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    CD Designs Blog

    iPavement – a concrete future?

    At CD Designs, we’re fascinated by new developments in the world of concrete design and application – so we were really interested to read about the new ‘iPavement’ idea from Spanish creatives, Via Inteligente. They’ve created a new ‘smart’ paving stone which has a wi-fi, Bluetooth and computer, actually built into the paving. Why you ask – well the prototype paving has been designed as a response to ugly antennas and urban wireless hotspot requirements, by instead providing easy-access wi-fi service access. The technology is claimed to offer real potential for creating large wireless networks across urban areas.

    These iPavements could be installed in heavy traffic areas, as their composition is as robust as regular concrete block pavings. So much so, that cars can drive over them without affecting functionality.

    Each block is enhanced with a range of apps, providing a ‘multi-service’ user hotspot for those within range.  So for example, a coupons app could provide money saving offers for businesses within range.

    Certainly, the development is intriguing and has great potential. It will probably be some time until we can imagine pattern imprinted concrete driveways with integrated apps and hidden wi-fi, but if this company does manage to successfully develop the system and take it to market, it could catch on with town planners and see our urban spaces changing forever.

    Stefaan de Croock temporary graffiti

    Removing moss from concrete, for art!

    Removing moss from concrete, for art!

    If most of us saw moss and dirt covering our pattern imprinted concrete driveways at home, we’d be spraying it with the pressure washer in no time. But for urban artist Stefaan de Croock, dirt and moss growth offers a natural palette for creating beautiful graffiti artworks.

    Using a pressure washer, he painstakingly carves shapes into the natural grime and dirt build up in city environments, to create truly stunning results.

    Moss does have a tendency to grow quite heavily on concrete surfaces when they are damp. This makes it common on concrete paths where water tends to pool, or walls where it regularly runs down from an overflow. De Croock (known as Strook) takes advantage of this to create his signature style of ‘substractive’ graffiti outside the Stuk’s art centre in Belgium.

    Sadly these pieces of artwork are very temporary; with water being the only material used during production, the moss rapidly grows back over the effect within a couple of weeks, obscuring the effect. However, it’s possible to see some of his work.

    We think this is a really exciting way of using constructed and natural elements together to create something new and interesting. Whether we’ll see our customers carving water works of art into their pattern imprinted concrete driveways or patios is another thing – but if you do feel inspired, we’d love to see the results!

    Living in a gun

    One of the most cutting edge designs we’ve seen

    One of the most cutting edge designs we’ve seen

    The world of architectural design is fascinating for anyone involved in the construction industry. Even materials such as concrete, which we see every day, are constantly being evolved into new and surprising finishes, uses and applications. Floor planning is always a key part of architecture and building – whether it’s to install a pattern imprinted driveway or patio in a domestic garden, or to plan a polished concrete floor for a large commercial installation.

    One of the most cutting edge designs we’ve seen yet, is a series of floorplans based on the design and mechanics of a gun! Called ‘Tradition of Excellence,’ the drawings have been created by the artist, Baptiste DeBombourg. Each gun is treated as a solid mass of space, from which rooms and spces are carved. Along the interior of a Famas F1 gun shaft for example, lies a series of dorm rooms. The hand guard curve is represented as a long corridor, leading to a large room space. The magazine of a Kalachnikov AK-47 is represented as a tiered auditorium, and a Colt’s walls are shown as a grand staircase. Perhaps the most fascinating drawing is of the Minigun M134D, which expresses symmetry through sculptural staircases, mirrored rooms and angled walls.

    Critics have compared the designs to the ancient plan drawings of medieval castles, where small spaces were excavated from the thick stone walls of the fortresses. With these new gun inspired designs however, the walls are thin and electic – suggesting a new aesthetic that’s perhaps a vision of the future.

    View Baptiste DeBombourg’s original concepts and designs.

    Image from Baptiste DeBombourg’s website.

    Driveway security – the beginner’s guide

    Driveway security, what are the options?

    Driveway security, what are the options?

    Driveway security is a hot topic for homeowners looking to protect their family and home. The good news is that there are plenty of practical security measures you can take without needing to affect your pattern imprinted concrete driveway after it’s been installed!

    Outdoor alarm systems are valuable – particularly wireless driveway and wider perimeter alarms. Most systems are designed for easy DIY installation, whilst still retaining excellent detection capabilities, thanks to advances in the supporting technology. You can use these alarms to protect your home’s entrance, garages, hidden entrances and any outbuildings you might have.

    For commercial buildings, secure parking posts and bollards are popular. These range from the basic fold down systems to automated and telescopic systems. Similar technology exists for domestic properties too, but for larger homes looking to invest heavily in advanced security wireless audio and video intercoms tend to be a popular choice. These can be used between buildings, or from the entrance and the building itself -and systems will offer automated operation of electric security locks or automatic gates from a distance.

    Other security devices exist too. Decoy CCTV systems aren’t 100% effective, but many believe that they deter or at least slow down opportunist thefts. Alternatively, you can invest in full service CCTV cameras and monitoring system. Basic additions such as alarms for sheds and garages are also useful, and these outbuildings are more often targeted by thieves than houses themselves. Products available include silent wireless alarms, battery powered alarm systems, CCTV and warning signs.

    If you’re serious about security, it can be worth getting a specialist consultant out to look at your property’s individual requirements. But for many of us, basic additions such as good security lighting, alarms and locking systems will be enough to provide peace of mind.

    Electric gate picture courtesy of our friends at ASD.

    Concrete planters

    Planters put a garden within reach of everyone – even small apartment dwellers! Even if you only have space for a herb planter on a balcony, or a few pots around a little courtyard or pattern imprinted concrete driveway, you can grow plants, herbs and even fruit and vegetables for your five a day!

    Add something extra to your garden with a concrete planter

    Add something extra to your garden with a concrete planter

    Concrete planters are always popular for providing formality and elegance to outdoor gardens and public spaces – you’ll see them around most city parks and gardens. They offer great durability and will last for many years, with minimal care requirements.

    Concrete planters come in big sizes, and a wide range of colours. They are also very difficult to steal, thanks to their weight – especially once filled with soil. This makes them perfect for front gardens and areas with regular passers by, as well as for planting valuable plants and flowers which might tempt the odd cheeky opportunist! Their strength also makes them ideal for families – they’ll resist being attacked by footballs and bikes!

    Concrete pots are also weather proof, as they won’t split or freeze in freezing temperatures or get ruined by the rain – they offer great insulation, and they are also ideal for large trees and shrubs.

    You can find a large range of styles and colours at most garden centres or specialist garden accessory websites – or even get creative and try pouring your own!

    Photo by Jeremy Levine Design

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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