Ce­ment has gone from be­ing an es­sen­tial but ba­nal el­e­ment of ar­chi­tec­ture to the new dar­ling of the de­sign world

India Today - - LEISURE -

Chic ce­ment sounds like an oxy­moron. How can a ma­te­rial used for side­walks or sky­scrapers be any­thing but or­di­nary? While most get boxed in by ce­ment’s unattrac­tive qual­i­ties, de­sign­ers have been shin­ing the spot­light on this hum­ble ma­te­rial. In fact, the Dalmia Bharat Group, a lead­ing manufacturer of ce­ment, saw the po­ten­tial and in­vited in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed de­sign­ers to take a stab at forg­ing a new iden­tity for the stuff. The re­sult: Craft Be­ton, a two-day ex­hi­bi­tion in Delhi, which dis­played over 50 dif­fer­ent decor prod­ucts (home ac­ces­sories, light­ing, fur­ni­ture and jew­ellery) made from green ce­ment (which has a low car­bon foot­print). “We started work­ing on this a year ago and it is our en­deav­our to show­case its beauty to the world,” says Sun­deep Ku­mar, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, cor­po­rate af­fairs and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tion at the Dalmia Bharat Group. They brought in four peo­ple with a de­sign back­ground—art cu­ra­tor Iti Tyagi, de­signer Somesh Singh, sculp­tor Miroslaw Baca and in­dus­trial de­signer Alan Saga—for a three-and-a-half month res­i­dency. “Most of them had never worked with ce­ment and at the end of it they won­dered why they had not done so ear­lier,” says Ku­mar. Most of the prod­ucts ex­hib­ited are lim­ited edi­tion, hand­made.

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