Concretely Happy is a project that experiments with concrete as a material, examining the need for a figurative narrative and stressing the importance of materiality in architecture and design.
The starting point for my project is the transition from 1920s neo-classicism to functionalism in Sweden. The neo-classicism of the 1920s was the dominant architectural style and was strongly influenced by Antiquity, with façades of buildings decorated at the time with ancient and mythological subjects. Functionalism’s aesthetic expression, simpler and without ornament, made for more rational dwellings during the 1930s with its depressed economy and scarcity of housing. Reinforced concrete was a new building material that made it possible to liberate oneself from history and to construct a new society. I wanted to investigate concrete, its materiality as well as possible forms of expression. Techniques that I have used include pigmentation and laying the material bare, as well as a technique for creating reliefs that I have developed myself. At the same time that Concretely Happy is a project that is very much concerned with the practical usage and the investigation of a material, the project is also a comment on the current housing situation that, in spite of its functionalist heritage, seems not the least bit rational or honest. Concretely Happy is, on the contrary, a guaranteed of one hundred percent honest design!
Per Davoust & GCP Applied Technologies, Simon Anund.