The Concrete Cities
The Concrete Cities project was inspired by the need to reinvent the notion of the contemporary souvenir. The challenge was initially set by the exhibition "It's all oh so souvenir to me, which called for young Greek designers to suggest new ideas for the contemporary Greek souvenir. It was then, that the creative duet "A Future Perfect" was founded proposing a playful transformation of the city's two-dimensional map into a three-dimensional everyday-use object, the coaster.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Concrete Cities bring to you mappings of the world's cities in the form of concrete coasters. A set of four or six fragments forming, as a puzzle, the city's center map. This contemporary souvenir diverges from it's tacky ancestors and becomes a design object of aesthetic, functional and sentimental value, created for the modern traveler and the city lover.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The suggested use for The Concrete Cities is as coasters. All 4 or 6 of them can be used as a pot holder/mat. It can also stand as a wall piece, or a press-papier. The suggested variations (plain concrete/painted water/green area, painted favorite path) offer the option for diversity and even customization.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in May 2013 in Athens, Greece, when the Athens (Fragments) were exhibited at "It's all, oh so souvenir to me" team exhibition. Stockholm (Fragments), were created in December 2013 in Athens and were displayed in February 2014 in the Desinboom Mart at Stockholm Furniture Fair. Milan (Fragments), were created in April 2014 and exhibited at the Milan Design Week. The Concrete Cities is an ongoing project, aiming to map in concrete all favorite cities of the world.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The coasters are made using a special cement mortar, concluded after several material and proportions tests: a mix of cement, fine grain sand, resin and water. Polypropylene fibers are added to give extra strength and durability. The mix is cast in silicone molds and after de-molding it is coated with a fine layer of special hardener that creates a transparent barrier for water, stains and wear. Τhe bottom surface is covered with a thin cork layer for extra tabletop protection.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Set of four or six concrete coasters. W 90mm x D 90mm x H 10mm. Weight per coaster is 100gr. Durable, water-proof, stain-resistant, heat-resistant coasters that can also be used as pot mat, wall pieces, or press-papier. Added cork tabletop protection at the bottom side. Thick craft paper package, with cutout brand name. Coasters are piled and wrapped in colored folding paper for added protection. Info leaflet is included.
concrete, coasters, city, maps, souvenir, tableware, homeware, industrialdesign, molds, minimal
Initial research involved common souvenirs found in Greece and other countries, which either presented the city's elements of culture/defining characteristics without addressing maters of good design and aesthetics, or were of a quite elevated aesthetic and functional value, but failed to incorporate actual elements of the city. The Concrete Cities try to meet the universality and adaptability of the "fridge magnet city souvenir", while being an elegant design object at the same time
Most of the research and testing for this project has to do with the use of concrete in a less usual application, that is small scale objects, thus, testing its limits, properties and behaviors. The challenge has been to obtain a highly detailed and quality product, but, at the same time durable and easy for everyday use.
TEAM MEMBERS (2) :
Katerina Grigoropoulou and Evi Sougara
image #1: Photographer Yannis Papayannakis, The Concrete Cities: Milan (Fragments), 2014
Image #2: Photographer A Future Perfect
Image #3: Photographer A Future Perfect
Image #4: Photographer A Future Perfect
Image #5: Photographer A Future Perfect