How can concrete be velvety? How can it take on ‘gentle, delicate’ characteristics? Its nature, common associated with simplicity, lack of refinement or craftsmanship, seems to be in contrast with the concepts that, instead, indicate the qualitative virtues of Caementum, the new outdoor table created by Pedrali and presented in a preview at the recent Supersalone. The piece is solid, sculptural, even pretty.
Caementum: the name is already a clear tribute to the material from which it comes to life, a material that undergoes an unexpected enhancement in the design work of Marco Merendi and Diego Vencato, the duo behind this ambitious creation. For Pedrali, this is an initial experiment, not just in terms of collaboration with the two designers, but also in terms of the material itself.
Diego Vencato & Marco Merendi
In the idea launched by Merendi and Vencato – an architect and a designer, respectively, each with his own studio but prone to working as a duo through friendship, shared experiences, affinities of ideas and research – concrete abandons the semantic sphere of architecture to embrace that of industrial design. It is not just a structural member, but takes on its own new expressive language, combined with the physical qualities and characteristics of the substance: strength and durability.
“The idea came from the material itself and its high performance, allowing use in outdoor contexts – the designers explain. – Far from the ambit of architecture, concrete utilized in everyday useful objects is obliged to be more delicate, softer, appealing: our objective was thus to shape concrete, to offer it a new intrinsic grace. Hence the Caementum table.”
The surface seems velvety, and in visual terms it loses the classic perception of ruggedness, in favor of an enveloping, familiar look. In its essence, however, Caementum sums up all the technical advantages of concrete (thanks to carefully selected additives), such as easy cleaning, great mechanical resistance, and the ability to stand up to weathering, while not absorbing liquids in order to prevent staining. Available in two sizes and three colors (pale gray, dark gray, terracotta), Caementum has been designed to adapt to any context, also indoors, for both contract and residential applications, inside multiple compositions.
The design thinking of the duo has gone further: “For us, it was interesting not just to make a small concrete table, but also to do it with a single piece, without dividing the base and the top. This implied designing it in the most intelligent possible way: the result would be coherent, and would have an added value in productive and economic terms. Using the same philosophy of the monocoque plastic seat, for which Pedrali was one of the first companies in the world to make an investment.”
“In our view, design is not a question of styling – Merendi and Vencato continue. – We do not concentrate only on form; every product has 360-degree thinking behind it, involving production, transport, packaging, all the way to the end user.” Their work is not lacking in a sense of “measure” (hence the use of the right quantity of material, no more no less, as in the case of the hollow base that does not compromise functional quality, but does eliminate excess weight), nor does it lack a green approach: the production cycle of Caementum employs no polluting substances, relying only on water-based materials and natural powders, to protect production staff and users. Another demonstration of Pedrali’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
#pedralitimeless @ supersalone 2021