From sinks to countertops and more it's not uncommon to come across concrete in an interior environment these days. We've found a local Austin craftsman using the versatile material for all of the above as well as gorgeous modern furniture...
For Eric Billig, the evolution into one of Austin's best concrete furniture makers was natural. Having grown up in a creative family, he started in the building trade when he moved to Austin in 2001, gaining vital experience in carpentry and remodeling to give him the skill set to start Eric Billig W O R K S. His first piece of furniture was for his mother-in-law who needed a coffee table. Demonstrating a strong "can-do" attitude he jumped on the project and the end results, according to Billig "turned out pretty cool." We love the interesting textures, shapes and looks that Billig explores with his sinks, countertops, tiles and especially furniture. Billig describes concrete as "honest, humble, and strong as stone yet versatile" and after looking at his portfolio, we couldn't agree more. We asked Billig a few questions about his work:
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
I mostly view things in nature, let it simmer in my monkey mind then at some odd time (middle of the night, stuck in traffic) it will just pop and I'll know what I've got to make. It usually takes a bit more to figure out how to make it but it always seems to come together. Other times technique sort of dictates how a piece will turn out.
Have you always worked in the current materials you work in now? What made you choose them?
I've always done a little of everything but really fell in love with concrete. It's just so amazing to me watching this liquid mirror what ever shape and texture you put it in/on and then get rock hard. Plus all the seemingly infinite number of surface looks you can get by exposing what's in it. (read: aggregates)
What's your favorite design advice for homeowners and apartment dwellers who live in small residences and who might be on a budget?
First get rid of half your stuff, and then get rid of half of what's left. Everything in your home you should totally love. It's worth the investment to have a lot less really quality pieces then to have a bunch of semi disposable junk. This investment is a combination of the monetary (saving to buy) and the time and patience to wait for that table or chair you really are going to want and keep (good thrifting takes some digging). Always think longevity.
What's in store for the future?
I'm moving my studio to the Blue Genie Art space on the east side of Austin. I'm so excited to be around all the talent there. Check me out on the east Austin studio tour this year. I should have some really crazy fabric formed pieces by then. (think concrete cushions shaped into furniture!)
Be sure to check out select Billig pieces at local Austin store Aviary. For more local Austin concrete posts, check out RAD'S Cool and Clever Furniture Designs! and Austin Artisan Profile: Zachary Aric Zamora.
What do you think about concrete as used as countertops, sinks, furniture and other interior features? Is it only a building material in your opinion or can you see it used as a comfortable decorating element? Do you have concrete in your home? Let us know what you think about Eric Billig's work!
(Images: Eric Billig)