In the photobooth with ...

In the Pho­to Booth with ... Hei­ke Kluss­mann and Thors­ten Kloos­ter Aut­hor: Rob Wil­son

It was a tight squee­ze in our pho­to booth this is­sue: the ar­tist Hei­ke Kluss­man, the ar­chi­tect Thors­ten Kloos­ter, and a coup­le of pie­ces of Bling­C­re­te1 - the mul­ti-func­tio­nal, light-re­f­lec­ting con­c­re­te that they’ve de­ve­lo­ped, pa­ten­ted, and that is co­ming so­on to a buil­ding near you …

Plea­se de­scri­be Bling­C­re­te.

Hei­ke Kluss­mann: It’s a new­ly de­ve­lo­ped ma­te­rial that com­bi­nes the hea­vy sur­face of con­c­re­te with light-re­f­lec­ting qua­li­ties, crea­ted by em­bed­ding litt­le sphe­res of glass in­to the con­c­re­te to about 50 per cent depth. You im­me­dia­te­ly get a uni­que pris­matic ef­fect, with each sphe­re ac­ting as a re­tro­re­f­lec­tor — mea­ning light is re­f­lec­ted away from its sour­ce at an equal and op­po­si­te ang­le.

What’s the back­ground of the pro­duct’s de­ve­lop­ment?

Thors­ten Kloos­ter: It ca­me out of a pro­ject Hei­ke did for a sub­way sta­ti­on in Düs­sel­dorf. The idea the­re was to use light-re­f­lec­ting ma­te­rial but it tur­ned out that not­hing on the mar­ket com­p­lied with fi­re re­gu­la­ti­ons, so so­me­t­hing new nee­ded to be de­ve­lo­ped.

Hei­ke’s an ar­tist, and she al­rea­dy used re­tro-re­f­lec­ti­ve ma­te­rials in her work, whilst I’m an ar­chi­tect, mo­re on the tech­ni­cal and sci­en­ti­fic si­de, and ha­ve writ­ten a book on smart sur­faces. So we com­bi­ned our two spe­ci­fic ty­pes of know­led­ge and ex­pe­ri­en­ce in ma­king Bling­C­re­te.

And the na­me?

HK: … of cour­se co­mes from the hip-hop “b­ling”: shi­ny stuff, je­wel­ry.

So how can Bling­C­re­te be used? What are its ap­p­li­ca­ti­ons?

HK: The­re are so ma­ny func­tio­nal ap­p­li­ca­ti­ons: for re­f­lec­ti­ve road mar­kings, in­du­s­trial ha­zard signs, plat­form ed­ges, tun­nels … and in ar­chi­tec­tu­re, it can be used on fa­ça­des, in in­te­rior de­sign, as a way-fin­ding sys­tem — or for small, spe­cial si­tua­ti­ons whe­re a mes­sa­ge or gra­phic needs to be se­en but on­ly at a cer­tain po­int whe­re the in­for­ma­ti­on is re­qui­red. It can al­so func­ti­on as a tac­ti­le sys­tem for blind peop­le.

TK: What’s nice for de­sig­ners is playing around with ideas of the vi­si­b­le and in­vi­si­b­le, and the ma­te­rial’s spe­cial abi­li­ty to chan­ge from being ac­ti­ve to pas­si­ve.

So a ba­lan­ce then bet­we­en use and be­au­ty …

TK: The­re’s a big dis­cus­si­on at the mo­ment about art and sci­en­ce. But our work on Bling­C­re­te and func­tio­na­li­zing con­c­re­te sur­faces are practi­cal pro­jects that com­bi­ne the­se two fields. What’s in­spi­ring is ha­ving the chan­ce to work with peop­le from all ty­pes of fields: sci­en­tists and ex­perts in ma­te­rial phy­sics, along­si­de ar­tists, ar­chi­tects and de­sig­ners.

Our work is on ma­te­rials, but we are in­te­res­ted in the im­ma­te­rial! We on­ly use the ma­te­rial as a re­fe­ren­ce to things that are mo­re con­cep­tual: that’s what we do.


un­cu­be ma­ga­zi­ne
Con­c­re­te 04
Bau­netz Me­dia GmbH