not cinder blocks

March 24, 2011

shelf

A few days ago I reached out to Andrew Stuart of a t Designs, because I thought the company’s concrete creations would be perfect for “texture week.” The ensuing email exchange revealed that we’re kind of kindred design spirits, both inspired by old stuff, modern design, and the Maine Coast (among other things). This must be why I respond so enthusiastically to a t Designs’ work. It’s evocative of all three!

I am not alone in my admiration. Andrew and his brother, Tom, are rapidly rising stars on the Etsy scene. (a t Designs has only been up since last December and they already have more than 800 fans!) Andrew credits their stunning photographs with at least some of their success. And it’s true that these set designers by trade certainly do know how to bring out the drama in their pieces.

But I feel that the pictures simply serve to reinforce what’s already happening with Andrew’s and Tom’s work: namely an intriguing paradox of material versus form. We often think of concrete as hard and heavy, yet in a t’s hands it is effortless, soft, even romantic. Instead of a weighted slab, a t’s shelf seems to float before the wall. Rather than hanging heavy, their martini lamp has a retro sleekness. And concrete with eggs! Who would ever think to put those two together?! It’s these clever juxtapositions of seeming opposites that establish an electrifying tension in their work.

Moreover, although working in a modern, “engineered” medium, Andrew and Tom cleverly add an aged patina to their pieces (whoo hoo another amazing dramatic contrast!) which lends another dimension as well as a certain “gravitas” to their pieces.

Ok, clearly I could go on and on. Put simply a t Designs‘ has totally made me rethink concrete! I now see it as a texture without which no home is complete!

egg bowl

large bowl

martini pendant lamp

planter/box

close up

small bowl/votive

A few more things about a t Designs:

  • Attention interior designers and home renovators, Andrew and Tom also make custom sinks and counters!
  • Also, I glossed over the fact that they are set designers, but they are actually really gifted set designers. Check out their site.
  • Finally, Andrew makes great prints too.

All photos copyright of a t Designs. Used with permission of the artist.

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