photograph was taken following an explosion in 2002 that defaced it. There are more images here, with some "before" photographs.

Two comments:
First, it makes one think about how long most concrete art will be around, unless it is willfully destroyed, and even then the rubble will be around for a long time. One of the appeals of concrete for artists is this timelessness.
Second, this makes a great example of how to build a large-scale ferrocement sculpture... Notice the strong armature made from reinforced concrete pillars. The armature has been wrapped and overlaid with steel rebar, and a concrete mix applied to that. The concrete has been applied in sections, whether that is to imitate stone blocks or to control cracking I'm not sure. It looks like the interior space is large enough to be a room - shades of the movie Being Jon Malkovich.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Girli Concrete

Concrete and linen from Tactility Factory

Girli Concrete has just announced their new web site, called Tactility Factory:

The company's aim is to make more "tactile" concrete, which means adding fabric to the surface of concrete, usually through casting it in place. The web site explains that Tactility Factory both works on specific commissions/installations and also partners with the concrete industry to produce larger quantities of precast objects such as tiles.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

'Green' Fibres for Concrete

Here's another way to make concrete a 'greener' material. Instead of using newly manufactured polypropylene or nylon fibres in the mix, you can now get nylon fibers made entirely from recycled used carpeting.

Chopped plastic strands added to concrete prevent or reduce the amount of shrinkage cracking in the initial set. This leads to greater overall strength in the final concrete. In small-scale concrete artwork, fibres make a more workable mix with less separation, easier to apply to vertical surfaces–more clay-like. The fibres improve tensile strength and in some cases can be used to replace or reduce steel reinforcing.

Nycon in Westerly, RI, has developed the technology of harvesting old carpets. This not only saves carpets from going into landfill, but also means fewer petrochemicals are used. Their brand of recycled nylon fibre is called NyconG. One variety called "ConTrol-G-CounterTop" is recommended for applications including castings such as statuary and countertops.