Redefining the industry through limitless applications with Concrete Collective.
Michael Mitris, with his background in construction management, and Scott Henderson, a qualified carpenter, make quite the formidable pair. Friends since high school, Michael’s willingness to develop and learn new things as an individual, and Scott’s keen eye for fine detail and his admiration for the smooth, industrial look of glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) changed the game for concrete manufacturing in Australia.
In 2016, after working on a concrete-heavy project, Scott became fascinated with the material. He brought it up to Michael, and together, they decided to give concrete a go with no real-world experience in the field. When the pair launched Concrete Collective in Melbourne’s Heidelberg in 2017, they combined their industry expertise to tackle the world of concrete. They found a gap in the market for artisan concrete pieces that stood on their own two feet (metaphorically and literally – at the time it was uncommon for concrete to exist without internal steel reinforcement).
GFRC is a lightweight yet incredibly strong concrete that’s watertight and durable. The duo decided to utilise the strengths of GFRC from the very start, discovering through their research that it was the standard in architectural applications and for good reason too. “Concrete as a material is proven and a good base to build on,” says Michael. This makes it a fantastic starting point for impeccable design, as well as having very little limitations when applied correctly. Once Michael and Scott understood these benefits, they decided to expand peoples’ idea of concrete and push the boundaries of what people thought was possible – concrete was no longer notoriously rigid but rather something malleable and limitless. “Once you understand the material, the sky's the limit really,” says Michael.
When they first started out, the team was itching to create custom concrete pieces, proving to competitors just how much potential and possibility there was with concrete. They soon discovered that while it was a fun challenge, they found a greater passion in building original bathware and furniture pieces as it gave them an ability to design something completely unique to Concrete Collective. “When I design a piece of furniture there is an element of fun in that. I get to add my own spin on it, then it gets to be enjoyed by the end user which is very rewarding,” says Michael. This design-forward strategy led them to developing their signature range of concrete benchtops and vanities that Concrete Collective is renowned for today.
The process of building elaborate concrete furniture starts with getting the idea on paper, then modelling it using a program. Once the team is happy with what they see on screen, it gets prototyped. “Depending on the shape, we get a foam model and mould off that. From there, we create the mould and pour the concrete in. There is a lot that can go wrong but we have ironed out those issues over time and with experience,” says Michael. The results are magical, and proof that Concrete Collective is built on breaking the rules of concrete by questioning common preconceptions about the material. “Concrete has very little limitation when applied properly which is pretty exciting. It’s exciting coming to work knowing that you can create amazing forms and experiment,” he adds.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have Concrete Collective as one of our core suppliers, and they’ve made a range of stunning concrete benchtops, vanities, and pedestals exclusive to Studio xOx. After months of collaboration, Concrete Collective and Studio xOx developed a new terrazzo finish in a range of colours. This is momentous in the Australian design realm as no one is offering terrazzo in various colour profiles.
The talented team brought our brand colours to life – Eucalyptus, Apostle, Banksia, Charcoal, and Simpson – and what’s unique about this is that these colours can be combined in the final product. “Terrazzo is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had a reason for, it’s a very time consuming product. When xox came along we both believed that there was a market for it,” says Michael. This innovative product really pushes the boundaries for concrete design and opens up the possibilities of using terrazzo for Concrete Collective products.
Another industry first is the release of their bullnose vanity, exclusive to Studio xox. The brand utilises a design-focused approach that helps them stand out from the crowd with a sense of originality and innovation. “The vanities we have on display are only the beginning, there is so much more coming,” says Michael. Concrete Collective takes challenges head on and is definitely a brand to watch with some very exciting things in the pipeline. And we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.