122 CONCRETE NUMBERS

Back in December of last year, I was freelancing at Local Peoples / Assemble Projects on the design of the website for their small-footprint living development 122 Roseneath St. The development will be a mixture of Brutalist design and modern aesthetics, with beautiful finishes and materials. 

I had the idea to make some concrete numbers from the logo, which could be used outside of the building as a sign, or perhaps on a grander scale as seating. As a side project in my spare time, I decided to make a 'proof of concept' maquette.

Firstly, I printed the numbers onto A4 paper, made a cardboard template of the 2 numbers. Then I drew around the cardboard templates onto foamboard and used a scalpel to hand-cut the numbers out. This created a 5mm thick stencil, which would be layered up to create a mold, for casting my numbers in.

Once I had cut out enough layers of the stencil, I used sellotape to bind them together and to create a water-tight seal over the foamboard. Using plaster of Paris, I did a test-run to see if the mold would work. The mixture spilled out at the bottom a little, but it created a lovely smooth surface on the top - with a bit of sanding I got the edges looking good.

Before pouring the concrete, I used screws to fix the cardboard (covered in sellotape) firmly to the mold, so that no mixture could leak out. I left them to set overnight and crossed my fingers.

Although the numbers cracked a little when cutting them out of the mold, I was easily able to fix them with some superglue, the battered nature and textured finish gave a really nice aesthetic.

If I were to make these on a larger scale, I could use laser / CNC to create the mold out of MDF sheets and I would pour a layer of concrete filling the bottom of the mold, then add some steel reinforcement bars into the middle before pouring in the rest. This would give added strength to the numbers to support the weight on the corners.