Fu-Tung Cheng |Concrete Exchange

Fu-Tung Cheng Opens Doors for Creative Inspirations

NKBA Chapter Meeting Held at Cheng Concrete Shop

BERKELEY, CA — For the first time ever, on Thursday, August 18th, designer Fu-Tung Cheng rolled back the industrial doors of his concrete fabrication shop and welcomed fellow designers and fabricators for a complete tour and design presentation on his proprietary line of concrete countertops, GeocreteTM. Cheng hosted the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Northern California Chapter meeting at this special, limited space event.

“This was one of the best events our Chapter has had in a long time,” said Teresa Rodrigues, Vice President of NKBA Northern California Chapter of Programs. “There was sincerity in the event. Attendees got to see how and where GeocreteTM countertops are made. Everyone was genuinely happy to be learning about the process.”

The Berkeley, California-based concrete fabrication shop was transformed over three days from an everyday concrete countertop workshop to a dramatic industrial gallery showcasing architectural, concrete applications for the kitchen and bath. Cheng hosted approximately 120 guests, mostly NKBA members.

“The transformation of the facility was impressive. Those of us who saw the workshop before the Chapter meeting appreciated all the effort and hard work from Mr. Cheng’s staff,” said Lilley Yee, President of the NKBA Northern California Chapter. “Fu-Tung’s facility was perfect for the event,” said Lasha Sawchyn, Director of Design and Development at Studio Becker, a respected innovator in luxury kitchen cabinetry and accessories, bath and wardrobe designs. “It was nice to see where his creativity happens. It was a special privilege to be welcomed into his studio.”

Cheng’s presentation, New Expression in Craftsmanship and Contemporary Concrete for Interiors, focused on the design idea of concrete having a place in the home. Touching on everything from concrete countertops, fireplace surrounds, and water features to a full-scale concrete home on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, Cheng presented how and why concrete is a viable, creative material ideal for architecture and design projects.

According to Yee, feedback from members has been very positive. NKBA members, Randy and Helen Ford of Cabinets and Design Studio, expressed interest in having a Geocrete countertop for their new Crystal Cabinet Works kitchen display. “Mr. Cheng’s presentation was truly instrumental in their vision and plans of having a state-of-the-art concrete countertop in their showroom,” says Yee of the Fords’ plan for a concrete showroom piece.

Considered an expert on interior concrete applications and a pioneer in the decorative concrete industry, Cheng has made the fabrication services of his concrete shop available for use by other architects and designers for their own design projects. “We have a myriad of projects all over the country that have been published in such upscale, design magazines as Architectural Digest and Metropolitan Home, and also appear in my books Concrete at Home and Concrete Countertops. From our published work, designers can use our projects as a launching point for their own creative inventions,” said Cheng.

An Opportunity for Giving

Cheng saw the event as an opportunity to contribute and connect with his fellow design community, but also had another agenda for hosting the event. He planned the event to serve several purposes: to share his creative studio with NKBA Members, bring awareness to the creative uses of concrete, and as a benefit fundraiser, donating all proceeds to UNICEF.

The purpose of Cheng’s philanthropic agenda: “We [designers] who have the opportunity of working in the luxury kitchen and bath industry should always remember and advocate for those who consider the basic needs of life as luxuries—food, clothing and shelter,” Cheng answers. Although Cheng frequently supports other organizations such as Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and CARE, he chose UNICEF as the beneficiary of this special event because of the organization’s focus on helping children worldwide. UNICEF also holds a long record of efficiently using donations in an appropriate fashion for short-term emergencies as well as long-term sustainable strategies.

Contributions from co-sponsors Zephyr Ventilation, NKBA and Cheng Design, were combined with $2,000 in donations raised from an event raffle for a grand total of $4,000 donated to UNICEF. Raffle items included Cheng-signed book and DVD collections, fine teaware by Teance Fine Teas, two original paintings by Cheng’s six-year-old daughter, An-Ya Cheng, and the grand prize, an Okeanito hood, a Cheng Design by Zephyr hood that retails for $3,200.

Studio Becker took home the grand prize. “We are extremely excited to have won the Okeanito hood, and happy to have helped contribute to such a worthy cause,” said Sawchyn. She commented shortly after winning the prize that Studio Becker would be showcasing the hood as part of a kitchen display in their main showroom in Alameda, CA.

The Okeanito hood may have been the “big ticket” prize, but Sarah Kramer, Marketing and Communications Manager at Zephyr Ventilation, had her eye on another prize — the “Nature World” painting by An-Ya Cheng. “It was absolutely the prize I wanted! It’s obvious that unique talent runs in the Cheng family,” said Sarah Kramer.

The Cheng Design-hosted NKBA event still has attendees talking and many others requesting a repeat event. “Members that didn’t register early enough for this limited space event were disappointed that they couldn’t attend and are anxious to know when Mr. Cheng will open his concrete fabrication shop to the public again,” said Rodrigues. “I’m telling them to keep checking the NKBA calendar of events. We would love to hold more events with Cheng Design.”

Geocrete: Legendary Concrete Countertops

GeocreteTM is an unparalleled series of proprietary, lightweight concrete countertops for the home, kitchen and bath that can be custom-formed or are available in pre-designed compositions. These distinctive countertops offer a luminous, glass-like finish in sculptural shapes and innovative designs, handcrafted in Cheng Design’s fabrication shop by a skilled team of artisans and craftsmen. Geocretecountertops can be customized with additional design features — such as integrated cutting board slots, stainless steel or brass drain rails and trivets, and an array of inlaid decorative items. Please contact the Cheng Design’s Geocrete™ Representative for inquiries.