Concrete is a material both ancient and modern. In Rome, the Pantheon has stood for over 2000 years - a giant unsupported dome formed in concrete, majestic and mysterious. Seen in the modern urban landscape in its most brutal form as flyover or tower block, it can have an austere, brutalist beauty.
At Urbis, founder and designer Richard Mackness has pursued a passion for the material that started with his experience as a sculpture student and that after 13 years development at Urbis Design now represents the state of the art for this amazingly versatile material.
Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) techniques use a specially developed glass fibre reinforcement and acrylic polymers to create a material capable of greater strength and thinner, lighter sections than the traditional grey stuff. High pressure spray techniques eliminate air bubbles in the surface and present a tight, compact and highly weather resistant surfaces with an exceptional life span in any climate.
Inspired by the exquisite economy of form found in nature, the Shell bench derives it’s curved shape from a tide washed sea shell picked up on the beach at Port Mulgrave, on the Yorkshire coast.
The form was hand carved from one 2.4m x 1.0 x 1.0 block of styrofoam, like a figure ‘discovered’ in a block of stone. The arcing movement of the hand carving process can be seen in the sweeping lines of the finished piece; an invitation to sit and relax with a close companion.
The original was then cast into fibreglass and painstakingly refined, with a final GRP production mould produced with a super smooth surface for the Glass Reinforced Concrete casting. Super White cement and selected fine Italian marble aggregates are used to create a luminous colour and pleasing silky touch.
The natural feel of the piece is completed by the timber legs, rooted in place by stainless steel rods (hand turned by our neighbour on the estate, Martyn Rogers Wood Turners).
A truly international product, entirely designed and manufactured in Yorkshire.
‘Urbis products demand the attention normally reserved for works of art, which is of course precisely what they are’ Rob Cassy, Garden Design UK.