Artist Collaboration: Jesse Schlesinger

Winning Entry

In 2017, the San Francisco Arts Commission held a competition inviting artists to design site-specific seating for the new N-Judah Gateway Plaza in the Outer Sunset district in San Francisco. This ocean side plaza will be at the terminus of one of the city’s busiest metro lines and activate a space that will be a gateway to the ocean.

Jesse Schlesinger was chosen as the winning artist and Jesse has asked Concreteworks to be the fabrication partner. A San Francisco based artist, Jesse’s work is based in a variety of physical mediums and spans installation, sculpture and drawing. His work has been exhibited at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and he has been an Artist-in-Residence at the renowned Headlands Center for the Arts.


The Great Sand Bank

During the city’s wild origins, this area was mostly undeveloped wilderness. Some referring to it as the “Great Sand Bank” or just the “Outerlands.” Today the city’s boundary stretches to just shy of the Pacific Ocean leaving very little evidence of it’s once untamed past.

From Jesse’s competition entry:

“The two primary formal elements of the work are the square and the circle. The square represents the existing grid/order and the circle represents the natural elements of ocean, sand, fog and wind that maintain the district’s sense of wildness. The collection of sculpted objects and natural forms also draws reference to the common instinct to walk the beach and look for shells, driftwood, bits deposited by the ocean.

The materials for the blocks will be concrete, salvaged old growth redwood for the seat, and bronze and salvaged burl wood for the sculptural elements. Some of the concrete blocks will exist solely as sculpture, some as seat bases, and some as sculpture bases. The colors of the work are determined by the materials: grays, browns, and bronze. These are natural tones that fit the neighborhood and materials that will patina and weather well: again symbolic of the conversation between the city district that has extended to its natural borders, and the way those natural elements continue to inform its way of life.”

For more information please visit the SF Arts Commissions website.


We look forward to adding this project to our long history of working with renowned artists from the Bay Area and around the world. One our very first projects was to fabricate intricate friezes for the exterior of a PG&E facility in Emeryville, which is still installed today. Since that early commission, public art has been in the DNA of our company.

From highly sculptural barnacle seating on the Embarcadero in San Francisco to bold graphic symbols embedded into bus stations throughout San Jose, we have always been interested in realizing complex and sometimes seemingly impossible ideas. Below is a selection of the public art commissions we have created over the years.

PG&E Emeryville


San Jose Bus Station Pavers


Pier 9 Barnacles

Partners in Innovation | Pacific Desk

"We see the Concreteworks Lab as the place where we have the opportunities to innovate, to really make sure that the design intent is achieved and to provide value to the client." – Mark Rogero

Studio O+A is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in San Francisco focusing on designing experiences around brand identity and workplace design. They are one of our long-time collaborators and have brought us many challenging projects from our first Lab project — the Jessie Street Desk — to this one. Watch the video below to learn more about the process behind this project.

Concreteworks Pacific Desk Project from One Hundred Seconds on Vimeo.

Click the images below to see other Lab project collaborations with Studio O+A and Andrew Kudless of MATSYS design


Salone del Mobile 2017 | Airplane Mode

Every now and then we get a project that doesn't fit into what we do on daily basis, whether because of scale, scope or timeline, but which intrigues us too much to pass up. This was one of those projects. Josh Morenstein and Nick Cronan of Branch were asked by Wallpaper* Magazine to create an object in a material they've never worked in and with a collaborator they've never met.

The brief was to create and object around a daily practice or ritual. Given that we are based in the Bay Area, hub of all things technological, it was natural that Nick and Josh chose to design a piece around our daily use of smartphones. The Airplane Mode box is designed as a way to disconnect from the virtual to give us the chance to reconnect with the real. When the phone is in the box it fails to receive signals and because of the material's density it muffles any sound or vibration allowing complete separation from the technology. The weight also gives the ritual more import and literal gravity to the act of shutting away for the day.

The piece was exhibited at Wallpaper* Magazine's Holy Handmade Exhibition at Salone del Mobile 2017 in Milan. We're thrilled that Nick and Josh thought of us for this unique opportunity. We're always looking for ways to take our material to new extremes and modes.

Images courtesy of Branch


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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you.



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. [email protected]





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