*** Originally posted 16th Sept 2021 ***

 

I know for many, it may seem like it’s taken us an incredibly long time to develop our tableware collection off the back of the success of our coaster sets, so I thought I should take the time to explain a little more in detail about our development process.

For those who don’t know, we design and make everything in house - well, not quite everything because we commission a specialist to handmake our prototype (design model) out of aluminium, using technical specs we create here from our designs, as the prototype forming takes specialist skills and machinery that we just don’t have.

The local engineer we have previously used to make all of our candle holders (aka a very talented friend from up the road, who likes to do this in his spare time and remain anonymous) quite simply did not have the machinery necessary to make the large placemat and centrepiece prototypes, so we had to look around. Not so easy during the lockdown days, but finally we found another talented metalworker nearby who had the time and desire to create our prototypes. You can see him at work in the first part of the video.

Only once we had these prototypes in hand could we then hand pour the moulds, from which we then go on to hand pour the concrete. With one prototype we can make one mould every 2 days and in order to go into production we need quite a lot of moulds. Of course we could have commissioned some Chinese company to do the mould making for us, or buy some pre-designed moulds off the shelf (like so many concrete-making folk do), but that’s just not our ethos or our style.

Only with the first concrete sample could we then figure out the best protective coating it needed. This took us a lot of research, head scratching and trials. We also needed to try and work out what best to apply to the base of the concrete to protect your surfaces. As all of our other concrete pieces, we opted for cork, from our sustainable UK supplier, but we then also needed to figure out the best size and shape for optimum aesthetic and function and minimum waste.

The result is a ring on the base of the centrepiece - the cut out centre of this creates the ring we use on the placemats - and the cut out central disc from this is used to create the cork stopper we use on our pot lids. So absolute minimum wastage all round. We’re quite proud of that actually!

 

We then needed to test, test, test to ensure we are giving you the best quality possible not just on the surface of every concrete tableware piece, but on the base too.

And finally we needed to source packaging to not only keep the products safe in transit and beautiful to receive, but that is also responsibly sourced as locally as we possibly can. It took a while, but we hope you’ll agree the luxury 2-piece boxes we have selected fit the bill perfectly. They are made from 99% recycled boxboard, with a paper covering from sustainable FSC approved forests and, along with the crinkle paper we use to fill any void and the tissue paper we use to wrap the concrete, are fully recyclable.

 

Which is why in a nutshell, it’s taken a lot of time. But we’re there now.

Thanks for your patience and understanding that ultimately when it comes to slow design - design with a purpose and product that is built to last - the result is 100% worth the wait.

Mr Concrete & Mrs Wax