In Prague, off a busy main road in one of the city’s outer districts, a quiet side street is dotted with industrial warehouses that sit behind fences fashioned from chain link and sheets of corrugated metal.
Inside one of them, Gravelli—a local brand with global reach—makes everything from furniture to washbasins to jewelry, all from concrete.
It was six years ago in Prague when co-founders Ladislav Eberl and Jiří Peters met. At the time, they were both students. Eberl was studying dental hygiene; Peters was studying building structure in the Czech Technical University’s civil engineering program. Eberl didn’t want to be confined to one room for the rest of his life. Peters also had bigger dreams. He had an idea to develop a very thin, strong concrete and a great surface treatment—easier to clean than typical concrete with a more appealing finish. He wanted the concrete to be used to make washbasins and furniture. So he developed his own formula. Incorporating glass fibers, FixCrete is now Gravelli’s signature blend.
“Thanks to these fibers, FixCrete allows us to create pieces that have a thickness of just 15 mm and great surface treatment,” says Eberl. “[[However]], it is not only about the mixture, but every individual step during the 5-week production process of each product.”
Tech&Design Combo: One of a Kind
Not visible from the small entry room/showroom, the production hall’s impressive size comes as a surprise in comparison. To the right are the company’s enclosed offices, which you can see into through a glass opening. To the left, where high windows frame the upper edges of the long, open hall, finished products—like the curvaceous Zephyr chaise—sit in one area. In another, shelves are lined with products in the curing process. Just beside it, two tables with tiny tools that Eberl compares to dental equipment are where jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings are made.