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Concrete’s Role in Life-Enhancing Design

Photo Credit: Jonathan Beckerman

Life-enhancing design is not a new concept, not by a long shot. With roots winding back to the 9th century B.C., Feng Shui was the first to give name to the human desire for our spaces to reflect functional life and inner harmony.

Wabi Sabi, a Japanese appreciation of objects, spaces, and experiences that are singular, likewise shifts design to the inner human being’s need for meaning.

In more recent times, ancient concepts of biogeometry, biophilia, and chromotherapy have been adopted by the design community. These connect science, mathematics, nature, and color to the way a space looks and feels, mirroring step-for-step the very basis of humanity and its place in the world.

As Coco Chanel said, “An interior is the natural projection of the soul.” That is what Feng Shui, Wabi Sabi and the rest aim to do. Like a mother with child, these concepts create spaces intimately connected to the day-to-day well being of its inhabitants.

Irish designer, Clodagh, is just such an artist. Her career is a reflection of the life-enhancing design concepts she embraces, flowing with the landscape of opportunities and challenges. Clodagh began her design career in fashion but found her true passion when overseeing the renovation of her and her husband’s townhouse in Spain.

Spain and Morocco offered a plethora of projects for Clodagh in hospitality and vacation homes. A love of bespoke arts and crafts seeped into her veins alongside her penchant to place human wellbeing at the forefront of her design process. A move to New York City further cemented Clodagh’s career.

Clodagh’s signature is life-enhancing design. Her use of life-enhancing concepts was well ahead of her time. “I try to design the frustrations out of people’s lives,” she told The Irish Examiner. “My clients will call me saying their lives have changed because of what we have done.”

“Because the energy in our projects is balanced, people feel happy when using our spaces,” Clodagh wrote in her book, Clodagh: Life-Enhancing Design.

Concrete & Life-Enhancing Design

At first, you might not think of concrete as particularly life enhancing. In the hands of someone like Clodagh, that all changes. “Concrete is warm,” she told us. The “putty-like malleability” of concrete is, in fact, an ideal material for creating spaces that harmonize interior designs.

Once again, Clodagh was ahead of her time. She’s been using concrete in her designs for thirty years. There is no project in which it doesn't appear in some guise. She said, “There is a universality about the presence of concrete . . . it’s perfectly comfortable invited into a room as a piece of furniture . . . it lends a powerful presence to a room.”

Trueform was honored to work with Clodagh in the creation of a series of beautiful concrete objects. Our specialty concrete mix and custom mold building afforded her the ability to make functional pieces that also have a deeper intention.

Concrete fountain designed by Clodagh.

Concrete Water Light by Clodagh

Cast in concrete, this textured tough filled with river stones is a fountain and light in one. The water brings good Feng Shui energy and the stone (earth) and light (fire) balance the presentation of natural elements.

Available in 8 concrete color options. Made in the USA.

Concrete and wood console table designed by Clodagh in a white living room with rustic accents.

Railroad Concrete Bench & Console Table by Clodagh

Clodagh gathers inspiration all around her from the flight pattern of birds to a ride on the train. A train ride to Beacon, New York was the inspiration for these two pieces. An elegantly finished concrete slab is supported by slices of rough sawn, Hemlock in the style of ancient Wabi Sabi aesthetic.

Available in 2 wood stain options and 8 concrete colors. Made in the USA

Concrete dining table designed by Clodagh with concrete top and metal pedestal.

Mesa Concrete Dining Table by Clodagh

“One of the reasons I love concrete is that it is so amenable. Poured into a form, it will take shapes and patterns beautifully. This table has an air of folded fabric. It’s extremely glamorous,” said Clodagh of this dining table. It’s quintessential Clodagh design that gathers people around it in conversation as readily as it stands alone as a sculptural object.

Solid concrete top available in 8 colors. Base is ¼” painted plate steel in an interlocking pattern. Made in the USA.

Slab concrete coffee table on industrial style wheel designed by Clodagh.

Nomadic Concrete Coffee Table by Clodagh

The optimal functional piece, this mobile coffee table with a shelf under the table top is an epic multi-tasker. Satin-smooth concrete on top and rolled steel underneath, it also delivers modern industrial styling that suits many contemporary designs.

Available in 8 concrete colors. Steel base and shelf is Industrial Black Patina finish. Made in the USA.

GROOV Vessel Sink by Clodagh

The perfect case study for displaying the capabilities of concrete, the GROOV sink mold was made from traditionally-tooled stone, which concrete captures effortlessly. Can be counter-mounted or wall-mounted. You can also choose where you want the drain to be located.

Available in 8 concrete colors. Choose from 4 drain finishes. Made in the USA.

Concrete wheel decoration in light gray designed by Clodagh.

Primitive Concrete Wheel by Clodagh

Purely decorative, this piece was inspired by Clodagh’s exploration and travels to more than 100 countries. The possibilities are endless: hang it on a wall or hang a group of them on a wall. Try backlighting it.

Available in 8 concrete colors. Wall mounted with a French cleat. Made in the USA.

Concrete Design Continues

Clodagh’s concrete projects continue as do designers’ inclusion of concrete in spaces of all kinds. It’s the material of choice to bring together functionality, beauty, and people all in one place working in perfect cooperation. And that, as Clodagh says, is the goal; “A space cannot be truly beautiful unless it functions in harmony with who we are.”

See What Else Concrete Can Do