The Fair-faced Concrete Has been Flowing

Simple things are hidden under simplicity. In the process of promoting world integration, there is an important material, cement, a simple and ancient material that spreads across the corners of the earth.

In the past 100 years, if you were to look for a material that is commonly used by architects, then it is undoubtedly cement! The ancient nature of this material can be traced back to the buildings in ancient Roman, and with more than two thousand years, this ancient material has assumed new roles.

As an important medium in the process of popularizing modernization, it is only natural to choose cement. Making the choice is a simple matter, as humanity needs the right substances for survival. However, on the one hand, the material properties of cement have made it popular in the world; on the other hand, the people living in reinforced concrete tend to despise it.

Picture@bentudesign, 2015

People are often greedy, who strives for spiritual fulfillment once their material needs for survival satisfied. Cement has evolved poetically, and cement has become an expression of avant-garde architecture. Aesthetically, the boundaries of cement have been blurred, while cement is still cement. Be it material or spiritual, an unavoidable fact is: we have to use it.

In our eyes, cement is as artificial as it is natural. How do we connect it with our emotions, and with nature? The highest process of cement is fair-faced. The fair-faced is also the highest state of nature. It is a challenge to let cement flow like water and to exhibit its a natural aesthetic.

Concrete material experiments, Picture@bentudesign, 2015

Cement has a reputation for being the “liquid stone”. It is named for its great plasticity and variety. It can achieve the different forms and strengths that other materials cannot, and meet the designer's requirements for various detail. Its unique and high-quality features have established its lofty and long-standing position in the field of architectural applications.

In the field of product design, cement is still a new type of material which has not been widely used. Humans have yet to find a cheaper synthetic material to replace cement. Instead, modern technology and craftsmanship have expanded for the cement to lose its thick and rough appearance, displaying unexpected manifestations in different fields and different scales, which has had a pivotal impact on practical applications. With the further development of material science and contemporary aesthetics, cement is no longer the original cement, nor is it a proprietary material for building construction. It is taking on a new look – the fair-faced concrete, and gradually enters the vision for various types of designs.

Notre-Dame du Haut. Designed by Le Corbusie

Based on the localization and globalization of China's local presence, “Bentu” revisited the traditional materials in the construction of fair-faced concrete. The characteristics of fair-faced concrete as the main building material can be used for product design:

in terms of the economy of cost, fair-faced concrete is considered a relatively low-cost and easy-to-access material; in terms of environmental protection, fair-faced concrete is more energy-efficient than plastic and metal; In terms of material properties, the excellent plasticity of fair-faced concrete can be molded into various shapes, surface textures, and stability after molding. The product has durability; in terms of design aesthetics, the unique texture and surface sensibilities of the fair-faced concrete are visual experiences the other materials cannot simulate.

In addressing the development and experiment of environmental wastes combined with cement materials, the exploration of free geometric forms, the actual representation of the material’s textures, and to standard and mass produce it like the other materials, and to provide the beauty of fair-faced concrete great opportunities, have become the unremitting mission of “Bentu”.

KOU 2012, design by @bentudesign

Although the application of fair-faced concrete has not been long in product design, however, its emergence has had an incalculable impact on future product design. Product design should not only follow the expression of the product and the aesthetics of the fair-faced concrete, but also maintain a high level of craftsmanship in production, exemplify its advantages in casting and shaping, and expand the expressivity of the material, so that the fair-faced concrete can be applied to a wide range of products. Fair-faced concrete used in product design has reached far greater conceptions than in architectural constructions.

The plasticity of fair-faced concrete does not have any advantage over the other common products. Not only can it fulfill the requirements of shape molding, but also expresses a sense of volume and rigidity that plastic, wood and other materials cannot. People often see the concrete exteriors on buildings, when they see home supplies made of concrete, their mental reaction first and foremost would be a novelty. At the same time, because concrete is a building material commonly used for residence, so people are not unfamiliar with the material, so it doesn’t become an obstacle to accept it as material for a product. This sense of security that awakes people's inner trust and give people the peace of mind would inevitably have great developmental potential in product design. 

SHENG table, design by @bentudesign

The most common yet most beautiful aspect of fair-faced concrete is its color. This grey tone is inherent to the fair-faced concrete. Gray is the simplest color, to the point that it wouldn’t be a problem if the entire world is wrapped in it; gray is the most complex color, its chaotic beauty is only attained as a result of mixing all the colors on the palette. Gray is a ubiquitous color, and its appearance implies the disappearance of all color contrasts, which serves as the most stable resting point of vision.

Gray is passive in the system of colors. It is a neutral color, that relies on adjacent colors to gain a sense of life. The gray-toned and texture of the fair-faced concrete exhibit a reticent, low-key and quiet temperament. It is not as gloomy and heavy as black, nor is it empty and cold like white. The gray tone of fair-faced concrete expresses an idea, a highly characterized aesthetic philosophy.

