Concrete may put you in mind of Le Corbusier and Brutalism, but the material has come a long way, discarding its emblematic association with hard lines and rigid geometry. Whether its shapes have been boxy or not, concrete has always had a lovely texture, and its matte quality is singular. Pour it into interesting molds and shape it into unexpected curves, and—voila!—you’ve got a rebirth. The most interesting contemporary products made of concrete are those that challenge the material’s historical connotations—designs that display lightness or motion.
Wave. Designed by Dade Design.
Curvy Concrete Made in Switzerland
Swiss company Dade Design, headed by Austro-Italian Philipp Bruni, has succeeded in transforming the iconic material. Wave, a soaking tub made of concrete, features both deep feminine curves and sharp masculine edges—“perfect symbiosis,” as Dade Design describes it. The bathtub is split along its middle by a black strip of rubber. This “centre seam” is optional, though it helps in Wave’s transportation: the bathtub can be delivered in two halves and joined on site. The result of the bisecting line is dramatic: it lends the sweep of the tub a kinetic quality—namely, because the rubber strip recalls blacktop.
While concrete drives Wave’s appeal, the bathtub’s “shell shape” is “also ergonomic and comfortable to lie in.” Dade Design’s soaking tub has the added benefit of being adaptable: the unit can be free-standing or built-in. As with all Dade Design products, Wave is made in Switzerland of special high-density concrete, which “guarantees high durability and superb surface quality.” Wave is a study in contradiction: masculine and feminine, hard and soft, black and white. This paradoxical bent may stem from Dade Design’s unusual marriage of “Austro-Italian design and Swiss engineering and craftsmanship.”