Soft Concrete: Turning the Oxymoron into a RealityTwo women from Ireland integrate fabric into the surface of concrete
Tactility Factory, based in Northern Ireland, specializes in integrating textiles with concrete. This unique combination unites soft and hard to create a material with antique characteristics, as well as high levels of visual and tactile qualities. This one-of-a-kind product is called Girli Concrete.
Girli Concrete, invented by Trish Belford and Ruth Morrow, has captured the eye of people looking for a unique design element. Girli concrete wall panels have been installed in private residences, and public buildings. Additionally, Belford and Morrow have won awards for their concept and continue to perform research and push the idea of Girli Concrete forward.
Integrating textiles into concrete surfaces is a great way to add design, color, and texture. However, not just any fabric can be integrated into concrete. At Tactility Factory, they make sure to use only textiles made of yarns that are able to withstand the harsh alkaline environment of concrete.
Tactility Factory embeds linens and stitched textiles to create colorful patterns and designs that appear to pop out from the concrete. They are also able to embed custom lettering and logos into the surface of concrete. Three standard flat panel sizes are available: 17 x 12 cm, 30 x 30 cm, and 45 x 45 cm. However, special orders are accepted in all forms and sizes.
Belford and Morrow are also looking into the insulation and acoustic properties of Girli Concrete. Who knows, maybe concrete with embedded textiles will become a common sound barrier or temperature regulator. Because of this possibility, the design duo is toying with the idea of integrating textiles into exterior walls.
Being the decorative concrete lover I am, I immediately started wondering if Girli Concrete could be used as a border for concrete floors, or on vertical wall applications. The cross between the hard, durable concrete and the soft, beautiful textiles is definitely intriguing.