A little more than a month ago, I was basking in the Las Vegas sun at World of Concrete while watching some great decorative concrete demonstrations. Ever since, I’ve been battling snow, ice, and subzero temps in Chicago. But at least I have some good news to share while waiting for the weather to break.

For the second year running, the Artistry in Decorative Concrete demos offered a competitive aspect as artists vied for cash prizes. Projects were judged by a panel of experts from the American Society of Concrete Contractors’ Decorative Concrete Council (DCC). Show attendees also participated in the Attendees’ Choice balloting.

Experts’ Choice Winner: Neil Roach of Creative Construction by Design, Danville, Ill., created an exposed-aggregate retaining wall with lights inset, a patio with a stamped concrete border and pervious concrete center, and a functioning water/fire feature. The pervious center served as a reservoir for water spilling onto it from the wall-top water/fire feature.

Roach’s demo took the Artistry event to the next level by including multiple applications in a project that could be sold to customers straight from the show floor.

Attendees’ Choice Winner: Returning 2013 winner Adrian Gascon of Legacy Pool and Spa, Ventura County, Calif., used GFRC, decomposed granite, and lightweight concrete to create a sculpture with a functioning waterfall and flying eagle. Visitors couldn’t resist touching the rockscape to see if it was really concrete.

Decorative Pavilion Best in Show Winner: Among the most popular exhibits at the Concrete Surfaces Decorative Pavilion was Butterfield Color’s booth, which came in first place in both Experts’ and Attendees’ Choice balloting, earning Best in Show for the second year in a row. The booth’s outdoor hardscape included an elegant fire pit and seating area that was enjoyed by visitors on chilly mornings, as well as a very cool 3D illusion floor.

Thanks to all who voted. But most of all, I thank the artisans and exhibitors for showing us how versatile and exciting concrete can be!

Details on all of the projects will be in a special digital issue in April.