Award Winners Announced
A Wood River Runs Through it
What do a sassafras and steel carder table, a massive floating fireplace, and an interior-lit stacked pedestal sink have in common? They are all made of concrete and they are all winners of CHENG Concrete's 2009 Circle of Distinction Design Challenge.
LAS VEGAS, NV (February 4, 2009) — Fu-Tung Cheng announced the winners of CHENG Concrete's 2009 Circle of Distinction Design Challenge at the World of Concrete tradeshow in Las Vegas. The Design Challenge featured 12 categories including Interior Kitchen, Exterior/Outdoor, Bath, Integral Sink, Decorative Finish, Functional Feature, Water Feature, Furniture, Fireplace, Commercial Retail, Sculpture, ‘Funk'tional, and an overall Best of Show.
Entries were submitted by CHENG Concrete Exchange Members, a group of skilled concrete artisans, many of whom trained under concrete pioneer Fu-Tung Cheng. Out of 143 entries and a brutal judging session, a visibly overwhelmed Keelin Kennedy of Barefoot Design in Chicago, accepted the Best of Show for her unique concrete, steel and sassafras wood table.
"Split log tables are not new," said Fu-Tung Cheng while describing Kennedy's project to World of Concrete attendees, "what makes Keelin's piece so special is how the concrete acts as a foil to the sassafras wood that flows like a river across the table top." Kennedy was also praised for creating something that was bold yet showed restraint and used concrete in a new way. Kennedy's win was the result of an arduous day-long judging process of highly competitive entries by award-winning Kitchen & Bath industry experts who concurred on not only the look and feel of the table, but also the difficulty of its manufacture. "The biggest challenge I had," said Kennedy, "was getting three materials that all have a life of their own to cooperate with each other." One of the ways she tamed the fidgety sassafras was with decorative and functional butterfly joints that melded the river of wood to the contrasting shore of concrete.
Cheng pointed out three recurring themes that surfaced from these highly accomplished entries. First, concrete worked well in a variety of very different settings and styles. Various aesthetic sensibilities were achieved by the pliable medium of concrete. "We had very modern entries that made use of concrete's monolithic feel as well as ‘arts and crafts' entries that incorporated etched concrete in traditional colors and styling. One concrete farm sink even featured an etched family crest."
Secondly, Cheng noted that concrete has "clearly become a serious surface material of choice for the home." "We have been running this Design Challenge for five years now and these artisans have taken concrete to a more sophisticated level, both with the material itself and in skillfully integrating it with other materials. I am encouraged to see the steady maturity of concrete craftsmanship and design sensibilities illustrated by the entries. I was genuinely impressed." Sean Dunston, winner of Best Interior Kitchen, managed to effectively balance the sheer mass and weight of his concrete peninsula with the thinner vertical lines of his concrete cabinet frame, creating an integrated look that pulled all the kitchen elements together. "The idea of concrete as a high-end finish material is still a sort of novelty to those who have not been exposed to it in that context, but this project was not a compromise. If they wanted the piece carved out of solid blocks of marble, they could have made it happen, but the feel would be different from what the client wanted," said Dunston who also won Best Decorative Finish and Best Functional Feature.
The third theme that emerged from the body of work was that concrete is timeless. There's no mistake that our artisans used words like ‘river,' ‘flow,' ‘life,' and ‘breathing' to describe their concrete projects. Cheng explains, "Concrete is a malleable, natural material, that even when cast in permanence continues to have a life of its own. One would be hard-pressed to look at these concrete projects and pinpoint them to a certain time period. They transcend time and fashion." Randy Rand, winner of Best Water Feature, created a sink that combined a very modern, dramatically slanted sink shelf with classic tiles and faucets. Cheng noted that "it was a bold mixture of the ancient and the modern that concrete, by it's very make-up of stone and sand, was able to cement together seamlessly. That sink would not be out of place in any bath house in Rome." The timelessness of Rand's project was evident in his client's praise of his project; she called it "a work of art."
World of Concrete attendees were surprised by the very low raw material cost for these very sophisticated concrete projects. According to CHENG Concrete Co-President Mike Heidebrink, these projects can be built for as little as $7.71 per square foot using CHENG Concrete Countertop products. "Of course there is plenty of design and construction labor necessary to achieve these advanced projects, but more and more contractors are finding themselves with extra time on their hands and concrete projects of this caliber offer a high return," says Heidebrink. In addition, this price point was a big hit with the DIYers taking in the show. One retired couple from Colorado was inspired to finally start their own concrete countertop. "We have been thinking about this for a year and we have gotten so many ideas by looking at these challenge winners and since we have more time than money right now, we are finally going to get started!"
Judges for the Circle of Distinction Design Challenge included Cheng, Lilley Yee, principal of Lilley Yee Interiors and award-winning interior designer, and MaryJo Camp, National Vice President of Marketing for FBA Holdings and 30-year veteran of the Kitchen and Bath Industry. Entries were judged on the following criteria: Elements & Principles of Design, Design Planning, Innovative Concept/Forward Thinking, Creativity/Innovation, Use of Color, Presentation, Innovative Forming Techniques, and Client Problem Solving.
About CHENG Concrete
Concrete Countertop Products, Idea Gallery, + Directory
Best-selling author and award-winning designer Fu-Tung Cheng's deep appreciation and passion for concrete is the impetus behind CHENG Concrete – a specialized online channel dedicated to all topics, products and information related to concrete as a finish material and based on more than 25 years of design, fabrication, and inspiration.
