Brooklyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo recently unveiled a collection of shaded cement furniture called Fade. This collection adds to a vast portfolio of concrete work and forms part of Mastrangelo’s MMATERIAL project. Fade was shown as part of his Sight Unseen Offsite exhibition. The pieces consist of a table paired with a side server and a set of stools that are shaped like cylindrical drums. These are flanked by two wall-hangings that mirror the design of the stools.
To create the aptly named Fade pieces, the artist used cement in geometrically shaded pastel colours. This adds a warmer and more inviting look to what is normally a cold, industrial material. When asked about why he went this pastel-tinted route, Mastrangelo explains: “The pieces are strictly made with cement, which is a material I’ve been exploring for a while, but I really got a chance to push the subtlety and beauty of what cement can do!”
When casting the furniture he used cement that had been hand-dyed in a variety of pastel pigments. In order to achieve a smooth look, he forewent adding an aggregate to the mixture, opting to work only with cement and water combined as a mortar. Each coloured layer of the design was poured on top of each other and polished to create the final effect.
Mastrangelo adds: “Without the aggregate, I can really explore the line quality of the cement pours. Layer by layer I can shift from tone to tone without having to blend in any aggregate.”
When looking at the clean lines of his creations, this certainly rings true. The pieces gradually but clearly transition from shade to shade. The layers are distinguished by the deeper colour at the base that lightens as the eye travels upward.
Artists such as Fernando Mastrangelo are paving the way for industrial designers and fine artists to meet in the middle and work together to create functional pieces that elevate the home. The Fade collection may be only aesthetic for now, but it certainly holds the promise of future designers incorporating more colouring and pigment into their cement-based works. And thereby adding yet another design dimension to one of the hardest working building materials available…