A Cure for Concrete is an interdisciplinary research project with Stephen Picken, Professor of Polymer Materials, Delft University of Technology. It steers creation of visual imagery on concrete surfaces by experimenting with co-additives (using by-products of the wastewater treatment process) to Stephen’s existing, but underused, concrete curing* compound Delft Green. This ornamentation-by-chemical-reaction-and-physical surface-drying would not only make buildings more beautiful, but also ensure concrete longevity. The most exciting results have been achieved with the combination of Delft Green curing compound and Vivianite – ironic because Vivianite is known in the history of painting for being an unstable pigment. These beautiful organic patterns emerged with a likeness to my photographic work, and give us a glimpse into what we could add to our urban concrete landscape to improve our wellbeing through organicity.
*Inadequate protection of concrete while it sets causes 80% of all damage to concrete. Producing the key ingredient, cement, accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions. So the least we can do is ensure the concrete we do use will last as long as possible, by curing it properly.