Concrete Explorations: Pavements for Future Cities
As part of the redevelopment of Eindhoven city centre, a group of Dutch designers have produced a collection of expressive concrete paving stones, aiming to improve the pedestrian experience for the next 40 years.
Design studio Atelier NL and collective Envisions have collaborated with the city’s municipality to test various creative ideas, working closely to the brief of local residents to produce vibrant and good-quality paving that embodies the character of the city.
Envisions has worked with a number of Dutch concrete manufacturers to obtain an understanding of the material and its limitations. This knowledge was then translated into an experimental body of work – called Stone in Process – which explores materiality, structure, pattern and colour. The handmade samples show different aggregate sizes and materials, stamping and cut-out techniques, and a palette of warm and friendly hues, showing off the versatility of the materials.
The potential of the collection is now being explored for future projects in collaboration with one of the manufacturers, Morssinkhof. These disruptive approaches to production methods are also impacting ceramic products and processing – read more in our Material Direction: Resurfacing Ceramics.
Meanwhile, for its paving experiments, Atelier NL has collected substrate samples (sand, clay and earth) from different locations around the city. The samples were catalogued and used to create a palette of colours, before being transformed into a variety of stones.
The municipality decided to go with this particular concept, and the end result is a robust stone in a warm grey colour, with a rich mix of shingles. Atelier NL is inviting locals to submit soil samples to continue this body of work. The submissions will also be incorporated into the city’s streets as paving stones.
This collaborative and creative process demonstrates how materials can be used to improve our living environments and provide a tangible medium for storytelling. See Salvaged Materials Lend Narratives to New Products for similar examples.