It’s an innovative initiative created in response to a languishing design and construction market.
In 2010, Meld USA, the North Carolina based manufacturer of eco-friendly concrete products, spun off a new company called Concretehaus. For about a year now, the company has been soliciting designs for ready-to-use concrete products from young designers, primarily in Europe, with an offer to manufacture and market them here in the states. The designers receive royalties on sales.
“Designers are very creative people, but they’re not always marketers and sales people,” said Michael Bustin, founder and CEO at Meld. “Concretehaus serves as a tool to existing artists – it helps artisans with great products get them to market. It’s a sales and marketing source for artists.”
His intent is to show that concrete, taken out of context, can be functional, sustainable and versatile, for both interiors and exteriors. The base of the Lithuanian-designed Sticks & Stone coat rack, for example, is made of recycled glass, while it rack is made of eco-sensitive, FSC-certified wood.
“Concretehaus is about very concise, cutting-edge, cool design,” he said. “We know the industry inside and out – we’re even going to our competitors and saying: ‘If you have a good enough concrete product, let us bring it out under our label, and roll it out.”
Next up: Limited editions from well-known designers. “We want to approach world-renowned designers like Hadid, Meier and Gehry for an exclusive, limited production run of their designs,” he said. “They’ll be sold exclusively through Concretehaus, with a certificate of authenticity. It’ll help the industry and help the artists too.”
For more on Concretehaus, go to http://www.theconcretehaus.com/