The First 25 Years

We've come a long way since Mark cast that first countertop in that Emeryville studio. This year we’re going to be digging into the archives to share stories, photos and projects from the first 25 years of our history as well as bring you stories about the history we’re making today. 

Here's a brief look at some moments in first 25 years of Concreteworks history.

 

Behind the Scenes: The Office

Concreteworks has grown enormously since Mark Rogero started casting countertops on his own in a tiny warehouse in Emeryville in 1991. Today we are a diverse team of over 75 craftsmen, designers, engineers, project managers, doers, makers, men and women working on over 250 projects a year out of an 85,000 square foot facility in Alameda, California.

It takes all of us to make these projects happen and over the next few months we’ll be highlighting the different teams that make up this company. From the sales staff and project managers you may have met or communicated with to the craftsmen behind the scenes on the factory floor crafting our pieces, we’ll show you the kind of effort it takes to make these projects happen.

Our office staff is comprised of a few teams including: Sales, Engineering, Design, Production, Management and Human Resources. If you’ve ever reached out or initiated a project with us, these are the people you will likely encounter. We are a diverse group from different backgrounds, but all rooted in fabrication, architecture and design.

To start, our Sales team will guide you through the many different solutions that we can provide for your project. Once the project scope has been finalized with you and your designer the project gets handed to our Engineering team to produce shop drawings and work through any difficuly design issues to make your project possible. We have 25 years of experience solving issues from simple bathroom vanities to massive retail wall panels and are always looking for new challenges.

Once the drawings are approved, they are sent to our Production Management team to begin fabrication. This team leads our expert craftsman in producing the pieces required for your project to exact specifications. On complex projects, our Project Management and Engineering team continues to maintain contact with you as the project gets fabricated. All the while, our Management and Human Resources teams work hard to keep our business operations running.

Next month we’ll dig into the first step of the fabrication process: color mixing and sample making. See you then!

Concreteworks Catalog

We released a catalog for the first time earlier this year and we've just printed an update.

If you're interested in getting a physical copy, send us an email at info@nullconcreteworks.com with "Catalog Request" in the subject line.

Limit 1 per request per person. Only while supplies last.

Click here for a digital copy.

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Early 2017 Factory Tour and Offsite Schedule

If you're an architect or designer interested in seeing how we produce our projects, schedule a tour of our facility in Alameda, CA. Below are available dates for early 2017 for Factory Tours or Lunch + Learns.

Factory Tours:

Factory tours last about an hour-and-a-half. They begin with a simple presentation and follow with a walkthrough of our facilities and production floor. You'll be able to see first-hand the batching, forming, casting, polishing and sealing process.

Available Dates (We'll send out another schedule in late March about the next rounds of Factory tours)

26 January 2017 10:00AM – 11:30AM

23 February 2017 2:30PM – 4:00PM

23 March 2017 12:00PM – 1:30PM

Lunch + Learns:

We can also come to your office. We'll bring a presentation with images of our process and completed projects as well as physical samples for you to experience. Lunch will be provided. 

Available Dates:

Week of 16 January 2017

Week of 6 February 2017

Week of 6 March 2017

If you're interested in either please get in touch with Frankie Muhaw at frankie@nullconcreteworks.com

We look forward to seeing you.

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Case Study | The Cistern

We are often asked to do the impossible. So when Meyer + Silberberg Land Architects approached us with a project that was larger than any single piece we had ever cast, heavier than any single piece we had ever lifted and with a schedule faster than what we thought we could accommodate, we, of course, said, “Yes.”

Meyer + Silberberg designed the 20-foot long, 3-ton bowl as the feature object for an office courtyard in San Francisco. The bowl was to capture rainwater funneled from a scupper above and then distributed down into surrounding planter beds. As with many of these complex projects, we initially were given a very simple form in a 3D file. It was up to us to turn the concept into a reality. Our engineering team spent weeks refining the design with the architects: studying the proportions, changing the angle to accommodate internal supports, designing a steel armature for the bowl to sit on and changing the shape in subtle ways to maximize the strength of the concrete.

The biggest part of the design problem was that we were brought in late during the building’s construction and the piece would have to be craned over the building into the courtyard. This meant designing an additional steel armature that would cage and protect the piece as it was lifted, adding close to one thousand pounds of steel that would be cut away after it was installed. All of this has to be designed, engineered, fabricated, formed, cast, flipped, de-molded, polished, sealed, delivered and craned on an accelerated schedule. We certainly had our work cut out for us.

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Once we were given the green light our engineering and productions teams in tandem started straight away. Over the course of several weeks, we ran our CNC machines around the clock to create complex three-dimensional forms that would capture the shape of the finished pieces. Meanwhile, on the factory floor, orthogonal pieces were being cut from wood and a platform was erected upon which the form would be built. The form was ultimately made of hundreds of parts in wood, foam and steel. Altogether the two-part mold was over 12 feet tall and weighed almost 2 tons on its own.

Casting was accomplished in one day and involved a majority of our production staff. We used advanced concrete spraying machinery that allowed us to cast the top half of the mold upside down. When we closed the mold and filled the last bits of concrete, the real wait began. As concrete cures, it releases an enormous amount of heat. During the initial curing time we covered the mold with bags of ice and cooling blankets, in order to control the temperature, which still rose to well over 100 degrees fahrenheit.

