From a serene stand showing only a grave marker last year to a booth chock a block with the many incarnations of designed concrete this year, Hungary's Studio Ivanka showed visitors that it is by no means a one-shot deal. It was hard to decide what to look at first, but the living wall that was being watered was definitely an attention-grabber.
Studio Ivanka is a Budapest design studio helmed by Katalin and Andras Ivanka that explores the many contemporary uses of concrete. These Flaster tiles shown at Salone Satellite this year in Milan resemble ceramics and give a classical air to both indoor and outdoor paving.
Beat Bloom Propeller
Designed by Beat Glaesser and Studio Ivanka, the Beat Bloom Propeller is a coffee table and seating with storage on wheels.
Orto Living Wallcovering
This decorative concrete has channels running through it for moss to grow. The network of shallow trenches is based on aerial topographic photos. The plants set into the trenches allows this green wallcovering designed by Kriszta Balázs to improve the microclimate. This practical ornamentation can be used indoors or out.
The green theme continues with a patchwork of wall tiles made in collaboration with Zita Konnerth, including these embedded pots. Beneath the pots is a cutting board from the gastro collection designed with Viktoria Hümfner.
A variety of items can be embedded in the tiles for more dimension or removed to leave an imprint. Use can be practical or decorative, depending on need.
The wall becomes a treasure chest of found objects.
The Concrete Mixer
An art installation by Ivanka and Miklós Gábor Szőke, this is about the buried dogs of Pompeii. "The statue composition is about a love scene, a scene representing Dante, his love and their relation to the concrete. Dante is balancing at the top of the mixer, while he is about to pour out his concrete-bathing love. The composition was inspired by the buried dogs of Pompeii, whose last moments were recorded by volcanic ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of the Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD."
And across town at Hidden Heroes in Zona Tortona, Applied Literature is a concrete table designed with János Hübler that mixes the abstract with the concrete. "The absence of the books, due to their various dimensions, form different shapes of various depths and heights. The resulting concrete structure will not have a final shape, because, by using it, visitors can change the books or remove them. The politically outdated books have been donated by the Research Institute Library of RADIO FREE EUROPE, the once active radio channel, sponsored by the US that fought against the Communism before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The table constitutes a monument to eternal knowledge - set in concrete- and it is a monument to the degeneration of information, to the immortality of the past and to its disintegration, while also offering an opportunity to reflect on the essence of the book."