A material from which many of the modern world’s most awe-inspiring design creations have been forged, concrete inspires images of strength, stability, unyielding power and raw beauty. Like these prevailing qualities, true friendship is enduring. The story of Concrete Collective, the Melbourne-based concrete design company, is built on a love of design and a passion for creation but, above all, on a foundation of staunch friendship.
Located in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, Concrete Collective is run by founders Michael Mitris and Scott Henderson. Specialising in custom GFRC artisan concrete for applications in residential and commercial settings, Concrete Collective was born over three-and-a-half years ago when Scott and Michael made the life-altering decision to translate their industry expertise into a business. “I come from a background in building and construction management and Scott is a qualified carpenter with an eye for fine detail,” begins Michael. “We have built our business on a desire to question common preconceptions about concrete and push the boundaries of what most think is possible with the material from a design perspective.” Starting life from a warehouse space, Michael and Scott set about turning Concrete Collective into a true reflection of their personalities, establishing a business that echoed their passion for quality and innovation. “Through the use of glass and PVA fibre throughout our concrete mix we mitigate the requirement for conventional steel reinforcement, which results in a lighter, thinner and stronger final product,” explains Michael. “These properties combined allows for us to prefabricate our pieces, which means greater control over the concrete and less mess for the client.”
Many things have changed in the lives of Michael and Scott since Concrete Collective was first founded but their friendship and commitment to quality have remained a constant presence throughout the journey so far. “Given the versatility of the product there are very few boundaries relating to what we can create, giving us complete freedom over what we can achieve,” explains Scott. “Over the years we have worked together on everything from benchtops, to sinks, baths, 3D wall panelling, custom furniture and door handles, all in a large array of colours and finishes.” Priding themselves on their versatility and a willingness to customise, Michael and Scott have carved themselves out a valuable niche working closely alongside architects and designers throughout the design stage, in the process ensuring that an understanding of the product is cultivated and professional relationships are created.
Collaborating on projects with the likes of Whiting Architects, Doherty Design Studio, Breathe Architecture and Dan Gayfer Design, Concrete Collective’s portfolio of work features some of the most highly-regarded studios in the Australian design industry. Through a flourishing reputation, a rapidly growing collection of projects to their name and many exciting collaborations in the works, one project to date holds special significance above all else. “On a personal level my favourite project is, without a doubt, our showroom,” exclaims Scott. “The showroom is our pride and joy, it highlights all the aspects we love about GFRC concrete and provides the client with a true insight into who we are, our passion and our product.” Designed in collaboration with award-winning architecture studio Rachoff Vella, the launch of the Heidelberg showroom in early 2020 was the result of 18 months of planning and building, in an iterative process that saw them “testing ideas, failing, reworking, rebuilding and repeating,” says Scott. “We hope to use the space to inform and educate people about our product and how it can be applied to all ideas,” explains Michael. “The showroom being connected to our warehouse allows us illustrate to our clients the level of care and detail that goes into every piece, something that is extremely satisfying for both of us.”
Specialising in custom GFRC artisan concrete for applications in residential and commercial settings, Concrete Collective was born over three-and-a-half years ago when Scott and Michael made the life-altering decision to translate their industry expertise into a business.
With the new showroom launched and some exciting work currently going on behind the scenes with the likes of Techne Architects, Designer Doorware and Meek Bathware, 2020 promises to be another year of growth for Concrete Collective. Michael and Scott are under no illusions about the natural pressures that come with success, but they are both eager to take on all challenges working side by side. “I love coming into work each day with my best mate and seeing what we have been able to build from a simple idea,” states Scott. “Our friendship helps to keep things in perspective when the going gets tough. We are extremely proud of each other,” he expands. “As our business continues to grow, so do we as individuals, and that is something that helps drive us to improve.”
“I love coming into work each day with my best mate and seeing what we have been able to build from a simple idea.”
In a relatively short timeframe, Michael and Scott have turned Concrete Collective into a business truly driven by their passion for concrete and their commitment to quality. The custom GFRC artisan designs that grace the interiors of some of Australia’s most beautiful architectural spaces are all-important chapters in the overall story of Concrete Collective. Whilst their business will continue to grow and aspects will ultimately change, Michael and Scott’s friendship will remain firmly engrained in the ethos of Concrete Collective. Much like concrete and the products they produce, the friendship that underpins the business is enduring.