Fair-faced concrete demands strict quality requirements in terms of methods of processing and material quality, to present a tranquil state and low-key temperament for the final product. Stirring, watering, and molding must be executed at once. The high-standard process of fair-faced concrete presents the aesthetic realm of the creator’s heart and soul. Regardless of how experienced the master is, he would not be able to accurately "calculate" the quality and effect each time before he undoes the mold. Shifting from being the material for construction to product design, the texture of the fair-faced concrete is also being magnified and becomes the highlight of its application. 

The unique texture of fair-faced concrete offers an extraordinary sense of the material. Its matt gray tone,  the naturally formed pores, the delicate and smooth surface, mottled and broad impression are all parts of the complimenting aesthetic manifestations, as well as its advantage in natural shaping will become the driving force for product design innovation.

Texture details of KOU, 2012. Designed by @bentudesign

The porous surface and natural texture of fair-faced concrete have always been regarded as " the concrete’s cancer". Undeniably, these are the inherent characteristics of the fair-faced concrete – because in the process of casting, the air was introduced to the concrete and certain pores form and are left on the surface once the mold comes off. But it is precisely this kind of porous surface and natural texture that defines its natural beauty. Natural and simple should be the normal states for mankind, although people tend to reject this kind of normalcy due to their ordinariness, instead, they prefer to add various chemical additives to reduce the original pores and natural texture. Rejecting these inherent characteristics of the fair-faced concrete, and turns it into “plastic”, this material is no longer the fair-faced concrete.

Unearth the normal state of being from the past, “Bentu” aims to present the beauty in the pores and the natural textures of fair-faced concrete. Fine, scattered, rhythmic, natural geological texture, distributed on the gray-color tone base, they breathe freely, where on the rough and smashed surface, "breathing" carries out without a hinge. The birth of each product seems to diverge from the same process: air bubbles jump around in the mold, tumble, and burst, that only stop once the product is condensed, and as such, the traces of each product’s becoming are recorded.  The textures mark their individuality, one that is full of life and personal character would dust off the past and shine brightly into the future.

Texture details of BENTU concrete, Photogragh@bentudesign

When people's pursuit of beauty becomes obsessive, the more deliberate they become in engraving and transformation. In pursuing ultimate beauty, we need to first think that the natural properties of the material itself should not be eliminated, allowing the different materials to return to their essence, and be restored of their unique textures would meet the standard of true beauty. “Bentu” insists on its genuine pursuit of nature, where each product should be given a unique personality and thriving vitality. 

Fair-faced concrete uses of sand and stones as the aggregate and cement as a coagulant. It can generate infinite possibilities under different manufacturing processes, different material ratios, and different design purposes. We can adjust the proportion of aggregate and cement according to the demand of the design that would control the texture of the surface, so the variations of the textures are rich and diverse. Using different kinds of molds in various levels of sophistication for casting the concrete would also a decisive factor in the final texture of the concrete. The rougher the mold material, the lower the joint accuracy, and the more mottled and rougher the concrete will be. The smoother the mold material, the higher the seam precision, that produces finer and purer the concrete. The tonal texture of fair-faced concrete is pure and rich, simple and diverse, half artificial and half natural.

Mini Concrete Series, 2018. Designed by @bentudesign

For the design and application of everyday products, fair-faced concrete should not only take advantage of structural and flexible malleability but also make full use of its skin texture. The shift from using fair-faced concrete in construction to products, the context of its application magnifies the uniqueness of this material’s expression. Fair-Faced concrete is redefined through product design and application, setting it as a reference, to compare and contrast with other material, between the context of the application and its texture, to express the demeanor and design intent of the product. This concept eliminates the inherent constraints on concrete since the beginning of history and makes the application of fair-faced concrete more diverse.

Any material itself has its soul and advantages, the fair-faced concrete materials have also been developing and innovating, but this highly dense and durable material shows great uncertainty when applied. The difficulty beyond expressiveness is how to standardize the fair-faced concrete in the design language for mass production like the other materials.

“Bentu” integrates the research and development of construction waste with cement materials, and conducts experiments on a large number of products and space design, to unearth the natural performance of materials. At the same time, it is possible to carry out in-depth research on manufacturing processes and make it possible for fair-faced concrete products to enter people's daily life. Adhere to self-practice and explore other possibilities with a series of experiments, 

we let different materials return to their essence and restore its unique texture. 

Adhering to one's genuine pursuit of nature reflect the designer's feelings and the product of contemplation of the world. "Bentu’s" enlightenment and restoration of the beauty in the natural properties of fair-faced concrete is a practice of freedom in the current era, as well as a reminder for people to return to simplicity and sincerity.

DING Table, 2013. Designed by @bentudesign

The most authentic expression for the material of fair-faced concrete is the spirit of “such is the law”, in attaining the natural state of the way. It manifests the Interpretation of the beauty from a heart at its natural state, the value of the nature of the present, this is the highest consciousness of aesthetics - where "honesty" is beauty, that aims to present the true essence of life.

Fair-faced concrete is our challenge and you will be tempted by it. It walks in a flowing way -

The Fair-faced Concrete is popular because it is simple and pure.

Related content
KOU / 2012
Follow us on WeChat


         - Contact

         +8620 8977 0506

         - Press

         - Enquiry & Sales