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When it was finished and wrapped, we craned the piece onto a flatbed truck and drove it to San Francisco. After an overnight stay in the truck yard it was delivered to the office for the last leg of its journey. The crane picked up the piece and carried it over the five-story office building and lowered it through a narrow slot at the back of the courtyard. There was a total of three inches of clearance on either side of the armature as it slid past the glass roof of the courtyard. The whole process took close to 45 nerve-racking minutes, and we were all very relieved to see it safely back on the ground.

img_9067 img_9133 img_9190 img_9206 img_9218 img_9243 img_9247 img_9258 img_9278cistern_installedThis was one of the most challenging pieces we had to create. We were pushed at every step of the process to think in new ways and come up with novel solutions to achieve our goals. And even though there were many late nights and difficult roadblocks to overcome, it’s projects like these that keep us coming back to work everyday. We learn new things about our material and we translate that into every piece that comes after it. The Cistern was installed in February of this year and since then we have continued to feed our appetite for complex challenges. Keep your eyes here to see what we’ve been making. We can’t wait to tell you about it.

If you have a project with a similar (or larger) scope or scale, get in touch. We’re always looking for our next big challenge. info@nullconcreteworks.com

 

 

 

 

Event Reminder | The Good Craft | This Saturday!

Reminder: Join us this Saturday, October 22nd, alongside a variety of Bay Area artisans and makers, showcasing our products at The Good Craft Pop-Up.

The Good Craft is a pop-up hosted by Celery Space, a work/shop space in West Berkeley that regularly features Bay Area craft & design.

R.S.V.P. to the event via Facebook 

When Saturday October 22, 2016, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

Where Celery Space 1714 San Pablo Avenue Berkeley CA 94702

Event | The Good Craft

Join us on Saturday October 22nd alongside a variety of Bay Area artisans and makers, showcasing our products at The Good Craft Pop-Up.

The Good Craft is a pop-up hosted by Celery Space, a work/shop space in West Berkeley that regularly features Bay Area craft & design.

R.S.V.P. to the event via Facebook 

When Saturday October 22, 2016, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

Where Celery Space 1714 San Pablo Avenue Berkeley CA 94702

Summer in Los Angeles

This summer we journeyed to Southern California to showcase our products at two venues in Los Angeles: Heath Ceramics and Dwell on Design.

Heath Ceramics LA

img_9593Banners for the eventimg_9622img_9605img_9596img_9626img_9617combined-imageModern design in Los Angeles took off in the decades following WWII in response to an influx of young families moving West and a desire to shake off the old traditions of Europe. With a community of young and progressive architects and designers like Pierre Koenig, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Ray and Charles Eames, design in Los Angeles helped define contemporary living on the West Coast in the ‘40s and beyond. So it only made sense to head down there with our best products that showcase our sense of contemporary California design.

To kick off our arrival in the City of Angels, we held a party with our longtime friends and collaborators, Heath Ceramics. For years our two companies have been specified together in contemporary projects up and down the West Coast. We filled their showroom on Beverly Blvd creating moments to gather around our products both indoors and out. It was nice to have an event where we could finally share our stories together. 

For three days after we exhibited at the Dwell on Design show in the LA Convention Center. The show is organized by Dwell Magazine and features fabricators, designers and manufacturers from the world over. We were excited to be able to showcase our products — including two new planter shapes and a new indoor/outdoor fire feature — amongst other captivating products and furniture.

We were well received wherever we went and made exciting new connections along the way. The design scene in Los Angeles is always changing and it adds a lot to our sensibilities to be able to explore new sources of inspiration. Our sojourn was exciting and we were happy to be able to venture out of our neck of the woods and try something new.

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Concreteworks Has Moved!

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We are pleased to announce that with the growth of Concreteworks we have moved to a new larger location in Alameda. 

During our transition to the new location, visits are by appointment only. For more information please email us at info@nullconcreteworks.com or contact us via phone at 510.534.7141. 

Check back for updates on the opening of our new showroom.

Friends of Concreteworks | ILLUSTORIA Magazine

Kaseman_Illustoria_RAW_IMG_1809Mark Rogero and Joanne Chan, co-founders of ILLUSTORIA: A Magazine for Creative Kids & Their Grownups. Photo by Melissa Kaseman.

We are excited to announce that Concreteworks founder & principal Mark Rogero, along with his partner, Joanne Chan, are launching ILLUSTORIA, a quarterly print magazine for creative kids & their grownups that celebrates visual storytelling, makers and DIY culture.  

Kaseman_IMG_1676Joanne’s workstation with issue 1 layouts and prototype. The premiere issue launches Summer 2016. Photo by Melissa Kaseman.

The publication brings together Joanne’s passion for children’s literature and art with Mark’s expertise in design and making things. The magazine’s mission is to inspire creativity through original stories, art, comics, interviews and activities.

Dream Before Building_spread sampleExcerpt from the four-page comic, "Dream Before Building" by Lark Pien.

Issue 1 highlights include an essay by celebrated singer Andrew Bird, an interview with Caldecott Honor award-winning illustrator Aaron Becker, a feature on Newbery and Eisner award-winning graphic novelist Cece Bell and a spotlight on Ramen Shop’s co-founder and chef Rayneil De Guzman. 

CW blog post_Ramen Shop excerptExcerpt from "Noodling Around with Ramen Shop’s Rayneil De Guzman." Art by Molly Maeda

The 64-page magazine features the creative original work of dozens of contributors (artists, storytellers, musicians, makers), DIY activities, music & book reviews and a recipe.

CW blog post_Make This excerptDIY activity in issue 1 by Elizabeth Haidle

Kaseman_IMG_1398Photo by Melissa Kaseman.

Kaseman_IMG_1439Activities from issue 1. Photo by Melissa Kaseman.

For those of you who are artists, writers or makers, feel free to reach out to Joanne directly. She welcomes opportunities to showcase and collaborate with fellow friends of Concreteworks.

Visit illustoria.com to subscribe, connect, or find out more about the team and vision. Mark and Joanne would love to have your support.