This morning I was thinking about two ideas which oppose each other, kind of. The idea of concrete as a an attempt to create a permanent structure and an idea I remember from a book by Isaac Asimov I read a long long time ago. I remember a world in which things that weren’t used returned to their elements. Knives that weren’t used became dull and eventually turned into crude pieces of metal and wood. Bowls that were not used flattened into circles. Bicycles that weren’t used became unridable. What would a world be like in which everything had to be used in order to retain their shape? We would have a lot less stuff. Perhaps some people would hire someone to wear the shoes they wanted to keep but wouldn’t wear often enough to retain their shape. Keith Richards would have to find people to play his 5,000 guitars so that they didn’t devolve into useless pieces of wood and metal.
Here are a couple of beautiful examples of working with concrete that don’t look heavy or brutalist:
The architecture of Luciano Kruk (homepage), especially this project. The house is beautiful, almost soft and perhaps even light.
Then there is the page of David Umemoto’s Concrete Works, including Spinning Stairs.
I am aware of the environmental impact of concrete. I am also convinced that someone will invent a substance that can take the place concrete. Perhaps instead of pouring it into forms, like concrete, this substance can be grown. The shapes we would see!