CHENG Concrete is the single, leading resource for concrete countertop design, products, and training. Geared for the professional contractor, architect, designer and or the typical DIY-er, CHENG Concrete offers a bevy of knowledge, complete instruction and products for individuals to craft their own concrete countertops. The CHENG Concrete Countertop Product Line includes a proprietary mix, tools, accessories and instructional products, including books and DVDs.
Through the CHENG Concrete Training Academy, an education program that offers hands-on workshops and programs across the country, CHENG Concrete shares the techniques and design principles in Cheng's innovative concrete work. CHENG Concrete has trained nearly 2,500 students in workshops ranging from introductory courses in concrete countertops to advanced training in glass fiber-reinforced concrete, fireplaces, counters and walls. CHENG Concrete features a directory of hundreds of concrete contractors across the country offering homeowners a resource for Cheng-trained local contractors.
CHENG Concrete educational tools include a series of Cheng-authored bestselling books published by Taunton Press (Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking). Cheng's first books, Concrete Countertops and Concrete at Home have sold more than 200,000 copies. His new for 2009 book and DVD set, Concrete Countertops Made Simple is based on his introductory workshops for hundreds of contractors and homeowners and shares his vision for the broad, creative appeal of hands-on design and the "green" low-carbon footprint benefits of having local craftspeople and homeowners use locally quarried materials to create low-cost products for their homes. The book and DVD provide step-by-step instruction for anyone wishing to use their creative skills to easily and inexpensively craft their own concrete countertop, a locally-made and sourced green DIY product.
About the Judges
Fu-Tung Cheng: Designer, Author, Speaker
Fu-Tung Cheng, designer, best-selling author, and speaker is internationally known for his sophisticated design and innovative use of materials in the home. He is one of today's top experts on residential, commercial and product design and speaks to trade and consumer audiences on the importance of timeless design, balancing luxury and conscience, and how craftsmanship informs design.
Cheng heads three companies in Berkeley, CA.: Cheng Design, Cheng Products and CHENG Concrete. He designs exclusive branded product lines for manufacturers such as Zephyr, Elkay, and Tonusa as well as custom kitchen hoods and Geocrete™ brand of concrete products, including countertops, kitchen islands, fireplaces, water features and commissioned concrete pieces. His architectural design work ranges from full-scale homes and kitchen and bath renovations to hospitality, commercial and retail store design.
He is the author of three books by the Taunton Press: Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes (2002) and Concrete at Home (2005), which combined have sold more than 200,000 copies. His third book Concrete Countertops Made Simple (Dec. 2008) brings countertop design to people renovating on a shoestring budget.
Cheng has been inducted into the National Kitchen and Bath Association Hall of Fame (2006), named one of the top 50 most influential figures in the industry in 50 years by Kitchen & Bath Business, and honored as the designer of Architectural Record's "Record Houses." He has won numerous awards for his work, including 2008 AIA East Bay Exceptional Residential Award, 2007 International Interior Designers Association Northern California Chapter Honorable Mention for Commercial Design, 2006 California Home + Design Achievement Award for Commercial Architecture, 2005 Builder's Choice Design and Planning Award for Kitchen, 2004 Kitchen + Bath Designer Design Award, and First Place in the NKBA Design Competition.
Lilley Yee, CKD, CBD, CID, ASID
Lilley Yee is the Principal of Lilley Yee Interiors located in San Mateo, CA. A Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKD, CBD) and a Certified Interior Designer (CID) Lilley has over 18 years experience in interior design and kitchen and bath design. Her award-wining projects in kitchen, bath and interior design have been published nationally and locally in Gentry Magazine, San Jose Magazine, Design Illustrated, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, Palo Alto Weekly, The Retail Observer, Residential Lighting by Randall Whitehead and Sunset book Decorative Paint & Faux Finishes.
Lilley has served on the Board of Directors for NKBA Northern California Chapter for over eight years, and is a member of the NKBA Ambassador's Club, and currently Chapter Representative of her local NKBA Chapter. She is also a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and has served on the Board of Directors of the Peninsula ASID Chapter for 8 years.
A member of the Advisory Committee for the Interior Design Program at Canada College in Redwood City, Lilley is an active committee member of the 2009 Student Career Forum Student Design Competition. She has judged the South Bay NARI Design Competition, the NKBA Capitol Chapter Design Competition and the GE Charette Student Design Competition.
MaryJo Camp, CKD, CBD, CID
MaryJo Camp, CKD, CBD, CID is a 30-year veteran of the Kitchen and Bath Industry. As an award-winning designer, she has held many positions within the field, including owning her own design firm and showroom. MaryJo is an adjunct professor at Canada College, an NKBA Endorsed College in Redwood City, CA. She is active in the National Kitchen and Bath Association and is Vice President of the California Council for Interior Design Certification. In the past five years, MaryJo has designed and overseen construction of many state-of-the-industry appliance showrooms demonstrating the latest ideas in kitchens. Currently, MaryJo is National Vice President of Marketing for FBA Holdings—Florida Builder Appliances, Standards of Excellence, and Westar—premier appliance source for the construction industry with 24 showrooms serving Florida, California, Arizona, and Nevada. duct.