In the world of outdoor design, furnishings that were once an afterthought are now making a comeback. Concrete, traditionally an industrial material, is becoming a cool and modern outdoor trend. The Concrete Side Table by local fabricator Designs by Rudy in Vernon Hills, Illinois, is one such recent design. Made from GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), the solid concrete pedestal has a 12” x 12” footprint x 24” tall with a 21” square top. It weighs 250 lbs and is extremely durable, capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions. To protect against scratches and acid stains without changing the surface appearance or leaving a sheen, the table is sealed with several layers of penetrating sealer.

Meanwhile, in Prague in the Czech Republic, design studio Mmcité, known for producing “street furniture,” introduced BETTER, a concrete high-volume litter bin that won a 2017 GOOD DESIGN from The Chicago Athenaeum International Museum of Architecture and Design.The body of the glass fiber-reinforced HPC reinforced basket has a lightweight top and a reinforced bottom for increased stability. Even though it’s heavy, weighing 154 lbs, and massive, at 19” wide x 29” long x 33” high, its cultivated shape fits in almost any context.

Mmcité also designed the Construqta bench, a design concept based on the truss beam. A simple cuboid made of UHPC concrete, its symmetrical play of definite inclines and right-angled sides add to its distinguished look. More than 2 meters long, the bench can be placed separately; by two or three pieces; or arranged in long lines. Seemingly simple, these designs made of high-performance cement materials offer a smooth, modern finish with a splash of sophistication.